Full-Time MBA

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Diversity Events

Pursuing Careers in Finance and Banking - Thursday, March 10, 12 – 1 p.m. CST

Join us for a live online chat with Booth Career Services staff and current students who are pursuing careers in areas such as investment banking, investment management, sales and trading, corporate finance and hedge funds. This is your opportunity to ask students about curricular choices, school resources, student groups, peer and alumni mentorship, recruiting preparation and more.

Chat Transcripts

Guest Question: Hello - thanks for hosting this session. Do you have any advice for students who want to switch into a investment management position but do not have any investment experience?

* Miguel Aleman:  Coming to a school like Chicago Booth is a great step in that direction. Many investment management firms come on campus to recruit, and we have several student groups to help you get ready.

Guest Question: Hi and thanks everyone for doing this today. Could you explain how the IB recruiting process specifically with respect to the group you are recruited to at each bank?

* Kevin Xu: During the recruiting process, banks will bring representatives from each group (usually) to their on campus presentations and networking events. You will have an opportunity to seek out the representatives that are in the groups you are interested in and build relationships with those specific groups. However, many banks give a general offer with group placement to come later so the main goal is to build a good relationship with the banks overall

Guest Question: What course(s), outside of the traditional finance courses, have been the most helpful and insightful in developing your skillset in finance?

* Ana Paula Goellner: Finance Courses such as Corporation Finance, Cases in Financial Management, Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity, Financial Statement Analysis, etc. And Accounting Courses such as Taxes and Business Strategy, Financial Accounting, Accounting and Financial Analysis

Guest Question: What are some of the roles that finance students go into other than investment management and investment banking? I am particularly interested in roles that are analytical/quantitative.

* Johnny Harris: In terms of finance roles outside of IM or IB, there are an abundance of other corporate finance roles (including strategic finance) and analytical finance roles out there. For example, technology companies are increasingly looking for finance individuals with an ability to handle, interpret, and act on increasingly large and complex data sets.

Guest Question: How do Booth students do in recruiting for investment banking with no background in finance? I've talked to 2 students so far who have told me that Booth is the place to be if you're trying to break in. Thank you.

* Miguel Aleman:  They do great! Career switchers do very well at investment banks and we have a great Investment Banking Group where second-year students work very hard to get you ready for recruiting.

Guest Question: Hi! I am Javier from class of 2018. My background is engineering, which courses would you recommend for first quarter if order to perform well in the recruiting for banking? Thanks!

* Johnny Harris: For individuals considering banking, I would suggest to pursue courses in accounting and finance in the fall quarter of their first year. Banking recruiting starts up very early, so it is important to have these courses to help you be able to be comfortable early on.

Guest Question: Hello! Do you have any recommendations for books on investment management? Hedge funds?

* Nancy Cheney: There are so many! It would really depend on what type of investment strategy you are interested in, but one I like is Seth Klarman's Margin of Safety.

Guest Question: Hello everyone, I'm Oinatz Uribe, and I'm planning on applying to start in the Fall 2017 term. A first question: how early does the interview process start for the summer internships? How many firms do you typically interview with during this time?

* Nancy Cheney: It depends what type of career you are pursuing. Most networking for on campus recruiting begins mid-October and continues all fall.  Interviews typically begin mid-January.  The number of interviews in particular will vary based on industry as well as your individual focus.  I personally probably did about 8 first round and a hand full of second round interviews for IM

Guest Question: What’s the best way to make a career switch to finance? Is it difficult for such students to find a job compared to traditional finance guys?

* Melanie Scarlata: We see a lot of career switchers successfully transition to finance.  Booth's strong finance curriculum prepares candidates well and is values by employers.  The student groups and Career Management programming helps you identify and highlight your transferable skills early in the process.

Guest Question: For those aiming for investment banking positions with no prior banking experience, are there any courses you would recommend to take first semester to prepare for interviews/etc.?

* Kevin Xu: Definitely the more quantitative and finance classes you can take, the better. Coming from a non-finance background, I took the foundation classes (accounting, stats, and microeconomics) and it was more than enough to prep me. The accounting class (and any accounting related classes) was especially helpful for me (and I have heard that to be true for many people). Any finance/modeling related interview questions will be taught to you by the investment banking group. You don't need to take specific classes to do well in the interviews.

Guest Question: Hello from NYC, and thanks for hosting! I am interested in pursuing a career in Investment Management, and would love to get a sense of the recruiting timetable. Also, are any of you who are pursuing IM simultaneously recruiting into other buy-side areas, such as PE or VC?

* Miguel Aleman:  The investment management timetable runs a bit later than some popular functions (investment banking and consulting). Also some great opportunities come through off-campus recruiting. PE/VC recruiting also runs a bit later as well and has an even greater emphasis on off-campus recruiting. The friends who I have that are pursuing PE/VC are also considering roles at start-ups. I have not (yet!) met someone trying recruiting for both IM and PE/VC.

Guest Question: What type of job search is recommended for a new MBA grad looking to get into investment finance rather than business finance (Accounting), with no investment banking experience?  Any suggestions on how to shape the MBA program toward that goal?

* Ana Paula Goellner: To shape the MBA program towards changing your career to Finance related jobs, it’s important to focus on Finance, Analytical Finance and Accounting courses

Guest Question: Hi! Thank you for hosting this event. I'm an applicant who applied in round 2. I'm interested in switching industries from Finance, but I'm interested in contributing to the community as well. Are there ways I can share my knowledge and experience?

* Kate Hoffman: Thanks for your question. There are lots of ways you can contribute to the community using your previous background and expertise in finance... for example, there are finance-related student groups and clubs you could co-chair in your second year, as well as participate in team competitions and entrepreneurial ventures with other students where the financial aspects are an essential element that you could provide.

Guest Question: For someone considering a career switch, which would you rely more heavily on to help you enact a change: Career Services or the Alumni Network?

* Johnny Harris: For career switchers, it is very dependent on which careers you are going to be switching to in terms of evaluating the best resources to help you execute such a change. However, in general, our Career Services and Alumni Network resources are extremely strong so both paths represent good options.

