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Live Chat with Summer Business Scholars Alumni

Learn more about the Summer Business Scholars Program through the experiences of recent program alumni! During an SBSP Live Chat, you will be connected with SBSP scholars from around the word. Alumni are able to answer your questions about the program’s experiential learning curriculum, the many engaging corporate visits they attended, and what they enjoyed most about exploring the city of Chicago.

Transcripts from our most recent chats can be found below. Please reach out to SummerScholars@ChicagoBooth.edu with any immediate program or application questions you may have.

Chat Transcript

Program & Experience

Guest: What is the Summer Business Scholars Program?
* Frank Deese, SBSP ‘17: The Booth Summer Business Scholars Program, first and foremost, is awesome. It is also a business program aimed at students wishing to get a taste of business school coursework and prepare for internships and careers in business-related fields in the future.

Guest: The average age at the program is 22, and 22% of students are working professionals. Is this program more beneficial and appropriate to older students, as they already have a certain level of knowledge in the field, whether it is through academia or work experience? (I am a class of 2021 candidate)
* Jeff Yoo, SBSP ‘17: Although the SBSP used to be catered toward older individuals, the program is now focusing more on younger undergraduate students. Personally, as a former member of the program, the SBSP does a beautiful job in helping cultivate soft and hard skills for its students. Therefore, the SBSP program will benefit all students regardless of previous knowledge or work experience.

Guest: I understand that the program has been altered since your summer experience with SBSP, but could perhaps one of you describe a day at the program? Thank you!
* Jake Thiemann, SBSP ‘17: Absolutely! While each day was different, a typical day might involve breakfast at around 8:30, followed by class from 9:00-12:00. Lunch would then be served at around 1:30. After lunch, activities changed each day, but some of the ones we got to participate in were professional communications workshops, career workshops, and visits to various companies in Chicago. Evenings were generally free, but we also spent a few evenings as a program going to the top of Sears Tower, getting deep dish pizza, and going to a Cubs game. Nights are typically spent hanging out with other participants from the program and working on some homework.

Guest: I am not pursuing an undergraduate degree in business, could I still benefit from the SBSP experience?
* Frank Deese: You will definitely benefit from SBSP regardless of your academic background. I was not a business major prior to beginning the program, and I found the coursework to be accessible and incredibly useful. If you don't have a business background, the program will really help you gain a new perspective, and it opened my eyes to different possibilities career-wise.

Guest: What are the fields of study for the 2018 curriculum?
* Kristen Robinson: Great question!  We are still working with our faculty to finalize the specifics of the curriculum, but we can tell you that it will be a blend of theory and practice.  You will learn all of the building blocks that you need in order to be successful during an exciting experiential exercise that will take place during the final week!

Guest: Will the coursework include business cases?
* Lindsay Gelb, SBSP ‘17: While business cases are included in the coursework the amount depends on the subject as well as the professors.

Guest: Where did you go and what did you learn during the corporate visits?
* Julie Feracota, SBSP ‘17: We visited Bain, Morningstar, and Cara.
Each company was very different which made each experience extremely valuable.
My favorite company visit was to Cara, which is a non-profit that helps previously homeless adults find employment. They work towards employee retention and professional development. We were able to sit in on one of their motivational meetings, and I was amazed by the support and love each person had for each other. We then met with the CEO of the company and learned more about non-profit companies. I enjoyed learning about this important business sector and its value in society. Overall, these visits were an enriching experience and has shaped my future prospects as well.

Guest: How did SBSP impact your academic areas of interest?
* Julie Feracota: SBSP not only helped me have a deeper understanding of my current area of study (I am a major in accounting), but it also opened up other career interests that had never occurred to me before. After attending a company visit to Bain, I realized that consulting is a career that I am interested in learning more about. I also became more comfortable with finance, which has made me a more versatile student and has aided me in my accounting courses. Each professor was friendly and truly wanted to connect with the students. They were experts in their subjects and were passionate about sharing their knowledge with us.

Guest: Has SBSP helped you in your career/internship pursuits?
* Lindsay Gelb: The short answer is yes. I do not come from a Business background (I am double majoring in Political Science and Sociology) so in many way SBSP has been very helpful. I have gotten interviews/internship offers that I don’t think I would have otherwise gotten without the program. However for me personally the program has really helped me to translate my academic background and experiences into a business field as well as have a better understanding of what I want to do (what career I want to pursuit).

Guest: How much similarity does the SBSP program have to an MBA?
* Jake Thiemann: I'm not currently an MBA student, but SBSP was described to me as a "taste of an MBA." Its goal is to expose you to the MBA experience so you can determine if you would want a Booth MBA (which you will!)

Guest: What did you do in Chicago while you were in the city?
* Jeff Yoo: Chicago is a world class city with a ton of amazing amenities.  During my free time, I frequently visited museums (The Art Institute of Chicago is one of my favorites), beaches, parks, music venues, and sports games (attending a Cubs game at Wrigley Field is a must!). The program focuses on maintaining a well-balanced workload, so you will have many opportunities to explore Chicago and to create some wonderful memories.

