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Live Chat with Full-Time MBA Program Admissions

Live Chat with Full-Time MBA Program Admissions

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 11:00 AM CST

Moderator: Hello and welcome to our Live Chat about Finance careers at Booth! The chat will begin promptly at 11:00am CST, but please feel free to start submitting questions now!

Moderator: Hello and welcome to our Live Chat about Finance careers at Booth! The chat will begin promptly at 11:00am CST, but please feel free to start submitting questions now!

Joanne: Hello everyone! My name is Joanne Legler, Associate Director of Admissions. I'm looking forward to talking with you today.

Moderator: To read the bios of students and staff chatting today, visit: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/boothconnect/fulltime/FinanceFeb2010.aspx

Tim: Hi there! My name is Tim, and I'm a 2nd-yr student here at Booth, concentrating in Economics, Finance, and General Management. This summer I interned at Procter & Gamble in a strategy role within their corporate finance organization, and I will be returning to the finance department at P&G full time.

Elley: Hi everyone, my name is Elley and I’m a second year student at Booth. I am concentrating in Finance, Accounting, and Entrepreneurship. After the MBA, I will be joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Investment Banking, specifically in Tech M&A. I am involved in a number of student groups including the Investment Banking group, the Wine Club, and Chicago Women in Business.

Wayland: Welcome to the chat everyone! Jessica Henry and I will be representing Career Services in today's session. Feel free to ask us any career-related quesitons you may have. We're looking forward to connecting with you.

Rahul: Good morning! I’m a second year concentrating in Finance, Entrepreneurship, and International Business and will be joining Evercore Partners, a specialist M&A advisory firm, based in New York. I spent my summer in Singapore working with IDG Ventures South East Asia, and worked in investment banking and Venture Capital in Silicon Valley prior to Booth. I’m active in a variety of professional and social clubs here, and am originally from Singapore / India, so happy to answer any questions on those fronts as well.

G-429913474: My forth question is to Mr. Kessler: Which skills and abilities are really crucial and vital both in finance and politics? Which of them do You use most frequently? Thanks in advance. Ivan.

Tim: Hi Ivan. I would say communication is the key capability, and it will really set you apart from other candidates. In finance, you often have to explain financial concepts and decisions to people in other divisions of the company who haven't had your training. You also do this all the time in politics, explaining what a bill would effect to someone who doesn't understand that industry.

jerrykid: Hi, I intend to go into Investment management and then Private equity. How do you find courses in portfolio management and company valuation at Chicago Booth? How are professors in these courses?

Rahul: Jerry, I think you will find yourself spoiled with choice for classes in these areas. I've only taken some of the introductory portfolio management classes so can't speak too much about that area, but on the private equity and valuation front we really do have some great offerings spanning VC, growth equity and buyout. Our professors are leaders in their fields (think Kaplan, Zingales, Meadow), but to me the best part has been how approachable they all are.

MBACandidate: It appears that many students join from another industry, hoping to switch into investment banking/finance. Can you give insight into the stories and types of opportunities for students who enter Booth with investment banking experience already? What types of opportunities are there to gain exposure to hedge funds and alternative paths to the standard investment banking associate program?

Wayland: Good question. Students who were banking analysts pre-MBA do come to Booth in order to continue on with banking after graduation. We call these 'career advancers' (vs. 'career switchers'). Some of these students will also look at areas such as hedge funds and private equity, and their success pursuing such fields depends largely on networking and really understanding their story and how it applies to these new fields.

MBA2012: What are the advantages of a career in corporate finance? Why would a Booth grad choose that over IB?

Tim: Working in finance in a company gives you a lot more ownership over projects, and the ability to drive changes for the long term. It also is a much more flexible lifestyle. Hours are far shorter than in IB and the atmosphere is much more cordial.

jessy: Is two years work experience is sufficient for booth

Joanne: Hi Jessy. Chicago Booth does not have a minimum number of years of work for admission, so yes, with two years of work experience you are welcome to apply for admission.

