Full-Time MBA

Virtual Events
Diversity Events

The Booth Experience Live Chat

Chat live with The Booth Experience student bloggers as they begin the first quarter of their second year at Booth. 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: What would be the one thing you would advise an incoming Booth student?

* Ray Liu:  Prioritize ruthlessly! So many opportunities will open up for you and there is no way you can get all of them.


Guest: Good Afternoon everyone and thanks for your time on this chat. Could you dwell on how the LEAD program has helped you develop as a leader with a couple of specific examples.

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Lead has been great in helping me understand more about myself. Through activities, you understand your natural tendencies, teamwork style, strengths and weaknesses in various situations. It’s one of the courses that’s entirely dependent on you – the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it

Guest: Can you share three things that: you love about Booth and three things

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Three things I love about Booth are the people, resources and curriculum. The people are authentic, smart, driven and each one has an amazing background before they came to Booth. There are a ton of resources to help you professionally and personally – career services, clubs etc. The professional ones can be found on the website easily. But on the personal front, the clubs are a great way to meet classmates. Lastly, I absolutely love the flexibility curriculum because I’ve been able to study courses that I wanted to, when I wanted to


Guest: If you could change something about Booth, what would it be?

* Oma Nwabudike: The one thing I would change about booth is the length of time spent on the LEAD program. I'd like it to be longer just the half a quarter and that’s because there is so much learning that comes with it


Guest: What has most surprised you about your Booth experience?

* Ray Liu:  My biggest surprise was how many resources you can access to the entrepreneurial world here. A lot of people think that Booth is a finance school but the entrepreneurship community is really strong


Guest: Would you mind describing more about what you like the most at Booth the lifestyle at Chicago, and what you love at classroom?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: In the classroom, I like that there's no one format of teaching at Booth, which helps me flex different communication styles and skills. Living in downtown Chicago is great - it's full of activity, diverse restaurants and things to do. Drinking my morning coffee while gazing out over Millennium Park is a great start to my morning every day!


Guest: What do you think most distinguishes Booth from other programs?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: The biggest distinguishing factor is the open academic curriculum.  I like that I don't have to take classes I feel I've already taken in the past, and I don't have to take them in any prescribed order.  Helps me focus my schedule on what I want to learn about.


Guest: What has been your favorite class at Booth and why?

* Austin Fang: My favorite class at Booth has been Negotiations with Anuj Shah. He is very entertaining in the way he teaches the material. In addition, every week, we share our personal experiences with negotiating. Lastly, he's very humble in that he shares his own positive and negative negotiation experiences.


Guest: Good afternoon! Do you have any recommendations for places to visit or sights to see on campus?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: One of the benefits of going to Booth is being on the UChicago campus. There are a ton of events that other grad schools host that you can also attend as a Booth student. If you're visiting campus, I highly recommend checking out Ida Noyes which is right next to Harper. Students often head to the pub there after class. Other places to check out are Rockefeller Chapel, Regenstein Library and the massive Gerald Ratner Athletic Center


Guest: Hi, hope you're doing well and thanks for doing this. I have a question in regards to Chicago and Entrepreneurship. Wondering what the city or areas near Chicago offer in terms of entrepreneurship? How does Chicago Booth get involved?
* Ray Liu:  At Booth we have the Polsky Center which gives you all sorts of support and access if you want to bring a business idea to live. A few examples I went through are ICorp and NVC. Beyond that, the new Polsky innovation exchange is one of the most vibrant incubators in Chicago. It is on 53rd street so really close to the school.  We also work closely with the 1871 downtown and really involved in all of the events like Seedcon etc


Guest: Hello, thanks for your time to talk with us! My first question is related to social impact opportunities! I would like to hear from you about social activities that you have been involved since the beginning of your MBA program?

* Oma Nwabudike: There are a lot of social impact activities, I have not personally been to a lot but I have attended the Big Problems, Big ideas series. It brings students and guest speakers together to discuss social issues and offer solutions. The SEI has multiple weekly events and you can attend as you deem fit


Guest: How is your experience as a Booth student in Chicago? What are the interesting things you will suggest anyone to do once you are in Chicago?

* Austin Fang: One thing I love about Booth is the fact that the school is located on a beautiful campus in Hyde Park, but most of the student body actually lives downtown in The Loop. This really gives you the best of both worlds where you can have access to great facilities but still have the flexibility and option to explore Chicago. I was fortunate enough to intern in Chicago this summer, so I was able to explore a lot of different neighborhoods and do a lot of new things. Check out my experiences here: http://theboothexp.com/2016/07/chicago-through-the-eyes-of-a-pokemon-go-trainer/


Guest: I've heard some people say (not from Booth) that most MBAs are the same and the school doesn't really matter. What sets Booth apart from other MBA programs?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: I can't speak to other programs but Booth's strong culture, community of people and amazing resources are its assets and what makes the program unique


Guest: For anyone whose career plans changed once they got to business school, what role did Booth specifically play?

