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Booth Women Connect Live Chat

Join our live chat with current students from the Chicago Booth Women in Business (CWiB) group. Participate in a discussion about their Booth experience and how it has made an impact on their careers. Learn more about how the panelists navigate academics and recruiting, as well as the dynamic and supportive community at Booth.

Chat Transcripts

Guest: What are the main strengths that women can utilize to advance a career in business?
* Olga Lepigina: There are a lot of strengths that women can utilize to advance a career in business. Just based on my personal professional experience as well as experiences at Booth, having a strong support network definitely helps, so being a part of a female organization or finding a female ally/mentor in the office could definitely help a lot. That said, women also tend have a lot of personal traits that can differentiate them from men, such as greater sensitivity, ability to pick up non-verbal communication, and sometimes stronger sales skills. In my experience all of these attributes can be utilized to advance a career in business.

 Guest: Hello, Can you please speak about the on campus recruitment process for management consulting?
* Danielle Erb: Absolutely, the process is very structured. October-November is spent with Corporate Conversations and networking events with the firm reps, recruiters, and 2Y students from Booth. Nov--Jan is spent case prepping and general interview preparation. The firms have very strong relationships with Booth and the Management Consulting Group on campus-- as a student you have a lot of opportunities to access the firm and resources to present your best application. The second-years are super critical to this process-- you definitely see the pay it forward mentality at play.

 Guest: Hi everyone! Now more than ever our country needs leaders in healthcare. I am wondering if there are opportunities to speak with alumni and current students about a focus on healthcare consulting and entrepreneurship and how Booth can serve as a foundation for a career in healthcare.
* Kim Masessa: Thank you for joining us today! There is the opportunity to connect with students’ interested in or those pursing healthcare by engaging with our student club, Chicago Booth Healthcare Group (http://student.chicagobooth.edu/group/healthcare/) or by using our “Connect with a Student” tool which connects prospective students with current students based on similar backgrounds and interests.

Guest: Hi. Thanks for this great opportunity. I watched the "Alumni Stories-impact of a tech leadership" video on the Booth homepage. What are the advantages of choosing Booth over a B-school on the west coast if you are pursuing a career in tech?
* Danielle Erb: In my opinion the quantitative rigor and reputation of Booth as a program really sets you up well for any role you pursue in Tech-- particularly PM. Booth has also made huge strides in recent years to cater the curriculum to Tech and these new needs-- lots of lab courses and treks to the West Coast. The Tech Group here has very strong recruiting relationships with the big companies in the Bay Area. I do not feel we are at a disadvantage for being in the Midwest.

Guest: Is there a limit to the number of Lab courses you can take?
* Olga Lepigina: No there is no limit, you can take as many as your schedule would allow.

Guest: Why did you choose to come to Booth and now that you are in it, what do you consider are the highlights of Booth?
* Danielle Erb: I chose to come to Booth for a few reasons 1. The analytical/quant reputation of the program (felt like I needed that to really bring my resume to the next level) 2. The people and the community: fantastic to be in a large city such as Chicago and have an immediate Boothie community 3. The school's emphasis on resources and finding you your dream job-- that's the main reason we are all here right!? I attended Booth Live and felt an immediate sense of support and community that I did not gather from some of the other programs.

Guest: What made you decide to choose Booth? What 1-2 things set it apart from other top-ranked programs?
* Andrea McPike: I chose Booth because I love the flexible curriculum and the quantitative foundation. I come from a nontraditional background and wanted to focus on improving my analytical and quantitative skills, but I also wanted the flexibility to explore other fields. Additionally, I believe we have a really strong culture at Booth. The "Pay it Forward" culture is real. People invest in one another and learn from one another, and it is genuine!

Guest: Thanks for hosting this chat! Can you speak a little bit about the connections you have made with other women at Booth and how this has affected your time there?
* Andrea McPike: As a CWiB co-chair, I have learned so much about my female peers: what they want from a CWiB programming perspective, how Booth can support our career goals during and after Booth, and how we can support each other. I have made a ton of friends, but I've also connected with so many women with similar passions and interests outside of a business setting. For example, I was watching last night's election with 8 women in my class who I have connected with over both our professional and political interests. I held a small group discussion through CWiB (called "CWiB Circles") around Women in Politics, sharing our thoughts and concerns and hopes. I know these are moments and relationships that will last longer than these 2 years.

