Full-Time MBA

Virtual Events
Diversity Events

The Booth Experience Live Chat

Chat live with The Booth Experience student bloggers as they begin the last quarter of their second and final year at Booth and they prepare for Graduation in June. Ask about classes, student life, faculty, recruiting, and more. Don't miss this opportunity to chat directly with current students and hear more about living in Chicago as part of the Booth community.

Chat Transcripts

Guest Question: How is the MBA experience for people with family (including kids)?

* Drew Thomas:
Hi!  Thanks for the question.  I am married and have a 13-month old daughter.  I think the first thing is to know that all the experiences at Booth are open to you, and all social events, etc. are open to you and your family - so there is a lot to do. Doing an MBA with a family will test your time-management and scheduling abilities, but really it comes down to what you and your spouse choose to prioritize.  For instance, I watch my daughter the vast majority of the time and my wife Jen works full time.  We have a babysitter once a week on average.  So to sum it up, your experience is up to you.  Hope that answers it.


Guest Question: Hi everyone, thank you very much for your time today. Since most of you are year 2 students, what do you wish you knew the 1st year that you discovered the 2nd year? This can be in relation to being a business student or even something you wish you knew during the application process.

* Emily Ruff:
As a second year student it's much easier to curate your experience. First year you want to be involved in everything and meet everyone. As a second year you're better able to curate what really matters to you


Guest Question: Hi. Thank you all for chatting with us today. How often do summer internships lead to full time jobs? Do most students wind up in the same field as their internships?

* Faria Jabbar: Summer internships lead to full time jobs pretty frequently, and many students wind up accepting those offers. The metric typically changes depending on the industry, though - for example, many students intern at start-ups or firms without structured internship programs that don't know what their hiring cycle will be the following year. Those students typically stay in touch with their firms and continue conversations about full time offers closer to graduation. What is great about the internship experience is it is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a new job/industry and see if it is a good fit for you. Sometimes when students choose not to accept a full time internship offer and accept an offer elsewhere, it is because they have continued their career exploration in their second year and found another exciting opportunity that will help them grow their career in a new direction.


Guest Question: What is the top 3 websites you surf for academic research?

* Emily Ruff: The UChicago library system has a journal search system. I use that as it allows me to search 100+ different sites for academic research.


Guest Question: Hi everyone! It's great to be able to interact with you. My question is for Emily. I would like to know more about the course flexibility at Booth and the options available for the dual degree program.

* Emily Ruff: Regarding course flexibility -- It's AMAZING. I really value it because I was able to take intermediate classes right away, instead of having to take a semester or full year of introductory classes. This meant I was much bettered prepared for my technical interviews for internships than I would have been.


Guest Question: Would you comment on Booth's reputation for being geared toward quant and consulting, as opposed to a school like Kellogg that has more of a marketing reputation?

* Sana Suh: I focused on marketing and I found the marketing community to be very strong here at Booth. We are particularly focused on data driven marketing and that shows in the quantitative nature of our marketing classes. I feel pretty confident that the training and community I've gotten here at Booth has set me up well for marketing, both in terms of internship/full time recruiting and beyond.


Guest Question: Hello everyone! Thanks for hosting this session. My question is related to the case studies as a teaching method. I am wondering, what is the proportion of case studies in the overall learning process in Booth? Which courses/topics are typically taught by cases?

* Michael Kurt: Booth's teaching methods are quite diverse.  I have experienced case studies, group projects, lectures, guest speakers, lab courses, experiential learning, and more.  Most classes typically involve a mixture of methods.  My favorite experiences so far have been the classes in which students have prepared a case and then have the opportunity to engage in discussion with some of the individuals in the case during class.


Guest Question: As incoming first year at Booth, I'm curious to hear the advice you wished you received before your first year began.

* John DeChellis: In my opinion, one of the most important things incoming first years should do is have a clear focus on what you want to get out of business school. The second you arrive on campus, you'll find there are 10,738 things you could be doing right that instant - classes, team meetings, networking events, recruiting events, student club events, cohort competitions, lunches/dinners/coffee chats, parties, intramural games, case competitions, adventures around the city, and so much more. You have be really disciplined and focused NOT to be distracted by all of these awesome things, so it's important to always remind yourself what you came here for and ask yourself if what you're doing takes you further towards that end.


Guest Question: Could you provide more information about LEAD and how that plays out both academically and socially in the first few months of the MBA?

* John DeChellis: Certainly! LEAD is an incredible program that helps students get to know themselves and their leadership styles much better. That sounds kind of fluffy/cheesy, so I'll try to explain! The program itself is a 6-8-week program (can't remember exactly how long, but it takes up at least half of your first quarter), but it's not exactly an academically-oriented class. Prior to Booth, students are sent a series of surveys to take (and to distribute to your colleagues and bosses at work), and during this class you dig into the results. In the past, I've taken one-off tests like these, but generally dismissed the results if I didn't think they were accurate. After you see the results of multiple tests, surveys, discussions, 360 reviews, initial impression comments, etc., however, you begin to triangulate on some real, valuable insights that you can then use to formulate your own personal goals with respect to your leadership style, how you interact with teams, how you present and convey info, etc.


Guest Question: Hi. Thank you very much for your time. I have several things that I would like to ask about the school:1.Can you elaborate on the structure of the program: Do you have a fixed curriculum or can the students chose the courses by themselves? Do the students study with the same group of students for the entire year? Do you have different levels of courses (for example if I already learned accounting can I take advanced accounting instead?). 2.I was wondering if you could describe the atmosphere in Booth, including student activities. 3. Can you please elaborate on your entrepreneurship programs? 4. How does my wife can get involved in the school atmosphere and activities?  I read about the Partners Club, could you elaborate? 5.Financial aid – is it common to get financial aid? What are the requirements? 6.Can you detail the housing options and how I can apply for housing? Thank you again; your help is really appreciated

* Gaspar Betancourt: 1. We have a flexible curriculum at Booth where students can take whatever classes interest them. Please see the Chicago Booth website (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/curriculum). Students who have a background in a certain area can take a course at the appropriate level for them. 2. There is a very collaborative atmosphere that demonstrates the pay-it-forward culture of the student body. For student groups, please see the website for more information (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/student-experience/beyond-classroom/groups). 3. Entrepreneurship  (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/evening/academics/curriculum/entrepreneurship). 4. There are a number of activities open to families and partners. Please see individual group pages for more information. 5. Financial aid information can be found here: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/tuition-financial-aid. 6. You are responsible for your own housing.


