February 07, 2020 Noon - 1 PM CST Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred MBA Admissions
In this live online chat, we answered your questions about Booth’s deferred MBA admissions program. Available to undergraduates at any university, the program offers students the opportunity to apply to Booth before they graduate from college, defer for two to four years, and gain professional experience before starting their MBA at Chicago Booth in the Full-Time, Evening, or Weekend program.
Guest: Hi everyone! What aspect of Booth attracts you the most?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: For me, it was three things: (i) the flexible curriculum, (ii) the focus on academic rigor, and (iii) the city of Chicago! I love Chicago, and definitely wanted to come back to the city long-term. Regarding the flexible curriculum, given how large of an investment an MBA is, I wanted to make sure that I could pick courses that would give me the highest ROI. The academic rigor, relative to some other options, meant I could really accelerate my learning and develop my skills.
Guest: What part of the application process do you think is the most important part?
* Daniel Kraft: I would stress that applications are reviewed very holistically, so all parts are important. that said, I would particularly focus on your motivations. For example, why do you want to get an MBA, why Booth, etc. to make your case.
Guest: If I remember correctly from the information session here at U of I, applications aren’t evaluated on a rolling basis, right? In other words, applying earlier than the April’s deadline has no effect on the admissions decision?
* Kimberly Epps: Hi! Correct! Chicago Booth does not have a rolling basis application process.
Guest: Hi, I had a question regarding application and GMAT for Booth Scholars Program. I believe Booth waives off part of the fee. How could one get more information regarding this process?
* John Lim: Thanks for your question! For all Booth Scholar applicants, the $250 application fee waiver is automatically applied. GMAT has offered discounts in the past, and we recommend visit their official website to get the most up to date information regarding GMAT fees.
Guest: What industries are most common, for Chicago Booth Scholars, to work at prior to applying to Booth?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, in general there are people who come from all different backgrounds before coming to Booth. Although, I would surmise that there is a higher concentration of those with a background in finance or consulting. All different backgrounds are considered at Booth. I would also check the employment report to get a sense of what industries are sought after pre and post Booth. https://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/
Guest: Hi. Thanks for hosting. What kind of Booth access will we have after admissions but before matriculation?
* John Lim: One of the most exciting things about the Chicago Booth Scholars Program is that you don't have to wait until you start your MBA to begin benefitting from the programming and the networking events. Throughout your deferment period, Chicago Booth Scholars are regularly invited to in-person and virtual professional development sessions and networking events in cities including Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. In addition, the Booth team reaches out to deferred scholars to see what programming they are interested in, so deferred scholars have a lot of direction in terms of what that programming looks like. As a member of the Booth community, students are also invited to select events all throughout the world!
Guest: Hi thank you for your time. Could you share what has been your favorite experience at Chicago Booth and why?
* Daniel Kraft: Meeting new people from all over the world with different types of backgrounds has been the most rewarding and fun part of the entire experience.
Guest: Hi, I wanted to know what made you decide to pursue an MBA and why at Booth specifically?
* Julia Chang: Thanks for the good question! I wanted to pursue an MBA because it was necessary for my career transition from business/finance roles into product management. As someone without a technical background, the career switch would've been much harder without an MBA. To answer the second part of your question, I was attracted to Booth because of the world-class learning from both professors at the school and your peers. For me, the intellectual curiosity and data-driven mindset at Booth was a huge plus for the industry I was going into (technology and startups) where you are working with many new problems that have never been solved before.
Guest: Hi! I'm glad to have this opportunity to interact with all of you. I've heard a lot about Chicago Booth's collaborative culture, and this was something that fascinates me immensely. My question is: In what way in your student life do you experience this collaboration? I would love to apply these learnings to my college!
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: I would say it extends into three main areas: (i) academic, (ii) recruiting, and (iii) student life. (i) A lot of classes require frequent group work. (ii) The process of getting ready for interviews typically involves a lot of practice with other Booth students, so there is a collaborative culture around prepping for recruiting (sharing of information, providing feedback, etc.). (iii) There are a lot of student clubs and people generally organizing events for networking and getting to know each other better.
Guest: How did you decide an MBA made sense for your career progression and what were you looking for in a MBA program that ended up making Booth the outstanding choice?
* Julia Chang: Thanks for the question! As a person interested in product management but without a technical background, having an MBA was necessary for me to make the career transition. Chicago Booth has so many programs and resources to help me with this career transition, including experiential learning classes where I get to work with companies on new product development, learning an analytical approach to problem solving and working with data, and many relationships with potential employers that made my career transition successful.
Guest: Hi, how do you think Booth helps you with your management skills? Thank you.
* Daniel Kraft: I think Booth helps develops those skills in several ways. In one way, there are a variety of classes specifically aimed at developing management and leadership skills in a classroom setting. In another way, almost any class has a teamwork & presentation component which helps as well. In addition, an essential component of the entire MBA experience at Booth is LEAD, a program during your first quarter designed to develop your leadership capabilities. Moreover, you also develop those skills through involvement in student organizations, both in a membership and leadership capacity.