Guest Question: Question for Nancy--I see that you are currently serving as co-chair of the Investment & Management Group and was wondering if you could provide more details about the group, i.e., is it a student-run group, what is the main goal of the group, how does your typical meetings look like? (For anybody else) Any other student-run groups that students who are interested in going into the finance industry should look into?

* Nancy Cheney: The Investment Management Group is a student run group for students interested in careers in IM.  This can vary from equity research (buy & sell side), credit research, portfolio management, macroeconomic investing, and even relational roles.  The group assists a lot with recruiting throughout the fall, putting on a lot of programming to help students prepare.  We also have an annual conference with speakers from renowned investors in the industry.  Typical meetings vary from outside presenters to macroeconomic updates to club members presenting a stock pitch or idea.  There are numerous other clubs for students interested in finance, it really depends what you are looking to do.  A few others include the Investment Banking Group, Corporate Finance Group and Hedge Fund Group.  You can find a full list of student run clubs on Booth's website.

Guest Question: Does the Employer Relations/Career Services center maintain relationships with PE/VC firms in supporting its students in the PE/VC lab programs or does the student have responsibility for finding a willing firm for programs such as these?

* Fern O’Neill: Career Services has broad and extensive relationships with both PE and VC firms. Specifically related to the PE/VC Lab, each year a large number of Chicago-based firms agree to participate in the PE/VC Lab in partnership with the Polsky Center.

Guest Question: As the school’s campus is located in Chicago, what opportunities for networking with the NY based employers does the school provide? Is it organized on campus or the students take trips to NY?

* Kim Masessa: A mix of both actually. Career Services provides opportunities though on-campus recruiting (where companies from NY, as well as from other geographical locations come to campus for activities and events), in addition to hosting treks (organized trips) to NY to visit firms in the area. 

Guest Question: Hi. For any career-switchers, how did you leverage your non-finance experience during recruiting? Did you find that you were equally as successful as classmates who came from finance backgrounds?

* Johnny Harris: In terms of career switchers, you can leverage your non-finance experience in many different ways. For example, your analytical abilities and team based experiences could more than satisfy a potential financial employer as to your candidacy. This being said, I would still supplement your pre-existing skills with certain accounting and finance classes here at Booth, but, no employer is looking for "one-size-fits-all".

Guest Question:: What feedback does career services get on Booth MBA performance in investment banking roles? Noticeable differentiators from other MBAs?

* Fern O’Neill: We receive outstanding feedback on the performance of our students in investment banking roles. We hear that they are incredibly well prepared for their internship and full-time roles based on the courses they take and the culture of asking questions and challenging assumptions. Booth has a very strong reputation among banks and virtually all top investment banks recruit at Booth.

Guest Question: Everyone keeps talking about how time-consuming and exhausting banking recruiting is (although it seems like basically everyone gets an offer). Can you provide some insight on what makes it so exhausting? What is intern banking recruiting really like? Thanks

* Johnny Harris: In terms of investment banking recruiting, it is time intensive due to the frequent evening commitments that require (or implicitly require) mandatory attendance. Since the process begins so early on in your academic career, you have to balance getting acclimated to being back in school as well as land the ideal IB internship. However, IB recruiting is made more manageable by the Booth IB Group, who provides opportunities for employer interaction, mock resume reviews, interview practice, and many other services to its members.

Guest Question: Is it possible to pivot from financial due diligence (nor accounting) to IB roles?

* Miguel Aleman:  Absolutely. Your accounting skills would give you an advantage over many career switchers. Booth's Investment Banking Group has great programs designed to get almost anyone at Booth ready for IB recruiting and interviews.

Guest Question: Is there anyone who is going into investment banking and finance with no prior experience in this area prior to MBA?  How much banking and finance experience is recommended for those who are going into investment banking and finance after MBA?

* Kevin Xu: I am going into investment banking post-MBA and have secured an investment banking summer internship in NYC. I had no prior banking or finance experience prior to Booth so I would not let that deter you in the slightest. Out of the body of students recruiting for banking this year, I would say less than 10% had prior banking experience. Banks are well aware of that fact and are not concerned by it. They are much more interested in why you want to go into investment banking and whether you show a genuine interest and commitment to the profession.   

Guest Question: Hi! what steps can we take now to prepare for a move into investment banking or private equity?

* Ana Paula Goellner: You could start talking to people you know that are currently working on those areas to understand more about their roles, the industry, and start developing a networking relationship with them. You could also deepen your reading in articles related to these industries, and learn about the main M&A deals that are being closed.

Guest Question: Hello, thank you for hosting this afternoon! Can you speak to opportunities to recruit outside of Chicago, Los Angeles for example?

* Fern O’Neill: There are many opportunities to recruit outside of Chicago. For example, each year about 2.5% of students land internships in LA. About 30% of students land internships in Chicago. That means that 70% of students land internships outside of Chicago.

Guest Question: Would you advise an applicant who is switching careers to asset management to try for Level I CFA in June? Would that help me land internships?

* Nancy Cheney: The CFA is highly respected in asset management.  If that is a career you are interested in pursuing I would recommend starting as soon as possible.  I am currently studying to take level 2 in June.

Guest Question: Hello everyone. I wanted to ask you guys about the hands on experience for students within the finance courses and throughout the course of MBA. I am currently working at the State Bank of Pakistan in the portfolio management division. A lot of the theoretical material that is listed on the online course guide for the investment management course overlaps with the CFA curriculum.  How does the application of the learned material come in to play at Booth?

* Ana Paula Goellner: There are some lab courses such as the Private Equity Lab, that gives you a hands on experience, in which you have the opportunity to do an "internship" (unpaid) on a Private Equity Firm in Chicago, and apply this experience later in the PE class and share your experience with other students that are doing the same at other PE Firms.

Guest Question: Do you ever see students move into private equity or VC without having prior investment banking experience? if so, what steps did they take?

