Full-Time MBA

Live Chat with OUTreach

Chat live with members of Booth's student organization OUTreach, working to advance social and professional opportunities for LGBT students and allies of the Chicago Booth community, as well as to continually foster a more diverse environment at the University of Chicago. The discussion will be about their Booth experience and how it has made an impact on their careers. Learn more about how each student is navigating academics and recruiting, as well as the dynamic and supportive community at Booth.

Chat Transcripts 

Guest Question:  Hi, will there be a transcript or video of this chat after the session?
* Austin Fang:  Yes, you can find a link to the transcripts at https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/events/online-chats

Guest Question:  Hello, everyone, here is Feng from Germany.
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hello! Welcome! Happy to respond to your questions.

Guest Question:  Can you tell us about a day in the life of a Booth student?  Including approximate weekly hours spent outside of class on case studies/group meetings/outside groups
* John Frame:  A day in the life of a Boothie is not always easy to characterize. One of the great things about Booth is that it is a place where you get to forge your own path--build the trajectory you see fit for yourself. So, students are always doing different things and exploring all that the school has to offer. For me, time varies depending on the course or the activity I'm involved in. Most courses might take about 5 hours of work per week and others can take more depending on whether they are lab courses or more traditional case/lecture courses. I typically spend on average about 4-5 hours per class doing homework or meeting with a study group. I am very involved in the social landscape, so that can vary depending on the week. I am an editor for the school newspaper so some weeks are busier. I am also an admissions representative, so it depends on how many visits we have, etc. The biggest skill to learn here is how to prioritize and use your time effectively to reach your goals and support your classmates

Guest Question:  Hello there! Thanks for taking time to organize this session. I would like to know about how feasible it is to get externships and part time job opportunities during the 2 year MBA? Is it recommended to pursue these or do they act as distraction from the core curriculum?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! It is definitely feasible, Booth has great Career Services support, and it will depend on your objectives as a 2Y. Probably if you already have an offer for Full-Time job, a part time job would be useful. There are many things you can do on your 2Y at Booth, so you will have to pick and choose accordingly. 

Guest Question:  Would you share some OUTreach events and activities with us? Which kind of role does OUTreach play in the school, and did OUTreach have an impact on your decision to joining Booth? How do you describe the Booth community and the students? Thank you.
* Austin Fang:  OUTreach is responsible for most of the LGBT programming on campus. From sharing "coming out stories" for National Coming Out Day to volunteering for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago for World AIDS Day to Pink Party in the spring, we are very active in engaging our allies at school. OUTreach actually had a tremendous impact on why I chose Booth because I wanted to be at a business school with a strong LGBT presence. The Booth community is super welcoming and accepting, and I've no regrets about my decision. Please see my blog post for The Booth Experience for more details about being LGBT at Booth and my personal experiences. Thanks! http://theboothexp.com/2016/10/my-mbgay-experience/

Guest Question:  Hi! Thanks for hosting this. How was the transition from working full time to going to school full time?
* Austin Fang:  It definitely took an adjustment period to adjust to the pace and busy schedule of business school. Having moved from NYC, I thought I was used to having a crazy busy schedule. However, I think one of the major differences is the irregularity of the schedule. Adjusting to set work hours from Monday through Friday to a variable class and group meeting schedule across the week was definitely difficult. However, after an adjustment period, it is definitely doable as you slowly get the hang of it.

Guest Question:  Hi, what makes the culture of Booth special and distinct from that of other MBA programs?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! Booth has a strong "pay it forward culture," we all help each other. For example as a first year  you'll get a lot of support from second years, looking for classes, recruiting, etcetera. Also, it's a very open and inclusive environment, as one of the OUTreach's co-chair, and as an international student I've felt totally welcomed.

Guest Question:  I am curious about participation by non-LGBT students in OUTreach at Booth. Is there a strong presence of allies? Additionally, is there a strong sense of support for LGBT students in general at Booth?
* John Frame:  I am happy to say that OUTreach is incredibly active this year. We have already had several events to support our classmates with understanding what it means to be an ally and how to get involved. One example is our National Coming Out Day celebration where we had allies and LGBT-identified students share their "coming out" stories. Allies were able to pledge their support, wear stickers, and attend the event. Also, we have an allyship component to our OUTreach club and they receive our newsletter and invite to our events.