* Austin Fang: When you first start at Booth, they really encourage you to look at all the different options that a Booth degree affords you. During Orientation, you attend Industry Immersion where you have the opportunity to learn about different industries and roles that Booth alum have landed in after school. If this changes your original plans, Booth's Career Center as well as the Student Groups are very helpful in helping connect you with other students and alumni who have made similar transitions. No matter how strange the transition, you are sure to find a couple people who have made similar transitions who can guide you through the process.


Guest: How Booth community helps new students to learn various things to prepare oneself ready from Day 1 in the campus?

* Oma Nwabudike: There is a Facebook group for first and second year students that gets created during the summer before first years get to campus and second years are very quick with providing assistance and answering questions before school begins. Also, a lot of the affinity groups meet before campus.


Guest: Good afternoon, I have a question for current students, what was the most difficult part of the application process?

* Oma Nwabudike: The most difficult part of the application process for me was the recommendations. It was out of my control. Other than that, the only thing I found difficult was talking about non-professional achievements in my EC.


Guest: What do you think is the key culture of Booth?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: I think a key trait is the pay it forward mentality. Booth students are extremely driven, and very conscious about paying it forward. For example, my Random Walk leaders (second years) really spent time to plan our trip to Ireland to ensure us first years had a great time. Many second years were immensely helpful in guiding me in making the right career and company choices which was very useful during recruiting for internships and jobs. Plus, you can’t beat the alumni network – alums are dialed in and always happy to chat, even 4-5 years out of the program!


Guest: I know that Booth does not have a traditional cohort system like some schools, but you do have cohorts and squads for LEAD. How many of those people in your initial squad or cohort do you feel that you really bonded with and stayed close to during the remainder of your time at Booth?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: I've made good friends within my squad as well as my cohort, but I wouldn't necessarily say that everyone I met in that process stayed as part of my inner circle.  That being said, it's always helpful to see a familiar face around Harper from time to time!


Guest: Hello All! Thanks for taking your time in answering questions for us. My post-MBA career goal is in VC area. What kind of opportunities can I pursue at Booth? I have tech experience.

* Ray Liu:  The VC lab and VCIC competitions are great if you want to do VC in the future. To be able to participate in the VC lab, you have to find a part-time internship while studying in the classroom, getting a good combination of both theory and practical exposures. We also have a really active EVC club that organizes a lot of events. I think there are also PE/VC treks. Personally I think the best way to learn it is to participate NVC too where you can listen how real world investors grill us on the spot ☺


Guest: How do you decide which classes to take?

* Austin Fang: A lot of my decisions were based on what classes I was interested in. From there, I would narrow it down based on reviews from my classmates. Last year, I was able to ask my second year friends which classes they recommended to take before they graduated. Additionally, we have a resource called BoothBook that compiles the overall rating / review for every class.


Guest: Hi, I would like to know a little bit more about booth collaborative culture. How big is the importance of teamwork within the mba experience?

* Oma Nwabudike: Teamwork is very important. A lot of the academic and group work is done in groups so you need to be able to work effectively in teams to be able to enjoy your MBA experience. More important for Booth because we work a lot in teams and we expect our classmates to collaborate with us inside and outside the classroom


Guest: What do you think makes Booth students different than the other elite programs (personalities, interests..etc)?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: I can't speak to other programs specifically since I've only attended this one, but I will say that I most enjoy how nice everyone is to each other.  Obviously it's a competitive environment, but it doesn't feel cutthroat and there's a lot of collaboration in classes, groups, etc.


Guest: Hello! Are there employment opportunities on campus such as being teacher assistants? Is it common for Booth students to have some sort of employment during the school year?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Typically students do not pursue employment during the school year as business school is plenty busy to begin with ha ha. Students are chosen to be TAs for certain classes, these are application based. Many students instead opt to augment their skills through internships at startups or VC firms, or pursue a startup of their own during the school year


Guest:: How is life at Booth outside of classes?

* Austin Fang: Life at Booth outside of classes is vibrant. The Graduate Business Council (student government at Booth) plans regular events that involve the whole school such as Winter Formal, Spring Fling, Booth Day of Service, etc. Outside of that, many of the student groups plans have their own events. For example, last week the Belgian Business Group held their annual Halloween Party and this Friday is the South Asian Business Group's Diwali Cruise. With a student body of almost 1200 people, there is always something going on and so many opportunities to explore the city of Chicago!


Guest:  What are the opportunities that you are able to talk to business leaders?

* Austin Fang: There are many opportunities to talk with current business leaders. There are a lot of events where we bring business leaders to speak on campus. For example, the Domino's CEO stopped by to provide lunch and talk about his experiences in the C-suite at Domino's. We actually have many prominent Booth alum who are in c-suite positions at major companies and they regularly volunteer their time for current students. In addition, DStAR and Alumni Relations host regular Breakfast and Lunch with alums where you can meet these business leaders in smaller group settings and in a more social atmosphere.