Mayham: Hi everyone! Thanks for you time today. A question to Rahul or Elley: would you recommend taking courses not strictly focused on finance but on venture initiatives or entrepreneurship to understand the added value of transactions from the perspective of a venture capitalist? In that case, have you Elley also been a big fan of Professor Meadow's course? Thank you.

Elley: Hi Mayham, yes, I think courses such as Commercializing Innovation with Professor Meadow are great for anyone interested in PE/VC. However, I do recommend taking more financed focuses courses to strengthen your finance knowledge. This would help you extract more knowledge from the PE/VC focused courses. I highly recommend taking Professor Kaplan's Entrepreneurial Finance course in conjunction with Professor Meadow's course.

rflo: Hello my question is for Rahul (others welcome to give their thoughts). Although you came into booth with an IB background, do you feel Booth provides an adequate curriculum for those who are looking to use the Booth MBA as a pivot into IB/M&A. Can you speak to a few examples?

Rahul: rflo: I'm sure you are aware of the "build your own curriculum" that we have at Booth, and that approach really does allow one to prepare for whatever field it is that interests them. For example, with my background, I skipped straight into some more advanced finance and accounting classes. Similarly, you would be able to tailor your classes to make sure you have the right foundations before jumping to the more advanced material. Most of my friends who are headed to banking are actually career switchers, and had very successful summer experiences.

Erik: I'd like to get your perspective in transitioning from Corporate Finance to banking? Are there any specific courses that you would recommend to help this transition?

Tim: Hi Erik - I am a little biased, as I looked at making that transition and decided not to. For me, I really wanted to be involved in highly consumer oriented products, and banking doesn't allow much interaction with the general public. However, there are plenty of courses here that would prepare you for a switch - Corporation Finance goes over valuation techniques, and Cases in Financial Management is a very popular course for tackling more advanced topics that are particularly relevant for future bankers.

Aaron: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I am curious to hear how recruiting looks this year? Any change in who is showing up? Segments that are seeing a resurgence? Differences in offer rates from prior couple of years?

Wayland: This year we are cautiously optimistic, and have been for several months now. Recruiting is looking better this year, but how much better still remains to be seen. We've seen banks and consulting firms that may have limited recruiting last year come back to hire in greater numbers. Overall, the sentiment is much more optimistic among firms. Offer rates for second years is on par with this point in time last year with the difference being that we expect students to continue to get offers at a steadier clip than what we saw last year. First year offer data is currently being collected.

Moderator: To read the bios of students and staff chatting today, visit: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/boothconnect/fulltime/FinanceFeb2010.aspx

JonF: Rahul, could you please comment on what you feel are the key factors that differentiate Chicago Booth's finance concentration from other leading finance programs?

Rahul: JonF: Going a little off my previous answer, I think the biggest differentiator (caveat that with the fact that I have obviously never attended another leading finance program) is the fact that you can pick and choose every class you take based on your background and future goals. You don't need to do introductory classes if you already have the background, and the ability to jump straight to more advanced material means that you are learning and challenged from day 1, and also opens up slots for more interesting classes down the road. Flip that on its head, and if you are trying something completely new, we have those classes for you too.

Bob: Thank you very much for your time. A question for Tim: what advanced courses have your found most useful in areas related to internal corporate finance?

Tim: That would probably depend on your background and prior exposure to corporate finance. Financial Statement Analysis is very useful for understanding the balance sheet and key ratios that people reference. I am also looking forward to taking Cases in International Financial Management in the Spring, which is supposed to be great for understanding the international considerations of modern global firms.

cmo: Thanks so much to all the moderators for your time. Maxime, I was wondering which classes and activities at Booth helped prepare you for your role at Deutshe Bank. Also, did Deutsche spend a lot of time on Booth's campus recruiting? And are a lot of your classmates going to London as well? Thanks so much!

