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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: Hello, does the OUTreach club do any social events?
* Taylor Carson: Hi, thanks for joining us today! YES! OUTreach has many social events throughout the year. I’ll focus on social events and leave some of our ally/LGBT official programming for another question. This year, the club is planning to have two school-wide events in Boystown: an ugly sweater party in December and Pink Party in the spring. Pink Party is one of the largest student-run events at Booth and allies compete in drag. We also have smaller LGBTQ-specific events like laser tag, going to a haunted house, and mixers with students from the other UoC grad programs. And, of course, this is all in addition to the times that we hang out with one another on the weekends.

Guest: What kind of support is there at Booth for LGBTQ students?
* Vero Seminario: There’s mainly three sources of support specifically for LGBTQ students: OUTreach, Diversity Affairs at Booth, and the LGBTQ Center for Identity + Inclusion. In particular, OUTreach is the LGBTQ club, and its co-chairs will provide a nexus with the school’s staff and help navigate any question or issue you may have, create a safe community of other LGBTQ and ally students, and set up mentorship for recruiting purposes. And within OUTreach you will find some of the friendliest Boothies happy to help with anything you need.

Guest: Hi - thanks for hosting this chat. What are some things that surprised you about B-school? And about Booth in particular? What advice would you give to a first year student (e.g. classes to take/avoid, things to focus on that you wish someone told you to focus on your first year)?
* Elsa Rodriguez: Hey, thank you for joining us! One thing that has been a pleasant surprise through Booth is the amount of time, effort and care that 2Y students put into supporting and developing the 1Y students and Booth community. The community is heavily student-led and the administration is open to student suggestions and allowing us to pilot and try out new activities, talks, panels, etc. In terms of advice for a first-year student, I would say that the structure of your year will heavily depend on your recruiting focus. Because Booth starts in late September, I encourage all first-year students to spend their summer exploring potential areas of career interest.

Guest: Hello! What are the unique opportunities OUTreach offers to prospective students and how diverse of industry is your organization?
* Andrew Janiszewski: Hi! Thanks for joining! I think you’re asking about the job recruiting opportunities available to OUTreach members. We maintain relationships with dozens of companies and can help connect you to the diversity recruiters at companies you’re interested in. We also encourage our members to attend the annual ROMBA conference (LGBT MBA recruiting conference) which is typically attended by 90+ companies. To your second question, we have about 50 members total and the career backgrounds obviously vary from year to year, but Booth overall has a pretty diverse student population and our OUTreach members have previously worked in industries as varied as consulting, corporate strategy, finance, non-profits, government, and education.

Guest: Hello, Is the culture of Booth School of Business more collaborative or competitive?
* Trisha Chakraborty: Hi - thanks for joining and for the question! The culture of Booth is definitely collaborative! Much of the classwork is focused around group work, and teams are successful when everyone works together. People also love to study together, share notes, and talk through the concepts outside of the classroom.

Guest: What surprised you most about business school?
* Trisha Chakraborty: Great question. What surprised me most about business school is how well rounded and exceptional my peers are. Everyone is involved in many activities while also taking challenging classes and pursuing their career interests. It is very inspiring to be around such an ambitious group of people (they know how to have fun, too)!

Guest: How accessible are the professors?
* Lincoln Campbell: Professors at Booth are very approachable and are true academics in their field. Professors hold office hours and most professors have offices in the Harper Center. Most questions can be handled through class discussions, but if you had a more in-depth question, you can also chat with professors during breaks between classes or after class as well. If you have a good relationship with professors, they may also connect you with people in their network who can provide you with answers and opportunities as well.

Guest: Why did you ultimately choose to attend Booth?
* Vero Seminario: Ultimately it came down to the people. I didn’t get the chance to visit Booth, so to research I set up a lot of calls with people from OUTreach -the LGBTQ club-, the Booth Technology Group -the industry I wanted to recruit for-, alums, students from Argentina -my country-, and more. They were all genuinely happy to help me, talk about their experiences, listen to my story and goals, and help me figure out whether Booth was right for me. They were all humble and willing to help; the kind of people I would want to learn from and work with.

