Beyond the Classroom: Exploring Your Ambitions

Explore Your Ambitions

Part of the MBA experience shared by students at Chicago Booth is getting involved in different groups that provide opportunities outside of the classroom. In addition to customizing the curriculum to fit their personal goals, students are empowered to explore their individual passions, gain real world experience, and build lasting networks of like-minded people.

In this two-part series, we asked students to tell us how being part of some of the 70+ student-led groups on campus enriched their MBA experience.

Booth Education GroupBooth Education Group
In her first year, Emily Ruff, ’16, joined the Booth Education Group (BoothEd) to meet people who shared her passion for education. “One of my most valuable MBA experiences was when our group led the first Booth-Yale Education Business Plan Competition at the annual Educational Leadership Conference. We secured so many expert judges. It was really great exposure for our group, and the school. It gave us even more recognition in the education and social impact work that we do. From this experience, and the opportunities it brought for networking, I actually ended up with an internship.”

Energy Group
The aim of the Booth Energy Group is to prepare its members for careers in energy and energy-related industries, as well as provide network building opportunities for students with domestic and international companies. Erik Underwood, ’17, came to Booth with an energy background. “I was looking forward to the ability to understand other areas of the business market. And having worked in the energy sector, I was excited about helping other students learn more about it.” Sam Bordenave, ’16, wanted to work in the US energy sector and build his Booth network therein. “I took advantage of the opportunity to join the Clean Energy Trek to the Bay Area. We visited a number of firms that students, alumni, and Career Services have relationships with. That’s actually how I was introduced to my first contact at Tesla, where I interned, and ultimately got a full-time offer.

Booth Technology GroupBooth Technology Group
The Booth Technology Group is popular for its annual Tech Treks, which offer students the opportunity to visit companies and meet alumni. “The West Coast Trek was essential for recruiting. By visiting the different tech companies and speaking directly to industry leaders, you gain an understanding of how each company worked and how they were all different. Many students leverage the trip to narrow down the list of companies to pursue,” said Johnny Harris, ’16. “Putting aside the brand name of these companies, the culture is what’s really important. Only when visiting them can you really understand what company is the best fit for you,” said Alon Shiran, ’16. In addition to the treks, students also get hands-on career-related support here on campus. Nelson Yan, ’16, saw that firsthand, “The Booth Technology group gave me the chance to learn from second-years that have been in my shoes before – which was very valuable in recruiting.”

Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Group
The Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Group (EVC) seeks to foster career development opportunities via conferences, speakers, and various member resources. “One of the most important things I did as a first-year was become part of the EVC,” said Scott Stern, ’17. “They organize SeedCon, the annual conference dedicated entirely to early stage companies. They run treks to both San Francisco and New York for startups and venture capital.” Fellow EVC member Daniel Heck, ’17, agreed, “The group does a really good job of building a community among aspiring entrepreneurs and venture capitalists."

Marketing Group
Marketing Group
The Booth Marketing Group strives to educate students on both career opportunities and trends in marketing, while ultimately preparing them for recruiting. Jenny Farrall, ’16, recalled how the group’s support played a part in her job search. “Being an active member of the Marketing Group was huge in helping me secure my internship. As a career switcher, group members offered me so much of their personal time for things like one-on-one practice interviews and phone calls to answer my career questions. I got just absolutely amazing support, all the way until I got the job offer.” Faria Jabbar, ’16, felt that same collaborative spirit. “Everybody is supportive and aware of one another’s goals, which makes it really easy for the group to work together.”

Private Equity Group
The Private Equity Group’s aim is to provide students with the opportunity to test classroom ideas, gain practical knowledge about the PE industry, and experience investing firsthand. “The group really helps us understand how to access the private equity world, which can be a more challenging field to enter,” said Enrique Parra, ’17. Gordon Taylor, ’16, added, “Members helped us understand what our private equity recruiting search and cycle might be like. Being a member helps you to really cultivate a sense of community, a network of people interested in the future of PE that you can tap into for the rest of your life. We want anyone interested in the future of PE to be a part of the group!”

Retail and Luxury Group
Retail and Luxury Group
The Retail and Luxury Group members aspire to work in retail, or specialize in retailing in consulting, investment banking research, and other service industries. Booth faculty provide career planning and recruiting contacts, and offer insight for those seeking entrepreneurial opportunities within the field. Sana Suh, ’16, recalled that one of the first groups she joined was the Retail and Luxury group. “We went on a trek to New York and visited a lot of different companies where Booth alumni work. We got to see how an MBA degree is really valued in the industry as a whole.” Faria Jabbar, ’16, agreed, “There is a strong community of students and alumni that are really passionate about the retail and luxury industries and it’s nice to know that you have those people to bounce ideas off of.”

Management Consulting Group
The Management Consulting Group (MCG) has been an invaluable resource and I truly have them to thank for landing a full-time job in consulting,” said Jenny Dunn, ’17. The most popular group among students, MCG works to give students a competitive advantage in their career search, and to better understand trends within the consulting industry. Jenny continued, “From the moment you start on campus, MCG is there to help you interact with corporate firms, help you with your resume and mock interviews, and prepare you to put your best foot forward.” Many join to pursue a career in consulting, while others use the group to explore options. Emily Ruff, ’16, said, “I thought that I was going to really focus on a career in technology. But being part of MCG, I realized that consulting was in fact something I wanted to go back to.”

Net ImpactNet Impact
As part of the national Net Impact organization, the mission of Booth’s chapter is to educate students about civic leadership and social impact focused careers. The group explores opportunities in impact investing, corporate social responsibility, international development, and nonprofit work. Co-chair Brittany Henry, ’17, said, “Net Impact was a big part of my first year at Booth. I wanted to ensure that students interested in social impact careers have the same opportunities as I did. So we concentrate on helping students get the access and support they need to pursue internships and full-time positions.” 

Investment Managment GroupInvestment Management Group
The Investment Management Group (IMG) develops and prepares students for interviews and eventual careers within the industry. Valentina Durand, ’17, said, “This group is doing a great job helping first-year students to learn how to put together a compelling stock page. They organize different seminars to help us to learn more about fundamental research and valuations, which really helps in the preparation for internship interviews.” In addition to Stock Pitch boot camps and expert panels, IMG members can also pitch a stock for the Student Management Investment Fund. The Fund creates a real-world portfolio management environment, which allows students to improve their equity research and stock-picking abilities by serving as analysts and portfolio managers. Ziad Abouchadi, ’17, explained, “Our student-run fund manages $2 million of equities. We analyze companies and we make investment decisions. I think that's a wonderful opportunity to get our hands dirty working in investment management, especially before starting an internship.”

Coming up soon, we’ll check in with students who are part of special-interest groups and learn how their involvement is shaping their MBA experience. In the meantime, learn more about all of our business and professional groups, or hear directly from students via our student blog. For specific questions, connect with a student, or comment below.