* Johnny Harris: In terms of moving into PE/VC without an investment banking background, it is very possible. For example, many PE/VC firms look for individuals with consulting or other strategic backgrounds as well as individuals with specific industry experience (on the operations side). However, given that PE/VC is a competitive field, past successful career switchers have also obtained internships during the school year (including the Private Equity Lab as well as internships outside of Booth's curriculum), participated in school run entrepreneurship challenges (New Venture Challenge), and relied heavily on the Booth alumni network.

Guest Question: Thanks for hosting! Can you speak to the size of banks that people end up at out of Booth? Obviously the Bulge Bracket is represented, but do a lot of people end up at boutiques or is that pretty rare?

* Ana Paula Goellner: Of the students who got a Summer Internship this year in Investment Banking, Around 25% are going to Boutiques such as Evercore, Perella Weingberg, Moelis, Lazard, etc

Guest Question: How often are first-years shuttling back and forth to New York for recruiting activities (outside of final round interview, etc.)?

* Nancy Cheney: Most students will go on a career trek over winter break, which is a full week in New York visiting companies.  You also may go to New York a few times in the fall for special events.  I personally attended a few diversity events for women held in company offices there.  But for the most part it is not really necessary to go until final round interviews in the fall.  That said, it really depends on your recruiting strategy - is the company recruiting on campus or are you seeking out local NYC firms?

Guest Question: The hedge fund / alternative investment industry is quite dispersed. How does Booth support its MBA candidates in seeking employment with smaller hedge funds that may recruit primarily through financial recruiters?

* Fern O’Neill: We have a good number of students interested in hedge funds. Career Services has been developing strong relationships with hedge funds and we do see job postings. Additionally, we have a Hedge Fund student group that support students interested in internships and full-time roles in Hedge Funds.

Guest Question: Hi - for those who look for investment banking jobs, do they need to travel to NYC frequently for networking? 

* Kevin Xu: There is no need to travel to NYC at all during the quarter for networking purposes. This differs on a school by school basis but for Booth, all of the banks will come to campus for networking events and we scheduled informational phone calls with them for additional networking. Those phone calls take the place of actually traveling to NYC. The investment banking group schedules a 1 week trek to NYC after the quarter ends and that is really the only time you will need to travel to NYC outside of interviews.

Guest Question: I heard that career switchers are limited by number of working years when switching to banking.  is this true?

* Kevin Xu: There is no limit on number of working years when switching into banking for career switchers. Students first year that have worked for 2 years prior to Booth and for 6 years prior to Booth in a non-finance or banking role were able to secure investment banking internships. From my perspective, that is not something banks are concerned with. You just need to show the requisite maturity and passion for the industry.

Guest Question: What are some key work experiences to have on your resume when recruiting for IB?

* Ana Paula Goellner: There is no specific rule (there is a lot of career switchers applying for IB), but it is important to demonstrate analytical ability, data-driven analysis experience, team work, leadership experience, (previous experience in accounting and/or finance is preferable, but not necessary)

Guest Question: Hi everyone and thank you for your commitment to help prospective students like us. I have a question regarding Sales & Trading roles after the MBA. According to the statistics, only a small portion of MBA students work in Sales & Trading after graduation. Does the university provide any strong support such as clubs, conferences, recruiting events, etc for students interested in working in this area?

* Melanie Scarlata: As you have correctly identified, fewer MBA students are seeking roles in sales and trading in response to a consolidation of the industry. That said, we see a few dedicated students who pursue S&T roles each year, tapping into support from the IBG co-chair representing S&T, alumni, corporate partners and the general support of Career Services. 

Guest Question: I attended the Booth Live in February. One statement was made about preparation over the summer either for PE or Finance. What did the panelists do in this regard for prep. Cold calling, reading, networking with friends/ former classmates. Could you provide any concrete examples?

* Miguel Aleman:  Network with rising second-year students and use them as a recruiting resource. If you already know people in the industry, make sure you develop those contacts as they may represent a large competitive advantage for you.

Guest Question: Hello! I am a R1 admit for the Class of '18 and am wanting to get a sense of the resources (career services, recruiting & investing banking club) for someone  who is not   pursuing traditional investment banking per se, but is  looking to  work in a financial institution in a strategy / treasury function (similar to the JPM Management Associate Program).  Is the IB recruiting process and the IB Group the right things to be pursuing, or am I likely to be pursuing a less structured recruiting process?

* Melanie Scarlata: Recruiting for Leadership Development Programs, within financial services firms or other sectors, are best supported by the Corporate Management and Strategy Group. Visit the student group website for details. Career Services sources general management opportunities in several of the big banks and is well positioned to help you find additional programs if those don't meet your needs.  The coaches and Career Resources Center team can help you at each step of your search.

Guest Question: Hey! How hard is it to get jobs into Private Equity without relevant prior experience?

* Kim Masessa: Thanks for your question about PE -- We will be hosting a Live Chat for entrepreneurship in April and will focus on answering such questions then. In the meantime, please feel free to connect with currents in the PE industry through our Connect with a Student Tool: https://apply.chicagobooth.edu/portal/studentvolunteer

Guest Question: Hello! Nancy, How much of an advantage did you feel during recruitment for investment management because of your location in Chicago?

* Nancy Cheney: I thought being in Chicago was a great advantage.  There are so many reputable hedge funds, asset managers, and investment companies here filled with Booth alumni that makes the introduction incredibly easy. 

Guest Question: Hello - thanks for hosting this session. My question is - how early on in the IB recruiting process do you have to decide on your desired geographic location (San Francisco vs. New York)?

* Kevin Xu: Earlier rather than later is ideal. Banks will allow you to explore different geographic locations for the first month or two of the recruiting process but by late November I'd say you should know which office you want to recruit for. In my experience deciding earlier helps though as it becomes difficult from a time commitment perspective to try to network with all the banks in both locations

Guest Question: Does Booth provide any resources to students the summer before we matriculate to help those of us that want to transition into finance from another field and want to take time to prepare even before we get to campus in the fall?