 Guest: Hi! On the OUTreach site video, I think Elsa mentioned '40 members' and 400 allies. What are the differences in terms of openness, participation or commitment?
* Elsa Rodriguez: Hi! We break our community into LGBTQ-identified students and allies. This is done primarily to for the purpose of providing career support and a dedicated space to LGBTQ-identified individuals. Our LGBTQ-identified community is very active. Outside of specific targeted activities, our larger ally community is very open. The Booth community has been a very accepting place in our experience to-date and we often combine initiatives and events with other groups who are looking to further connect with OUTreach. This year, we will host Ally Week in the Fall, a holiday party with Allies in the Winter and our annual Spring Event where we get a large turnout of allies (300+). 

Guest: Was BOOTH Outreach initiatives a major piece/drawing point when applying to Booth yourself? What made Booth stand out in your eyes BEFORE coming to campus?
* Taylor Carson: Hey! Absolutely. When I was a prospective student, I really appreciated the amount of outreach that I received from OUTreach. The current students at the time reached out to anyone who self-identified as LGBTQ and indicated interest in learning more about OUTreach. I had ample opportunity to speak with current students about the club, what it was like to be out at Booth, and the general atmosphere of the entire student body. Through these interactions, I felt that I had a really good grasp on what it would be like to attend Booth and that definitely made the school more appealing in my eyes. Hopefully today’s chat and our future interactions will give you the same impression.

Guest: I'm currently on a plane traveling for work, so not sure if this will go through. Is there anything particular that you recommend trying to highlight (or avoid) during the admissions process? Whether in essay topics, or work experiences, etc.?

* Andrew Janiszewski: Hi! Thanks for the question! I don’t know that I can give you a quick and easy answer, but I’d certainly try to make your application as specific to Booth as possible. For example, you could get a broad business education at any number of schools – so you should tell the admissions committee why Booth in particular is the right school for you. Maybe you’re interested in entrepreneurship, and so you’re excited about the opportunities available at the Polsky Center, the top-ranked university accelerator in the country. Or maybe you’re interested in going really deep into finance and economic theory and are excited to study under one of Booth’s seven professors that have won the Nobel Prize. And in case you’re wondering whether or not to include references to being LGBTQ in your application, while there’s no right or wrong answer (and you should do what makes sense and is comfortable for you), you should be proud of your identity and shouldn’t in any way feel the need to downplay that part of your background.  

 Guest: Hi, thanks for hosting this chat. How large and close-knit would you say is the OUTreach community? Thanks.
* Vero Seminario: There are ~40 LGBTQ people in our club, but more than 100 registered allies. The LGBTQ community is very close-knit. In my experience, even before starting classes and arriving to Chicago, OUTreach had set up a chat group with all the LGBTQ students, and every day we would share pictures, jokes and GIFs. By the time school started I already felt I had a great group of friends. As the Booth LGBTQ community has been growing stronger, we are also focusing on creating a common space with allies and creating opportunities for them to be more involved in the club.

Guest: Booth is very fast rising school among top MBAs what are three main differentiating reasons behind the students' perspective?
* Lincoln Campbell: From my perspective, Booth is rising in its ranks because of its strong employment report numbers, the overall satisfaction that students have with their MBA experience and because the quality of students continues to rise based upon metrics like GPA, GMAT, etc. From a programmatic level, Booth has made significant investments in entrepreneurship and is known for the New Venture Challenge / Social New Venture Challenge and the Polsky Center. I would also say that Booth has differentiated itself as quantitative school with courses like Big Data, Machine Learning and Data-Driven Marketing. This appeals to a wide range of companies which specifically seek out Booth students. 

Guest: Hi there – thanks for hosting this session. Can Weekend MBA students also become involved in OUTreach? Are there often events on weekends outside of class time?
* Andrew Janiszewski: Hi there! Booth Pride is the LGBTQ student organization for the part-time and weekend MBA program. We do have collaborative events between our two programs, both formally – like alumni-student happy hours – and informal weekend hangouts. We host a number of events during the year, including a holiday party and Pink Party, Chicago-Booth’s LGBTQ+allies party, which is one of Booth’s biggest and best-attended student events of the year. And we also get together for lower-key events like weekend BBQs or impromptu trips up to Boystown (Chicago’s “gayborhood”) on Saturday nights. 