Guest Question:  I am curious as to your advice on the iBid bidding process; several 2Ys I've spoken to have mentioned they are graduating with a ton of points left over

* Michael Kurt: It is important to have a general sense of which classes are most important to you during your Booth experience. The school does a fantastic job of providing students with resources to understand course price history, professor reviews, etc to help you manage your points and class selection effectively. It is possible to graduate with a lot of points, as points are also accrued from your last quarter of class. 


Guest Question: What GMAT advice do you have for future MBA applicants to the Booth School?

* Emily Ruff: GMAT is important, but it's not the whole picture. You want to have a score that showcases your ability, but Booth understands tests aren't everyone's thing and they're looking at your whole application, not just the scores.


Guest Question: What is most special about the Booth Experience personally for you?

* Emily Ruff: The friends I've made here have definitely been the most special. The cool thing about Booth is my friends are not limited to a tiny section or even just my year. They span my whole class and the years above me and below me


Guest Question: Hi, how often do you interact with your professors outside the classroom?

* John DeChellis: Truthfully, I haven't interacted too much with Professors outside of class, but my friends and I have definitely gotten dinner, lunch, and drinks with Professors a few times over the years. Sometimes I'll admit we can be a bit over-zealous and ask him/her tons of questions the whole time, but other times, it's incredibly refreshing (and flattering) when THEY express interest and ask US questions about OUR lives. I won't say who, but we've even brought a Professor to out in the city a couple of times, and they loved it! haha


Guest Question: What was the deciding factor that lead you to choose Booth over any other potential schools?

* Drew Thomas: Our choice came down to a few factors: 1. Top quantitative education. 2. Location: my wife is from the Midwest, and that meant we were close to family. 3. Feel: we visited a number of schools and Booth was by far the best fit for me and us. 


Guest Question: What makes Booth special from other top schools of marketing?

* Faria Jabbar: Booth marketing is unique because it is a very analytically driven program. Being able to speak quantitatively and qualitatively is becoming ever more important in the marketing world, and Booth is uniquely able to provide students tools that build up skills in both of those areas. Check out more information on Booth's marketing classes and the Kilts Marketing Center to check out more about Booth marketing!


Guest Question: What is the best class you've taken at Booth?

* Gaspar Betancourt: There is a course that was introduced this year called "Reputation, Regulation, and Communication: How Media Influences Business" (a bit of a mouthful) that was incredibly interesting. It forced me to question my assumptions about the world around me and how I receive and process information. With guest speakers, including prize winning journalists and reformed white collar criminals, this class was by far the most different and most interesting class I've taken at Booth.


Guest Question: Thank you for your time! What do you like most about Chicago Booth’s Culture? What is the diversity like in the classroom?

* Sana Suh: Diversity is one of things I like most about Booth's culture! Over 40% of our class is international but that's just one metric. There's also diversity in age, types of experience, industry, etc. It's really nice in classes because you can see how each person takes a different approach to solving a problem and it makes for livelier classroom discussions.


Guest Question: This question is directed mainly at Drew, but I think anyone can answer. Are there recruiters who come to Booth who are specifically looking for prior military guys?

* Drew Thomas: Great question.  I have found veterans in every industry and job description.  That means that as you recruit you will find someone with your experience, who will be very willing to talk to you and guide you.  Many companies have specific programs for hiring veterans in general as well, that you will be aware of.  Furthermore, the Armed Forces Group has contacts with alumni and other vets to help you find your way.  But there is no specific recruiting track for veterans.


Guest Question: Has living near the heart of Chicago added another layer to your experience at Booth? In what ways did you take advantage of the opportunities, both business and social, that Chicago has to offer?

* Emily Ruff: I wouldn't change it for anything. We have so many amazing options for food, nightlife, culture (all the museums etc are free for UChicago students), sports, etc.


Guest Question: What was it about Booth that set it apart from other MBA programs for you?

* Emily Ruff: Flexibility and analytics and the ability to learn from day 1. Booth doesn't pull its punches academically. You'll leave fluent in "R", statistics, economics, and accounting, as well as your concentrations. I'm getting the most practical education I could imagine.


Guest Question: Hello everybody! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. My first question would be, what made you choose Booth?

* Michael Kurt: I chose Booth for three reasons: its focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, the quality of the community and its pay-it-forward culture, and the ability to tailor my degree through the flexible curriculum.  My experience has truly exceeded my expectations!


Guest Question: Do you think that Booth provides any sort of practical advantage for students applying to consulting? What do consultancies like about Booth students? (and thank you for your time!)

* Emily Ruff: A huge advantage of Booth is grade non-disclosure. I was never once asked about my grades by a firm, but it was a deciding factor for interview invites at schools without non-disclosure. I'm not sure about the most recent stats, but the year I was applying McKinsey hired more Booth students than any other school. I think a lot of this has to do with our reputation as analytical problem solvers as well as the awesome Management Consulting Student Club and the 4 months of programming and prep they provide


Guest Question: In the months leading up to school, what would you recommend 1st year students do to prepare for the next 2 years?

* Sana Suh: In the months leading up to school, I would suggest you take time to relax and think about what you want your business school experience to be! That includes thinking about the career path(s) you want to pursue and how you'll get there. Go to the admitted students events and get to know people. Travel!


Guest Question: Is there anything you wish you knew going in to first year?

* Sara Raffa: Hmmm that's a tough one. The experience definitely flies by, and there is so much to do. I think my best advice is to think about what you want to get involved with and be intentional about getting involved in those activities. It's easy to want to do everything - every club, every leadership activity, etc etc. But there just isn't enough time to do it all, so choose wisely. But also don't let that stress you out - anything you chose to get involved with will be a great experience.


Guest Question: Thank you all for doing this live chat today! I'm currently on the fence about applying for an MBA. I think as prospective applicants, we all have an idea of what the experience will be like and what we may get out of it. But I'm curious, what surprised you over the course of your MBA journey as far as growth, experiences, etc?