* Fern O’Neill: You will see on information on the admitted student website beginning in the next couple of weeks showcasing some pre-MBA opportunities. While pre-MBA internships can be very helpful in learning more about careers in finance, you will find that there will be many opportunities to learn about finance careers and meet with alumni in those careers once you are on campus. In terms of course preparation, you will have the chance to take foundational courses in accounting and finance before you matriculate.

Guest Question: Afternoon, all. I've heard from the majority of my contacts in Finance that a CFA is just as valuable as an MBA in a Financial field, and, since it is cheaper in terms of time and money, a better investment. Can you outline the Benefits of a Booth MBA in a Finance -relate field, as compared to a CFA or a different MBA area of focus (Campus Experience and Networking aside, as I would imagine that is true of any Booth MBA, and not unique to a Finance-related area of study)

* Johnny Harris: In terms of CFA (as well as our professional certifications such as the CPA) vs. the MBA, the CFA is definitely helpful to differentiate yourself among your peers to the MBA. It is a challenging certification to obtain and is rightly rewarded as such. However, the community and alumni network of Booth is incredibly strong. The luxury of such a strong network is something that can't be replicated outside of the MBA program.

Guest Question: For admissions, how many years of work experience is generally recommended before applying? And would you say it is more challenging to be admitted if you have a finance background and want to pursue corporate finance with your MBA vs. having a different background and wanting to make a career switch into the field?

* Kate Hoffman: Hi Kellie, students in our Full-Time program have 5 years work experience on average -- so there are plenty of people with fewer than 5 years as well as those with more than 5 years.  Keep in mind we consider all work experience, including internships. During the application process, there is no advantage or disadvantage in terms of  what your past and future career goals are (be it staying in the same industry/function or switching careers), just as long as you can clearly express your reasons for wanting an MBA and why it this path is the right one for you.

Guest Question: Hello all. I would like to know how does one prepare for the technical part of the interview? How to expect questions related to actual financial knowledge? thanks

* Ana Paula Goellner: There are many books that we find useful such as the Breaking into Wall Street Interview Guide, Wall Street Oasis, etc. Those guides cover all sort of questions you could expect during the technical interviews.

Guest Question: Does anyone have experience entering Booth after working in Big 4 accounting and pursuing investment banking? Is it true that you need to work for IB firms prior to MBA to really have a shot at being recruited by the bulge bracket banks?

* Ana Paula Goellner: The majority of students who got a job at bulge bracket banks didn’t have previous experience working for IB firms. So definitely there is a lot of opportunities for career switchers.

Guest Question: Is it a fair statement that without prior IB experience, PE/VC is a no-go (for all but the most extreme circumstances)?

* Kim Masessa: Thanks for your question about PE -- We will be hosting a Live Chat for entrepreneurship in April and will focus on answering such questions then. In the meantime, please feel free to connect with currents in the PE industry through our Connect with a Student Tool: https://apply.chicagobooth.edu/portal/studentvolunteer

Guest Question: Are most of the networking opportunities facilitated by the school? Or did you look for networking opportunities outside the school?

* Kate Hoffman: The short answer is both! We have tons of networking opportunities facilitated by the school, including receptions with alumni, corporate networking nights, and annual events. There are also many student originated events and happenings that are both social and professional in nature, as well as connections to our vast network of 50,000 alumni around the world.  

Guest Question: For international students who wish to work in the states, what kind of career center services are being offered?

* Fern O’Neill: In addition to the career programming and support offered to all students, there will be several programs and many resources available to international students. A large percentage of our international students land internships and full-time roles in the US.

Guest Question: I'm wondering if Booth has any peer mentoring system put in place?

* Johnny Harris: Booth has formal peer mentoring programs, as well as many informal programs. There are individual peer mentors, as well as Career Advisors (who provide resume, recruiting, internship/job selection, etc. advice) in terms of the formal peer mentors. For informal mentors, the "pay-it-forward" culture of Booth (the second year students mentoring first year students) really plays out on a daily basis.

Guest Question: Is it possible to prepare for CFA while you will be a full-time student at Booth?

* Kevin Xu: I know of a few people that are preparing to take CFA exams this summer before their internship starts. Some people prep in their 2nd year as well. So it is definitely possible but might be better to do so in your second year when you don't have any recruiting burdens.

Guest Question: I would love to hear more about the student-run hedge fund and what the process of becoming involved looks like.

* Nancy Cheney: SMIF (Student Managed Investment Fund) manages a portion of the Booth endowment, running a long-only equity strategy.  A group of 7 second years act as portfolio managers with 15-20 first year analysts.  The group meets weekly to discuss and pitch new investment ideas as well as monitor the portfolio's position.  First years apply to be an analyst early in the fall through the Investment Management Group and are asked to interview and pitch an equity position currently in the portfolio.

Guest Question: Were representatives available on campus in IB who represented specific industries of focus that you could target or was the on campus representation more generic. For example health care vs. energy

* Kevin Xu: Generally each bank will bring in a whole team of representatives for their on campus presentations. The bank will give a presentation about itself as a whole first, and then there will be plenty of time for you to network/connect with the team of representatives that they bring. The team of representatives will consist of bankers representing most or all of the industry groups of the bank (i.e., industrials, TMT, FIG, consumer, etc.). I tried to speak mainly with the bankers in the industries that I was interested in.

Guest Question: What are some of the roles that IB students go into after 4-5 years in the IB role?

* Ana Paula Goellner: After the MBA we enter the career as an Associate, getting involved in roles M&A, ECM, DCM  related, including doing financial modeling, presentations, etc., after 3 years you become a VP, and as you evolve in the career, your responsibilities become less hands on analytical, and more managerial, developing a relationship with clients, etc.

Guest Question: Hello, I am currently an options trader based in Hong Kong, and looking to switch into investment management. How import is the summer internship in order to get a full-time job in mutual funds? What are the largest employers recruiting Booth students?

* Nancy Cheney: The summer internship is definitely the best way to transition into investment management and in my opinion very important.  Even if you don't end up working at the firm where you spent your summer full time, getting that experience is important to better your position to recruit in second year, especially for buy side roles.  Some of the largest firms recruiting for IM at Booth are Fidelity, PIMCO and T Rowe Price.