Guest: Hi - When visiting campus, how would you recommend we allocate our time to get a true grasp of the Booth experience (apart from guided tours)?
* Trisha Chakraborty: Thanks for the question! Aside from a guided tour, I would try to sit in on a class to get a sense of the academic experiences (keeping in mind that not all classes are the same). Also, set up coffee with a current student or two to get a sense of his/her day to day experiences (OUTreach is happy to help facilitate this if you'd like to meet with someone from the LGBT community - just reach out to me via e-mail and I can help set it up!). Also, take some time to sit in the Winter Garden (the main open area at Booth) to get a sense for the vibe / ambiance, and imagine if you could see yourself being a student at Booth! 

Guest: Are any of you pursuing an entrepreneurial track? What kind of support have you received from the school? Anything in particular that you believe you would not have received at another school?
* Elsa Rodriguez: Hi, I will have an Entrepreneurship concentration at the end of my time at Booth. While I will likely take on a traditional job, I was involved with new venture activities this past year. Personally, I did not have any background in this prior to coming to Booth and I have found the classes to be very hands on and practical. I participated in the Social New Venture challenge, which provided us with dedicated coaches and consisted of a guided step-by-step process of going from ideation to final pitch. While intense, it was an incredibly significant learning experience to build a business from top to bottom. There is an entire center dedicated to new ventures and supporting Entrepreneurship. Students often work part time at startups or VC firms and have access to apply to several sources of funding. 

Guest: I’m a candidate coming from the technology background. What are the 5 most important things that are evaluated at the time of admission?
* Lizzie Seidenstricker: Thanks for your question. I am with the admissions office, and when we review your application it is reviewed holistically, meaning every single part of the application contributes to the greater picture of the candidate. No one section is any more important than the other. Give yourself the time to put equal effort into each section of the application so we can get the greatest understanding of you as a potential MBA student

Guest: Hello, thank you for hosting this chat. Do members of the LGBTQ community need to be out to participate in OUTreach?
* Taylor Carson: Hello! Students do not need to be out to participate in OUTreach. As a club, we respect confidentiality and will never out someone. We will work with members who are not out in order to share information about LGBTQ-exclusive events in a way that does not identify them as LGBTQ to anyone. Our LGBTQ members who attend events will also respect your privacy. For example, even when we believe everyone is out, we will still seek permission from anyone in photos before sharing them on our Instagram account or website. Our goal is to provide a safe place for all LGBTQ individuals.

 Guest: Hi! What would you say is unique to the city of Chicago that adds to your Booth experience?
* Taylor Carson: Hey there! Man, I needed to think about this one for a bit. From a career standpoint, I think Chicago has a lot of diversity in terms of industries; we have healthcare, tech, financial services, CPG, and a number of startups. Other cities don’t necessarily have the same variety. From a personal standpoint, Chicago is a world-class city. The food scene here is unbelievable and I often find myself wishing I had a greater disposable income in order to try everything. The city is also pretty modern; it was rebuilt after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. I love the architecture and the Chicago River in downtown. Chicago has definitely captured my heart. Having the reigning World Series champs doesn’t hurt either! 

Guest: Since you are all current students, I imagine your perspective might have changed, not only for Booth, but for other schools that you might have considered or even gotten accepted to. 1. What were somethings that you didn't know before coming to Booth? 2. While they are all great schools, what is your view on other high ranking MBA schools? (HBS, Wharton, Sloan, Kellogg, Stanford)
* Taylor Carson: Hello! To answer your first question – I kept hearing about Booth’s “pay-it-forward culture,” but I didn’t realize exactly what that meant. As a first-year student, you will receive a ton of advice, guidance, and support about classes, clubs, recruiting from second-year students. The second-year students invest a lot of time in first-year students and it was very meaningful to me. Now a second-year student myself, I am so excited to do the same with the class of 2019. For your second question – I think the schools that you mentioned are absolutely incredible. If you can earn acceptance to any of them, you will be positioned very well for your future career. That said, I don’t personally believe that business school should only be about that. You’ll be spending two years of your life at one of these institutions and, thus, it’s really important to find the right community for you. If you have the means, I highly recommend that you visit as many schools as you can and find the best fit. 