Guest: Hello, what are the main initiatives that Women in Business drives towards each year? Are they consistent or do they change depending on the leadership?
* Olga Lepigina: There are a variety of initiatives that Chicago Women in Business group (CWiB) has each year. There are a several major ones - fall conference/networking reception, Open House in the spring which brings together men, women, as well as various speakers from around the world to talk about gender issues, there is spring dinner, and there are a variety of educational, recruiting, and social events spread out throughout the year. While some of the smaller events might change from year to year, depending on the leadership, some of the major themes stay the same. A new initiative that we recently launched is also Common Chromosome with is a way for both men and women on campus to come together and talk about the issues of gender diversity.

Guest: Can you speak to both Booth's and UChicago's culture as a whole? How has this impacted your development?
* Danielle Erb: Booth is a very fast-paced and analytically inclined program-- it definitely has pushed me already to step outside my comfort zone. I will say that socially the environment is very welcoming and inclusive. Most students live work and play together. I have been stunned by the overwhelming amount of help and time offered to me by my classmates and the level of involvement from Career Services. Based upon these observations I know I am going to be successful here at this program.

Guest: Can you discuss the reasons for choosing Booth over other business schools? What differentiates Booth?
* Olga Lepigina: For me personally it was the feel of the school that I got when I visited campus. I felt like there was a strong sense of community despite the school being located in a major city, and the people were very open. I also liked the strong quantitative and finance bent which fit well with my own background.

Guest: Booth's essay question is very unique. Do you have any advice on how to tackle it?
* Kim Masessa: Thank you for joining the chat today! I would advise that you think about what you’ve already provided and what is missing in the overall application. We continued on with the use of images because we feel it’s a great way to showcase various aspects of the Booth community. Everyone reflects on moments differently; we value diverse opinions. This is something we model at Booth; it’s a place where individuality matters; each person’s perspective makes Booth a strong place; we want diverse opinions as part of learning process. This year we provided few images that encompass the Booth community, with captions that provide deeper context – all enabling you to think about yourself and what makes a strong connection to the Booth community and culture. There are no wrong or right answers.  We are looking for an authentic answer and what connections you make to Booth.

Guest: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Could you talk a bit about the Common Chromosome platform? Specifically, how Booth students can engage/interact with it?
* Andrea McPike: Common Chromosome was launched last year by the former CWiB co-chairs as an initiative to engage both men and women in discussions around gender parity. What's unique about Common Chromosome is that it is founded with the intention of engaging both sexes, unlike other business schools that have men's initiatives and male ally groups separate from their women in business groups. We engage with students by bringing in guest speakers and putting together workshops and small group discussions around issues that will help us to prepare to be great leaders and shape our future workplace.

Guest: What is like to be a gay woman at Booth?
* Kim Masessa: Thanks for joining us today!  I would suggest you take a look at our OUTreach club's website (http://www.boothoutreach.org/) and connect with our LGBT students to get better insight on this perspective!

Guest: Are there any women-specific leadership groups or programs that are offered through Booth?
* Andrea McPike: Chicago Women in Business is our student group that engages with women from a professional development and social perspective. We offer recruiting-related programming and opportunities, bring in guest speakers, host professional development events, and throw awesome socials! We work hard all year to bring a variety of programming to engage women at Booth in all facets. 

 Guest: Hi, Can you please throw some light on major targets and objectives for coming years for Booth Women in Business?
* Olga Lepigina: Our major objective is promoting female empowerment as well as awareness about gender issues in the workplace. The club's events fall into three major categories: professional/recruiting, educational, and social. A very recent initiative that we just launched is Common Chromosome which has a mission to bring men into the conversation as well.