Maxime: Hi there, the finance and analytic finance at Booth is unique in that you can tailor it to your internship goals. There are many macroeconomic and finance classes that will give you a solid foundation for the summer. Classes such as financial instruments, futures forwards options and swaps, macroeconomics and international financial policy are all great pillars of what will be required over the summer. Deutsche did spend a lot of time recruiting. Booth is by far the largest MBA contingent at DB and so we matter. I would say we have a solid group of Booth students going to London every year.

SaidMuhammed: Q3. Elley I am interested in tech m&a can you talk about what you did before Booth? And if this was a career switch how you went about getting your internship and how Booth helped you in general?

Elley: Hi SaidMuhammed, I was a management consultant and also a business development manager at a software company prior to Booth. I interned with BAML's tech M&A group in California over the summer. I felt that my transition was made possible by a few things: 1) The alumni at my firm were actively pursuing talents from Booth. It was evident that the alumni network is pushing hard to recruit from the program. 2) My classmates were very collaborative and were helping me prep for my interviews. We openly shared interview questions and 2nd year students gave me mock interviews that simulated exactly what they had experienced in the past. 3) the finance and accounting courses at Booth helped me strengthen my finance knowledge. I didn't have any accounting background prior to Booth, but I was able to apply my learning during the internship with no problem. So I felt that I have learned a lot in very short time.

Yaroslav: Could you talk about careers/opportunities in investment management

Wayland: That's a broad question, so let me give some key points. IM is very competitive to get into, particularly for career switchers. Things that career switchers can do to highlight their candidacy for IM roles include having a personal investment portfolio, actively following the markets, beginning to develop an investment philosophy/approach and also having a strong stock pitch. Even with these things firmly in place, the student still has to work really hard to get an IM internship. Students should expect to take advantage of the many firms that come on campus for interviews but also plan on doing an off-campus search. There are many excellent firms that a student can find off-campus and Career Services has the resources and support ready to help these students. For those who really want IM and stick with it, they will likely find a great opportunity.

KDavis: My question is for Maxime. How would you describe Booth's finance from an international perspective? I am currently work with a PE firm in Africa and am keen on returning back to this region on the finance side. What electives and opportunities are available to cater to the international aspect?

Maxime: Hi there, we have many opportunities to both network and learn from a global perspective. You can join groups that have a global mandate such as the European Business Group or attend macroeconomic classes that have an international scope in the curriculum such as International Financial Policy.

ArmyDan: I had a question for Maxime, with regards to S&T. First, congratulations on your position with Deutsche Bank. My question is: 1) What can I do now before I get to school to set myself up for success in pursuing a career in S&T, and 2) What was the climate like for banks hiring traders out of Chicago?

Maxime: Hi ArmyDan, thanks for your question. The S&T track is very focused and it happens very fast from a networking and preparation standpoint. What you nee to do is network as much as you can outside of school before joining and then within the networking framework offered by the school. Preparation on your own is paramount. Overall, any trading opportunity in Chicago is going to be focused on the local proprietary and CTA scene. Therefore it mostly off-campus networking. Hope this helps.

G-429913474: My fifth question is to Mr. Seguineau: Did You specifically designed Antepo Inc. in order to sell it to Adobe Systems or there wasn't such an intention from the beggining but the Adobe just made an offer that You could not resist? Thanks in advance. Ivan.

Maxime: Hi Guest, when we started Antepo we had a goal in mind to address a customer need to bring secure, compliant and scalable instant messaging and collaboration to the enterprise. Over the years we developed an ongoing dialogue with some of the large software players. What was initially a business development discussion turned into a strategic acquisition for Adobe. So I would say, when starting a company in the tech space, you need to aim big, but be pragmatic along the way when the opportunity comes.

G-443571807: Thank everybody for your time. Could any of you guys tell me the difference between working for a trading company like hedge fund and corporate finance company such as private equity fund? What skills and qualities are required in each industry respectively?

