Coronavirus Updates

At Chicago Booth, we have a deferred MBA opportunity known as our Chicago Booth Scholars Program. When applying to this program, individuals have the option to defer enrollment to Chicago Booth for up to five years after graduation from undergrad. Read on as current Booth Scholar, Jeff Tse, shares valuable insights relating to the application process and benefits associated with our deferred route to the MBA.

Tell us about yourself and take us along your journey to Chicago Booth.

I went to Swarthmore College, where I studied honors economics and mathematics. I also loved the liberal arts curriculum, which not only allowed me to develop a strong understanding of economics and statistical analysis, but also enabled me to explore my passion through classes in food, writing, and history.

As a senior in college thinking about my next steps, I knew I wanted a career in business that could satisfy my intellectual curiosity and create impact. However, I needed to augment my liberal arts education to include a broader financial, management, and strategic skillset—along with a superb network—that only a program such as Booth could provide. I decided to apply to the Chicago Booth Scholars Program that winter, and was accepted in the spring.

After Swarthmore, I pursued strategy consulting, and moved to Boston to join L.E.K. Consulting. I loved partnering with a diverse set of clients, working on a wide variety of growth strategy and due diligence cases, and honing my analytical skills. After three years and three promotions to the post-MBA Consultant role, I decided it was the right time to start at Booth.

What attracted you to a deferred MBA program? 

As a senior in college, I wasn’t exactly sure what career path I wanted to pursue—I just knew I wanted to work with a great team on intellectually stimulating work that created impact. The Chicago Booth Scholars Program gives students flexibility, such as the option to try a different career or take on a riskier project with the understanding that these experiences will only make you a better MBA candidate.

Booth’s vibrant community has also allowed me to explore my interests. It has been a blast attending panel discussions with growing start-ups in the Chicago ecosystem through the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club, winning the Booth/Kellogg Entrepreneurship through Acquisition competition, and checking out the Wicker Park farmers market with the FEAD (Food, Environment, Agribusiness, and Development) Group. It’s true that the hardest aspect at Booth is choosing what you want to do with the endless opportunities.

Beyond the numerous opportunities, my classmates are some of the kindest and most impressive people I’ve met, with a variety of backgrounds from nonprofits to start-ups to energy conglomerates. Lastly, Chicago’s flexible curriculum and mix of lecture and case study methods also appealed to me. Taking classes with professors who are at the top of their fields doesn’t hurt either!

What was the application process like, and what advice do you have for others?

The application process required significant time and introspection—I had to truly consider why I wanted to be at Booth, and where I hoped the MBA experience could take me. Start crafting your story early on, and leverage your friends, family, professors, and mentors to help you iterate.

What did you find beneficial about applying to Booth before finishing undergrad?

Applying to Booth during undergrad gave me a lot more time to think and develop my narrative compared to writing an application while working a full-time job. In addition, I benefited from having strong recommenders such as a coach and professors who had seen my growth over four years.

How did you prepare for the admissions test (GMAT or GRE)?

I took the GRE in August of my senior year in undergrad. I simply did a few practice tests to get a feel for the test. Staying calm and understanding the question types helped me get through the test and allowed me to only take it once.

If you are interested in becoming a future Boothie, we encourage you to learn more about our Chicago Booth Scholars Program and apply to be considered for deferred enrollment. Chicago Booth Scholars also receive the added benefit of having the $250 application fee waived. We welcome undergraduate students with any major, background, and interests to apply. Whether you are planning to apply during the upcoming admissions cycle or just starting to consider your  future possibilities, we encourage you to make good use of this life-changing opportunity!