Guest Question:  Do you do any volunteer or Outreach activities with Inspiration Corporation or TLP, both of which are nonprofits in Chicago?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! No, we haven't done any volunteer activities with Corporation or TLP, but we're always open to other students' initiatives.

Guest Question:   Hi, I'd be curious to hear a bit more about LGBT life on campus maybe to get us started?
* Austin Fang:  LGBT life at Booth is definitely strong and vibrant. This year, the LGBT population accounts for 5% of the entire student population, which is higher than the national MBA average of 3%. We are all very active on campus and involved in all aspects of the student experience such as student government, club co-chairs, and career advisors. Please see my blog post for Booth Admissions on why I chose Booth, why I chose to be out at Booth, and some of the activities I've been involved with: http://theboothexp.com/2016/10/my-mbgay-experience/

Guest Question:  What does typical involvement in OUTreach look like (e.g. in terms of weekly hours and social/networking opportunities)?
* Austin Fang:  Typical involvement in OUTreach is a personal preference. Some people are extremely active and help with organizing and planning events for the whole school (ex: telling "coming out" stories at National Coming Out Day). While others are more comfortable being silent observers on the groupme chat. It honestly depends on your comfort level and how active you want to be on campus. If you want to know more about some of the things I was involved with during my first year, please check out my blog post for Booth Admissions: http://theboothexp.com/2016/10/my-mbgay-experience/

Guest Question:  Could you share some about shaping the overall educational experience at Booth for an individual?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Sure! Everything will depend on your background, starting from there, you'll decide which classes to take in order to invest time only on the things you want to learn. You will also join professional student groups to reinforce your skills according to your recruiting interests. Also there are always a lot of conferences with recognized speakers that will add to your educational experience.

Guest Question:  How connected is the gay community at Booth?
* John Frame:  I'm happy to say that this is one thing I love about our group this year--we are vibing really well! We have a great presence among the student body with nearly 50 students and we plan several events that engage one another and the larger ally community. We just had a National Coming Out celebration with sharing ally and LGBT coming out stories, and we are gearing up for our fall retreat where we are renting a house in Illinois and doing a bunch of bonding and planning for the year! This will always depend on the group of people, so each year will be different. The goal is to ensure that we model best practices for the next group to learn from!

 Guest Question:  How is the best way to present you are diverse in application for booth and also employers without coming off as trying to use the gay-card exactly?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: For Booth you can check one of the LGBTQ check boxes, and what I do with employers is adding to my resume that I belong to OUTreach LGBT club. Also, companies are interested in diversity, so they will reach out to our club to meet LGBT students.

Guest Question:  Hi All. Thank you for hosting this. Can you talk more in details for the various activities OUTreach supports and how they engages MBA students along with allies?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! Sure! We organize educational events such as lunch and learns to engage allies, for example this past Tuesday we had our "Coming out Stories LnL," we host the Pink Party to promote awareness, we have quarterly retreats for LGBTQ members, a Pink LPF, which is Booth's function on Friday's after class, brunches, etc.

Guest Question:  how did coming out help you during your program at Booth?
* John Frame:  Hmmm... That's a big question! I and many others feel incredibly comfortable sharing our sexual orientation with our classmates. I wrote about it in my application actually, which was something I think the Booth admissions team appreciated--they like when candidates are honest about what is important to them and who they are. So, in many ways, I am just who I've always been. I can't really hide that anymore because it feels so good to be myself. :)

Guest Question:  Hi Everyone. Thank you for organizing this discussion. I would like to understand that in what capacity can we contribute to the OUTreach Program? How has your experience been within the Booth LGBTQ Community?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! Sure, my experience within the LGBTQ community at Booth, as one of OUTreach's co-chair has been amazing, coming from Mexico I didn't expect such a safe and supportive environment. I would say the sky is the limit, if you want to be involved with OUTreach, there's still a lot to do. For example, we're getting more and more allies, and more people interested in learning how to help.