Guest: I am going into the professional services industry after graduation, but I aspire to end up as an entrepreneur. I'm worries my "story" would not seem realistic or genuine because of my job position as of now. Did any of you face the same problem?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: I did not, and I am not sure I would say this is a problem at all! There are plenty of genuine and great reasons to go into professional services prior to pursuing a career as an entrepreneur! Just make sure you think through the reasons of your decision prior to applying.
Guest: Why did you choose Booth in particular over other business schools?
* Julia Chang: What a great question! One of the things that attracted me to Booth is the pay it forward culture. People here are so willing to help one another out, which I have personally experienced as I am working on my own startup in school called Gratitude Plus. I have had so much support from professors in advising me on the startup, help from classmates and peers who are using the product and providing feedback, resources from the Polsky Center in mentorship and deals for my startup, and much more. These are just a few examples of the huge pay it forward culture on campus where everyone supports one another.
Guest: Hello, I just have a question about the data analysis concentration in Chicago Booth Scholars Program. Do I need any specific concentration related to data analysis concentration? Thanks.
* John Lim: Students interested in one of our 13 concentrations at Booth do not have to declare their intent to do so before beginning classes and choose to pursue one or multiple concentrations during their time at Booth.
Guest: Hi! For the early deferral MBA application, since we haven't had a full-time job yet (only internships at this point), how can you position yourself strongly?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, great question. During the application process we recognize that people have different types of experiences, and thus will tell different stories about their professional and personal path. The evaluation of applicants leadership, teamwork, and other qualities then is contingent upon those stories, whatever they may be. Therefore, I would say pick the best experiences you have had in your professional career, either at school through a leadership position or in an internship and use those to display your best qualities.
Guest: Hello! What is your favorite class you've taken at Booth so far?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: New Venture Strategy with Schrager and Platform Competition with Goolsbee. Both professors have a clear vision of what they want to teach and do so in a very captivating way.
Guest: Hi! Why did you decide to go to business school and how many years did you wait before joining?
* Daniel Kraft: I went back to business school because I felt that I further needed to develop my professional knowledge base and certain skill sets particularly in leadership, management, and communication skills. I also wanted to further develop my network, both in and outside of my industry. I waited four years after college, but generally Booth scholars can go at any point between 2-5 years after undergrad.
Guest: Hi there, would candidate attending graduate school be qualified for this program?
* John Lim: Students who have begun a graduate degree immediately after undergrad without beginning any full-time work experience would still be eligible to apply. You can check out our full admissions criteria Here.
Guest: Another question is that how does Chicago Booth Scholars Program differ from others deferred programs?
* John Lim: The Chicago Booth Scholars Program allows students to benefit from ongoing network and professional development opportunities even throughout their deferment period. In addition, with the ability to now defer up to 5 years after getting admitted through the Chicago Booth Scholars program, admits now have increased flexibility to plan ahead in terms of when they want to earn their MBA. Once MBA students start at Booth, they benefit from courses built on The Chicago Approach, our philosophy that instruction and development should push future leaders how to think. While many top MBA programs may or may not have similar resources, these are some of the reasons that many students choose Booth!
Guest: Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time out for this. I was wondering, what you think the ideal student is for the Booth Scholars Program? In particular, is it aimed at students who are entrepreneurship oriented, STEM oriented, or economics oriented?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: It is not aimed at students that want to pursue a specific industry or have graduated from a specific major or anything. In fact, the program looks for the same things they would look for regular Full-Time MBA candidates, so a fit with Booth is important, as is a level of maturity and thoughtfulness around your career (which doesn't necessarily mean you know exactly what you want to do). The profiles of Booth Scholars are incredibly varied!
Guest: Are there any opportunities/events to engage with Booth during the deferral period?
* John Lim: Hi! One of the most exciting things about the Chicago Booth Scholars Program is that you don't have to wait until you start your MBA to begin benefitting from programming and networking events. Throughout your deferment period, Chicago Booth Scholars are regularly invited to in-person and virtual professional development sessions and networking events in cities including Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. In addition, the Booth team reaches out to deferred scholars to see what programming they are interested in, so deferred scholars have a lot of direction in terms of what that programming looks like. As a member of the Booth community, students are also invited to select events all throughout the world.
Guest: What is the key personality that Chicago Booth Scholars Program looks for in candidates?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, I can't say that there is one "personality" that fits with Chicago Booth Scholars, but I can say that the application to the program is judged on whether you are a good fit for Booth. Thus, you should consider some of the characteristics that differentiate Booth from other programs and whether those are a good fit for your learning style and professional goals.
Guest: I read the interviews are conducted by the Admissions staff, students, or alumni. Would interviewers have full package of our application? Could you share some tips for the interview? Is the interview process similar for Booth Scholar as those with traditional MBA?
* Julia Chang: For the Booth Scholars interview (and the regular MBA interview), interviewers will only have access to your resume. The interview is a chance for you to show why you are interested in a MBA here at Booth, and it’s a place for you to express what drives you and makes you shine. For Booth Scholars, it is helpful to have clear vision about the reason that made you interested in this program specifically vs. a regular MBA. You should also be able to talk about your specific story and career goals.