Guest: : How has living in Chicago impacted your experience? How do you think that compares to attending a school where you live outside of a major city?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: Chicago is an amazing city - I made sure to attend a business school that was in an urban location (went to undergrad in a college town) and I think it has really paid off.  We have quick access to a lot of company offices, get to experience a vibrant nightlife, and as a sports fan it's nice to have every major team in town as well


Guest: How do you think your Booth experience has focused or changed your pre-MBA goals?

* Austin Fang: My experience at Booth has definitely changed my MBA goals. I came in hoping to concentrate in marketing and do something in that field. However, through the flexible curriculum, I've been able to take many entrepreneurship classes and general management classes that it's really made me reconsider my goals to go back to a large company in the tech industry.


Guest: Favourite class and favourite professor, and why?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: Financial Statement Analysis with Michael Minnis - took a subject I thought might be boring and made it very engaging to learn about.  Who thought 10-Ks would be that fun to read through?


Guest: Hi everyone! Thank you for hosting! I would like to know about social clubs. Which ones are the most popular? Based on your experience, which ones are the best? Thanks!

* Austin Fang: Personally, I have found OUTreach, the LGBT student group, to be the most rewarding. However, I have also thoroughly enjoyed Belgian Club's annual Halloween Party and South Asian Business Group's annual Diwali party. The most popular clubs are probably Wine Club and Epicurian Club since everyone loves to drink and eat well!


Guest: Have any of you partaken in the Business Solutions Group or other activities/courses that offer the opportunity to engage in work experiences/projects with real companies? Could you elaborate on such opportunities at Booth?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: There are tons of lab offerings at Booth. Business Solutions Group is more of a club, than a course offering. I have heard good things about it from my friends who participated in it last year. I have taken Entrepreneurial Discovery and Venture Capital Lab. I enjoyed getting real-world exposure to building a startup and conversely evaluating startups. More lab courses are listed here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/labs


Guest: How do you think the flexible curriculum has helped you achieve your specific goals?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: I personally came in wanting to be exposed to business aspects outside of marketing (my background), and was able to do that. Dabbled in entrepreneurship, venture capital and analytics during my time here, a fairly low-to-no-risk way of exploring


Guest: How many years of experience should I include on my MBA resume? For example, anything more than 5 years ago is too old?

* Lizzie Seidenstricker: We have no minimum or maximum when it comes to preferred years of work experience. The average for the Full-Time MBA program is 3-5 years. What the admissions committee is really looking for is the quality of experiences you’ve had as well as your impact you’ve had in the role.


Guest:  Are there any particular concentrations that have been trending in the recent years?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: I can't speak to that with certainty, but I do know that Entrepreneurship has in general seen a big uptick in recent years, and something Booth has become much better at in terms of opportunities


Guest:  Regarding the ability to choose your classes, have you ever felt that it might complicate connecting with people at a deeper level. FOr instance, other schools assign students in specific studying groups for the whole first semester or quarter, so you really get to connect with them to form the basis of your networking.

* Austin Fang: We do have cohorts that exist for the first half of the first quarter of class. These are the people who you take LEAD with and get to know very well. However, I also believe that randomly assigned groups don't necessarily foster the best friendships as they're more relationships based on proximity. I have found that most of my best friends have been through different student groups and shared interests. Also, I feel that the friendliness and humbleness of everyone in the Booth student body makes it very easy to approach anyone and get to know them better.


Guest: Do you have time to engage in groups that are not related to your professional path?

* Oma Nwabudike: You get to join any groups you want to. Half the clubs I joined are non-professional. It's a good avenue to meet other students with similar non-professional interest


Guest:  What internships did you have over the summer between your first and second years?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: I did two internships - one over the spring as a Associate for a impact investing fund. One over the summer as a Strategy associate for marketing and e-commerce focused consulting practice


Guest: How has being at Booth impacted your recruiting efforts? If you have spoken with friends attending other schools, how have your recruiting experiences compared to their experiences?

* Austin Fang: I have found that being at Booth, we are very fortunate to have a lot of companies come to recruit on campus. Speaking with my friends at other top 10 business schools, I feel that some of the smaller top 10 business schools don't have the breadth of companies that recruit on campus. For the major industries (banking, consulting, and technology), there are many well-known companies that recruit at Booth and don't recruit elsewhere. For the less traditional specialized search, career services is helpful with connecting you with alumni in those fields or industries. Additionally, our alumni network is quite large and very responsive


Guest:  Can you please describe your interactions with alumni since starting at Booth? How connected do you feel to the alumni network, and what role will those connections play in your post-MBA career?

* Austin Fang: The Booth alumni network is very large and very active. I remember when applying for Booth, the info session in NYC was attended by no fewer than 15 recent alums dying to answer my questions. Since my time here, I have found it to be more of the same. Throughout recruiting, I don't hesitate to reach out to alumni for help in the interview process, and I receive an offer to help within a couple days. Booth's giving back culture really shows through its alumni network. Additionally, DStAR provides opportunities to interact with alumni in a less formal more personal setting with regular breakfast and lunches with prominent alumni. Additionally, there's an Executive in Residence program where you can interact with higher level executives.