* Gaspar Betancourt: I've grown tremendously throughout my time at Booth both personally and professionally. I was very intimidated when I first arrived because everyone here was so incredibly impressive with such a wide variety of experience. But everyone was incredibly welcoming and humble. I've never had a better community experience at school or at work than I have at Booth.


Guest Question: What do you think about being in a big class MBA? Do you think you get enough time to know each other or making good friends?

* Emily Ruff: It was really important to me to be in a big class. I like to get to know a lot of people and Booth has constructs to make it easier to connect on deeper levels, from 60 person assigned cohorts, 8 person assigned "squads", and then tons of social stuff like small "mix-it-up" dinners between 1st and 2nd years, students and alums, students and faculty, etc.


Guest Question: Hi all. Thanks for taking your time out to provide guidance. This question is probably more generic and not particular to Booth. How complicated is it to do a career switch doing an MBA? I will use myself as an example. Currently I am an engineer and wish to go into finance. Is the lack of experience not a big factor, in spite of one going through an MBA, i.e. wouldn't people from the finance industry themselves be preferred?

* Gaspar Betancourt: Some industries might want specific backgrounds, but in general the majority of students are career switchers. There are lots of people with an engineering background that go into finance, so that's something that recruiters are used to seeing. So, switching careers is very easy at Booth and lack of experience in a specific field is not a hurdle.


Guest Question: Best Finance course at Booth?

* Michael Kurt: My personal favorite was Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity.  I also really enjoyed Financial Statement Analysis. Cases in Financial Management is also a favorite among students.


Guest Question: What activities were you involved as 1st year student outside of classroom? Which ones do you think benefit you the most?

* John DeChellis: There are dozens of student groups on campus that host events all of the time, and they're all a ton of fun. I'm personally in Wine Club, Ski and Snowboarding Club, Soccer Club, Ultimate Frisbee (an intramural team), Booth Follies (one of my favorite extra-curricular activities ever), and Private Equity Group. I'm also an Admissions Fellow, and a Co-chair of the Dean's Marketing Advisory Committee. I don't even have room here to get into the non-school-related stuff, but suffice to say I love exploring everything Chicago has to offer (spoiler alert: it's a lot). The greatest benefit of participating in all these things is that you get to become close with groups of people you might not otherwise have crossed paths with. It doesn't matter how many classes you may take together with someone - it's so much more rewarding (and easier) to get to know them when everyone is participating in an activity in which they have a shared interest.


Guest Question: What extracurricular events, activities, or programs are you glad you participated in that aren't well advertised?

* Sara Raffa: Truthfully, everything is pretty well advertised - you'll get emails from all the groups regarding activities, and a lot is posted on the Facebook group. It is however very easy to miss those emails and posts because you receive so many. I will say, however, that when it comes to leadership activities, think ahead of time what you want to do. It's easy to sign up for everything that comes your way, (GBC comes first, then co-chairing clubs, and so on) but a lot of cool leadership opportunities, like becoming an Admissions Fellow (highly recommend) come up later on.


Guest Question: Hi guys, thank you for your time here today! I would love to know what most surprised you during the experience in Booth?

* John DeChellis: My biggest surprise was actually when I first arrived on campus for Admit Weekend (now called First Day). Like probably everyone else who scours the internet for insights into schools' respective communities, I had come across a lot of comments about Boothies being anti-social, hyper-competitive, finance-focused, super-nerds [paraphrasing here]. Within 30 minutes of arriving on campus, I was thoroughly confused as to where the heck these observations could have stemmed from. Nothing could be further than the truth, and it was actually getting to know the other admits and current students - all of whom were so passionate, fun, kind, ambitious, and excited - that sealed the deal for me (in terms of my decision to come to Booth). We on The Booth Experience team have done our best to share everything we know and love about our community, so hopefully the outside world has a little clearer sense of how awesome this place is.


Guest Question: How often do you interact with the professors outside the classroom?

* Sana Suh: It really depends on the class. I was taking the New Venture Challenge this quarter so I met with professors like Waverly Deutsch multiple times outside of the classroom to get advice on our startup. There's always office hours as well. Booth also has various events where you can get to know professors. For example, I know one quarter I and the others students currently taking our Investment professor's class (Tarek Hassan) were invited to a happy hour with him. Another quarter, Booth organized something similar with my Negotiations professor.


Guest Question:: Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time. I wanted to learn a bit further about student's relationships with professors. Outside of traditional office hours, how accessible are the faculty? Have you been able to develop a strong relationship or mentorship with professors that align with your career goals?

* Sara Raffa: The faculty are incredibly accessible. I feel like there are several faculty and staff at Booth that have served as mentors and that I will stay in close contact with after school. Lab classes provide a great opportunity to connect with faculty, because you work closely with them to complete projects - they serve as coaches. For example, Middlebrooks was an awesome resource in New Products Lab, and I worked closely with several professors when I did SNVC - they mentored my business throughout and I still catch up with them regularly.


Guest Question: This is a subjective matter but how important is it to live close within close proximity of your classmates?

* Michael Kurt: This is definitely a personal preference, as it is still easy to be engaged in the community and the experience if you don't live nearby.  My wife and I chose to live in Lakeshore East, close to the majority of my classmates.  This has made it convenient to meet for group projects, spend time with friends, access Gleacher, and enjoy so much of what downtown offers.  That said, we have also spent a lot of time in the homes of classmates who live all over the city.


Guest Question: Good Afternoon!  Thanks for taking time for us.  My question can be addressed by anyone.  What do you feel is Booth's greatest asset as a MBA program?

* Emily Ruff: Faculty. The faculty here are the best economists in the world (that's why they win all those Nobel prizes). They're also very accessible and serve as mentors willingly and openly.


Guest Question: Hi, can someone speak to the social life and clubs outside of the academic environment?

* Sana Suh: The social life and clubs are very active here. The Epicurean club and Wine club are huge, but so are other clubs like Dance Club, Booth Partners Club, etc. We also have school-wide events like Spring Fling (our spring formal), Battle of the Bands, Pink Party (LGBTQ+Allies), etc. That's on top of all the birthday parties, random BBQs, etc.


Guest Question: Is LEAD considered the one required course? When do you take it and what did you learn from that course?

