University of Chicago

Too Young for an MBA? Booth Disagrees.

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"Am I too Young for an MBA?" in a thought bubble
You’re young, eager, and intelligent, with a strong work ethic and drive for success. You’re everything a business school should want out of an MBA prospect– until you find out you are considered too young or inexperienced for most MBA programs. Quite frankly, we don’t think that is fair.

If this resonates with you, you’re not alone. The Chicago Business Fellows Program at Booth could be the perfect fit for you. 

We call it CBF for short, and in this blog series, I will explain this unique program- who it is meant for, what the advantages are, and, if it’s the right fit for you, how to apply.

What is CBF anyway?

Well, it’s a subset of Booth’s Evening MBA and Weekend MBA programs, specifically designed for young professionals with zero to three years of full-time work experience. You earn the exact same MBA as every other Booth student, but with the advantage of an exclusive professional development seminar and networking events with fellow young professionals.

What’s different about it?

The CBF program is a community within a community at Booth.  During your first quarter, you’ll take a weekly non-credit bearing seminar with other CBFers, in addition to your regular MBA classes.  The seminar focuses on professional development, and covers topics like effective networking skills, advanced public speaking, and  the fine art of small talk.

The idea is for you to master these “softer skills,” which are so crucial during the early years of your career. The best part is, you can practice these skills in a safe space during your time at Booth. You’ll also have plenty of chances to socialize with other CBF students through informal events (flag football, anyone?).

Why is it part of the Evening and Weekend MBA Programs?

Because work experience matters, especially early in your career. We want you to continue gaining that valuable experience while concurrently pursuing your MBA. Many Booth students actually apply classroom insights and strategies at work the next day, (what boss doesn’t appreciate that?). Keep in mind that your classmates also have full-time careers, in dozens of industries. Now, imagine the impact that can have on your professional network. See the advantage of having CBF in the Evening and Weekend programs?

Why does Booth value the young professional, when many other schools do not?

We have a long history of admitting young professionals to the Evening and Weekend programs, dating back to the late 1960’s. As young professionals, you bring fresh perspectives and great ideas to classroom conversations! Additionally, CBFers tend to be more active in our student community.

Is CBF the right fit for me?

If you have less than three years of work experience, have shown academic success and early leadership potential, and (most importantly) if you know a Booth MBA is the right path for you, then absolutely!  There’s no reason to wait until you hit that five-year mark with work experience to get started.

Sounds good to me- how can I learn more?

Join us at an upcoming Information Session and stay tuned to the blog for more CBF insights! 

Lindsay Badeaux, Assistant Director of Admissions, Evening and Weekend MBA Program   Lindsay Badeaux is an Assistant Director of Admissions for Chicago Booth’s Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs, and oversees the Chicago Business Fellows program.