Guest Question:  What is very special about booth MBA?
* Austin Fang:  The main thing I love about Booth is the people that are here. I have found all my classmates and friends to be very approachable and they truly believe in the "pay it forward" culture that we are known for. No matter what time of day it is or how busy they are, my classmates are always willing to help out whether it's for classes, recruiting, or extracurricular!

Guest Question:  I'm interested to know how many of your MBA candidate colleagues come from non-traditional backgrounds.
* Joanna Zisis, Admissions: You can actually view our class profile at the bottom of this page: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time#simple2

Guest Question:  Are there any campus visit days that are specifically for LGBT students? If so, how do those campus visits differ from the more general campus visit?
* John Frame:  Yes! We are having our Diversity Day on November 18th. If you are on our admissions mailing list, you will receive a message soon with how to sign up. You can also go to our admissions page and check to see if the registration link is live. If not, it will be soon! OUTreach will have a HUGE presence on that day and we hope to see you there! Also, when you visit the campus at any point and indicate that you are LGBTQ, your name will come directly to...ME! And I will reach out to you and assign a lunch buddy from OUTreach who will either meet you on campus for complimentary lunch or set up coffee or a call. We are super flexible, but make sure you make your status known so that we know who you are! Thanks so much!

Guest Question:  Could you talk a little about your recruiting experience? I know that OUTreach partners with certain firms to have additional events and socials.
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! Sure, firms have LGBTQ networks that reach out directly to us in order to meet the LGBTQ students interested in recruiting for their company. I recruited for consulting and had the opportunity to attend to receptions, workshops, coffee chats specifically for the LGBTQ community, it is a smaller group so you get more exposure. 

Guest Question:  Does OUTreach also discuss the participation of LGBT students in the market/workplace after they graduate?
* John Frame:  This is something that we are trying to do more and more. We recently joined forces with other MBA programs to sign a petition to advocate that nearly 30 US states adopt non-discrimination policies where sexual orientation and gender identity are included. This is a great start for us. We want to have more guest speakers throughout the year as well and invite our allies to be a part of the discussion as much as possible.

Guest Question:  Hi, is there cohort team concept in Booth that students with different background will be assigned to form a team and work on projects together throughout Y1?
* Joanna Zisis, Admissions: Chicago Booth assigns cohorts for our only required class, which is LEAD. However, you are not defined to cohorts for the rest of your academic experience, so that each student may fully take advantage of our flexible curriculum.

Guest Question:  Hi thanks for hosting! Are there any interactions between recruiters and OUTreach? Like are companies interested in talking to students from the OUTreach groups to talk about diversity and inclusion at their own firms?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! Definitely, we have a Professional co-chair who is in charge of connecting firms to the students interested in getting to know them better/recruiting with them. Companies organize receptions, coffee chats, workshops, etcetera specifically for OUTreach in order to discuss LGBTQ matters and their recruiting process, all the support!!

Guest Question:  Can you please share a bit about what makes the student body and campus life at Booth stand out from other schools? It seems like you can get a great academic experience at many institutions so what makes the people special at Booth?
* Austin Fang:  Booth is an incredibly open and accepting environment. I have found all my classmates and friends to be very approachable and they truly believe in the "pay it forward" culture that we are known for. No matter what time of day it is or how busy they are, my classmates are always willing to help out whether it's for classes, recruiting, or extracurriculars! In respects to LGBT life here, I have found the entire student body to be accepting and open. For more details, please refer to my blog post: http://theboothexp.com/2016/10/my-mbgay-experience/

Guest Question:  Could you talk about if there are any treks hosted by OUTreach and if it is integrated into the LEAD program?
* Austin Fang:  I'm not sure what you mean by treks. There are professional treks hosted by each of the industry student groups such as Tech Trek, Marketing Trek, Start Up Trek, etc. For travel and OUTreach, we attend the ROMBA conference, EurOut, Out Women in Business and ROMBA LGBT MBA Leadership Summit every year. Also, we have a club retreat every year for some internal group bonding. This is not at all integrated into the LEAD program because that is completely unrelated.