Rahul: In my opinion, both of those jobs require very similar quantitative and analytical skills; in both instances, you are trying to identify companies that you believe are intrinsically undervalued. The difference is really in what your interests are - private equity tends to require more ongoing involvement with a company, often including some high-level operational work. You won't see much of that at hedge funds which tend to be much more passive investors, with a few exceptions. Outside of the fundamental research role at a hedge fund, there are other areas such as trading that you can get involved in as well.

cubalibre_1: Can you give insight into the professional groups on campus? I'm interested in pursuing a career in private equity and wanted to know what kind of activities take place in these groups. Thanks.

Tim: Professional groups are primarily concerned with raising awareness of the companies and activities within their sector and helping students recruit for positions in that field. The PE group, and all other clubs, bring speakers to campus to present on relevant topics, organize conferences for students to interact more with people in the industry and learn about current trends, and do various recruiting workshops, such as resume reviews and mock interviews.

Jun: Thank you very much for providing this opportunity.It might not be the perfect question to start the chat but let me shoot few question to Maxime (or any other current students who can share their story).I am planning to focus on Sales & Trading related studies at Booth(Concentration on Analytic Finance, Statistics, and Economics. Similar to your case.)What aspect of the Booth program helped you acquire the job at DB LDN (GM) most?What are some of the courses (professors) you enjoyed?

Maxime: Hi Jun, to answer your question I would say that first and foremost, what helps you land a job is how good of a fit you are with the firm in terms of personality and ease of interaction/collaboration. In S&T you're sitting next to people 12 hours a day so fit is a significant portion of the assessment. Of course intelligence matters greatly. In terms of classes that will help you sound smart on S&T issues, you need to focus on the three areas that I am concentrating on. First, econometrics and statistics give you the plumbing for all of modern economics and finance. Second, finance and economics allow you to put this plumbing to use towards an ecomomic goal. Classes from Professor Veronesi, Pastor, Belton and Polson are my highlights.

Gustavo_Campos: This one is for Rahul and Elley: Do you believe it is mandatory to have prior experience in finance to join an M&A company or department?

Elley: Hi Gustavo, definitely not mandatory. I don't have a finance background, but I was able to gain an internship and a full-time offer in M&A. I believe that the finance and accounting courses at Booth did a phenomenal job prepping me for my work. Even after only one year of school, I was able to perform at my internship with no problem.

jerrykid: Hi Rahul, you did find an intern with IDG Venture Capital South East Asia. I'd like to ask about internship opportunities in Singapore with a fund, either in investment management such as Franklin Templeton Asia or Private Equity. How do you find those opportunities in terms of competitiveness compared with those in the U.S market?

Rahul: These internships and jobs are just as competitive as any job here. The challenge with the smaller funds is that they do not have the resources to recruit heavily and publicize, so finding and identifying those opportunities remotely can be a time consuming process.

Syed_T: what are some of the niche areas in finance where businesses are in dire need of new professionals ?

Wayland: Finance firms with niche areas typically have a great need for those who bring specific functional or industry experience, regional experience or particular skills. This is considered on a candidate by candidate basis and is not too generalizable to 'new professionals' as a whole. The above would pertain to banking, investment management, hedge funds, finance in a company and other roles.

Mustafa: For career switchers into Finance (particularly Corporate Finance), any insight into what experiences are valuable before joining the program? Also, can you shed light on your experiences at Booth outside the classroom that helped you become a stronger candidate post-MBA?

Tim: For career switchers it is important to identify why you are attracted to finance, and then to identify what transferable skills you have. These are probably broader than you think - communication skills, project management, the ability to get along well with people outside of your department. Outside of class there are a lot of opportunities to develop leadership and project mgmt skills that you may not have had the chance to take on in your career to date.

Christian: Hello everyone and thank you for taking your time. My questions is regarding visa. How is the H1 visa issue affecting international students, especially in the finance/banking area?

Rahul: This was definitely a problem last year for the banks that accepted TARP, but was also a large part of the reason that banks were falling over themselves to repay their TARP money to rid themselves of such hiring restrictions. Currently, banks seem to be hiring whoever they want, and the current economic environment has actually made it much easier to get H1Bs for employees. 3 years ago, they hit the 60K quota on the first day of applications, this year they still have visas left months after the same deadline

MBA2012: Do any of you know of examples of Booth graduates with very non-traditional backgrounds (think art professor) recruiting successfully for finance positions?