* Emily Ruff: Yep it is! You take it during your month-long orientation before 1st year, so it doesn't interfere with your other class selection. My biggest takeaway was the relationships I made with my cohort and my squad


Guest Question: Hi, I'm an early career applicant. I've heard that at some schools, younger MBA students can have trouble fitting in/ getting along with their classmates. What is the general vibe towards younger students at Booth?

* Sana Suh: You would think that younger students would have a harder time fitting in but that's not the case at Booth at all! Honestly, most of the time you don't really know unless they explicitly tell you. Some of the people I most like and respect at Booth have been younger, including a classmate that came straight after undergrad. I worked with him on the New Venture Challenge this quarter and he's great!


Guest Question: My question is for Drew, How did you determine investment banking after being a navy pilot?  Thank you.

* Drew Thomas: I have a few factors that drove me to investment banking: 1. Personal interest in markets and strategy. 2. I feel that I have a few good "finance role models", my sister in particular who has worked in finance at a corporation. 3. Investment Banking has a very similar "up or out" structure.  Therefore, I understand the organization works. 4.  Early in the recruiting process, I talked to a number of second years, across industries, about their internship experiences, and had my views about investment banking confirm. 5. I really enjoyed my internship.


Guest Question: My question is for Faria. Having a business undergraduate degree, what do you feel are the couple key things you gained from your MBA experience at Booth that you couldn't have gained from your business undergrad and previous work experience?

* Faria Jabbar: Thanks for your question!  A couple of things: 1) my undergrad business degree allowed me to gain an academic foundation in the business world. In undergrad, I spent much of my time focused on finance since that was where my interests were at the time. In the working world I quickly pivoted to marketing consulting after realizing I was much more passionate about that! Booth has given me the chance to get a deep academic understanding of marketing which was something I have not had to this point. 2) Second thing Booth has given me is a better understanding of working in teams and managing others. This is something I was beginning to learn in the practical setting of the working world, but being in the Booth environment and learning more about my own leadership style (through classes, LEAD, groups, etc.) has given me a personal development opportunity I haven't had to this point! My undergraduate experience gave me a flavor of this, but with my work experience I'm able to get much more out of these learnings!


Guest Question: Does Booth encourage students to take up cultural and other extra-curricular activities?

* John DeChellis: Absolutely. In fact, it would definitely be odd NOT to be involved in at least a few student groups (cultural groups, professional groups, local charities). I think everyone here understands that business school isn't only about what you learn in the classroom. The networking, the introspection, the experiential learning, the professional development opportunities, the social events, and the cultural outings/explorations in Chicago are all integral pieces of the business school experience.


Guest Question: What has been the most interesting class that you've taken at Booth? Thanks for taking the time to do this!

* Michael Kurt: I loved Building the New Venture!  It was a very experiential course that offered a lot of tangible knowledge and wisdom to apply to a future startup.  The classroom experience was incredibly fun and engaging!


Guest Question: Will there be an opportunity to print out the transcript of this chat or access it for later reference?

* Joanna Zisis: Hello and thanks for joining us tdoay. You can find transcripts here within a few days: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/events/online-chats


Guest Question: What are you doing after Booth? Was your internship or the career services at Booth influenced on this next step?

* Drew Thomas: I am headed to a Bulge Bracket Investment Bank here in Chicago after graduation. The way I would think about it is this:  Career Services is here to help you learn about all the roles you are interested in and prepare you for specific recruiting processes.  Career Services also will help you with those things you might not thought to much about - for instance, we had a three-part LinkedIn best practices class, and an interview best practices class.  As to the internship, it is an opportunity to see if that job is right for you.  My internship was perfect and I knew I wanted to continue full time.  In my mind you are equally as fortunate if you figure out that your internship is not what you want to do - and then Career Services is there to help you find the next opportunity.   Hope that answers it!


Guest Question: Why did you choose to apply to and attend Booth over other programs?

* Emily Ruff: The reputation for strong academics was really important to me as was the flexibility. I had an undergraduate business degree and had worked as a consultant for 7 years, I didn't want to take basic Finance again. Booth allowed me to arrange my schedule to fit my needs.


Guest Question: Did you encounter many people from a restaurant and hospitality background?

* John DeChellis: I met a few, certainly, but since that wasn’t' my area of interest (I'd been pursuing opportunities in Private Equity and Consulting), I'm afraid I didn't come across many. Sorry, I couldn't provide a more helpful answer :/


Guest Question:: Hi, what is your favorite class/professor at Booth and why?

* Emily Ruff: My favorite class is Sports Analytics. It's co-taught be John Huizinga and Keving Murphy. Huizinga is a tried and true UChicago Economist  and he also happened to be Yao Ming's agent. He's hilarious and the class is about a topic I really care about, so that doesn't hurt.


Guest Question: Hello and thank you all for taking our questions! Can anyone speak to the international learning experiences at Booth, and how students are able to market those experiences to land a job or internship abroad?

* Sana Suh: I studied abroad at ESSEC in France this past winter quarter and it was a great experience! Since you have access to professors and a network there I could see how I could have leveraged it into an employment opportunity. I had already accepted an offer before I went so I didn't go down that route, but I do feel like I built a network that will come in handy possibly for the future.


Guest Question: Hi, question for Sara: Wanted to know how similar/different your experience at Booth is compared to Georgetown. Also, how are you using Booth for your careeer progression?

* Sara Raffa: That's a great question. In terms of similarities, there's a similar, tight-knit community of amazingly bright and diverse students. People work hard, but also have fun together, which felt very similar. In terms of differences.... classes are not as stressful thanks to grade nondisclosure. I also found the classes to be very different. I was in the businesss school at Georgetown, so I expected a lot of overlap in material. But I felt like everything I was learning was new to me, and challenging. I also feel like Booth is much more a part of the Chicago community, whereas Georgetown students mostly kept to Georgetown. We all live downtown and explore the city together, which is a great experience.


Guest Question: I see that there are quite a few graduates going to Amazon. What opportunities (e.g. clubs, alumni) are available to individuals who would like to go into the technology or technology consulting track?

* Gaspar Betancourt: The Booth Technology Group is a fantastic resource for those interested in going into Tech. They provide several resources including mock interviews, sample interview questions, and can connect you with people not only in the industry or function you’re interested in, but probably at the specific company you're looking at.