Guest: How is the community at Booth? Do first-year students and second-year students engage quite often?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, that's a great question. There is a lot of interaction between first-year students and second-year students through class or organizations. In fact, the recruiting process for every industry and every role has a fair amount of interaction between classes to get smarter about intended careers before starting to apply and interview process. There are also many social functions that intermingle the first- and second-year students. The beauty of a flexible program such as Booth is that you are able to have these interactions organically.
Guest: What do you think differentiate Booth from other MBA schools? Or Booth Scholars Program from other deferred programs?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: A lot of people will have different opinions on this, but I'll give you my top differentiator. Regarding the program specifically, the Booth Scholars Program required no exclusivity and very little commitment up front in terms of deposits. This meant I could still safely change my mind if I didn't think getting an MBA would be a good choice for me. In terms of Booth overall, one big differentiator in my opinion is the flexible curriculum. I see the MBA as a significant investment, and I want to maximize my ROI. So picking exactly what classes I'll be taking is an important part of that.
Guest: From regular MBA students, how do you think your experience has differed being a Booth Scholar? When you start the MBA, is there a community where you meet other Scholars? How does it integrate into resources and the overall experience?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: As a Booth Scholar, you are a full member of the Booth community, and have access to all the same things as regular MBA students would have access to. The only difference I would say is the community. The admissions office actually has events every quarter where we get together for drinks and food! We also schedule our own get-togethers every once in a while.
Guest: Would you have an idea of what percentage of students at Booth pursue jobs outside of Chicago?
* Kimberly Epps: Absolutely! The information can be found at Chicago Booth employment report here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport
Guest: is anyone of you Booth Scholars? If so, what did you do between undergraduate graduation and your matriculation at Booth?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: I was a Booth Scholar. I worked in the investment management at GS for three years. The program requires you to have some type of employment for at least 2 years before going to Booth.
Guest: What are some of the international opportunities that Booth has to offer?
* Julia Chang: Booth has a variety of global programming available to students. On the social side, all first years have the opportunity of going on a trip with a small group of classmates to a variety of international destinations called Random Walk. Students also organize a variety of global trips during their two years at Booth, with many options for spring break. From a classroom perspective, there are courses that focus on global perspective. One class includes experiential learning working on a social impact project in India.
Guest: What are some of the ways that being in the city of Chicago has integrated into classroom learning?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: The city of Chicago is unique in several ways, and this gets integrated into the classroom differently depending on the topic. For example, if you take finance classes, that deal with PE/CVC/hedge funds, you might have guest speakers from local firms. They typically have a mid-west investment focus, so you get an interesting perspective that way. If, for example, you take a class that revolves around entrepreneurship or social impact, you might get paired with local businesses or non-profits to do a project and report back to the class.
Guest: Could one of you speak about the ways that Booth supports women in their careers specifically?
* Julia Chang: Booth has many resources that support women both at school and in their careers. Academic advisors and career advisors are available to help guide women in their journey at school and while recruiting for internships or full-time opportunities. Student groups such as Chicago Women in Business also offer mentorship to students as well as a variety of extracurricular programming to connect with females at Booth and outside of Booth. The school also offers special leadership programming targeted to women at Booth (such as the LeadHERship course) which has had high interest from the student body.
Guest: What is the teaching methodology at Booth? Additionally, do you get industry interaction/ exposure?
* Neil Sethi: Hi! The core facet of the Booth program is the flexible curriculum. What that means is that there is only one required class at Booth, and the remaining 20 classes can be comprised of whatever you want to take. For those that are looking to guide their own experience, this is an invaluable quality for the program. I'm not totally sure if I understand the second part to your question, but I will say that every class shows the practical application of the concept which is usually routed in some industry. I have been taking a fair amount of Marketing Analytics classes, and each of them show examples and case assignments that are rooted in digital algorithmic marketing (by Google, Facebook, etc.). Outside of class, there is a ton of industry exposure through the professional clubs, speaker series on campus, and many others. Hope this helps!
Guest: Hi, I wanted to know what kind of resources are available for students learn technical things like AI/ML while at Booth?
* Daniel Kraft: As part of the Econometrics and Statistics concentration at Booth, there are several classes in that area. For example, amongst many others, there is a class specifically called Machine Learning, which brings students up to speed on cutting edge ML techniques. There is many other classes in that department that allow students to similarly develop their technical skills. Additionally, there are some students who pursue a joint degree in Computer Science and an MBA. There is a program between Booth and the UChicago Computer Science department where Booth students can apply for the joint degree either as part of their initial application to Booth or during the first quarter.
Guest: Hi! I am currently working on the Booth Scholars program application! Just have a quick question, what are some opportunities (classes, programs, courses or student organizations etc.) at Booth that are aimed at integrating business and social impact?
* John Lim: As social impact becomes increasingly prevalent both in and out of the business world, Chicago Booth continues to be a leader in the social sector. The Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Booth offers innovative coursework, conducts research, and offers hands-on opportunities for our students looking to tackle the world's complex social and environmental problems.
Guest: Is it necessary for you to work at a Tier 1 company during your deferral period?
* John Lim: Chicago Booth Scholars are free to explore a wide variety of professional experiences during their deferral period, reflecting the diversity of backgrounds in our MBA class. Students have worked at small and large companies, government organizations, startups, and even in roles in the education, policy, and HealthCare industries prior to beginning at Booth.
