The Booth Network in South America

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I’ve just completed a short trip to South America, my second to the area as a representative of the Full-Time Admissions staff at Chicago Booth. I looked forward to my return to South America, having so enjoyed my first trip last year; I found everyone I interacted with so warm and engaging! Once again, the power of the Booth network was in full force in all three of the cities I visited.

This year, I arrived first in Sao Paulo, Brazil after an easy overnight flight. Because I had a little extra time in Sao Paulo, I reached out to current student Ricardo Taveira, who’s interning at a VC firm in Sao Paulo (Ricardo also blogs for The Economist). Ricardo has been one of our most faithful and helpful DSAC volunteers and I’m looking forward to working with him next year as a second-year Admissions Fellow. I met Ricardo a short distance from my hotel in Sao Paulo at a great restaurant/bar called Verissimo. There, we enjoyed tapas, Brazilian beer and a warm evening and sat outside to catch up. Ricardo then joined me the following night at our information session in Sao Paulo, where he was joined by his classmate Tiago Andrade and several Booth alumni; of the group, we had 2 married couples, and one of our alums, Andre, joked to the group that Booth students have a pretty good chance of finding their future spouses at Chicago Booth! I was impressed to see how international that group was; of our alums, one was Mexican and one was American, in addition to Ricardo, who claims dual citizenship in both the US and Brazil.

The following evening, I headed to Rio, one of my new favorite cities. Already the work has begun to make Rio Olympics-ready for 2016; this could be seen from the signage all over the city to the construction that has begun to build a new train to shuttle athletes and visitors around Rio. Two rising second-year students joined me at the Rio Information Session: Guilherme Vaisman, a Brazil native who is completing his internship in Rio, and Gem McCreary, a US Army veteran. After spending the summer working for a non-profit firm in Kenya, Gem elected to spend the rest of his summer in Brazil, where he had been stationed in the past. My early flight the next morning meant I got to see the Christ the Redeemer statue glowing in the dark of the early morning hours on the drive to the airport.

Finally, my last stop was Buenos Aires, where we are hosted each year at Capital Markets Argentina; our hostess, University of Chicago alumna Graciela Cairoli, was gracious enough to not only have us in her company’s offices, but also gave me a beautiful book on Argentina, which has inspired me to visit more often and really experience all that the country has to offer. There, we were joined by several Booth alumni and current students, who talked in part about their lives in the city of Chicago and stayed long after our event officially ended, allowing for some great conversation well beyond the formal presentation. It's this enthusiasm for Booth, both from students and alumni, that makes my job hosting these events so easy. The following morning, newly minted Class of 2012 grad Martin Sarano, an Argentine native, took me out for breakfast, where I was introduced to (and fell in love with) medialunas, or Argentine croissants. YUM! I only wish now I had taken a few to go to share with my colleagues back home (though I doubt they would’ve lasted much past the flight home!).

As always, I was grateful for (though not surprised at) the many Booth alumni and current students who took time out of their busy lives to help me speak to those interested in a Booth MBA in the cities I visited. As a traveler, there’s an awful lot that’s out of my hands (like my 3.5 hour flight delay on the way home from Buenos Aires to Chicago!), but one thing always stays constant no matter where my travels take me: the alumni and students’ enthusiasm, loyalty and passion for Chicago Booth, and their generous hospitality to those of us traveling far from home.

For those on the east coast and in Canada, I hope to see you at next week’s Forté Foundation Forums in New York City on September 4 & 5, and in Toronto on September 6th!