Tim: The best I can think of is someone who graduated last year - they worked for Food Network and then as a pastry chef in France before coming to Booth, and is now an investment banker. One of my current classmates was a former dancer who then was co-owner of a dance studio and interned in corporate finance for an insurance company this year.

Taylor: Hi guys, thanks for chatting. Booth has a great reputation for finance department. Time, Elley, and Rahul - What sets Booth apart from other schools that also have a strong finance program?

Elley: Hi Taylor, since I've never gone to any other MBA program other than Booth, I can only speak about what I really enjoy about Booth. First and foremost, the Booth student and alumni are highly collaborative. When I first came to Booth, I was amazed by how much the students worked together to help each other prep for interviews and technical questions. Alumni are also very helpful and willing to speak with students during the recruiting season. Besides the community, I do think that Booth's flexible curriculum is very helpful for students to tailor the type of finance courses and level of complexity that would suit their background and intended post-MBA career. From beginner's finance to advance courses with Professor Fama, students are able to formulate a curriculum that would fit their desired level of challenge.

Daphne: To Wayland and Jessica, can you give a brief overview of the career search process from the start of the MBA program?

Wayland: Sure. The process starts early in the fall with our Career Essentials programming, which takes students through career self-assessment, learning how to network at the MBA level, job search correspondence, developing a strong well positioned resume and the research that supports all these areas. Career Services definitely views career management as a sharpening process that gets our students ready to be competitive for the careers they are focusing on most. We have additional programming and support during the winter and spring, which is detailed more on our website.

Kelly: Hello. I'm not sure if Maxime is present, but if anyone could speak to the main differences between the Analytic Finance and Finance concentrations, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Tim: Analytic Finance requires several more courses, which basically forces you to take the very quantitative finance courses. These courses involved lots of models, and usually employ special software like Matlab to solve complex equations. A Finance concentration can be completed without taking any quant driven courses, so you tend to focus more on corporate finance than trading, instruments, quant models, etc.

Aztec: Hi Tim, given your political and coporate experience, how do you feel Chicago has prepared you to tackle challenges associated with increased government intervention in financial matters?

Tim: Great question, I'm actually writing a paper for a course now on whether having the gov't set pay regulations is a good idea. Many professors here, especially in Economics, make a special effort to make their courses relevant to current events, which often involves reacting to or analyzing gov't policies. We are also allowed to take courses at other schools at the University, so I have taken 3 classes at The Harris School of Public Policy at the university.

Daphne: Hi, I am wondering if anyone can comment on what are some essential skills needed to succeed in M&A?

Rahul: hi Daphne - M&A is a very technical area, so a solid foundation in finance (something Booth definitely provides!) is a must. That said, you will pick up a lot on the job as well. As you can imagine, it also requires very strong communication and negotiating skills, particularly as you move up the ladder. A good strategic understanding of the situation at hand helps as well, so as you can see, its a field that requires proficiency in several different areas to be truly successful. Hope that is helpful!

G-443644706: Thank you for your time today. Elley, I am also interested in pursuing an opportunity in tech-focused finance. Could you please talk about how you were successful in targeting this specific area of finance?

Elley: Hi G., with regards to tech-focused finance, I was able to meet the bankers and recruiting managers in tech banking through the recruiting/networking events held at the school. From there, I was able to schedule office visits to learn more about the groups. This was very helpful in securing interviews and eventually a job offer. Furthermore, it is important to stay current on news and deals in the tech sector.

Shankar: Qs for Rahul: How active is the PE club @ Booth? Are they involved in live projects, etc?

Rahul: Hi Shankar - the short answer is, very active. The club itself doesn't have their own fund, but we do have a fund at Booth called Hyde Park Angels that is staffed almost exclusively by students from the PE/VC club. The club itself is very active with investment competitions, bringing in guest speakers and alumni, helping club members prepare for the recruiting process and organizing treks, and it hosts a very large annual PE conference as well.