Guest Question:   What is something you wish you had known before starting school at Booth?
* John Frame:  I'll answer in two parts. 1) I wish I had known that Booth was such a dynamic community well before I started to apply to schools. I was an undergrad here at UChicago and had some sense, but that was a while ago! I discovered Booth later in my school research tenure and once I visited I realized that all of the rumors about who we are just aren't full true. They tell a small part of the picture. I urge you to visit. You'll likely be pleasantly surprised! 2) In general, I wish I had thought more deeply about my career interests. It's easy to get caught up in the hype of things and run with the herd. I urge you to think through career opportunities and even try to do a pre-MBA internship to see if you are on the right path professionally. Thank you for your question!

Guest Question:  Does Booth OUTreach participate in external LGBT events such as the ROMBA Conference?
* Austin Fang:  Yes, we actually just sent 25 students to ROMBA this past weekend! In addition, we also participate in EurOut, the Out Women in Business Conference, and the ROMBA LGBT MBA Leadership Summit.

Guest Question:  Hi, could each of you share why you chose Booth?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: I chose Booth because of its flexible curriculum and academic rigor, but what made me fall completely in love with Booth, was its supportive alumni community, all the people to whom I talked were really helpful and interested in my success with my application. 

Guest Question:  Are there LGBT leaders in the industry you have been able to access thanks to being part of the Outreach group? Can you provide a few examples?
* John Frame:  Yes! OUTreach has corporate sponsors from several companies like Bain & Co and Accenture, etc, who provide financial assistance to our group and serve as resources for our students, mostly professionally. All of the Reaching OUT MBA Conference companies contact our student leaders and they funnel information to students. It's cool that many companies are reaching out to OUTreach directly to connect and let us know they are interested in having folks like us on their teams. I've attended a number of LGBTQ events with firms last year. The connection is only growing stronger!

Guest Question:  Do members of OUTreach involve in non LGBTQ activities such as business contests (as part of OUTreach) as well?  Or usually they would do that outside of OUTreach?
* Austin Fang:  Being a part of OUTreach does not preclude you from participating in other activities on campus just like being gay does not completely define you. All members of OUTreach are incredibly active in other aspects of the Booth experience such as student government, case competitions, and social events. I'm not sure what you are referring to for business contests, but you can definitely choose your own teams for case competitions, so they can include LGBT students from OUTreach or not.

Guest Question:  Can you share a profound Booth moment or experience and how has it impacted your life ?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Sure! For me, as an international student being part of the OUTreach club as a co-chair has made me grow a lot. I didn't expect to have such a supportive and open community in which I would feel as comfortable as I do. This weekend I participated at ROMBA's annual Conference as part of the Organizing Committee, and I had a very profound moment hosting a panel on Unconscious Bias, I felt I could never go back to the closet or back to hiding in Mexico, and this confident is thanks to Booth.

Guest Question:  Not a question but a shout out to Austin, I read your blog post this morning, it's very informative and inspiring.
* Austin Fang:  Awww...thanks! I'm really glad you enjoyed it!

Guest Question:  For Austin: This part of your blog is amazing: "They also worked with Career Services to create a new initiative requiring all companies that recruit on campus to disclose their official company policy regarding sexual orientation and gender identity."
* Austin Fang:  Yes, it's something that we're really proud of! We've received so much support from the administration, and we're so thankful. I just want to give a quick shout out to Julie Morton from Career Services as well as so many other people from the Booth administration such as Stacey Kole, the Dean of Full-Time MBA Program, Jessica Jaggers, Director of Student Life, and everyone from Admissions for all their support for promoting LGBT diversity at Booth.