Guest: Where will participants live during the program?
* Frank Deese: Participants will be living close to the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. It is a dynamic neighborhood with a long history that you'll enjoy exploring. It is only a quick ride from downtown and there will be reliable transportation to ensure you get to experience all Chicago has to offer while in the program.

Guest: What are the dates for the program? If specific dates for 2018 are not available, what is the estimated time or time of previous sessions?
* Kristen Robinson: The program will take place from July 21st - August 11th, with move-in happening on July 21st and move-out on August 11th.  Late July and early August are the perfect times to be in Chicago! There are tons of things to do, from baseball games to music festivals to days at the beach to the Taste of Chicago! 

Application Process

Guest: Since applicants are coming from diverse fields, what exactly do you look for in a profile, for being accepted into the program and possibly receiving a scholarship?
* Megan Lakatos: Great question! We conduct a holistic review that considers ALL elements of your application. There is not one type of student that fits the SBSP profile! This means that we look for great grades in challenging courses, deep extracurricular involvement that shows you are a leader within your organizations, thoughtful letters of recommendation, and a deep interest in participating in SBSP. We encourage you to take your time in the application process! As for scholarships, all admitted students will be considered for merit based scholarship opportunities. No additional application is necessary.

Guest: What is the rate of admission into the program?
* Kristen Robinson: The admissions rate varies based on the number of applications that we receive.  We are looking for a class of students that is academically gifted, involved in their communities and ambitious about their future professions.  In other words, we're looking for a class of well-rounded students, and that number varies by year. You can refer to the class profile on our website for more information about the students who make up our class! 

Guest: Is there a recommended minimum GPA for applicants?
* Megan Lakatos: We do not have a minimum GPA requirement for application consideration. However, we do look for competitive academics during our holistic admissions review that also considers your resume, letters or recommendation and your interest in SBSP. Thanks for asking!

Guest: Can I write an Statement of Purpose for the program?
* Megan Lakatos: An SOP is not required; however, we do require a thoughtful response to an essay question. We encourage you to begin the application process early and to take your time responding to all areas! The application is LIVE so you can see the essay question now!

Guest: Could you clarify what the SBSP essay prompt means by "explain what programming you would implement?”
* Kristen Robinson: Great question! We are asking what types of activities you would plan for your student organization to help build community among club membership.

Guest: Are we permitted to submit more than one letter of recommendation for the application?
* Kristen Robinson: We strongly request that you not submit more than one letter of recommendation given the volume of applications that we read.  In general, think about the story you are trying to tell in your application.  It's important to include all aspects of your candidacy, but also avoid redundancies (the latter of which can often happen in multiple letters of recommendation).

Guest: My GPA is average. Should I apply only after submitting a high GMAT score (to make up for it)?
* Jake Thiemann: I guess it depends when you are taking the GMAT. If you have your score before the deadline, then I would include it with your application. However, SBSP will look at a lot more than just your GPA.

Guest: Can I switch from a Round 1 application to a Round 2 application at any time if I don't feel ready to submit by January 11th?
* Kristen Robinson: Absolutely! We recommend that you submit your application whenever it is the strongest application possible.  If you decide to switch the round in which you are intending to apply, feel free to email us at SummerScholars@ChicagoBooth.edu and we'll be happy to make that adjustment on our end.

Guest: I am 24 years old and I have more than a year of experience in my own startup. I have already done my post-graduation.  Am I eligible for SBSP? What is the eligibility criterion (specific)?
* Kristen Robinson: Thank you so much for your question!  This program is ideal for students who have just completed their first or second year of their undergraduate education, because we're focusing on building skills that will help students be successful in their internships.  That being said, we would never discourage a student from applying to SBSP if they are hoping to use it to segue into business.  I would recommend talking with some of our SBSP alumni about the types of students they see the program benefiting. 

Guest: Are all classes taught by Booth professors?
* Jake Thiemann: Yes. The professors are also professors for the full-time MBA program.

Guest: Is a student visa required for the program? I’ve graduated from Georgia Tech last year, and my student F1 visa does not expire until 2020. I’m interested to know how it would be modified for SBSP; or do I just need an I-20 document from the University of Chicago?
* Kristen Robinson: Great question! We do require an F-1 visa for study in the Summer Business Scholars Program if you are not from the United States.  You should talk to your undergraduate institution if you have an active F-1 visa to see if they are able to transfer it to Chicago Booth.  If you do not have an active F-1 visa, we will work with you to obtain an F-1 visa.

Guest: If I’ve already graduated from a master’s program in a US institution, do I need to take an English proficiency exam? I previously took the TOEFL before my MS program and got a relatively high score.
* Kristen Robinson: If you have graduated from an institution (undergraduate degree or Master's degree) whose official language of instruction was English, you do not need to provide a TOEFL score.  We would require a TOEFL score if your university's official language was not English to ensure that our students are able to get the most out of their experience!

Guest: How much is the program?
* Kristen Robinson: The program costs $6,300, which includes tuition, the cost of living on campus, as well as some meals.  The rate does not cover travel costs or the cost of some meals and personal activities.