Erik: Tim: I currently work in the consumer products industry within Corporate Finance, and was curious if you could provide additional perspective on the choice you made between Corporate F&A/banking and what points factored into your decision

Tim: I had worked in the mutual fund industry before school, and I really wanted to get involved with products that my friends and family could understand. I personally like working with tangible goods that directly affect people's lives more than I do with financial products. On top of that, the banking lifestyle had no appeal to me.

Taylor: Wayland - The job market is still really tough in the finance industry. What has placement been like this year? Has there been a drop off in the amount of firms coming to campus to interview Booth MBA candidates?

Wayland: Taylor, we have seen firms in the finance industry (banks, pe firms, im firms, hedge funds) slightly increase hiring to varying degrees. They, like us, are cautiously optimistic about the economic recovery, but this has yet to translate into large amounts of hiring. We did have some drop off of firms coming to campus last year, and many of those firms are now re-emerging with conservative hiring needs that better reflect current conditions.

MBACandidate: Can you describe the types of summer internship experiences students have? How do students make sure they have an impact, given that there are only 10 weeks of work? How do you make sure you contribute, and really get something out of it, ASAP?

Tim: The career focused groups usually hold panels or workshops in the spring to answer these exact types of questions and make sure students are prepared to succeed in their internship. The commonalities usually include establishing a good relationship with your manager so you can craft and clearly understand what is expected of you, and then using your skills to execute that well, while being sure to network with other people in the organization.

Daphne: Hi Elley, can you comment on your experience with the Investment Banking Group? Thank you.

Elley: Hi Daphne, the Investment Banking Group provides a lot of coaching and recruiting opportunities to its members. When I was a first year, the IBG provided resume reviews, mock interviews, and technical coaching. I found these events helpful in recruiting. Furthermore, the group holds an annual conference on campus, organizes Bank Week in New York, and invites banks to speak to students over breakfasts and lunches. It is a great resource to anyone who is interested in investment banking.

Moderator: The chat will be closing in 10 minutes. Please submit your final questions! Please note, as we often get repeats of questions, we will try to address the general topic (if not your specific question).

SM: Hi Rahul, When you were recruiting, did you feel that many of the boutique shops such as Evercore are becoming more of the heavy players in the industry? Also, did you feel you were still getting a solid experience in M&A with dealflow being down significantly?

Rahul: Hi SM - I think the recent environment that had all the big banks struggling was definitely an opportunity for leading boutiques like Evercore and Greenhill. Additionally, increasing numbers of clients have been expressing a desire for advisers who are unconflicted by balance sheet or lending goals. One of my questions during my decision making process was whether these smaller firms would be able to hold on to the market share they gained when things start improving. I do believe that at least some of them are positioned to continue growing because of their reputations and the quality of the people they have.

Kevin_Marrs: Elley or perhaps any student who came to Booth from a non-finance position, what courses would you recommend to first year student, who is transitioning to ibanking, and who does not have a finance background, in order to prepare him/her in time for the intern recruiting season?

Elley: Hi Kevin, I would highly recommend all the basic accounting and finance courses in the first year. Beyond basic accounting and investments, I also took Financial Accounting I, Financial Statement Analysis, Corporate Finance, and Taxes and Business Strategy. These courses were are very helpful in preparing me for a successful summer.

Jared: As Elley brought it up, I wonder what level of mathematics sophisitication is neccessary to take some of the more econometric courses related to finance, such as those taught by Professor Fama.

Tim: So in general you don't need a math background to excel at Booth. To take Fama's course though, and some other quant courses, you will definitely want to be familiar with calculus and comfortable working with equations and using mathematical software. Some experience with matrices would also be helpful but not required.

Kevin_Marrs: Hello, I'm Kevin. I have a question for Jessica. Your bio states that you're responsible for establishing new relationships with direct-hire and search firms. Can you talk about any new, exciting relationships with finance companies that you've developed this year?