Guest Question: Thanks for chatting with us today. I have a question on retail specifically, for Sara. Coming in with a retail focus, why did you choose Booth? And how did your experience with the coursework and faculty help support you with your ecommerce venture?

* Sara Raffa: Truthfully, I chose Booth because I fell in love with the community and people. It was mostly a gut instinct. However, I did think a lot about the resources in validating my choice. Booth has an awesome retail group (RAL) - lots of fun events and opportunities to connect with companies, alum, etc. And the entrepreneurship resources have been amazing. The staff at Polsky are SO helpful and available, and SNVC was a great experience for my venture, as was Accelerator over the summer. I have also loved that I've gotten to work on my business in my entrepreneurship classes, since a lot of them are mostly experiential learning. Building the New Venture and Entrepreneurial Selling are two great examples.


Guest Question: Hello. What are the most important things to consider when planning for summer internships?

* Joanna Zisis: When students arrive on campus their first day they begin preparing for internship recruiting. It's important students take advantage of opportunities offered via Career Services, as well as their due diligence in determining their overall goals and what internships will make sense for them to pursue.


Guest Question: What would make an applicant the most attractive to Booth? In other words, what areas should be focused on in undergrad?

* Gaspar Betancourt: There is no set formula. We have students with all sorts of different backgrounds. I, for example, studied Political Science in undergrad, worked at an engineering firm, became a TV producer, interested in business development and am going into tech after school. Meanwhile, other students have been in Finance their entire undergrad and professional careers and are continuing in that vein.


Guest Question: Hi, thanks so much for your time today. Can you please share your experience with the Booth Career Center? What types of resources/support do they provide to guide you? Is there anything that they have done that has stood out to you?

* John DeChellis: I obviously don't have experience with other schools' career services, but I would have a hard time believing that any other career services department could be more valuable/helpful/active/incredible than Booths. I genuinely believe that I could pivot to ANY industry or function I could possibly wish to pursue. The resources available here for supporting students during their recruiting journeys are staggering.


Guest Question: What would you say made you a "perfect fit" for Booth when you were applying?

* Emily Ruff: I'm curious. Curiosity is important at Booth because you have full freedom to curate your experience. You pick your own classes, there are 100+ student groups you can join, trips/treks, lunch and learns, etc.


Guest Question: When you started at Booth, how set were you on the career path you wanted to take?  In other words, did you got to Booth knowing you wanted to obtain a specific job in a certain industry or did your experience at Booth inspire you along the way to go into a certain field?

* Faria Jabbar: I was set on a career path in the retail industry but I have since changed paths into brand marketing. Booth provides the opportunity to explore different industries and roles when you arrive (and throughout the full two years here) and I took that opportunity even though I was pretty set on what I wanted to do when I came. After talking to lots of Booth students and Booth alumni in my career paths of interest and taking different marketing courses, I decided to try out an internship in brand marketing instead of the retail industry. Booth certainly inspired me to explore more deeply what I was interested in and take the risk of trying something I didn't originally think to try - I am planning on doing brand marketing now after I graduate!


Guest Question: Is it common for Booth students to switch career post MBA? What kind of resources does Booth provide to help students with the transition?

* Joanna Zisis: Actually almost 85% of students are career switchers. Booth's flexible curriculum, career and academic support allow students to be well-poised for a change in industry.


Guest Question: Is there an option to take electives during 1st year to be able to tailor my first year education to my desired internship?

* Michael Kurt: Yes, you can tailor your first year coursework as you'd like, but some courses require prerequisite core coursework.  I would say that 40% of my coursework in my first year were electives.


Guest Question: Could you talk to us a little about concentrations? How are they chosen, and how do you anticipate using those skills in your career?

* Sana Suh: Almost everyone I know chooses the classes they like and end up picking up concentrations along the way. I'm getting concentrations in marketing management, strategic management, general management, and managerial and organizational behavior and I think it's helped me develop the broad skills needed in going into marketing/general management.


Guest Question: 1. Lauren: @Drew, what about Booth made it the best fit for you? Culture?

* Drew Thomas: Yes, the culture is a very large part of it.  There is a true work hard play mentality here.  The flexibility of the schedule and the location also helped our decision.  But I would not be here if I didn't feel at home here.


Guest Question: Do most of you live near campus or closer to downtown?

* Sana Suh: >60% of students live in the Loop downtown but there's a significant contingent in Hyde Park as well (tends to be students with families). Also, a lot of people live in the South Loop or River North, which are also "downtown" and very close to the Loop


Guest Question: What was the best "soft skill" course you took (i.e. - Management course)?

* Sana Suh: I really liked Negotiations because it allowed me to get a lot of practice negotiating in many different contexts. It was a great way to learn about my own style and get practice in a low stakes setting while getting feedback from my peers.


Guest Question: Sana to go off your previous answer, what resources are available by booth to help you with your startup?

* Sana Suh: There's the Polsky Center (offers an accelerator program, programming, etc.), professors at Booth, judges and coaches that are affiliated with the New Venture Challenge, and many more.


Guest Question:: Have you experienced any problems getting into choice elective classes where there is a high demand for a seat in the class?

* John DeChellis: Absolutely. When you have all-star professors, you naturally encounter high demand for them (I think that would be a bad sign if people didn't get excited over any one!). Our bidding system is about as fair and equitable as it could possibly be though, so you never feel as if you were "unlucky" or at disadvantage when registering for classes.


Guest Question: Michael: How are you doing Today? This question is for you directly. Since you are Financial Analyst, I am assuming you chose Booth for the Quantitative Focus. How has Booth's Quantitative strength helped you to score a Strategy gig? Are these two related anyhow?

* Michael Kurt: Yes, Booth's quantitative focus has definitely served me well, particularly in gaining the modeling, analytical, and valuation experience necessary to succeed in a strategy role.


Guest Question: do you have high level statistics of where Booth students end up after grduation? (i.e. West Coast, East Cost, Midwest, International)

* Joanna Zisis: You can see in great detail where our graduates end up in our Employment Report here: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/


Guest Question: What would you say Booth is looking for in future applicants?

* Joanna Zisis: You can learn more here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/apply/criteria


Guest Question: Did you get time to engage in other activities during first year rather than just studying / doing assignments?