Guest: building on the entrepreneurship element, what do you think is the best part of Booth in regards to that?

* Ray Liu:  I think the best part is the access to the mentors here.  When you can walk into Polsky Center and talk to one of the earliest investors of Tesla and a renowned VC investor in Chicago as well as many successful entrepreneurs, it is just amazing! There are also a lot of good courses you can go through, not to mention NVC.


Guest: Do we need to have prior knowledge  if we want to shift from technology to say finance?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: No, definitely not - some industries are obviously more receptive to career switchers than others, but that's a big part about why people go to business school in general. So I think companies understand that passion is more important than prior knowledge


Guest: Given the many other top disciplines in UChicago, do you have an opportunity to engage with and learn from students of these other disciplines as a Booth student? If so, would you mind sharing your experience?

* Ray Liu:  I am currently taking a law school courses about the PE industry in Asia. I know you can also do a joint degree with the computer science department too. If you are an Innovation Fund associate, you get access to a lot of interesting research here and help the team commercialize the innovation


Guest: What's your favourite activity outside of the classroom with Booth students?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: There is no one activity haha. My friends and I have a weekly dinner night where we get together at a new restaurant and catch up on our weeks. I also love dancing, so any dance club activity. Also, the Yoga Club hosts a weekly yoga session on Sundays where a bunch of other Boothies and I struggle through head stands and twisty poses but I am really Zen after!


Guest:  What kind of connections does Booth have with the other U of Chicago schools? Can (Do) MBA students register classes that do not give them course credits from other schools?

* Lizzie Seidenstricker: MBA students can take up to 6 classes outside of Booth for credit. These classes can be in any school around the University of Chicago. A number of students have taken advantage of that opportunity and see it as a great way broaden academic horizons. There are also some joint degree opportunities that are available. https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/joint-degree


Guest:  Can anyone speak to how extensive the questions are for the letters of recommendation? When asking my recommenders I want to be able to give them idea of how long it might take so they can plan accordingly.

* Lizzie Seidenstricker: The time it takes to complete the letter of recommendation will vary depending on the recommender. It is important to make sure you are selecting a recommender who invested in your application process, and willing to take the time to craft their responses.


Guest:  What are the immediate challenges you have faced after reaching the campus?

* Austin Fang: Coming from NYC, I didn't think that time management would be an issue. However, when I first came to campus, I found that I was always just struggling to keep my head above water. Between classes, recruiting, and student activities, I was very busy with all of them, and I really had to learn to prioritize the things that were important to me. Thank goodness for grade non-disclosure!


Guest:  What event, class, or resource has stimulated the most personal growth in you (other than LEAD)?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: I loved participating in First Day, which is our admit weekend, as a Squad Leader.  That event was a big part of the reason I ended up at Booth so it was important to me to make that experience as valuable to the next class of students


Guest:  How did you decide which clubs to get involved in?

* Austin Fang: Which clubs you want to be involved in depends on where your interests lie and what new things you might want to explore / learn about. For example, I am LGBT and an avid volleyball player, so it made sense to join OUTreach and Booth Volleyball. However, I would like to become more knowledgeable about wine, which is why I recently joined Wine Club.


Guest:  Hi, thanks for holding this session. My questions is are there program or courses through which I could work on real-life business problems with a company?

* Ray Liu:  I took the Developing new product and service lab, where we form groups and work with real world companies and help them come up with innovative solutions to a business problem. We work with YouTube and it was a great experience.


Guest: What is one positive change you see in yourself, that you would attribute to Booth?

* Oma Nwabudike: Booth has helped me become a lot more open to trying new things. I trust the community to be there for me regardless of the outcome of that risk


Guest: Were any of you unsure of what area of business you want to pursue after your MBA, prior to starting? Or have any of you changed your plans post-MBA now that you've started?

* Oma Nwabudike: I have changed my plan since I started my MBA. My initial plan tended towards entrepreneurship but after my summer start up experience, I changed my plans. I'm still focused on the same industry but no longer focused on entrepreneurship


Guest: Is anyone familiar with any tech/telecommunications clubs? What are they like? Is it purely professional or are there other elements involved?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: Booth Technology Group is the major club for tech recruiting, but there are also other options like the Analytics Club for example.  They are largely professional but also do fun events like socials where they'll have food and drinks and everyone catches up with one another.  You end up being pretty good friends with people you recruit with so it's basically like hanging out anyway.


Guest: What are the attributes one should concentrate more when writing the essay ‘Booth moments’?

* Lizzie Seidenstricker: When answering the essay question it is important to focus on yourself as an individual and really try to unpack what it is you want the admissions committee to know. There is no specific attribute we are looking for over another. Make sure to consider the Booth Moments carefully and pick the moment that will best help you portray yourself to the admissions committee.


Guest:: Hi, could you talk a little on the finance classes offered at booth?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: WIDE variety of finance classes - obviously a core strength of the school.  There are a lot of theoretical classes about efficient markets, etc. but also a number on behavioral finance, corporate finance, international financial policy, etc.