Jessica: Hi Kevin - it is fun to find and establish new firms on behalf of Booth, and leads come in from alumni, from students, or from our own research - and we certainly make a ton of cold calls when there are no warm leads to speak of! Last week my colleague Matt Reischauer was in DC (amidst the snowstorm) and engaged KIMC, which is one of the world's largest university endowments - so a really incredible opportunity for students looking for asset management roles, but perhaps from a company that is not a household name. In the same vein, we've been building broadening our global reach - and last week Tarpon Investments, a PE firm in Brazil, came to interview our students, as well as the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. Really interesting opps for finance-focused students. We keep a blog for students and alumni that keeps everyone in the loop in real-time of our conversations and outreach, so when we meet with companies, Booth students and alumni hear about it - often with a bit of behind-the-scenes insight.

Ed: Tim, what have been the Corporate Finance courses you've most enjoyed?

Tim: That would probably be Cases in Financial Management, which does a good job relating the fundamentals we learn in the basic courses with the big picture problems that financial executives face.

cubalibre_1: For those candidates with non traditional backgrounds and/ or lack of basic finance concepts, how accomodating is Booth for such candidates?

Rahul: Hir Cubalibre. The fact that you can pick and choose every class you take based on your background and future goals means that our curriculum is extremely accommodating. If you are a career switcher and trying something completely new, you can start with the introductory classes in finance and work your way up. What is nice, is that everyone in those classes has a knowledge level similar to yours. However, you don't need to do introductory classes if you already have the background, and the ability to jump straight to more advanced material means that you are learning and challenged from day 1, and also opens up slots for more additional classes down the road.

Rachel: This question is for Tim. Tim, you said that you were interested in corporate finance for consumer products. When pursuing corporate finance, is it necessary and/or helpful to have an industry preference in mind? Did you feel like you had a lot of industry choices for recruiting?

Tim: It is helpful. The great thing about corporate finance is that it includes companies in any field, in any location, so you have a lot of flexibility with where you want to end up. However, that can feel a bit overwhelming, so focusing on an industry definitely sharpens your focus during recruiting. There are a wide range of companies recruiting here, so I did get to make an active choice.

bob_1: What is the grade discloure policy at Booth? Thanks.

Rahul: Bob - like most of our peer schools, we have a GND policy. In your 2nd year, you are allowed to tell employers if you made Deans List in your first year. Almost all employers know our policy, and are very comfortable with it.

volume: This is an excellent chat so far. Is a tech to ibanking switch (like Elley's) highly unusual among Booth students, or is it the case among most of the ibanking interns? What are some specific things you can do to increase your chances? I'm trying to understand if such a switch is the exception or the rule. I have the same background and want to enter the same industry, and my impression had been that getting an ibanking internship was almost impossible.

Elley: Hi volume, I don't think that my case was anything unusual. It is all about the amount of preparation and effort you put into learning finance and accounting, meeting the bankers, understanding what the job entails, and keeping up with the industry. I recruited for my internship during the worst time in finance, yet it was made possible through a lot of hard work and dedication. As long as you are committed and put in the work, you can do very well in recruiting in banking.

Virendra: To Wayland, how were the placements last fall for the invesment banking compared to a year earlier? If you can give an approximate % fall/ rise, that would be great.

Wayland: Virendra, banking hiring was hit hard last year across schools. For Booth, approximately 50% of banking opportunities went away last year. We are seeing a definite recovery, but it remains to be seen when hiring will get back up to pre-2008 levels. Still, banking recruiting remains quite robust at Booth and we've maintained a strong relationship with our banking corporate partners. Things will continue to look up.

VV: Obviously, some candidates do have experience in finance, and some do not. For an experienced student, is it possible to attend the 'advanced' classes during the first year? Should some exams be taken in order to qualify?

Tim: The flexible curriculum at Booth is designed to accommodate exactly this situation. You are absolutely allowed to go straight into more advanced courses, and specific qualifying exams are not required.

laurie: For career switchers with no solid academic background in finance, having the curriculum flexibility is great, however, is there any formal guidance provided in terms of classes to choose based on career interest? And who provides the guidance?