5 Guest Question: 4. Russell Johnston: On average, what percentage of Booth students initially declare an interest in pursuing a career in finance and what percentage ultimately end up in finance roles?

* Fern O’Neill: I think many students enter Booth with some idea of what they want to pursue and that may change based on all of the opportunities they learn about once arriving on campus. I can tell you that around 40% of students land full-time roles in finance related roles.

Guest Question: what would you say is the minimum length of work experience you should have before applying?

* Ana Paula Goellner: Before applying to the MBA, it is recommended to have at least 3 years of professional experience, but this is not a rule.

Guest Question: What is the application/networking/interview timeline look like for 1st year Booth students who are looking into doing banking and finance summer internship?

* Fern O’Neill: I am glad you asked that question! We will have programming over the summer that helps students understand the recruiting timeline. For investment banking, banks begin to come on campus to meet students and network in the third week on October and interviews begin in mid-January. So things happen very fast!

Guest Question: Does Chicago Booth offer Joint Degrees with MBAs such as MBA with Financial Engineering / Financial Mathematics for Accounting Backgrounds and Semi Qualified Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA)?

* Kim Masessa: Chicago Booth's joint degree programs can be found here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/joint-degree

Guest Question: Kevin/Nancy/Johnny - I see a lot of people talk about doing CFA or CPA for pursuing careers in MBA in Finance...do you guys see anyone from Actuarial Science background...is it well recognized?

* Kevin Xu: I see people pursuing a finance concentration here at Booth from all different types of backgrounds, not just CFAs and CPAs. There are also many people with engineering backgrounds, military backgrounds, consulting backgrounds, etc. I think an actuarial science background would be excellent for finance. I know banks would find a background like that intriguing.

Guest Question:: Hello all and thanks for hosting this event! Many MBA students I know entered their prospective programs and then discovered a wealth of jobs/roles that interested them but that they never knew existed. Given the early recruiting cycle for some industries, how often do students intern in one role but then ultimately seek and gain employment in something different upon graduation?

* Kevin Xu: I think that happens to a decent number of people, and the full time recruiting process is quite robust at Booth. The only industry I would say is a bit difficult to get into full time without having done a summer internship (unless you have prior experience in the field already) is investment banking.

Guest Question: Have any of you had experience with the investment management companies in Chicago?  I would prefer to ultimately reside in Chicago rather than New York and would be interested to hear anyone's opinion of the number of opportunities in investment managers in Chicago.

* Miguel Aleman:  While not as plentiful as in NYC, there are plenty of investment opportunities in Chicago. My 2Y mentor interned at a small hedge fund in Chicago and I know several people who work at Driehaus. The opportunities exist.

Guest Question: When do first year interns land their banking offers - aka when do final round interviews take place?

* Melanie Scarlata: The recruiting timeline for IB begins and ends early.  Campus interviews start the middle of January with final rounds happening soon after.  The process is generally complete by the middle of February.

Guest Question: Hi, thanks for hosting! Would you recommend the CFA exam to make a switch into finance?

* Ana Paula Goellner: The CFA exam is definitely a great certificate to have in your Resume, and may help you to be more prepared for the technical interviews. So if you have a chance to do it, I would recommend it.

Guest Question: I'm making a career transition from the military to MBA in Fall 2017. How vital is the internship between your 1st and 2nd year to securing a job? Do I need to know exactly what I want to do the Fall of my first year? Do students ever not get full-time offers following an internship and need to re-do the whole interview process again the following year?

* Johnny Harris: In terms of evaluating how vital your first year internship is, it really depends on industry. For example, if you were switching from the military and wanted to enter investment management, one might target investment management internships since securing a full time offer without any prior investment management experience is a tough task. However, the beauty about the MBA is that even if you don't love your first year internship or don't receive an offer, you can still re-recruit and land your ideal job. This is exactly what I did (in terms of taking a job different than that from my internship).

Guest Question: Does Booth offer opportunities to study abroad as well?

* Kelsey Bergren: Yes, you can find information about international opportunities and study abroad on the Full-Time Program website.

Guest Question: for international students who wish to study in US and go back to home country to work, what kind of career center services are offered?

* Fern O’Neill: We support international students in any type of job search. Just under a third of international students return to their home country to work. You will be able to participate in all of our programs, meet with coaches, and attend programing specifically for international students.

Guest Question: What would you say is the biggest difference between working at a Venture Capitalist firm and working at a Private Equity firm?

* Johnny Harris: In terms of VC versus PE, generally VC firms are earlier term investors while PE firms are later in the life cycle.

Guest Question: Can someone who has interned in banking, throw some light on the working hours and other related aspects of working in a large bank

* Kevin Xu: Working in investment banking definitely requires some long working weeks, can't get around that. But most large banks now are more conscious of not burning their associates out. So most of the bulge bracket banks in NYC have protected Saturdays where you are off limits from Friday night to Sunday morning. That way you can at least plan your weekly schedule a little. Also, from everyone I have spoken to, they generally take a couple of longer vacations each year. And not every week involves long hours, some weeks will be quite light. Further, the work/life balance tends to improve significantly once you move up the ranks a little.

Guest Question: What percentage of international students land a full time job in investment banking after completing the programme?

* Fern O’Neill: About 17% of international students land full-time jobs in investment banking.

Guest Question: From the employment report I do not see the percentage of graduates going into Sales & Trading function. It might be reported in combined in IB. Do the recruiters also recruit for s&t function as they do for IB M&A? Is the recruitment process structured in the same way as in IB? Thanks!

* Fern O’Neill: As you may be aware, due to regulation, technology, and consolidation the landscape for S&T roles has changed dramatically.  We used to have about 5% of students land roles inn S&T. Now, there are very few students interested in S&T roles. We will support students that want to pursue these roles but you are correct that most banks come to Booth to recruit for M&A roles.

Guest Question: what do you like the most during the recruiting process? what advice would you like to give to the first year during their IB recruiting process?