Guest: What is the biggest personal transformation that you have gone through during the first year at Booth?

* Ray Liu:  I have never done any formal business education so I feel the biggest personal transformation is that now I feel comfortable to break down any business problems and even evaluate an investment opportunity from its unit economics. 


Guest: Ray mentioned the strong entrepreneurship community earlier. What are some of the less formal ways that the Booth community supports entrepreneurship?

* Ray Liu:  One of the less formal ways can be just find a mentor from Polsky Center or innovation exchange, who can provide a lot of good feedback about your business ideas


Guest: This is a question to all the second year students. I've heard a lot about Booth's flexible curriculum and the fact that MBA candidates can explore pretty much any course they want to, right from the start. Obviously, almost all students come in with a good idea of what they want to do, post-MBA. Have you seen cases in your batch where there has been a dramatic shift in post-MBA goals, or does the flexibility on offer help with streamlining thoughts while keeping the larger goal (say functional area like Marketing or Finance) the same?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: I can’t speak to a specific case off the top of my mind, but I will say that the flexible curriculum allows you to do what you want. It can go both ways – you can go broad, or choose to stay narrow. I personally came in wanting to be exposed to business aspects outside of marketing (my background), and was able to do that. A friend has used to it to evaluate whether she wanted to stay in finance or pursue operations instead. Another friend has pretty much stayed in the finance realm, taking advanced courses like Fama’s or debt restructuring etc.


Guest:  Good afternoon. Thanks for taking your time to do this session. I would like to know if any of you have engaged in more practical activities. For example, the PE/VC or the Management Lab. Besides, how would you grade Booth in this more hands-on aspect of the program?

* Ray Liu:  I did both VC Lab and Developing New Product lab. I think Booth is really strong in these lab classes and b/c of the alum network who provided the projects for the lab courses or the internship opportunities. Your classmates contribute to the learning experience a lot too.


Guest: How do admitted students find potential roommates for their first year at Booth?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: There's usually a Google doc floating around where people list their living preferences, personality type, hobbies, etc. and you end up just reaching out to someone who sounds like a good fit and go from there.  Alternatively a lot of people meet at First Day as well and decide to live together.


Guest: Sounds like Polsky is a great resource to develop startup ideas. What support does the school provide for startup recruiting?

* Ray Liu:  For startup recruiting, it is mostly off campus. So the startup treks organized by different groups help. In addition, reaching out to alum is what I heard the best way to navigate your way through. Or why not start something yourself ☺ 


Guest:  Austin and Ray, I know that both of you are from CS background. I am in CS major as well and my current job is also technical driven; when I prepare my resume, I realize that there are some technical terms or terminologies, which are relevant but not very easy to understand, especially for people outside this field. I am curious how you deal with this. Thank you.

* Austin Fang: I would definitely try to emphasize your transferable skills on your resume in a way that's understandable for someone without a tech background. Having been a software developer prior to Booth, I made sure to emphasize the times where I worked on a team to solve a problem, and the times that I lead a project. While the tech jargon might be very impressive if you're applying for another software development position, it might get lost in translation during your Booth application.


Guest:  What are some opportunities to engage with the broader Chicago community?

* Ray Liu: Watch a Bulls or Cubs Game!!!!


Guest: What will be your suggestions for new students about taking few of the classes before coming to the Booth MBA program? What classes will you suggest as a current student can help incoming students?

* Oma Nwabudike: My approach to classes is to take classes that develop/improve some skills you are interested in honing. I didn't take any pre-MBA classes and I don't think I missed anything by not doing that.


Guest:  Greetings from Uzbekistan! What do you feel are the pros and cons of being located in Chicago?

* Austin Fang: Having lived my entire life on the East Coast of the US, this is my first time in the Midwest, so I was actually a bit nervous. However, my fears were unfounded as I have found Chicago and Booth to be incredible diverse and accepting. While it does get a little cold during the winter, the Chicago summers make it totally worthwhile if you are able to intern here over the summer. In addition, having moved from NYC, I was impressed that Chicago is as vibrant and active a city with as many things going on in the arts scene, sports culture, and culture.


Guest: What skills did you need to improve in order to be successful at Booth?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: I'd say the most important thing is to be very comfortable working in groups.  It happens quite a bit in class so it's very beneficial to learn how to delegate/share work, and ultimately speak up in class with what you've learned that week


Guest: Booth generally has a reputation as an Econ/Finance school, I'm curious what would you say to students who are interested in other industries and roles like tech strategy or product management?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: Interestingly enough, tech became the 2nd biggest industry that Booth students end up in, overtaking banking.  So clearly there's a big interest here both from students, as well as companies.  We have basically every top company recruit and interview students.  I spent my summer at Microsoft and had an amazing time. Lots of resources to be successful in that industry.


Guest:  The lack of structured curriculum can be daunting for those switching careers, Have any of you used your MBA to switch careers and can you talk about the benefits or disadvantages of no set curriculum?