Elley: Hi Laurie, I have a very similar background. I studied engineering in undergrad and had never taken any finance and accounting courses. I had no problem choosing the right finance and accounting courses when I came to Booth. I received help from the school's Academic Advisors and also much help from my 2nd year mentor who was also a career switcher into banking/finance. Furthermore, the Investment Banking Group offers suggestions on courses to take. In addition, some alumni bankers often share with students what their favorite courses were.

KDavis: What can students do to prepare for classes in finance before their arrival?

Rahul: Have a fun summer between work and school! But in all seriousness, if you don't have a background, you will be starting with introductory courses that are tailored for people like yourself. During core, there are some 3-4 day introductory crash courses that you can choose to take, but they are certainly not required. Rather than doing classwork / coursework, I would recommend making sure that you stay abreast of areas of interest to you; which could be as simple as regularly reading the WSJ or the economist

Tyler: Can anyone elaborate on Booth's track record of placing people into top hedge funds? Thanks.

Jessica: Hi Tyler - We have a good number of students who pursue and land hedge fund roles each year. The top funds have just a few spots a year - if any - so a number of students will have a dual approach to their search...and many find that the role they seek is actually also a fit for a smaller shop.

Christian: Rahul and Maxime: Can you speak about the difference in recruiting in Asia/Europe? Is the hiring situation (internship/full-time position) slightly better than in the US?

Rahul: Christian - in my experience the situation is about the same in both places. The difference is in scale, for example 500 people chasing 25 openings in the US, vs 50 people chasing 3 openings in Asia, but the ratios are about the same. Obviously some industries fare better than others, but that is true whether you are here or in Europe / Asia

G-443685328: Hi guys. I had a question about recruiting - clearly, large corporations and bulge bracket investment banks are very active in recruiting on campus, but how actively do smaller hedge funds and private equity firms recruit on campus? Is it difficult to get exposure to smaller firms based in New York or in other cities outside the midwest?

Wayland: Hedge funds and PE firms, as a general recruiting approach, do not come to campus. Since these types of industries are very relationship-based and reputation-based, which means that networking becomes very key. Whether you are in NYC or located in another geographic location, you still need to do the legwork in order to network with industry professionals, establish relationships with them and then explore possible opportunities at their firms or others. A strategy that our students have used to good effect is lining up meetings wwith firm in NYC over a week and then flying out. NYC is quite accessible from Chicago, which makes it convenient for our students to quickly fly out there if needed, and they do!

Moderator: The chat has now ended. We will not be taking anymore questions but will send through the last answers now. Have a great day!

Sean: Given the current market and regulatory environment, are as many students looking for jobs in financial services compared to previous years.

Jessica: Hi Sean - There actually hasn't been a huge shift in the number of students seeking positions in financial services, but there continues to be a broadening of what "financial services" means to students. So we've seen a growing interest in investment management students who are interested in pension funds and endowments, for example. Students are really honing down on what financial services means for them and really developing a specific target list for their unique search.

Moderator: The transcript for this live chat will be available online within 48 hours, at http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/chat/.

Joanne: Thanks to everyone for participating in the chat!

Tim: Thanks for all the questions today. It’s been great talking to ya’ll and I hope I was able to give you a little clearer picture about finance at Booth!

Elley: Thanks everyone for attending this chat session! Best of luck on the admission process if you are applying. For the admits, good luck and hope you'll enjoy the MBA experience as much as I did! :)

Wayland: Thanks for all your great questions today! Best of luck!

Rahul: Thanks for joining us today. I hope we were able to address some of your questions and concerns, and give you a better sense of what Booth offers. I really have loved my experience here, and have no doubt those of you who choose to come to Booth will as well. Good Luck!

Jessica: Thanks for joining everyone...and good luck! It's been great chatting and hope to meet you in Chicago and we look forward to building new company relationships on YOUR behalf soon.