Guest Question:  Thank you for answering out questions! I also wanted to know what does the collaborative environment mean to you personally and how that has shaped your experience at Booth?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: For me the collaborative environment at Booth has made a huge difference. When looking at MBA programs I was afraid I would get into a competitive environment in which I wouldn't find people willing to help me because we're all competing for an internship, for a job, etcetera, but at Booth we all help each other, 2Y mentor 1Y, we all share knowledge from our backgrounds, everyone is interested in what you need to share.

Guest Question:  Why is an LGBTQ community important in a business school and professional environment? I'm sorry for this question, but I come from a country where being gay will still be looked down upon
* Austin Fang:  Thank you for your question. I completely understand where you are coming from as I grew up in a very traditional Asian household and my parents wonder if being out has hurt my chances at recruiting. However, I believe it is important to live life honestly and truthfully. The reason it is so important to live openly in school is that it allows my classmates to associate a face and a name with an LGBT person in their life. I’m hoping that through their positive interactions with me, my classmates will support and promote LGBT initiatives after leaving Booth, whether as an important C-suite executive at a Fortune 100 company or as a small business owner. I hope that they will stand up for an LGBT co-worker should they ever witness discrimination. Additionally, there are many opportunities available to support LGBT MBA students. You can read more about it at my blog post for Booth Admissions: http://theboothexp.com/2016/10/my-mbgay-experience/

Guest Question:  B-school helps in forming academic knowledge, but soft skills have you also gained and how?
* John Frame:  Soft skills are formed and strengthened each day in and outside of the classroom. There are some formal opportunities through LEAD, Booth Career Services programming, student group leadership, campus community leadership, and of course through group work in class. There are tons of opportunities to join student groups focused on helping you build public speaking, networking, and leadership skills. If you want it, it's likely here!

Guest Question:  How approachable are the alumni?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Alumni are 100% approachable, we have access to an alumni directory in which we can find their contact information and reach out to them directly.

Guest Question:  Hi! You mentioned support to a local HIV related institution. I wonder what other social impact activities you foster.
* John Frame:  Our major focus has not been social impact work, but we definitely want to change this moving forward. We have partnered with the African-American MBA Association to support "wear black" day in protest of excessive police violence in the African-American/Black community. One of our awesome co-chairs wrote a great article in Chicago Business newspaper about the evolving meaning of "allyship" (http://www.chibus.com/). We also pooled together our collective resources to ensure that our annual winter formal charity was an LGBTQ advocacy/resource center called Chicago House. So we are improving. We hope that new students will continue to grow our reach. Thank you!   

Guest Question:  Hi all! Thank you for hosting! I'd like to know if OUTReach works with other clubs/organizations (Chicago Women in Business, for example) for some activities/events. Thank you!
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! We do partner with other Booth clubs, for example we're planning a joint event with Armed Forces this winter during Mental Health week, our President wrote an Allyship article on http://www.chibus.com/ for AAMBAA, and we're definitely open to organizing events with CWIB as well.

Guest Question:  Do you have any recommendation for international students seeking to apply to Booth?
* Joanna Zisis, Admissions: You can learn more about international student admissions here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/international

Guest Question:  How competitive/collaborative is the culture in Booth?
* John Frame:  I like to say that Boothies are always interested in helping one another. At the end of the day, the Booth degree is only as strong as what our classmates do with it. So, there is always a benefit for us to help each other because if one person succeeds, we all benefit from that. It's a pay it forward mentality here. We know that getting ahead and making impact can't be done alone, so we are invested in our classmates' endeavors because we want to see Boothies succeed. Many classes require study groups and student groups are very active on campus. There are plenty of opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. The UChicago "Life of the Mind" mantra is true here at Booth. We learn most when we are interacting and debating outside of the classroom. Healthy competition and keeps us all on our toes being the best we can for ourselves and of course, our brand.