Guest: What does being a member of CWiB entail?
* Andrea McPike: As a member of CWiB, all we ask is that you show up to events that we organize! Throughout the year, we put on recruiting events with our 25+ sponsor firms from a variety of industries to give women the opportunities to connect with other women and network with potential future employers. We bring in guest speakers from industry to talk about their experiences, and professors from Booth who study how gender issues impact the workplace and greater economy. We organize CWiB Circles: small group discussions for women to meet each other and discuss issues such as "The Confidence Gap", "Who Gets Heard and Why?". Finally, we organize really fun social events. This quarter, we had a chocolate tasting from a female entrepreneur from SF who owns a socially responsible chocolate shop. We have a formal dinner and dancing event in the Spring Quarter for us to get dressed up and celebrate one another and have a fun night out with CWiB members. We truly offer a lot and expect simply that members attend and enjoy!

Guest: Does applying for Round 3 put you at a disadvantage to applying for Round 2?
* Kim Masessa: We have three rounds of applications for a reason, and we accept people in every round. Rounds 1 and 2 tend to be larger, but we certainly have admitted great people from Round 3. You should never rush your application; make sure you apply when you feel you are 100% ready. Take time to get the best recommendations, think thoughtfully on all of your answers, and have multiple people from different areas of your life review your essay. If you are rushing the application to try and fit into a specific round, that will come through in your answers. Make sure you take the time to represent yourself in the best way possible!

Guest: Considering the great location in Chicago, is it possible to do school year internships at Booth?
* Olga Lepigina: yes absolutely. There are a number of students that do that, and there are a number of lab classes that also offer you an opportunity to do that

Guest: What are the avenues for Booth women to  get together to discuss issues you currently face or have previously faced?
* Danielle Erb: The Women’s Group and Chicago Women in Business group are a great outlet. You have access to tons of events and discussions, as well as Group Me chat to share articles and ideas.

Guest: Hi. Thanks for your time! Can you talk about some of the initiatives CWiB is driving to include men in the conversation of women in business?
* Olga Lepigina: Yes, there is an initiative launched by CWiB this year called Common Chromosome, its entire focus is to include men into the conversation about gender issues in the workplace. We also put on a major event in the spring together with admission called "Open House" which brings a number of professors and industry professionals on campus to give a series of talks about gender issues, and this event is open to both men and women.

Guest: How do you feel the commitment of the CWiB group at Booth differs from that of other business schools?
* Olga Lepigina: Based on what I know, one difference is that we partner with BWCC which is an organization that also includes alumni, evening/weekend students, as well as greater Chicago community, and gives students an access to one of the biggest professional femal conference that I have ever seen. Another thing I have noticed is the large number of corporate sponsors and a number of career/networking opportunities that CWiB members get.

Guest: I’ve heard a lot about Booth’s pay it forward culture from current students and alums, but I’m curious if there are formalized mentorship programs between 1st and 2nd year students within their chosen industry? I’m planning to continue my career in asset management, will there be 2nd years involved in recruiting similar to what was mentioned before about consulting?
* Danielle Erb: The pay it forward culture is very strong. You can receive a formal 2Y to 1Y mentor generally, but you can also join various club groups (career-oriented or interest / geo-based) and apply for a mentor there. Within these groups you will have access to people who recently interviewed, applied, or previously worked in that industry. We also keep formalized material to help prep for recruiting season

Guest: Do you feel that the flexible curriculum is beneficial over schools that have a gen core 1st year? How did you use this to your advantage for finding a path that was right for you, especially if there was uncertainty?
* Olga Lepigina: Yes, absolutely. I actually had a somewhat non-standard recruiting goals for my summer internship coming into Booth, and I found that one of the classes that I took (financial econometrics) which wasn't popular at Booth at all ended up being extremely helpful throughout my summer. One way to deal with uncertainty that comes with flexible curriculum that I found helpful is talking to your classmates, recruiters, and alums who are in the fields that you want to go into and seeing what classes they recommend

Guest: Hey ladies! Have you found that gender has altered your experience in classes or with your peers (i.e. being pushed harder to prove yourself, or not having opportunities equal to others because you are women)?
* Danielle Erb: I would say that overall I have had a very positive experience. The Women at Booth community and the Chicago Women in Business groups offer extensive support and access to a great community. I will say there are sometimes those one-off unfortunate incidents that can occur.... but that are more a reflection of that individual than our environment or Booth as a whole. The opportunities are endless.