Guest: Can you elaborate a bit more on the LEAD program?
* Julia Chang: LEAD is a set of leadership programming offered to first-year students at Booth during orientation and the first few weeks of school. The course was specially developed for Booth students and provides a risk-free environment for students to explore aspects of their leadership style and work on areas of weakness. Some examples of specific programming includes a team building offsite, public speaking exercises, and other activities to learn about your strengths and the areas of development. LEAD is led by second-year students at Booth. The first-year students who are very passionate about LEAD can become the leaders for the following class and pay it forward.
Guest: How does Booth view corporate experience vs. entrepreneurial experience during the deferral period?
* John Lim: We do not have a preference between the types of experiences during the deferment period. Due to the diversity of our admitted students goals across industries and roles, past Chicago Booth Scholars have certainly pursued corporate or entrepreneurial work during their deferment period, but we also have Chicago Booth Scholars that have taken on professional roles in policy, education, healthcare, etc.
Guest: Hello everyone and thank you for hosting this! Does Booth facilitate any particular initiatives for students to give back to the greater Chicago community?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: Yes! There are tons of opportunities. Some are more involved, such as classes that have a project with a local business or in a local community. Others are more ad-hoc as fits your schedule. For example, the student group Giving Something Back often organizes opportunities to volunteer in a local community for several hours on the weekends. You get to bond with other Booth and non-Booth students and see different parts of Chicago, while helping out the community. Booth's Harper Center is located on the South Side, so the University more broadly also has relationships with local non-profits that host, for example, free tutoring for high school students. There definitely are plenty of resources for you to take advantage to give back!
Guest: In general, what are advantages and disadvantages of applying to MBA programs now (as an individual who has not had full-time work experience)?
* Daniel Kraft: Sure, that's a good question. Regarding advantages, I would stress that applying now gives you a lot of flexibility and optionality. The opportunity cost of applying will only get higher as you start working and it will only be more difficult to find the time and energy to work on the GMAT and your application after a full day of work. It also hedges your early career. Who knows if you will like your job or not.
On the other hand, one disadvantage I see is that, with more work experience, you may have a better sense of how you'd like to use the MBA in your career development & progression and you may have a better idea of what you want to achieve professionally through the MBA. That said, I would also stress that is really what the deferral period is for and will let you figure that out in more details.
Guest: I am going to apply for MBA this coming September. I know there are still several months from now until then. What would you recommend to get started early to prepare for the application other than GMAT?
* Daniel Kraft: I would get as much information as possible on the program to understand the program you are planning to apply to as well as you can. Separately, I would also start thinking deeply about why you want to get an MBA and how it will contribute to your career. Those are probably the most useful steps at this point, besides of course just getting the GMAT out of the way.
Guest: Hi, The Booth Scholars Class a lesser proportion of International Students. Is it because of any preference or due to the applications?
* John Lim: Hi, the smaller proportion of international students is simply due to the smaller portion of international applications we received, since for the first-time last year our CBS applications opened to non-UChicago students. We hope to admit more international students in future cycles!
Guest: What exactly do you mean by flexible curriculum at Booth?
* Neil Sethi: Perfect question. There is only one required course at Booth known as LEAD, which essentially is a leadership symposium class. However, the remaining 20 classes needed to graduate can be whatever you select. There are some core areas you must cover including economics, finance, accounting, strategy, etc. However, there are a variety of class options you can take to satisfy the requirements. For me, this was a great option as I had taken some of these classes in undergrad and I wanted to stretch my skillset in areas that I had focused less on in the past.
Guest: We are asked for professional awards and academic awards in the application. If we receive awards for competition (e.g., Hackathon, school hosted investment competition) would those go under professional category?
* John Lim: Applicants who receive awards for competitions (including investment competitions, coding competitions, etc.) can enter those awards under the professional category of the application.
Guest: How does Booth define success during the deferral period and the MBA?
* Julia Chang: During the deferment period, Booth Scholars are expected to be employed and progressing in their careers. However, this does not mean Booth Scholars have to stick in one job. Scholars can pursue different career interests and take the deferment period as a time to explore. I did this by trying out 2 different career tracks in my deferment period in investment banking and tech startups. To make sure Scholars are successful during deferral periods, Booth offers a variety of professional programming for Booth Scholars on navigating careers to set you up for success.
Guest: Does being a Booth scholar have an impact on any of the joint programs (specifically MPCS)?
* Daniel Kraft: No, not at all. Booth Scholars does not limit your ability to apply to any other joint degree program between Booth and other department/school at UChicago. That said, you would have to wait until the year you matriculate at Booth to apply to the other programs (e.g., MPCS, Law school, etc). Hope that makes sense.
Guest: Hi. Does Chicago Booth Scholars welcome international students to apply?
* John Lim: Chicago Booth welcomes all international applicants to apply!
Guest: Thanks Neil! Helps a lot.
* Neil Sethi: No worries! I’m happy to help.