* Austin Fang: I have definitely used the flexible curriculum for my benefit in switching careers. During my first quarter, I took only marketing classes because I knew I wanted to recruit for a marketing internship. Rather than being forced to take many core classes, I took 3 marketing classes, which made me better prepared for the marketing case interview questions. I was really able to show to recruiters that I was genuinely interested in marketing even though I had no marketing background prior to Booth


Guest: Anything you wish you knew before you started at Booth?

* Austin Fang: I wish I knew how busy I would be beforehand. I would highly recommend taking some time before school to really think about your game plan for your two years at Booth. I'd recommend taking a week or so to really think about what you want out of your career and what industries / roles might match with those desires. School starts up very quickly and recruiting season starts before you know it, so it always helps to get a bit of a head start. Career services actually posts a lot of things over the summer that are very helpful that I wish I had read.


Guest: Could anyone share some experience on being an MBA student with family? Is booth community family friendly? Thank you.

* Ray Liu:  We have a three year old boy and my second boy was born during this summer. There is a closely connected partner club and POLO – parents with little ones, organizing a lot of fun events.  It is definitely a family friendly community b/c everyone is willing to work around your schedule if you have difficulties.


Guest: Can you choose a class, program or even an experience during your time at Booth that changed your personal and professional perspectives?

* Ray Liu:  I did both NVC and VC Lab at the same time, giving me point of views from both sides of the table i.e. how entrepreneurs think and how investors think 


Guest: What were some of your favorite events throughout the year (academic, professional, or social)?

* Austin Fang: Academically, I really enjoyed my Negotiations class. Anuj Shah is so entertaining and really makes you apply the material in a real world setting. Professionally, I have enjoyed meeting with prominent alumni and even my professors in a more relaxed setting. Through DStAR breakfasts and lunches or Faculty Connect events, you really are able to build your network. Socially, I have really enjoyed the Halloween Party, Winter Formal, Spring Fling, OUTreach's Pink Party, and the Top Chef Competition


Guest: What are your tips to balance your life at Booth?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Get everything on a calendar and stick to it! Time management is by far the most useful. I would also suggest taking some time before starting b-school to think through your priorities and rank them, which may prevent you from feeling overwhelmed once you start the year


Guest: How important is the GMAT score to the application process?

* Lizzie Seidenstricker: Every application is reviewed holistically and no one part carries more weight than any other. You can review our GMAT range in the class stats section of our homepage https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time


Guest: In what ways do you expect to be involved with the Booth community after graduation?

* Austin Fang: With how much support I have received as a student from alumni, I also plan to be active alumni who helps current students find the internships and jobs they want outside of Booth. I hope to answer any questions people may have about recruiting in the tech industry. Also, as an LGBT leader at Booth, I also hope to help OUTreach in any way that I can either through sponsorships by my company or mentorship opportunities.


Guest: Can anyone speak to the opportunities to go abroad during the mba program?

* Oma Nwabudike: There are opportunities for a quarter abroad as well as career & social treks. I also took an elective abroad this summer in the London campus which was a beautiful experience. We spent a week taking classes and traveling the city together.


Guest:  What are the opportunities like to take advantage of non-Booth resources while at UChic?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Hi Chris, you can cross-register for courses with the Law School, Med School, Harris School of public policy among others. As a grad student, all the UChicago resources available to grad students are available to you - whether it's shows, job fairs, coaching on public speaking to name a few


Guest: Do the students get time to indulge in some sports? Any team-spots related clubs may be?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: Absolutely - the best part about going to Booth is the schedule allows you to spend a lot time doing other things.  I'm actively involved in Booth Basketball, we play a couple times a week and also have 2-3 tournaments around the country with other MBA programs


Guest: Is recruiting carried out via the clubs, in conjunction with them or outside of them? In that context, what impact has a specific event/avenue had on your recruiting process in particular?

* Austin Fang: It depends on what you are recruiting for. If you are recruiting for banking, consulting, or tech, joining the club will DEFINITELY help (if not be vital to) the recruiting process. The clubs have great connections with all the major firms and will set up interview prep workshops and small groups to help you prepare for interviews. For the non-traditional / specialized search internships and jobs, the clubs also help as they help you reach out to alumni and organized specialized treks for these fields such as Media, Entertainment, and Sports Group or Social Impact Group


Guest:  After the classes, clubs, events, etc., do you find you still have much free time for your non-professional interests?

* Austin Fang: It all depends on how much you sign up for. Personally, I find that I function better when I'm kept busy. Therefore, I find myself involved with a lot of clubs and events. However, I am an avid volleyball player, and I always prioritize Tuesday night volleyball in a rec league in the city of Chicago to meet people outside of Booth. It's all about prioritization!


Guest: What was the biggest misconception you realized once you actually started the program?