Guest Question: I really enjoyed meeting people from a wide variety of backgrounds pursuing interests similar to mine as part of the recruiting process.  I met so many interesting and accomplished people.  My biggest piece of advice for recruiting is to be organized and prioritize.  Things get crazy over the course of the fall, so staying on top of everything and making sure you do what is most important to you is key.

Guest Question: thanks to everyone for holding the event. I am looking to switch into PE career with engineering background. Do we have a chance to practice VC/PE case on campus during the MBA program? Is that within a course, or is it from PE club?

* Kim Masessa: Thanks for your question about PE -- We will be hosting a Live Chat for entrepreneurship in April and will focus on answering such questions then. In the meantime, please feel free to connect with currents in the PE industry through our Connect with a Student Tool: https://apply.chicagobooth.edu/portal/studentvolunteer

Guest Question: Kevin, before applying for the MBA, had you decided that you want to switch careers to IB, or did you decide it once you started the MBA?

* Kevin Xu: I knew I had a strong interest in IB, but I was also intrigued by consulting and PE. After I started my time here at Booth and learned about more about the various industries through the industry exploration events/panels/presentations that Booth offers, I solidified my interest in IB and only pursued that recruiting path.

Guest Question: How important is having/connecting with Booth alumni at banks, or investment management firms (e.g. hedge funds, mutual funds, PE)?  Do you see many breaking into IB groups, or funds that do not have any, or as strong a presence of, Booth alumni?

* Ana Paula Goellner: I believe having a Booth alumni in the bank/PE firm/funds you are recruiting for definitely opens many doors for a initial approach (and if there is no alumni in the group you want to join, this person can put you in touch with his peers from other groups), but during the recruiting process, there are constant interactions with alumni from other Business Schools as well, and they are very receptive with students from Booth.

Guest Question: How competitive is the Private Equity Lab? What percentage of students seeking internships succeed in obtaining one?

* Fern O’Neill: The PE lab is very competitive. While i don't have specific stats on the percentage of applicants who land internships, many students have the opportunity to participate in the PE lab. It is a great way for a career changer to gain experience in PE.

Guest Question: In addition to thinking about this over and over again by myself, once I arrive on Booth, I wish to have some honest conversation on finance/banking vs. management consulting. What are the resources I can use to explore this conversation? Any resources available over the summer before I can start the classes? I'd like to have picked either one by the time recruiters start coming early in the fall quarter.

* Johnny Harris: In terms of evaluating investment banking vs. consulting, I would suggest that you reach out to the current co-chairs of the respective Investment Banking and Management Consulting Groups, as well as ask Career Services to put you in touch with other current first year or second year students in both consulting and investment banking. These students have all made the decision themselves, and can help you objectively understand which may be the right fit for you.

Guest Question: What preparation (if any) would the panel suggest to get ready for the recruiting process? I understand there is a range of resources once you arrive about resumes, Linkedin & interviewing.  Is there anything I should start doing now?

* Melanie Scarlata: Great question!  We courage you to begin researching various MBA career paths during the summer so you can make more informed decisions about the events and programs to attend when you hit campus. The admitted student website will soon have resources to explore.  Check the employment report for ideas about the positions Booth MBA's go into. http://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/index.aspx

Guest Question: Is the recruiting process for IB Asian offices (Hong Kong/Singapore/Beijing) different from US offices?

* Melanie Scarlata: Recruiting for IB in Asian offices happens on an earlier timeline than the rest of IB recruiting in order to accommodate different calendars and holidays.  Career Services has an employer facing colleague who is based in Hong Kong  and works with the campus based team to stay connected to employers in the region and on top of the firms' needs. The big banks usually visit campus or host events in their Chicago offices during the recruiting season to meet with students.  The Chicago Asia Pacific group and the Greater China Club usually support a trek to Asia during the fall to give students the opportunity to meet the bankers on their own turf.

79 Guest Question: Given that the timelines are different, is it possible (or advised) to go through both IB and IM recruiting?

* Melanie Scarlata: We encourage you to investigate both roles prior to actually recruiting.  We see the roles n these functions as quite different, each attracting a distinct type of candidate. You may find one role is more appealing than the other.  That said, recruiting in both sectors, while possible, will require an extraordinary effort.  Both functions require a lot of preparation for a successful recruiting effort.  Campus IM interviews generally overlap with IB interviews but the IB process wraps up much more quickly.  You may have difficulty managing the offer timeline/process.

Guest Question: What additional value would a Booth MBA add on top of the CFA designation for someone currently in IM and planning to stay?

* Nancy Cheney: I definitely don't think it's an either/or thing.  As an MBA student I am currently pursuing level 2 and a large number of my classmates already are CFAs.  Throughout recruiting the majority of senior PMs and hedge fund managers had both an MBA and CFA.  Doing the CFA while at Booth has been helpful because there is definitely some overlap that makes studying easier.

Guest Question: What in your mind differentiates Booth from other schools for students looking for opportunities in Finance? (classes, recruiting, peers, access to opportunities, etc.)

* Miguel Aleman:  Academic rigor, top finance faculty, great peers and alumni, plenty of  recruiting opportunities.

Guest Question: What portion of the IM Group members participate in the student-run hedge fund?

* Miguel Aleman:  There is an additional application process to be a portfolio analyst or manager at the fund. There are about 10 students in each role in a given year. You can find additional information about the student-run investment fund here: http://www.chicagoboothsmif.com/

Guest Question: Given the PE Lab runs during the spring quarter and traditional recruiting cycles, is this opportunity available only to 1st year Boothies?

* Fern O’Neill: PE lab is open to both first and second year students. Check out the website: http://polskycenter.com/pelab/internship.html

Guest Question: For those who have already completed an internship during the summer, what where the biggest challenges during the internship? Were you able to secure an offer for after graduation?

* Nancy Cheney: I really enjoyed my summer internship but it was not easy!  I would say the biggest challenge was trying to find a way to add meaningful value in 10 weeks through work, but also making sure to network and meet people in the office to leave a more personable impression.  It was definitely somewhat of a sprint but for me worked out well as I will be returning to my summer internship after graduating.  You just need to keep your head down and work hard - you can do anything for 10 weeks!