Guest: Are the entrepreneurial support and resources available to students also available to alums who might want to work a few years before starting up?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, there are a lot of resources on campus that can help both current students and alumni. A majority of these initiatives are led by the Polsky Center on campus. These include the New Venture Challenge, the FabLab, and other options. I would encourage you to take a look at the Polsky Center's website here: https://polsky.uchicago.edu/
Guest: Do you have any admissions events in Mumbai in the near future?
* Kimberly Epps: Hi! Thanks for joining us today. Yes! We will travel to Mumbai this summer, exact dates are TBD. Our travel calendar will be released and available on our calendar in late April/early May.
Guest: As a Booth Scholar, are you integrated into the normal MBA class after the deferral period?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: Yes, you are basically regarded as just another Booth student! You get access to all the same resources and are not treated differently. The only difference would be that you are part of the Booth Scholars community, which you can choose to engage with. We have some nice events every quarter or so.
Guest: Hi, thanks for all your time! For the question 'How many times have you received a total GMAT or GRE score?', should we count cancelled scores as well? Thanks!
* Kimberly Epps: Hi! Thank you for joining us today. No, you do not have to count the cancelled scores.
Guest: If someone wants to do a Teach for India fellowship in the deferral period before working in another industry pre matriculation, would that be viewed as an inconsistency in the story?
* John Lim: A Teach for India fellowship would not be viewed as an inconsistency. We understand that MBA candidates have a wide variety of interests and passions, and many of our candidates have pursued similar professional experiences during their deferral period.
Guest: Regarding what Daniel said about disadvantages then, how would you recommend using your deferral period to gauge the development and progression? (regardless of what industry you go into)
* Daniel Kraft: Good question. Think about what you are good at and what you'd like to be better at. Think about what your goals are, both professionally and personally. Think about where you are and where you want to go, both from a career standpoint and a personal standpoint. That should give you a pretty good starting point to figure out what type of skills and experiences you need to develop through the MBA program. Once you know what you need to get out of the MBA, you can then think about designing your experience in more detail (e.g., what classes, what organizations, what experience do you want to be a part of at Booth?).
Guest: Since students don't share most classes, what are the avenues available to cultivate a collaborative culture?
* Daniel Kraft: Most importantly, I think the group of people is selected very carefully, and is also self-selecting to a large extent, to make sure everybody at Booth has a very collaborative mindset. Additionally, you still have a lot of overlap through your classes with other people. Sure you may not sit in the same cohort every day but I personally view that as a positive. You actually meet more people that way, which fosters a more collaborative environment with a different and more diverse set of people. Lastly, involvement in student organizations and social programming is also a wonderful way to promote a collaborative culture in both formal and informal ways and settings.
Guest: After this chat gets over, is there any way one can reach out to you guys (the panelists) for advice/ guidance? Don't know how to contact a specific person of this panel under the 'Contact a Current Student' section of the Booth website.
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: You're free to contact admissions with any questions, and if you have specific questions, typically these can be re-routed to a student who might be better suited to answer your questions. admissions@ChicagoBooth.edu
Guest: Hi! I saw that there was a new accelerated option for Booth Scholars that does not require you to take the GMAT/GRE. Would you still recommend taking it/would this be viewed as a disadvantage? I was thinking of applying while I'm still an undergrad, since I'm quite set on Booth, and take the GRE/GMAT perhaps later if I consider other schools so just wanted to get more information on this!
* John Lim: Hi! UChicago students who do not take the GMAT will not be at a disadvantage if they apply through the accelerated option with the GMAT waiver. Students are welcome to submit their GMAT score (especially if you've already put in the hard work to take the exam), but by no means not submitting a score through the accelerated option put you at a disadvantage.
Guest: Does Booth still offer the MBA and MA in Latin American studies?
* Kimberly Epps: Hi! Thank you for joining us today. No, Chicago Booth does not have a MBA in Latin American studies.
Guest: Can a spouse participate in lectures?
* John Lim: Hi, there is a process in a few select classes to allow Booth partners to audit courses, although this is generally not the norm.
Guest: What are your experiences with the bidding system of choosing electives? I have heard a lot about the pay it forward culture at Booth. How helpful were the second-year students during the process?
* Julia Chang: The bidding system is very effective in prioritizing what classes and professors matter the most to you. This also provides a lot of flexibility in choosing your own MBA path. Second-year students can definitely provide a lot of advice on courses and professors to help you figure out what could be best for you when bidding and maximizing your chances of getting into the courses you want.
Guest: Can anyone share some perspectives on the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Chicago? And, how Booth interact with the ecosystem?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, there are a variety of options on campus to connect with the entrepreneurial community. By and large, a lot of these interactions are managed by the Polsky Center: https://polsky.uchicago.edu/. These programs include the Collaboratorium, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and the New Venture Challenge. There are a lot of options as we understand that different entrepreneurs have different needs. I would welcome you to check out Polsky's website for the most up to date program information. I can confirm that there is a strong connection between the students and the entrepreneurial community, and many of these programs are very popular with students and alumni.
Guest: Will a rejection from the Dougan Scholars Program affect our Booth Scholars application?
* John Lim: Students who did not get into the Dougan Scholars Program will not be at a disadvantage for the Booth Scholars application. We have many UChicago students who are not in the Dougan Scholars Program that have been admitted into Booth!