Guest: Hello! Thanks for this great opportunity. Does the Women in Business club have industry specific activities or sub-circles - such as women in healthcare or women in NPOs?
* Andrea McPike: CWiB doesn't currently have industry-specific groups for its members, but we often partner with our sponsor firms to organize firm-specific events that are exclusive to our members, and we partner with other student groups to facilitate industry-specific events for women as well.

Guest: Can you speak to both Booth's and UChicago's culture as a whole? How has this impacted your development?
* Olga Lepigina: Something that I have found about UChicago's culture is that the people here are naturally intellectually curious, very open, bright, and extremely direct which has impacted the way that I carry myself. I am no longer afraid to ask tough questions, or trying to tone down what I am saying, and being exposed to some of the brightest and smartest and most successful people out there definitely contributed a great deal to my intellectual, professional, and personal development

Guest: Hello! Could you please provide some additional examples of those educational events within the CWiB that help women? e.g. overcoming biases, finding mentors in the workplace
* Andrea McPike: Some examples of events CWiB has hosted include workshops around communication styles and on negotiation, put on by some of our sponsor firms and professors. We also recently held a panel with Booth alumna discussing the difference between Mentorship and Sponsorship, and how to utilize both during different phases of your career.

Guest: Any advice for those interviewing? Also, what to do while visiting Chicago/the school for the first time?
* Kim Masessa: Thanks for your questions, and congratulations on making it to the interview stage! My interview advice would be to prepare as you would for a job interview, and remember to be yourself!  For visiting campus, I would recommend attending a visit day through our Campus Visit Program, details can be found here:  https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/visit

Guest: Hi! Can you please speak to your personal experience(s) on how the CWiB events have helped you?
* Olga Lepigina: For me it was about finding a support network as well as finding areas for improvement/empowerment. There was a negotiation workshop during the first year targeted specifically for women which I thought was really helpful.

Guest: For students who are unable to visit campus, can you give us some insight into living in the city? As a woman do you feel secure on campus and its surrounding area?
* Danielle Erb: I have found the city of Chicago to be very accessible, safe, and welcoming. I live downtown in the Loop with a large percentage of my classmates and we commute to campus. I genuinely feel very safe on campus. During Orientation you will have the Campus Police Chief present their efforts and how you can access help if needed. I have always felt very secure.

Guest: Have you found the alumni network to be helpful?  Are alumni generally approachable and excited to talk to current students?
* Olga Lepigina: Yes, absolutely. There is a very strong alumni network, and you can approach and contact a lot of senior level executives who are very excited to speak with you.

Guest: Hi! Does CWiB take on any social impact projects focused on women at a national or international level?
* Olga Lepigina: We currently do not take on such projects although I think that this is a really great idea and is something that we can potentially focus on in the future

Guest: Hello, are there any particular classes / workshops focused on women in business that you could share more about?
* Andrea McPike: The Booth Women Connect Conference is a huge conference that brings together almost 1,000 prospective students, current students, alumnae, and firm representatives from all over the world for panels and workshops. It already took place this year, but I suggest checking it out!

Guest: Do you have any tips for women interested in pursuing non-traditional career choices after their MBA and what factors to consider when analyzing schools?
* Danielle Erb: I would say it's important to understand the Full Employment Report of the school you are attending, as well as the resources/level of 1:1 attention available to you via 2Ys or career services. Connections to that non-traditional industry will be hugely important. At Booth we have an entire program designed for "specialized searches" or off-campus recruiting. I would recommend checking out the industries and companies alumni end up at and how that aligns with your career goals

Guest: What is the proportion of international students at Booth?
* Joanna Zisis: Currently the Class of 2018 is made up of 36% international students.

Guest: Are there any specific CWiB recruiting events or initiatives? 
* Andrea McPike: CWiB hosts one large recruiting event for our 25+ sponsor firms in the beginning of fall quarter as well as small firm-specific recruiting events (breakfasts, lunches, dinners, happy hours) throughout the year. This year, we held a networking reception with all of our sponsor firms and had the CEO of Progressive speak as our Keynote address. It was awesome and so inspiring. We will do something similar next year.