* Drew Thomas: Yes, absolutely.  While I prioritized school work, there was still plenty of time to many other things.  And all of the activities are built around "our" schedule.  So lunch and learns, recruiting, clubs, other outside activities, it all fits.  I will say there is far too much for any one person to do, but you will prioritize and build the experience that you want.  


Guest Question: Hi All. Did anyone change their minds about their post-MBA career plans between when you arrived at Booth and now that you're leaving? If so, did you find that easy to do?

* Gaspar Betancourt: I came into Booth with the idea of going into Brand Management and will be pursuing a position in Tech Consulting after school. Changing your mind once you're at Booth is almost par for the course. Many people explore other opportunities even if many eventually come back to their intended plans. So, in short, it's very easy to change course and there are so many opportunities at Booth that you can definitely find the right fit for you.


Guest Question: Hi guys, thanks for organizing this chat! My question is for Michael. Can you talk about your experience with the Board Fellows Program?

* Michael Kurt: Board Fellows is a really special program.  I served on the board of a local high school in a low-income neighborhood that operates under the corporate work study model.  The school is primarily funded through corporate partners and private donors, and my task was to help build the school's donor strategy.  It was a fantastic opportunity to help an organization that I am passionate about, while gaining exposure to how a non-profit board operates, thinks, and makes decisions.


Guest Question: Hi here, what kind of resources do you see Booth to support for student to set up their own business?

* Sara Raffa: There are SO many resources for entrepreneurs. The staff at Polsky are always available for questions and mentoring. NVC and the Polsky Summer Accelerator are great opportunities to work on your business in a more formal setting - with lots of guidance and support. Plus in a lot of classes, you get to work on your business as part of the class (Building the New Venture, Entrepreneurial Selling, New Venture Strategy, etc etc)


Guest Question: Is it possible to start a new club? If so, what does that look like?

* Gaspar Betancourt: It is! We've had several new clubs in the past two years including Booth Dance Club and Booth Analystics Club. There are also unofficial clubs like the Booth a capella club (Economies of Scale). The process is relatively simple to start a new club and involves having at least 30 members and completing an application and subsequent interview with student life.


Guest Question: Hi, thanks for your time. From a recruitment perspective, what is the weighting you would to each of these and why: GPA (Academic scores) or extra-curricular activities?

* Sana Suh: Since Booth participates in Grade Non-disclosure, GPA does not really factor into recruiting during your time at Booth. Extra-curricular activities, especially involvement with a career-focused student group and participating in the events they put on, is helpful not only in terms of having a better story for recruiters, but also giving you a chance to network with companies.


Guest Question: How much the prior Work Experience helps during the course? And what work experience you think should be best fit for doing MBA at Booth?

* Emily Ruff: I'd say you need some work experience to be able to add value to class discussions. However diverse work experience makes for richer conversations. It's important to hear from non-traditional backgrounds and work experience could include volunteer work, start-ups, military service, etc.


Guest Question: Apart from sitting in on classes and taking part in other admissions events, what would you recommend prospective applicants to do when visiting Booth?

* Faria Jabbar: I highly recommend walking around the Loop and checking out the area most students live in, in order to get a feel for what your life would be like at Booth. 60%+ students live in the Loop area and many live in Millennium Park Plaza: http://www.millenniumparkplaza.com/. I'd also talk to as many people as possible and get a feel for what their Booth Experience has been like - don't be afraid to approach the students you see around you! Everyone is very friendly and so happy to chat / answer questions.


Guest Question: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! What are some of the top resources you've used to pick classes besides the course descriptions?

* Emily Ruff: Second years! There's a culture at Booth that second years love to give back to first years. From before your first day on campus you'll know your random walk leaders, your LEAD facilitators, and many other second years who arrive early on campus to help you with information like this.


Guest Question: Hi, this question is for Faria - what courses have you taken that are tailored to brand management and what has your experience been like with the retail, apparel, and lux group?

* Faria Jabbar: A lot of courses have been great for giving me tools that are very useful for brand management - Data Driven Marketing, Pricing Strategies, Consumer Behavior, and Developing New Products and Services Lab are a few that stick out most to me that have been very useful. The Retail, Apparel, and Luxury Group is a great group for students interested in the industry. Every winter the group goes on a trek to New York to visit companies and learn more about potential opportunities - when I went we visiting companies like LVMH, The Gap, Kohls, Tiffany & Co. and Revlon. The group has continued expanding its presence on campus this year and held its first annual conference featuring some really fantastic industry speakers. (See more here: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/alumni/events/showEvent?eventId=10092) The group is a great way to build a network with Booth students interested in the industry!


Guest Question: Is it normal or expected to pursue full-time employment with a different employer or even different industry than where you interned?

* Sana Suh: It's completely normal to pursue very different opportunities (different employer or industry) for internships vs full-time. As long as you can talk about what you learned and why you're switching gears, recruiters seem to be open, based on my own experience and those of classmates.


Guest Question: Faria: What courses at Booth have helped you use the analytical mindset into marketing? Did you get a chance to intern with a company that helped you frame this quant based bent?

* Faria Jabbar: There are many marketing courses that help students build their analytical marketing chops. Data Driven Marketing with Professor Gunter Hitsch uses real world data to help us learn and apply foundational concepts, like how we can use price elasticity to determine which marketing promotions to use. Pricing Strategies with JP Dube is also an excelling analytical marketing class, where we again use data to apply different strategies to help us determine the optimal price for a product. Last summer I interned at Nestle in brand management, and my coursework definitely helped me do great in my summer project which had a very heavily analytical component to it!


Guest Question: A lot of schools have fixed cohorts/clusters where they do their core classes together in the first year. With Booths flexible curriculum, are there any pre-determined (smaller) cohorts? My question relates in part to the social implications of how the class is split up.

* Sara Raffa: We still have cohorts! I wrote a blog post on this, which you should definitely check out. But to answer briefly, all of us are split into cohorts of ~60 and squads of ~8 students. We take LEAD and career coaching during orientation and the first quarter with our cohort. LEAD also includes a retreat in Wisconsin where you do a ton of fun activities with your squad (and a squad from another cohort). Additionally, every quarter there are fun events that you do w/ your cohort, like trivia night, Booth Olympics. When I was looking at schools, I wanted a strong cohort system because I wanted to get really close to a group of students - but I've found this experience to be way better. You get to know your cohort and definitely get close to the students in your cohort, but you also have the opportunity from day 1 to take classes with lots of new people, including students in the 2nd year class. I feel like I've formed closer friendships with more people because I wasn't constricted to so much with my cohort only.