Guest: Hi! How many volunteer hours is considered good enough?
* Julia Chang: Thanks for the question! Booth does not have any guidelines or requirements on the amount of volunteer experience candidates need to have. Candidates are evaluated on a holistic basis and should feel free to pursue the activities that matter most to themselves.
Guest: In terms of GMAT preparation, how long and rigorous was the process of preparation? Is roughly two months of diligent studying adequate? Or, does the timeframe need to be significantly longer than that?
* Daniel Kraft: I think it really depends on each individual. I think this is very hard to generalize. For me, that was exactly how much I studied, but that really depends on your comfort level with the material and (more importantly I'd say) on your comfort with standardized testing.
Guest: What would you say are the three main characteristics that Booth is looking for in its Scholar (deferred entry) applicants?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, this is a bit of a tough question and I'll describe why. Booth looks to create a diverse class on background as well as diversity of thought. Therefore, we look for many different qualities in different people and consider how they would fit with the rest of the class. That being said, I think it’s very important to have an idea of why you want to go to business school and what is your ideal outcome of attending one. That doesn't mean you need to know what job you want after business school, but you should have an idea of where you want to go professionally (think of this as a skillset toolbox) and how your experience at Booth would help you get there. Happy to answer more questions on this point if you have them!
Guest: For the recommendations section of the application, are there specific types of people/professors we should ask for these? I have taken a couple of Booth classes and I was wondering whether these would hold more weight/someone who speaks to more of personality vs career.
* John Lim: For recommendations, asking someone who can speak to your interpersonal skills, performance in class/work, and overall goals is beneficial to give the admissions committee an understanding of who applicants are through multiple lenses. Part of the reason we ask for more than one letter of recommendation is for this purpose, and we appreciate letters of recommendation that are able to address both the personal and professional goals of an applicant.
Guest: Hi, thanks for hosting this event today! I’m curious what’re you looking for in the question of post MBA career goal? What if I’m considering several post MBA career paths now?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: That's completely fine! I did not have concrete plans of what I wanted to do post-graduation. What they are definitely looking for, however, is someone who thinks about their career progression logically and thoughtfully. So while you may don't know what exact career you want to pursue, you might have an idea of what passion you have, and how an MBA could help you in steering towards those?
Guest: Have any of you taken undergrad-section business courses at UChicago? If so, how does the classroom experience at Booth differ from the undergrad sections?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: They are similar for sure. However, some professors will tailor the content towards a younger audience who may not have a meaningful work experience and make it slightly more theoretical. In terms of the core concepts taught, they overlap almost perfectly.
Guest: Could you please explain how the bidding system works?
* Daniel Kraft: In order to pick your classes, Booth has designed a system that works like a marketplace, or better an auction, in order to determine who gets what classes. Long story short, you get a certain number of bid points each quarter which you can spend on classes for the next quarter. The clearing price for each class is determined by a Dutch auction (everybody pays the lowest bid, even if you bid higher). This ensures that the students who really want a specific class can get it by expressing their (high) willingness to pay for that class. At the same time, I would also mention that this is not something anybody needs to stress about. Everybody generally gets the classes they want over the course of their 2 years here.
Guest: What was/is your favorite class? How has it changed your thinking?
* Julia Chang: Thanks for the question! Negotiations with Linda Ginzel was definitely one of my favorite classes. The class teaches you frameworks and strategies around how to approach negotiations, which is something I had previously thought some people were just good at (and some people were bad). The class opened my eyes to how much preparation, data, and strategic thinking is necessary to be a good negotiator. Anyone can be a good negotiator with enough preparation!
Guest: How much time do students typically have to dedicate to student organizations?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, this is a bit of a tough question, but I will try to provide you some information about student organizations and time commitment. I am currently a co-chair for the second-largest professional organization on campus, the Booth Tech Group, which has about 425 members. There are a lot of events that we host spanning both professional and social enrichment for our members. As a co-chair, I probably spend about 10 hours per week on that club alone. However, for those that are just members, the time commitment is much less, while for those that volunteer to help the commitment is somewhere in the middle. Also, there are differences in the types of clubs. For example, social clubs usually have less commitment. But it all depends on what your goals are for the club and how involved you want to be. It is very possible to invest most of your time into student organizations at Booth. Given there are many competing demands on your schedule as a Student, the time fluctuates person to person.
Guest: Hi, can we choose professor or previous internship supervisor to be our recommenders? Thanks!
* John Lim: Chicago Booth Scholars applicants are welcome to choose professor and/or previous internship supervisors to be their recommenders. We ask that at least one of your 2 required letters of recommendation come from someone who can speak to your performance in a professional setting. The other recommendation may be either an additional professional recommendation or may also come from an academic setting.
Guest: Hi, can you share the similarities and differences between the scholar program and regular 2 year MBA?
* Daniel Kraft: The Chicago Booth Scholars Program is primarily different from the regular 2-year MBA when it comes to the application process (different in the sense that you apply as an undergrad and then defer for 2-5years). It also serves as an additional community of people while you are at Booth. Other than that, you are part of the Full-Time regular MBA Program from the moment you matriculate, whether you originally applied as a Booth scholar or not.