Guest: How did you find your core group of friends at Booth?
* Danielle Erb: I attended Random Walk, the program where you travel for a week before school starts with 8-10 other 1ys, led by 4 1Ys. I met some of my best friends during this trip. You can select your trip based upon your interest levels in certain destinations and types of travel. From there I built my friend group from the Squad/Cohort group we were assigned to throughout Orientation and LEAD.

Guest: Could you talk about your experience in global experience opportunities?
* Olga Lepigina: There are a lot of global opportunities at Booth (aka opportunities to go abroad). Before you start you can opt in to go on a Random Walk (which was referenced in some of the earlier questions) and throughout the year there are a number of treks, travel opportunities, as well as study abroad opportunities. There are also a number of cultural/professional student groups as well as opportunities to get internships/full time jobs in almost any part of the world.

Guest: Do you feel that your time at Booth has equipped you at handling gender related issues at workplace better and if so how?
* Danielle Erb: Definitely. I previously worked in Tech in the Bay Area, where I felt that companies were making huge strides in gender equality. Coming to Booth you are exposed to a wide variety of industries and people from all over the world. It's great to be exposed to that and be able to compare/ask other women the lifestyle and culture at their places of work. My class at Booth is 42% women, so I've also had access to my classmates to professionally tackle any issues that arise. We've also had lots of conferences and workshops.

Guest: Is there a disadvantage to writing a traditional essay instead of submitting a PowerPoint or PDF? And if we the photo that best connects with me doesn't specifically tie to my career goals, is there a fine line between speaking too much about the photo rather than goals or vice versa?
* Kim Masessa: We ask you to choose the format that works best for you. Some applicants want to illustrate their response visually, so we provide the option to submit a slide presentation. If you are someone who likes to express yourself with words, we also provide the opportunity for you to write a traditional essay. I suggest you use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference. In terms of the essay context, there is no right or wrong balance; we are just looking for an authentic answer and what connections you make to Booth.

Guest: With such a heavy financial and analytical focus, are there support structures in place by Booth or from peers for those attendees who come from backgrounds outside of finance and analytics?
* Danielle Erb: Yes, absolutely. I am the poster child for a non-financial background. I have a liberal arts background and had never taken Micro or Accounting etc before Booth. The school offers prep classes and 101 offerings that are optional. You also can rely heavily on your classmates and the study groups that form, with access to TAs. The fact that we have non-grade disclosure also helps in that I do not feel intimidated by certain courses that might be a stretch-- the point is to stretch yourself and develop those skills further

Guest: For the current students, looking back, what advice do you wish you could give yourself when you first started at Booth?
* Olga Lepigina: For me personally - to be less stressed out about things. Job search can be very stressful, and the first year can be quite overwhelming but it all ends up working out in the end

Guest: In addition to living in the Loop, is there a considerable amount of student that live in Hyde Park as well? Does Booth engage in any local community outreach efforts?
* Joanna Zisis: Many students do live in Hyde Park. It is especially attractive for families, or those who wish to be very close to school. And yes, many student groups, like Giving Something Back, do in fact engage in local community outreach efforts.

Guest: How do the career services help in recruiting?
* Olga Lepigina: Career services are in charge of all of the major career programming at Booth that is not done by clubs. There is an entire class that everyone has to take during their first quarter which prepares you for interviews/networking/etc. There are a number of career advisors and career coaches that work with you throughout your entire time at Booth to address all of your concerns and make sure that you get what you are looking for.

Guest: Do many women come to campus with partners? Or have partners living in another city?
* Andrea McPike: I don't know the exact number, but many women definitely come to campus with significant others or keep the long-distance relationship going while at Booth. I cannot personally attest to this, but my roommate has been in a long-distance relationship since coming to Booth. At times it isn't easy, whether your significant other is here or elsewhere, but we provide a really inclusive community for partners. Whether you are in relationship or single, you will be pulled in many directions with classes, recruiting, and social life. It's important to find a balance and be open and honest with those closest to you about this dramatic schedule change, but Booth and your fellow classmates can definitely help support you and your partner in many capacities.