Guest Question: Hi All, Thank you for hosting. Booth is highly regarded by Investment Banks. What's the atmosphere like among the students during recruiting process?

* Kevin Xu: Students are generally very supportive and helpful to each other during the investment banking recruiting process. As you mentioned, Booth students are sought after by the banks so people tend to take comfort in that during the recruiting process and we know that there are enough positions for everyone that puts in the required effort. So really, we really do want to make sure that all of us succeed as a group and we do not try to be cutthroat. In fact, anyone who shows that type of attitude tends to do poorer in the process.

Guest Question: What activities have you taken part in, outside of the support that Booth, to enhance your candidacy as an applicant to the careers you're pursuing?  Some responses about breaking into fields have mentioned "showing passion," what activities are most relevant for showing passion (obviously a broad question), but are certain areas (e.g., internships, coursework, independent study) valued more than others by employers?

* Miguel Aleman:  Read, be able to speak intelligently about the markets, talk to people you know in the industry, take relevant courses while you are here. Personal investing can help in some roles. Your "passion" will come across naturally in conversation when you are truly engaged. The support you get from 2Y students will be the most important in getting you ready.

Guest Question: Are there any prep courses before the start of the programme to help with the quant aspect of the course work?

* Johnny Harris: In terms of prep courses, there are pre-accounting, microeconomics, and business statistics courses offered by Booth before school. Additionally, in terms of the quantitative aspect of Booth's course work, you will also have good amount of time between once you register for classes (in the Fall) and actually start those classes. During such time, you can start reviewing the professor assigned materials as well as the optional readings/materials for students who want to refresh their knowledge or dive deeper.

Guest Question: What types of Corporate Finance opportunities are available to Booth students?

* Johnny Harris: A broad array of corporate finance opportunities are available from technology, to commercial banking, to not-for-profit, etc. Such opportunities could exist in many forms as well (FP&A versus M&A versus Product Finance, etc.). Booth is a great place to have all these opportunities at your fingertips!

Guest Question:
How helpful is a CFA for IB recruiting? Is it something that banks look for?

* Nancy Cheney: I worked in banking before school and don't think the CFA is very valued in IB.  If you are interested in investment management, however, it is something highly valued.

Guest Question: Do the Number attempts in CFA Program prior to while doing Booth MBA has a negative / ripple effect on the mindset of Recruiter, just in case any candidate is not able to clear any Level in 1st Attempt but successfully completes MBA Degree?

* Nancy Cheney: If you are able to pass the CFA I don't think taking one level multiple times has a significant negative effect.  I would say the same if you are still pursuing the designation.  However, if you have decided to no longer continue with it you may not want to highlight it as part of your application/recruiting

Guest Question: How hard is it to take a class with Professor Eugene Fama? I guess EVERYONE wants to have that opportunity!!

* Johnny Harris: Fama's course is definitely challenging and rightfully so. The beauty about the class is that you can bid and join the class, and then, drop the class in the first week or so if you think that the workload or material is too intensive. This being said, the course is definitely one of most highly regarded courses at Booth.

Guest Question: Could you give an idea of the finance curriculum. Can we tailor our program based on the courses we want? Probably do more during the first two semesters

* Miguel Aleman:  Except for a couple of foundational courses, at Booth you have the opportunity to tailor your coursework to meet your needs. In the finance area, there are opportunities to take courses on corporate finance, asset pricing, and portfolio management, among many others.

Guest Question: For Fern - you have mentioned that there are many resources and several programs available to international students on top of regular career center activities and services. Could you be more specific? I would think certain parts will be dedicated to visa-related matters?

* Fern O’Neill: We have two programs entirely focused on visa related information. Additionally, we have a session devoted to strategies for international students that provide stats on the industries and functions that are most prevalent for international students.

Guest Question: Hi! I have a question for Nancy... What courses (financial and soft-skills) and competitions do you recommend to take to be successful at IM?

* Nancy Cheney: There are so many fantastic finance courses offered at Booth.  My favorite was Portfolio Management and found it to be very useful in my internship over the summer.  Financial Statement Analysis is an accounting class that is very useful if you're interested in equity research.  As for softer skill classes, Competitive Strategy is helpful to think of more strategic advantages an investment may have that you are considering.

Guest Question: What are some of the top career development resources incoming students can leverage before the Fall semester starts?

* Nancy Cheney: I would try to make the most of your current job; especially trying to do tasks in areas you are interested in pursuing post MBA.  Over the summer prior to starting school my advice would be to enjoy the time off and self-reflect.  What is it you are hoping to achieve with your MBA?  Using your existing network maybe consider informational interviews with people in fields you are interested.  Do as much as possible to strategize what your plan will be when recruiting starts in the fall because the process begins quickly and the more prepared you are and confident in your strategy, the better off you will be.

Guest Question: How long is the summer internship in general? Booth students get out in the middle of June, and does this ever become an issue with other companies who start their students earlier in May?

* Fern O’Neill: Internships are typically 10-12 weeks and begin in mid-June after finals.

Guest Question: exactly how different is the role of an IB Associate vs IB Analyst?

* Kevin Xu: IB analysts are generally focused much more on the financial modeling and technical aspects of the job. IB associates need to learn the modeling, but then they are expected to contribute at a larger picture level, understanding how the M&A process fits in with the overall strategic goals of the company and advising clients on the strategy and big picture issues. IB associates will work much more with the senior people at the bank as well as with the clients directly.

Guest Question: Are there many opportunities for graduates pursuing corporate finance to find jobs internationally?

* Fern O’Neill: Interesting question! Most students who pursue corporate finance seek roles at US based companies. Having said that, there are definitely opportunities for students who want roles outside the US.

Guest Question: What percent of people make it into the PE lab?

* Fern O’Neill: It really varies each year but there are a large number of PE firms that participate and many applicants get invited to interview for a PE lab internship.

Guest Question: Can you talk a bit about the PE Lab - how selective it is, what types of people are selected, etc.? Do people participate in IB recruiting and then maybe drop that path if they get accepted to the PE lab?