Guest Question: Best advice from someone you met at Booth?

* Emily Ruff: Always read your emails -- there are tons of really cool events and you don't want to miss the sign-ups.


Guest Question: Would you say there is a different feel to Booth comparing Full Time and Part Time students? Such as Student life?

* Joanna Zisis: Since all Evening and Weekend students are working full-time, there is a bit of a different social feel. Though both programs do have active social calendars and communities, they may differ slightly. There are many events and groups they share, and many that are exclusive to their particular program.


Guest Question: What was the biggest surprise about booth after joining the program?

* Emily Ruff: How collaborative vs. competitive students were. I expected type A students to be more competitive, vying for the top spot. That couldn't be farther from the case. In fact, Booth students are almost competitive about who can collaborate better, which is pretty funny.


Guest Question: What have been some of your best non-academic experiences?

* Emily Ruff: Random Walk, Ski Trip, Booth Follies, and Battle of the Bands are some of my favorites. There are so many social/non-academic events every week! Tonight, I'm going to Booth Olympics a beach olympics tournament. We rent out a beach bar and 400+ Boothies compete in beach volleyball, beach soccer, cornhole, and eating contests. :-)


Guest Question: Booth in Chicago vs. School X in city Y, sell me on Chicago!

* John DeChellis: Oh jeez, I could write a book (or at least a novella) on this topic. It looks like I have four minutes left, so I’ll try to be brief and credible. I spent 8 years in NYC before school, and before coming here, I basically subscribed to that John Updike NYC quote about "People living anywhere else in the world have to be, in some sense, kidding." Having said that, I have been fiercely struggling for the last month to decide whether to go back to New York or stay in Chicago after graduation. I've literally never had such a hard time making a decision in my life. Chicago has an overwhelming number of restaurants, bars, theatres, comedy clubs, parks, beaches, concerts, etc. and I wouldn't have it any other way. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what this city has to offer, and I feel compelled to stay and explore more. Also, Chicagoans also rave about how great the summers are here. I always thought they said that just because it got so cold in the Winter, but they are literally the most beautiful summers.


Guest Question: This question is for Sara. I understand that the NVC provides a plethora of resources. Is there a system for students to connect with others on the start-up who are interested in joining a team? What does this process look like?

* Sara Raffa: Yes - NVC holds events where students can pitch theirs ideas, followed by a networking session. Additionally, once teams are accepted to NVC, emails are sent out with info on all the teams and whether or not they are looking for additional members (which most teams are). There are also less formal processes, like getting to know people through EVC social events or posting on the Facebook group.


Guest Question: What does the healthcare program look like at Booth? Is there a healthcare concentration or presence of student who had previously worked in the healthcare space?

* Joanna Zisis: You may be interested in hearing from Priyanka: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/profiles/#Priyanka1 
You may also learn more about our Certificate in Health Administration Studies here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/joint-degree/certificate-health-administration-policy


Guest Question: Thank you for your time, could you kindly speak to the types of things one should highltight in their essays and whether traditional essays are better than other forms of submissions such as slide decks

* Joanna Zisis: We have offered essay options at Booth for the last couple of years so that an applicant may choose how to best tell their story. We do not have a preference over whether applicants choose essay or slide format. Our 2016 essay will be released in June. Stay tuned!


Guest Question: Do most students travel or leave campus during the weekends? I understand Booth has Friday's off. Does this create a culture of students traveling during the weekends? Do you find yourself fully emerged in the culture and with your peers?

* Sana Suh: Actually, Booth does not have Friday's off. In fact, many great classes are offered on Friday or Monday! There's always something going on in the weekends so it's easy to partake in student culture/life.


Guest Question: Many comments about “why Booth” have been about fit and its culture. What ways are there to validate that as a potential applicant (I assume campus visit is one way, any others?)

* Joanna Zisis: Campus visit is by far the best way, but we also offer worldwide events hosted by both students and alumni. Later this month we will be posting dates for events in over 30 cities around the world..........


Guest Question: How best to reach out to Booth alumni? Would LinkedIn messages be generally acceptable?

* Michael Kurt: Yes - LinkedIn, email, or referral through mutual contacts are acceptable options.  The pay-it-forward culture here is really special, and I’ve found that alumni are generally very willing to help!


Guest Question: Gaspar - Can you elaborate on what you're doing in Tech Consulting and how you ended up going down that route?

* Gaspar Betancourt: There are a lot of opportunities here at Booth. While going through recruiting and talking with your classmates, you learn about different industries and positions and it's common to find something you want to explore a bit more. I learned about Tech Consulting during this process and found that it was a really good fit for me.


Guest Question: What from your previous professional background did you find most useful during your time at Booth?

* Drew Thomas: Hi, thanks for the question!  I think being a great teammate has been a key attribute.


Guest Question: How do you narrow down on a career choice given that at Booth the option to take courses is pretty flexible? Can the vast flexibility be somewhat confusing at times?

* Gaspar Betancourt: The decision to take certain courses can be highly correlated to your career choice or quite the opposite. It depends on the person. If you want to go into Big Data and analytics, you may want to take those relevant courses, but if you want to go into a General Management rotational program, you may want to focus on a wider spectrum of courses. Alternatively, if you're planning on going back to your same industry after school, you may want to explore courses that are in a completely different field in order to have the most breadth of experience. It really depends on you.


Guest Question: Any cut off GMAT score to get in - Be candid please!

* Joanna Zisis: There is no minimum score. You can see our class snapshot here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time#simple2


Guest Question: I want to know what course work you suggest us to complete before attending booth mba

* Emily Ruff: There's really nothing that's necessary to have completed. You might benefit from taking pre-MBA accounting at Booth (it's offered directly before Orientation) if you haven't had much experience with it before.


Guest Question: How accessible are the faculty? Can you give examples?

* Emily Ruff: It honestly depends, but as a whole I've found faculty incredibly engaged with students. For example, each year, faculty auction off their time for dinners, fishing trips, runs and brunch, golf outings, etc. for our Giving Something Back Charity Auction. Personally, I'm working on a start-up, and have found the entrepreneurial faculty (Waverly Deutsch, Steve Kaplan, Craig Wortmann, on and on) incredibly williing to volunteer their time to review pitch decks, challenge financial models, and give strategic advice


Guest Question: What do you recommend for GMAT preparation and in an intership research?