Guest Question:  I saw some material about various MBA programs and how they fare for LGBT students. I don't recall reading a high ranking for Booth, but ever since reaching out to the OUTreach club (and everything mentioned in this post) my mind is changed. Booth seems like a great school for LGBT professionals. Are you doing anything to market that further? Are there any metrics that can help boost the reputation? Thanks!
* Austin Fang:  I'm not sure what material you are referring to or when it has been updated, but Booth is definitely a great school for LGBT professionals. I do think that we have made considerable progress in the past two years, so it may not be reflected in the sources you have found. We are definitely trying to market ourselves better. We started an instagram account: www.instagram.com/outreachbooth, and I recently wrote a blog post for the official Booth Admissions blog: http://theboothexp.com/2016/10/my-mbgay-experience/ that was shared by Reaching Out MBA (the LGBT MBA non-profit organization). We can definitely do a bit better on the Friend Factor survey for next year, but I think it's more important what the actual physical experience is than what any metrics say. I highly recommend for you to do a campus visit to experience it for yourself.

Guest Question:  What are some themes you find within your student body that is consistent where you think, 'aw, I see why they are here', outside of the paying it forward?
* John Frame:  I feel that way ALL THE TIME! I rarely have a moment where I think "How did this person get here?" In the beginning, I think we all sort of look around at the other 585 new students and think "Was I the one that slipped in but shouldn't really be here?" It's just a testament to the caliber of our student body. It's not that everyone had a 750 GMAT or was a rocket scientist (there are those), but that everyone is so passionate about something. We love learning, but we also love having fun. And that balance makes us well-rounded and incredibly great to be around. We have a question on the wall that you can see every day walking down the stairwell in Harper Center that asks "Why are you here and not somewhere else?" I think about this often and I have come to realize I can't imagine myself anywhere else at this moment.  We have a sort of "humble brag". We don't feel the need to boast our accomplishments or that we go to Booth. We'd much rather connect with folks on a deeper level.

* John Frame:  Thanks so much everyone! It was so much fun chatting with you all. What great questions to keep us thinking as we continue to grow the LGBTQ presence here at Booth. Please reach out if you want to connect more and continue to read our TheBoothExp.com blog!

Guest Question:  Do you have any words of wisdom for us as we go through the admissions process?* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: I know you might have heard (read) this from a lot of people, but it worked for me, be authentic! Don't be afraid of showing who you really are, understand how an MBA from Booth will take you to where you want to be, have a very clear story of your past experience + Booth = your objectives, and what you bring to Booth's community as well.

Guest Question:  Hi all! What do your weekends look like? Are there any preset activities or does it depend from student to student?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! Other than some classes intended for the weekend program (which you can also take as part of the Full-Time program,) weekends are free, you can do whatever you want in this amazing city. Some of the student life groups will host events on the weekends, for example we might organize Gaysgiving on a Saturday, Pink Party is also on a Saturday, there are Conferences as well, so it will depend on what you want to be involved with, but there's nothing mandatory.

Guest Question:  With how many organizations can a student realistically be involved with, understanding each person has their own limits, what is the average and the level of involvement one can have? There are three organizations I am focused in and uncertain if it is too ambitious to hold leadership roles in those respective organizations.
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Hi! Which organizations are you interested in? It will depend on which clubs you're thinking on, you can definitely be an active member to several groups, but holding a leadership position as a co-chair of more than I would say 2 groups would be challenging due to time constraints, there are a lot, a lot of activities you can do at Booth, so you want to be conscious of what will add more value to your MBA experience.

Guest Question:  Does a senior student helps as a mentor for a one on one guidance ?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: Yes, for example I currently have 5 1Y mentees from different groups, 2 from OUTreach, 1 from LATAM group, etc. You can also participate as a career advisor helping with resume reviews, in general mentorship, etc.

Guest Question:  Apart from the clubs and classes, what other kind of activities can one engage in?
* Marcela García Peña Silveyra: There's Random Walk, which is a trip before starting school with around 20 people, you can volunteer as a LEAD facilitator, as part of the Admissions team, career or academic services advisors, art and architecture tours in school, Follies, UChicago LGBTQ campus activities, and many more things!

Guest Question:  Do you like the weather in Chicago?
* Austin Fang:  Having interned in Chicago this summer, Chicago summers make the winters worthwhile. Also, it's really not that bad if you bring a thick winter jacket and some snow boots!