Guest: Would you say that someone with 7 years of work experience should not consider the full time MBA program?
* Kim Masessa: The Admissions Committee evaluates each application in a holistic manner, as we value the diverse experiences and accomplishments each student brings to the Chicago Booth community. Hence, we do not have a minimum or maximum requirement for years of work experience. Please feel free to view our class snapshot at the bottom of the page, located here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time#simple2

Guest: Do many first year students join the leadership board of CWiB? Are students often involved in CWiB for both years of the MBA program?
* Olga Lepigina: There are 6 co-chairs of CWiB that get selected at the end of their first year. That said there are a number of other ways to get involved such as being a CWiB circle leader or participating in a Common Chromosome focus group (Common Chromosome is an initiative that brings both women and men together to discuss gender equity that was recently launched by CWiB).

Guest: Hello! Is there a limit to the number of clubs you may sign up for as a member? Does club membership require participation in all or some club events?
* Andrea McPike:  There is no limit to the numbers of student groups you sign up for! For all student groups, you pay to be a member. Student group fees differ by student group, but usually if you are a member then you get in for free to all or most events. For most student groups, there is no required participation, but for some if you RSVP and does not show up then you may have to pay an additional fee.

Guest: You mentioned events with professors from Booth who study how gender issues impact the workplace and greater economy. Are these topics that are addressed in some of the classes with these professors as well?
* Danielle Erb: Yes, outside of events hosted by the Womens' Group or Live Chats with Professors, I would say the faculty does a good job of bringing in their research or interests into discussion in the classroom where it makes sense. I have already touched upon gender in my Micro class as well as Negotiations

Guest: I have a background of working with internet companies. Post MBA, I see myself pursuing a career in technology consulting. At Booth, which clubs and activities should best help me and how?
* Danielle Erb: I would recommend joining the Tech Club as well as the Management Consulting Group. This will best position you for recruiting season. You can also participate in various Tech based case competitions and partake in the West Coast tech trek or Amazon visit in the fall.

Guest: : For current students, what has been your favorite class at Booth thus far and is it one of the classes you were initially excited about when applying?
* Andrea McPike: My favorite class thus far has been "Building the New Venture" with Waverly Deutsch. I previewed her class during my admit weekend and new I had to take the class. I'm in it now, and it's awesome. I don't really have any desire to be an entrepreneur, but this class teaches you how to think like an entrepreneur, and she's such an awesome professor.

Guest: Hello :) I am applying to Booth along with my husband. Is there a social framework for couples who are both students at Booth?
* Kim Masessa: Thank you for your question. I believe you are asking about our Booth Partners Group, an official Booth club comprised of spouses and significant others (all types are welcome) of Booth students. For more insight, please visit their webpage here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/student-experience/beyond-classroom/groups/booth-partners

Guest: Is there anything about Booth MBA program that you'd like to change?
* Andrea McPike: That's an interesting question. If I could, I would change the whole on-campus recruiting process. It's so time consuming and stressful at times. However, we do it the same as every other business school, so I don't see this on-campus recruiting structure changing any time soon. Booth has a ton of career resources, both in the administration and with support from student groups that help you get through the process (with a job!). As a second year, I really enjoy being a mentor for first year students going through the recruiting process, both officially and unofficially. We have a strong pay it forward culture here, and it's great to know that we can rely on one another and advise one another on how to be successful in this process.

Guest: How did you find housing your first year?  Roommates, apartment, location, etc.
* Danielle Erb: I chose to live in Millennium Park Plaza-- lovingly known as the "booth dorm." It is affordable and allows me to live right alongside my peers. I have lots of friends who also chose to live nearby in the Loop. You can tour the building if and when you visit or check it out online. I found my roommate at an Admitted Students event... but you can also seek a roommate over the summer via a spreadsheet that will be circulated amongst the incoming class

Guest: Do you have any examples of how you have utilized the alumni network?
* Olga Lepigina: Yes. In the beginning of the first year we had a stock pitch competition. The company that we decided to pitch was run by a Booth alum. We emailed the CEO of the company asking if we could speak to him, and he got back to us right away. We were able to schedule a call to go over the company's strategies and financials, something that would not have been possible have we not had the Booth connection.