* Austin Fang: Booth has a reputation of being a "quant" school, but it really is as quant as you would like to make it. With the flexible curriculum, you can take as many or as few analytical and data-heavy classes as you want. I'm majoring in Marketing Management, and I took a lot of psychology / behavioral science classes. However, I also enjoyed learning the "quant" side of marketing through my Data Driven Marketing Class and Pricing


Guest: What are the resources that Booth provides for students pursuing management consulting career (e.g. student clubs, unique classes...)

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: TON of resources - Management Consulting Group is probably the biggest career group on campus.  Lot of people willing to case prep, lot of companies to meet with and get to know, some good classes that help shape your mind into how you want to think (competitive strategy, strategy and structure), overall definitely an area where Booth gets you as prepared as any school to tackle those interviews


Guest: How has the diversity in the class contributed to your personal and professional development?

* Ray Liu:  Personally I think diversity is the most important element. You just get exposed to so many different ideas and opinions that you would have never thought about. I feel these aha moments are actually when transformation happens to the way people think. 


Guest: Did any of you participate in a Random Walk and how useful was that experience in helping you bond with your future class mates?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: Random Walk was amazing - I went to Ireland with 14 other first years and 4 trip leaders.  To this day, a lot of those people are still some of my closest friends.  Even if we can't see each other as often, we still make sure to do reunions whenever we can and catch up


Guest: Is anyone a member of OutReach? How open and inclusive Booth community is regarding LGBTQ people?

* Austin Fang: The Booth community is incredibly accepting and open. Please read the blog post I wrote for National Coming Out Day about my personal experiences as an LGBT person at Booth: http://theboothexp.com/2016/10/my-mbgay-experience/ Feel free to contact me with any more questions or check out our webpage: http://www.boothoutreach.org/ and reach out to Daniel!


Guest: Could you talk about Labs and how to get involved? Is it an application, or sign uo?

* Ray Liu:  Most lab classes require application but I think it is safe to say if you want you can do it because you have two years 


Guest:  What are your favorite restaurants around campus? Is there a variety of choices?

* Lizzie Seidenstricker: There are a large variety of restaurant choices around campus. My personal favorite is Medici. Fun Fact – this also happens to be President Barak Obama’s favorite Hyde Park spot. 


Guest: How are the various clubs at Booth helping student hone their skills and prepare them for interviews?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Students are actively involved in clubs, from a participation and leadership standpoint. Career-focused clubs are extremely thorough in helping you prepare for interviews – resume reviews, mock sessions, coffee chats, lunches, all kinds of meals basically with students and firm representatives. You can rest assured that access will not be a problem. They also organize treks based on career interest to different parts of the world at the end of fall quarter, which was helpful in understand company culture, seeing the HQs etc. Many alumni will host the on-site sessions during treks, so you get more than one perspective about the roles and the companies. Banking does East Coast trek, Booth Technology Group does a Technology Trek, EVC group has done start-up and VC/PE-focused treks


Guest: How much time do you spend on clubs outside classroom? both professional and non-professional clubs?

* Oma Nwabudike: Time in clubs depends on the number of clubs you are involved in and the level of involvement. As members you probably spend less than an hour. As co-chairs 1- 2 hours a week. per club.


Guest: How can Booth help in preparing for a career in marketing?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Booth has two concentrations - marketing management and marketing analytics. There are several experiential lab courses to develop marketing skills. Lastly, the marketing group is a career-focused group that engages with firms along with career services, and helps students prepare for interviews.


Guest: Have you done a career or social trek? If so, what was it about?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: Yes, I went on the East Coast Investment Management trek last year - went through 3 cities in a week (Boston, NYC, and Baltimore) and got to meet a number of companies.  It was very interesting to learn about the different firm cultures, and it ended up helping me get a few interviews


9 Guest: What are the best ways to prepare for an internship in Consulting? 

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: I'd say there's no defined way to prepare, but there are a couple good classes to take (Competitive Strategy, Strategy and Structure, etc.) that get you thinking the right way.  I'd also say the main thing is to prepare for the workload and the travel, especially if you haven't been in that type of environment before.


Guest: Given that the 2 years go by so quickly, do you have any advice you would give to a student just starting the Booth program to maximize his/her time?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Think through your priorities and rank them - academics, recruiting, network/social life. Once here, things move fast, so knowing your priorities will help you feel less overwhelmed, and make the choices that will make you happy


Guest: Is Booth family-friendly? Does booth have any support for the significant one?

* Ray Liu:  We have a three year old boy and my second boy was born during this summer. There is a closely connected partner club and POLO – parents with little ones, organizing a lot of fun events.  It is definitely a family friendly community b/c everyone is willing to work around your schedule if you have difficulties.


Guest: Is there a gym on campus?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: There is, called Ratner - about a 7-8 min walk from Harper Center.  However, since most of us live in the Loop, we usually end up going to a gym in the vicinity just for convenience sake on days we don't have class or on the weekends.


Guest: Have your career goals changed at all since you started at Booth?

* Oma Nwabudike: My career goals have been adapted to the exposure that I've gained since coming to Booth. It has changed a lot but the spirit of it remains the same


Guest: As a Booth student, what opportunities do you have to get involved with the Chicago community?