Guest: Hello, could someone elaborate on how significant others / partners are included/welcomed as part of the Booth MBA experience?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, thanks for your question. This was actually something I was asking about when I was first applying to Booth as well. I'm happy to say now that my SO is a co-chair of the Booth Partners Club, an official Booth organization that is 100% run by partners of Boothies. That organization gives a lot of support to the community and really helped us with our transition to Chicago. There are also a variety of other ways to get involved on campus but I have had the most experience with the Partners Club.
Guest: Is there a way of backing up/saving these questions and answers to review later? Right now it seems like they would have to be copy-pasted individually.
* Kimberly Epps: Hi! Great question. This chat transcript will be on our website next week.
Guest: Hi! How important are my GMAT in the Booth Scholars application? If for any reason I do not score well on the GMAT, would a high GPA help to supplement my low scores?
* John Lim: We publish the GPA and GMAT ranges (as opposed to the average) of our admitted classes to emphasize that the admissions process truly is a holistic one. While it is in applicants' best interest to do well on standardized exams and in their undergraduate coursework, the qualitative parts of the application are equally important. Of course, a high GPA would help supplement a lower GMAT score, and vice-versa.
Guest: Have you embarked on any international journey with Booth community? Could you share your experiences with us? thanks!
* Julia Chang: Thanks for the question! I've been on a Random Walk (an international pre-orientation trip with a small group of classmates) to India. That trip was a fantastic way to kick off my MBA experience because it was a good opportunity to spend 8-9 days getting to know your peers in a place with so much culture, history, and good food. Although not all MBA students go on Random Walks (and by no means is it necessary), it was a great way to meet some classmates before school started and enter with a group of 15 friends.
Guest: Is there any way to know about the various clubs at Booth? Additionally, where could one find the list of electives offered?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: There is a list of student groups here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/student-experience/beyond-classroom/groups.
At the following link, if you click on one of the concentrations, you can get a flavor of the courses that are offered: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/curriculum
Guest: Does the deferred entry application require a recommendation from a professional and academic supervisor? Is it possible to have both recommendations from academic supervisors?
* John Lim: We ask that at least one letter of recommendation be from a professional setting. The other letter of recommendation may be from an academic or professional setting.
Guest: In terms of demonstrating logical thinking on how an MBA will progress your career, what if it is as common as being in an industry like consulting/IB and wanting to go towards management?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: I wouldn't necessarily call that "common". Booth has a lot of diversity in terms of where people come from and are going. I would challenge you to think a bit deeper, why do you want to make that jump? What attracts you about management? Any specific industry you want to pursue? Booth offers a lot of resources to develop skills, gain knowledge, form connections, which one of those are necessary to get from where you are to where you want to go?
Guest: Thank you Balthazar!
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: No problem!
Guest: What kind of support does the Career Centre offer people who might want to go back to their home countries after completing the course?
* Balthazar Darius Bergkamp: The Career Centre maintains relationships with a lot of employers in the U.S. and abroad. In terms of wanting to work at a location outside of the U.S., typically the type of support they can provide is to connect you with the appropriate people at places you want to work at, general advice on the job climate in a particular country, or connecting you with alumni in the region to jumpstart your networking!
Guest: Before matriculation, how can Booth Scholars living abroad stay connected with the community or get support?
* John Lim: Hi, great to see you on the chat! Booth Scholars can reach out to us to get connected with a Booth mentor during their period of deferral. We also have events around the world, and with substantial alumni communities worldwide to help deferred, current and alumni students!
Guest: Noted! Thank you so much, John!
* John Lim: No problem. Happy to help! Feel free to contact us if you have any future questions!
Guest: Will we be notified when this chat transcript is up? Where on the website can we find it?
* Kimberly Epps: No, you will not be notified; however, the transcript will be available by the end of the next week on our website here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/events/online-chats
Guest: The Random Walk mentioned by Julia sounds exciting. If anyone else has been to it, what was your experience?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, I went to Random Walk Guatemala in the year 2018. IT WAS AMAZING. The great thing about the Random Walk is that it gives you an opportunity to experience a country led by local guides, which gives you a flavor you would not be able to experience if you traveled there alone. In addition, the friends that you make during Random Walk are a nice comfort to have before you arrive on campus. I would say that the friends I made on Random Walk are the closest friends I have at Booth today.
Guest: Hello all, thanks for providing this opportunity. I wonder how your MBA experiences at Booth have helped shape your understanding of your future career path/achieve your goals so far? Thanks!
* Julia Chang: Thanks for the great question! I came into Booth with an interest in entrepreneurship and product management. School has helped me a lot in solidifying my interest and expertise in these fields. I have been working on my own startup called Gratitude Plus which I started while at school with a lot of help from the Polsky Center, including mentorship, events, and free resources for startups. I have also taken courses such as New Products Lab which have provided me with practical knowledge on product management. Student groups such as the Booth Technology Club also provide a lot of amazing extracurricular programming for me on these topics.
Guest: If someone suffered of 0.5 point drop in the first semester at college due to mental health issues should that be elaborated upon in the additional information section?
* Kimberly Epps: Hi! Yes, please use this section to explain the situation.