* Fern O’Neill: The type of student selected varies. While there are quite a few students that have previous PE experience who are selected for the PE Lab, there are many career changers that are selected. It is possible to participate in IB recruiting and apply to the PE Lab, but in general the recruiting timeline for the two career paths is quite different and therefore difficult to do.

Guest Question: What differentiate Booth from other finance schools in IB recruiting and overall careers in finance?

* Johnny Harris: Booth has a track record of maintaining long established roles with IB firms, placing students in top IB roles, and having optionality within the curriculum (meaning you have choice when you take certain courses) to strengthen one's knowledge of important accounting and finance topics that are relevant to IB recruiting. Booth also possesses an extremely strong IB Group presence, which is very important in preparing/mentoring/training students to enter the IB field.

Guest Question: What is the typical recruitment process in the US? How many rounds of interview / screening processes are there?

* Fern O’Neill: The recruiting process varies based on industry. For campus based roles like banking, consulting and some come investment management roles, the process begins in the fall with events and interviews run from min-January through mid-February. There are typically two rounds, one on campus, the other at the firm's offices.

Guest Question: How does recruiting work for a less traditional banking/finance organization such as the World Bank's IFC?

* Fern O’Neill: We have had quite a few students interested in organizations like IFC. Often this type of organization will post jobs on our job board. We have a good number of alumni at these organizations, so students can also reach out and build relationships with these alumni and learn about opportunities for internships and full time roles.

Guest Question: I'm building my MBA budget at the moment and would be interested to know if the IB internships are generally paid?

* Kevin Xu: IB internships are generally paid. If you succeed during the summer and receive a full time offer, most banks will offer a signing bonus.

Guest Question: For those who arrive at Booth with nontraditional business background, is there some kind of Excel prep course before the fall quarter?

* Johnny Harris: In terms of non-traditional business backgrounds, there are certain training courses including pre-accounting, microeconomics, and business statistics, as well as Excel training modules that are offered prior to students starting at Booth. These resources can be viewed on the Admitted Students Website.

Guest Question: How is the outlook for an international student without any prior experience in Investment Management to land a job in the US?

* Nancy Cheney: Career switching into IM at Booth is very common.  However, for internationals I have heard it is harder and particularly more difficult than other industries like banking and consulting.  IM firms tend to be smaller and therefore may not offer sponsorships as often.  That said, it is something that is definitely done every year.

Guest Question: For someone who has studied finance and economics at college but has not have a quantitative career (for me law), what prep (if any) should I do before starting and should I be looking at the advanced alternatives for finance and economics?

* Miguel Aleman:  If you have an opportunity, refresh your statistics knowledge (probability, regressions, hypothesis testing) as well as your programming skills. Then you will be in good shape for those courses.

Guest Question: if someone is not sure whether he wants to switch the career to Finance or not, will it be a highly challenging things for him or career services in Booth helps in providing better directions...I mean how sure the person should be about career switch especially after having spent in non-finance industries (say 10 years)

* Fern O’Neill: We meet with many students who are uncertain of their career direction. There is a tool that we offer to admitted students called CareerLeader, which is a self-assessment tool that can help provide insights into the careers that might be a good match given your skills and interests. You don't need to be completely sure what you want to do before arriving at Booth. About 75% of our students are career changers, so don't worry about being able to make a career change. We will help you develop your career focus.

Guest Question: How does a typical week look during recruitment in IMt? How often companies visit Booth?

* Miguel Aleman:  I don't know the exact numbers, but ~20 companies recruit on campus and many more post internships/jobs on our internal systems. The week when companies are on campus is very busy!

Guest Question: What percentage of international students receive scholarships? What percentage of the tuition fees is covered by scholarships?

* Kate Hoffman: About a quarter of all admitted students receive merit based awards and those awards vary widely in amount.

Guest Question: If we have interests in leveraged finance, restructuring, and postmerger integration, would the CREDIT club be a more appropriate group to participate in than IB group? Also, are there any specific courses and professors students find to be most valuable on these topics?

* Kevin Xu: Leveraged finance recruiting is part of the IB group. Restructuring and post-merger integration is probably more in the wheelhouse of the CREDIT group.

Guest Question: I already work in the M&A industry and am looking to enhance my soft skills and business knowledge with an MBA. I do not get time off to pursue other activities outside of my work. Will this work against me in my application to BOOTH?

* Kate Hoffman: We review all applications holistically and activities outside of work are one part of the application. We don't expect that you take time off of work to pursue other activities. We are interested in knowing what you are passionate about, both professionally and personally, as well as how you see yourself engaging and contributing within the community.

Guest Question: Could you highlight on the difference in preparation while trying to get in IB and IM?

* Miguel Aleman:  Oversimplifying it, but IB - mostly about networking, IM - all about technical and your pitches.

Guest Question: What are the typical Hiring Positions offered at IB, IM and Hedge Funds after Booth MBA?

* Nancy Cheney: In IB you will typically come in at the associate level, working on deals and supporting senior bankers with analysts out of undergrad working under you.  In IM and Hedge Funds the most common role out of Booth is being an equity research analyst, so having a portfolio of names in an industry you cover and publishing research about their financial outlook, ultimately making investment recommendations to portfolio managers.

Guest Question: how one can get to understand about IB and IM roles if one knows not much about them

* Melanie Scarlata: The admitted student website will soon post resources to explore before getting to campus which will include information about potential career paths.  Career Services is considering hosting virtual events over the summer which will provide overviews of some careers. Once you are on campus, Career Services and student groups provide many opportunities to learn about roles.

Guest Question:: Kevin - How has your JD and time as a lawyer been received by employers? Is there anything you would specifically recommend to lawyers using the MBA to switch careers?

* Kevin Xu: My background as a lawyer was definitely helpful during the i-banking recruiting process. Banks viewed that background very favorably and appreciated the skills that will be transferable such as attention to detail, being able to work with clients, being able to advocate, etc. My main recommendation for anyone with a similar switch is to have a sound story about why you are switching (since this is not a typical move) and be able to show you can handle the quantitative side of the job.