Guest: After you get your first job after graduation, how would you use the Booth network to move into another position after that? Is it as simple as finding a mutual Booth connection to the company that you're interested in, or is there anything more formalized?
* Trisha Chakraborty: Thanks for the question! Luckily I haven't had to go through this process yet, but from what I've heard, the Booth alumni network, both formal and informal, is very strong. As an alumni, you can leverage Career Services to connect you to other Booth alums in your field / company of interest. You will also have access to things like the Community Directory (with all alums' profiles / contact information) once you graduate. Informally, Booth alums are very receptive to helping each other out; there is a strong culture of giving back and paying it forward (something I see even now as a current student). I'm confident that if/when I want to change jobs, the network is going to play a critical role!

Guest: I am actually a practicing attorney. Do you know of any attorney's in your class?  From an admissions standpoint, would you happen to know if attorneys are viewed in a positive/negative way (if at all)?
* Lizzie Seidenstricker: Thanks for your question, I am with the admissions office and we do have some license attorneys complete the Full-Time MBA program. We also have a joint degree program with the University of Chicago Law School for students looking to get a JD/MBA. From an admissions perspective, there is no negative or positive connotation if you are an attorney. We want to get a solid understanding of the quality of your work experience and why you think an MBA is right for you.

Guest: I'm an international student from Korea. Do you know about how many companies 'sponsor' international students each year, for permanent positions in the United States?
* Lizzie Seidenstricker: The number of international students who receive domestic jobs varies from year to year. If that is your goal following graduation, you can work with career services to recruit for positions across several industries that would allow this.

Guest: How has the career resources been at Booth? Have you and most of your peers found internships/jobs directly through Booth or through your own connections/applying online etc.?
* Andrew Janiszewski: Thanks for the question! There are a ton of career resources at Booth including full-time staff career counselors and second-year student career coach volunteers (a position you apply for as a first-year and then go through a bunch of training to get certified), and a huge amount of programming to help you with your career search and to prep for interviews, both from Booth’s career services office and from industry-specific clubs (e.g. the Management Consulting Group). Generally I’d say the bulk of resources are aimed at the more well-worn MBA paths (consulting, finance, tech), but there are certainly both formal and informal resources available (there seems to be a student group for every interest) if you’re considering other career opportunities – real estate, search funds, etc. That said, most of the folks I know did find their job/internship by utilizing Booth’s career resources.  

Guest: Can you speak to what opportunities exist (mostly wondering about outside the classroom) for those with experience in and interested in concentrating on healthcare technology? Asking about the field, not specific to future career choice, whether a large company like Medtronics, VC/PE, or even a new venture.
* Taylor Carson: Hi! Unfortunately, those of us on the chat today do not have much experience with healthcare technology. I would try to reach out to the club officers of the Healthcare club. You can also use this tool to connect with current students based on their club-affiliations and career interests: https://apply.chicagobooth.edu/portal/studentvolunteer  

Guest: A few of my friends from other MBA programs, told me that the experience is almost 50% networking in terms of time spent during their study. Would you say the same for Booth?
* Lincoln Campbell: Hi, I would say that networking is a major component of any MBA experience. Formal networking / recruiting with companies is very seasonal and depends upon the industry and function that you seek out. For instance, I recruited for consulting last year and that was quite a busy time of networking in the fall. However, by January, the time spent with networking significantly decreased. Informal networking with classmates is an ongoing process and your time commitment to it is at your discretion. I would say that investing in a Full Time MBA program means that you should take the time to network with professionals and classmates because you are devoting the time away from work to do so. 

Guest: Are many able to transition into a completely new industry/career in their first job after graduation?
* Andrew Janiszewski: Absolutely! In fact, I’d say a majority of MBAs at Booth are using their MBA experience to at least consider pivoting into a new career field. I was in the military before coming to Booth and spent 8 years as an intelligence officer, so business school was certainly my way of transitioning into something completely new (I recruited for consulting and spent my intern summer at BCG New York). Even if you aren’t sure exactly what you want to do, I think business school is a time where you can safely explore a number of different interests to figure out your next steps.