Guest: Outside of the CWiB org, do you have other favorite groups on campus that you participate in?
* Danielle Erb: Yes I am a member of Tech and Marketing Club, as well as Management Consulting Group. For fun I am a member of Wine Club- very popular on campus! And tennis club! It is safe to say if you have an interest there is a club that meets it

Guest: How rigorous is the involvement with the various academic and other school activities and if you want to develop a new skill say learning a new language or work on an idea and start-up how easy or difficult is that?
* Olga Lepigina: The beauty of the flexible curriculum is that you can choose what you would like to focus on academically or professionally. That said, there are always tradeoffs. The classes are rigorous and I would not call working on an idea for a startup "a piece of cake", but you get much more resources here and so much more help than you would outside of school, that I would call working on an idea for a startup relatively easy to what it would be like on the outside. I definitely know people who are taking language classes, starting new businesses, and participating in multiple internships/initiatives outside of class. 

Guest: Are there any Booth MBA's who are also pursing MPA/MPP degrees at other universities?  Does your curriculum allow you time to take electives in other schools? For those who are interested in the cross section btwn tech / government, what areas of UChicago (classes, particular clubs) would be interesting to look at?
* Andrea McPike: I'm not sure about those pursuing these degrees at other universities, but Booth has a significant number of dual degree students at the Harris School of Public Policy. The flexible curriculum definitely allows students who are not dual degree students to take classes at other schools. I considered a dual degree in MPP but I opted out of it because I felt I could get what I wanted from my 2 years at Booth. It's great being close to the Institute of Politics to get involved there, and the Social Enterprise Initiative is growing every year with people interested in public service, social enterprise, and the intersection of public and private sector work.

Guest: Does the on-campus recruiting process feel "cut-throat" or more collegial? In particular I’m curious about asset management and finance recruiting.
* Danielle Erb: It can certainly feel like a competitive environment at times, but I can confidently say that the school groups and Career Services do all they can to make you feel supported and that you have an outlet. I have found the Marketing group and 2Ys to be incredibly supportive. I have heard the same from friends entering the financial sector. I would say it's fantastic that you know what you want to do and can pursue that--- competitiveness can creep up when you get caught up in what everyone else is recruiting for. I feel very well-positioned to get the best job possible and maintain some balance during interviews.

Guest: For those of you switching careers, did you do a pre-MBA internship? And/or are pre-MBA internships common?
* Andrea McPike: I came from a social impact community development bank and wanted to switch to consulting. I found a social impact consulting internship through the Booth networking after accepting my admissions offer and did that over the summer. It was helpful but not super necessary. I wouldn’t' say it's common. I think most people travel and relax!

Guest: Can you talk a little more on the quarter system vs. a semester system, what has being on a quarter systems allowed you to do that you otherwise wouldn't have been able to?
* Andrea McPike: The quarter system is great because I think on average you take more classes than semester school students, and you also are able to focus on a few topics at a time (3-4 classes per quarter as opposed to 5-6). I went here for undergrad as well, so it's really all I know, but I love it. Additionally, if you are thinking about studying abroad during business school, I think it's much less daunting to spend 1/6 of your time abroad than 1/4.

Guest: Thank you for everyone's time today. Would you please share some of your most exciting experience or key takeaways from the Booth Women Connect Conference that took place on Oct 27th this year?
* Olga Lepigina: Having 900+ women in one room for the keynote address. It was incredibly empowering.

Guest: Are there "formal" opportunities to study abroad for a quarter at a time?
* Joanna Zisis: Booth students can take part of the International Business Exchange Program. Learn more here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/international-studies/ibep

Guest: What are the cold Chicago winters REALLY like? Have you made lots of "gear" investments?
* Danielle Erb: I did have to buy a very large winter coat! I have heard layering is the key! Living in Millennium Park Plaza helps because it's a short distance to the Metra and/or you can split rides to campus i.e. door to door rides! Let's hope it's a moderate winter again!

Guest: I have only been working for two years post undergrad, but I am very interested in pursuing an MBA. Do you have any resources or advice for less experienced prospective students?
* Kim Masessa: Absolutely! We have insight on applicant criteria and considerations, as well as early career programs on our website, located here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/early-career-candidates

Guest: What have you found to be the best resources for navigating the flexible curriculum and choosing courses and concentrations?
* Andrea McPike: Honestly just looking through course descriptions and reviews from people who have taken the class has been most helpful.