* Oma Nwabudike: There are several Booth Gives Back events in the quarter that enables Boothies get involved in the greater Chicago community and there is a club that is dedicated to that - Give Something Back.


Guest:  Thanks for your time today! How have you been able to interact with the alumni network so far?

* Austin Fang: There are many ways to interact with the alumni network in both a professional and social setting. There are many events in which alumni are brought back to speak or chat about their experiences post-Booth. Additionally, you can generally reach out to any alumni and they will more than happily help you with whatever recruiting questions you may have. On the social side, DStAR is in charge of planning events to interact with alumni in a more casual and personal setting. They have regular breakfast and lunch sessions where 15-20 students join alumni for the meal and ask any questions they have.


Guest: Is it common to take classes at Gleacher Center?

* Ray Liu:  Yes, although most of them are during evenings or weekends.


Guest: From your experience, please suggest a few must do courses for someone interested in a career in VCPE.

* Ray Liu:  Commercializing Innovation, PE/VC Lab, Kaplan’s EFPE



Guest: What's the most common mistake applicants make that severely dents their chances of getting in?

* Lizzie Seidenstricker: Although tempting to reuse materials throughout multiple applications, it is important for applicants to give each application individual and unique attention.


Guest: I will be traveling to campus from Houston, TX next month for an admissions interview. Now that you all have been there at least one year, what is your favorite thing to do in town/something that a first time visitor should not miss?

* Austin Fang: I would recommend the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Architectural Boat Tour. However, it might be too cold for when you get here. I'd say you should definitely check out the Bean, get a couple pictures at the top of Willis Tower, and explore the Chicago food scene. There are so many great restaurants in Wicker Park (Au Cheval, Antique Taco, and Jeni's Ice Cream!)


Guest: Hi! Has anyone of you done a study abroad sort of program? I am curious how many people take part in something like that?

* Oma Nwabudike: Study abroad is self-driven. You apply for it if you want to participate. The application is usually sometime in first year. There is also an opportunity to take an elective in London which is fun


Guest: What level of access, if any do Boothies have access to some of Chicago's more famous economists?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Professors Fama, Thaler and Murphy teach classes regularly at Chicago-Booth. Profesoor Goolsbee is also back after serving on President Obama's administration, and teaches classes on a quarterly basis. Students at Booth can also cross-register for courses with other UChicago schools


Guest: Any advice for class visits? Should visiting students engage in the classroom discussion or just observe?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: It's up to you - you'll find professors are very happy to have you in the classroom so whatever helps you feel like you'll obtain the most value.  I've found that listening and observing helped me the most just because I hadn't studied the material they were discussing or obviously the homework that they were reviewing


Guest: Do you have any advice for not feeling discouraged from applying based on the amazing background stories highlighted by the "Meet the Incoming Class" article?

* Austin Fang: Keep in mind that the "Meet the Incoming Class" is a small subset of 10 people out of a classs of 585. They have been handpicked because of their extraordinary backgrounds. I'm sure that you have something special that you offer as well. Make sure you emphasize what makes you unique and special in your application as you have very valuable experiences to share as well!


Guest: How much interaction is there between Y1 and Y2 students?

* Austin Fang: There is a lot of interaction between 1Y and 2Y. Since we have a flexible curriculum, you start meeting 2Y starting from some of your classes in the fall quarter! In addition, there are many opportunities for mentorship betweeen the two classes. Additionally, all social events are for both 1Y and 2Y (and partners!), so there is plenty of time for mixing outside of class as well.


Guest: Do you have any advice on how to approach the admissions interview? How did you prepare for it?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: The admissions interview is a time for Booth to see you beyond your resume. In terms of preparation, firstly be yourself. Think through your experience and why you want to pursue an MBA at Booth. Smile!


Guest: As a student, what do you think is an area of development in the Booth program (if any)?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: I'd like to see more finance classes taught outside of the influence of the efficient markets hypothesis.  I know it's a founding pillar of the university, and they're now starting to offer more behavioral finance classes, etc. but definitely something I'd like to see the school expand on in the coming years


Guest: Oma, what are some of the events the Chicago Africa Business Group has organized in recent times?

* Oma Nwabudike: CABG leads an annual African trek. We also participate in Booth international week where we showcase various African cultures and we have smaller events targeted at whatever the members need/are doing at the time


Guest: What is the African Trek about?

* Oma Nwabudike: The African trek is a visit to a specific city in Africa. The details of each visit  are different but it is all driven by the students


Guest: Is there any cricket club that I can be involved in during my time at Booth?

* Amruta Anil Hunnurkar: Yes, Booth has an active Cricket Club which hosts sessions, and a Kellogg-Booth tournament was held last year. Not to brag, but we won!


Guest: How diverse are viewpoints within Booth? Is debate actively encouraged?

* Nithin Kuchibhotla: Absolutely - Booth really encourages discussion, especially two opposite sides of an argument.  I think that helps us come together with a solution that's ultimately the most well-rounded and addressable to a given problem