* Sana Suh: GMAT: practice practice practice and try to make a schedule for yourself so that you're not tempted to slack off. The same applies for internship research. Setting aside some time each day or each week to do some research really helps. Also, talk to people in the company to really get a sense of what it's like to work there. Using LinkedIn helps in doing some initial research as well.


Guest Question: How have you worked or collaborated with alumni? How accessible have you found them in the recruitment process, developing your company, or general networking for a specific industry of interest? Are there regularly held events for students to meet with alumni or is this something a student would need to seek out on their own?

* Sana Suh: I and many others I know have worked with alumni in setting events on campus like mock interviews or a lunch talk. Another great way to work with alumni is taking an experiential learning class where the clients are often companies where we have alumni. Alumni have been very accessible at all stages (exploring a career path, preparing for an interview). The ones that are easiest to meet are the ones that work at companies that recruit heavily on campus since they'll be coming to campus anyways, but you can also look at the alumni directory and seek them out on your own.


Guest Question: My question is for Sara. With the example you gave about banking. Wouldn't the same issue exist in terms of getting an internship if you don’t have the relevant experience?

* Sara Raffa: I'm a bit confused by your question, so feel free to ask again if I don't answer it. But it sounds like you're asking whether or not it is difficult to get an internship in banking if you come from a different field? It's definitely possible, and a large portion of students that go into banking come from non-banking and non-finance backgrounds. A lot of banks value the diversity so you may even have a leg up. If you chose to go into banking, there will be endless opportunities to get ready for interviews to ensure you have the knowledge you need for the more difficult interview questions. For example, 2nd year students will prep you and help with mock interviews.


Guest Question: 105. Lauren: How do you feel about your school/life balance at Booth (Especially if you have a partner/spouse)?

* Drew Thomas: That's a great question.  I often tell people I am a stay-at-home-dad who goes to school full time.  You will need to determine how to prioritize/balance these things, and it will be different for everyone.  But overall, my family lives a busy and full life, and most days we would not want it any other way.


Guest Question: When is the best time of year to visit campus?

* Sana Suh: The best time of the year is spring or fall because of the weather and because there are so many events going on. But guests are welcome anytime!


Guest Question: Random Walk sounds like something I would want to participate in. For those of you that participated in it, can you please comment on your experience? What did you enjoy most?

* Gaspar Betancourt: Random walk was one of my best experiences at Booth. I went to Thailand with 17 other students and had an amazing time. When going into a new program, it was great to be able to spend a week learning about a different culture with a bunch of people that have become and remain my close friends. I would recommend to anyone considering going on Random Walk to do it without question.


Guest Question: Is it common for students to work part time at Chicago during the academic year?

* Michael Kurt: Yes, some students choose to pursue part-time internships as an avenue for full-time opportunities or as a means to gain experience in a particular field.  Through the PE Lab, I have actually been interning for a local private equity firm this quarter - one of my most valuable experiences at Booth.


Guest Question: Does Booth offer the opportunity to take interesting classes outside the MBA program? Say I found a a graduate course on neuroscience interesting, could I somehow work that into my schedule or take it in addition to my normal schedule?

* Emily Ruff: Yes! You can take classes at many other schools including the college. At least 5 of my classmates have taken neuroscience PhD classes specifically that I know of.

Guest Question: This question I believe would be best suited for Sana, unless any others lived and worked in Chicago prior to starting at Booth. Have there been any challenges when trying to balance your old life and netowrk while becoming fully integrated into the Booth culture and student body ? Have you found students who previously lived and worked in Chicago to be any less involved in the Booth community due to their prior network or preexisting living set ups?


* Sana Suh: It can be challenging but I think it's all about balance. If I feel like I've been sucked into the Booth bubble and haven't seen my other friends in a while, I really try to meet up with them and making sure I've still maintaining my friendships. I know a lot of other people that previously lived in Chicago and I don't feel like any of us were less involved in the Booth community because of that.


Guest Question: What are the weekends like in Booth?

* Gaspar Betancourt: There is no simple answer to this. From school-wide events to class trips, weekends are anything but uniform. We are a pretty tight-knit community with widely varying interests, so there is always something to do on the weekends.


Guest Question: I have a low GPA because my university traditionally marked low in humanities subjects (which I majored in). How do I explain to adcom that I was among the top 25% in my class even though my GPA is low (everyone got a low GPA in my subject areas)?

* Joanna Zisis: Not to worry, the admissions committee is very well versed in international education systems and grading scales.


Guest Question: How much travelling do you do during your MBA? Both as part of a class (eg. field trips) and outside of class?

* Emily Ruff: I'd say I travel 3-4 weekends a quarter on average. Generally this travel is with other Booth students. I'm probably about average. Some people travel 6+ weekends a quarter. My favorite trip were a tie between the Random Walk I led in China this year, Booth Ski Trip 2016 in Aspen, and Spring Break 2015 in Colombia with 90+ Boothies.


Guest Question: Is there a way we can print all the information from this chat session so that we may save it for review again later?

* Joanna Zisis: Transcripts will be available here with the next few days: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/events/online-chats


Guest Question: Could you elaborate more on the Random Walk? what usually does people do in Random walk? Where did the random walk go 2015-2016?

* Emily Ruff: There are usually ~30 random walks each year they go all over the world. What people do varies by the location. Some are focused on culture, nightlife, beach, active, etc.


Guest Question: How do you like the quarter system at Booth? Both advantages and disadvantages would be super helpful

* Emily Ruff: I prefer it to semesters because you can take more classes. I would go a step further to highlight the 1/2 quarter classes Booth is offering as of this year. This gives you even more opportunities to explore, learn, and meet new awesome professors and students


Guest Question: Is there any way you think it is possible to describe an "average" MBA student at Booth?

* Faria Jabbar: It's hard to describe an "average" Booth student because I don't think there is one! Booth students are very diverse and come from so many different backgrounds. I will say that certain things do unite students at Booth - a desire to ask questions, a desire to search for answers, and passion/drive for making things happen.