Guest: What opportunities at Booth are aimed at combining finance and social good?
* Julia Chang: The Rustandy Center at Booth focuses on social impact and provides a lot of resources, mentorships, and events for students who are interested on the topic. You can read more about the Rustandy Center here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/research/rustandy
Guest: Thanks Neil! That does sound like an extremely worthwhile trip.
* Neil Sethi: You're welcome!
Guest: How welcoming is the climate at Booth for LGBTQ+ students?
* Daniel Kraft: Very much so. the environment is very supportive and inclusive for LGBTQ+ students. The LGBTQ+ community is very well represented throughout all parts of the Booth community, and the overall student body are very strong allies to the community. I am part of the LGBTQ+ community myself and have nothing but good things to say about the experience for LGBTQ+ students at Booth.
Guest: Could you talk more about the Booth Tech Group?
* Neil Sethi: Hi, thanks for the question! I am actually a co-chair for BTG over this past year. The club is a blend of recruiting support, community building (social), and skills-based training. We aim to prepare students to be able to recruit for technology in whatever roles they are interested in through informational panels, resume reviews, interview training, and recruiting treks. Happy to answer any more questions on BTG that you may have!
Guest: Hello, what do you think the probability of a 35-year-old applicant’s success is, who has recently completed their undergrad with previous corporate experience?
* John Lim: Although the Chicago Booth Scholars Program is open to undergraduates without previous work experience, we do have several students apply at later point in their career and get admitted! We don't have limits on age, and typically look at applicants in the context of their application and experience the past few years.
Guest: Hello, thanks for having us. I wonder what would be a good length for the essays since there is no word limit and I tend to overwrite in the past. Thanks!
* John Lim: We do not have a word limit for some of our essay questions to be able to give applicants the freedom to include as much context in their answers as possible. Of course, quality over quantity is preferred, since you want to make sure we can draw out the main ideas of your responses without getting lost in additional details! On average, we typically see applicants keeping their essay within 2 pages, with many applicants providing answers to a page or less.
Guest: Thanks, Neil! Could you tell me more about a tech trek you've been on?
* Neil Sethi: Absolutely. This year we increased the number of treks from 1 to 3 so I will give some overviews and try to dig in where it is possible. The treks are essentially visits to companies where you can learn about the company, its available roles, and get a tour of the office. We host on December for first-year students that are recruiting for internships on the West Coast. Another one in February at Chicago for first-year students and second-year students that are recruiting locally. For the first time this year we will be hosting a NYC Tech Trek for second-year students that are recruiting for full-time roles in smaller companies. These treks are also a great way to bond with other students that are recruiting in the same geography as you.
Assistant Director, Undergraduate Initiatives
John joined the Full-Time Admissions Team in the fall of 2018. In addition to his role on the admissions committee, John is heavily involved on Chicago Booth's Undergraduate Initiatives. Team. He is the Program Coordinator for the Dougan Scholars Certificate Program and is responsible for programming and strategy for the Chicago Booth Scholars Program, the deferred MBA Program at Chicago Booth. Prior to joining Booth, John graduated from the University of Chicago where he earned his bachelor's degree in Economics and Public Policy. After graduation, John worked as a high school teacher in Chicago. John is also a current dancer and choreographer in Chicago in his spare time.
Current Booth Student
Julia is a second year student at Booth. After majoring in Economics and Political Science from the University of Chicago, she worked as an investment banking analyst at Credit Suisse, as well as in tech as a business development associate at RapidSOS. At Booth, Julia is involved in the Booth Technology Club, the Wine Club, and is a Dean’s Student Representative. Julia joined Booth as a Chicago Booth Scholar.
Current Booth Student
Darius is a second year student at Booth in the MBA and Masters in Computer Science joint degree program. After earning a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago, he worked in the investment management division of Goldman Sachs for three years, in New York and London. Before heading to Booth, Darius participated in Startup Summer, interning as a product manager at a London-based fintech software company. He spent his summer interning at a management consulting firm. Darius joined Booth as a Booth Scholar.
Current Booth Student
Neil is a second-year MBA student at Booth. Prior to Booth, Neil was a restructuring banker at Citigroup in New York City, working for 7 years on institutional bankruptcy across the US, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. In addition, Neil founded a legal technology platform with 2 co-founders that connects independent attorneys to start-ups and small businesses. Neil was also one of the 4 leads for the 2018 Tech Trek that visited 15 technology companies in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. At Booth, Neil serves as the co-chair for the Booth Technology Group, and is also involved with the Booth Analytics Club and the Booth Outdoor Leadership Development Group (BOLD).
Current Booth Student
Dan is a first-year student pursuing a concentration in Analytic Finance and Behavioral Science. He majored in Economics at the University of Chicago. Prior to Booth, Dan worked in sales & trading at Barclays, where he covered institutional investor clients for their fixed income investing needs. At Booth, Dan is involved in the Investment Management Group, the CREDIT Group, OUTreach, the Soccer Club, and the Wine Club. In his spare time, Dan enjoys exploring the restaurants, bars, and museums of Chicago, riding his bike and taking Peloton classes, and learning about cooking and wine.