Guest: Do career services facilitate help with opportunities outside the US?
* Richard Yin: Absolutely! There are a lot of recruiting events from employers outside of the US happening on campus or in downtown Chicago that are organized or facilitated by Career Services. For example, I am recruiting for consulting opportunities in China, all of the major consulting firms in China have sent consultants to Chicago for information sessions, and coffee chats.
Guest: Hi everyone! Are international students allowed to start a startup or work for one (perhaps part-time?) while on a student visa? I hope the limitations of a visa doesn't get in the way of making the most of the opportunities at Booth!
* Nikhita Giridhar: As an international student, you are allowed to work on your ideas for a startup at any time - there are plenty of resources at Polsky that will help you with this. You may also work part-time for a startup (after completing three full quarters at Booth - these are standard immigration policies - which essentially means that part-time work is possible in your second year).
Guest: What made you join Booth, and how is your experience so far? How collaborative is the culture at Booth?
* Nishtha Jain: The biggest reasons for me personally were the outstanding faculty, the diverse culture, and the flexible curriculum. The culture has been truly collaborative. For example, during recruitment, instead of being competitive, everyone practices together. Additionally, most of the class work happens in groups, which ends up being a great way to work together with different people. Furthermore, a majority of the class lives in the same building and area (the loop) and everyone ends up really supporting each other given the proximity.
Guest: The Booth 2017 Employment Report shows that four students were hired in the Middle East. To which industry did they go?
* Richard Yin: Two of them went into tech, one did a startup and one went into consulting.
Guest: Do you have any comments on the recent non-US student experience in applying for US work visas for the summer internship and post-MBA recruiting processes? Is there any appreciable change compared to previous years? Have students been having difficulties?
* Nikhita Giridhar: It's business as usual. You don't have to apply for a visa to work over the summer (your student visa covers that). For post-MBA purposes, companies that hire you will clearly state at the outset whether they sponsor international students and if they do - they will handle the whole process for you. In that sense, it’s the same as previous years.
Guest: I have a few questions for today's session, the first one being if you could give an example of how you have used the flexible curriculum to your advantage.
* Emily Kidd: The flexible curriculum in my view is a really great feature of the Booth program. I have used it to my advantage by selecting classes that are a) preparing me for a switch in my career to investment management and b) signal to employers that I am dedicated and interested in their particular field. It also allows you so much freedom to challenge yourself in new areas and spend less time on topics that you might have done at undergrad or had exposure to in your professional life. The final bonus I think is around timing. You have the flexibility to construct your program however you would like. There are certain fixed requirements that you need to hit (I can provide more details on that if you're interested) but you can approach how you meet these requirements in a way that works for you. Hope this helps! : )
Guest: How are the experiential learning opportunities?
* Nikhita Giridhar: There are a lot of labs and academic internships available at Booth. These are possible to take advantage of from the very first quarter and range from marketing consulting to companies in Chicago, PE/VC internships with firms in Chicago, entrepreneurial ventures in Chicago.
Guest: I would love to hear about the pre-MBA experience and how does it work. Also, I’m interested in knowing how hard do students find coping with harsh weathers mainly in winter time.
* Inbar Goodman: I didn't go through any of the pre-MBA opportunities, but Booth does a good job communicating those to admitted students, so you can read about it to learn if that is something that is interesting for you to do. As for the weather, coming from a hot climate it was definitely a concern for me. It's my first winter here, and so far it has been okay. It's all about getting ready in time with a good coat and pair of boots.
Guest: I understand that the Booth classroom is one of the richest across the globe in terms of international diversity. Could you cite some experiences wherein you felt that you were able to add value to the classroom with your knowledge of your native geography and its business environment or learn from such insights offered by other international students?
* Emily Kidd: Every day! Our classes require a lot of active participation and so we are always voicing opinions based on our own experiences and hearing and learning from others. I've learned about the FinTech industry in Israel, private equity/venture capital in Mexico, and loads of other general cultural and economic aspects of other different cultures. The international community here is very diverse; it's a lot of fun!
Guest: What kind of assistance does Chicago Booth career services offer in connecting students with positions (internships and full time positions) internationally?
* Richard Yin: There are a lot of recruiting events from employers outside of the US happening on campus or in downtown Chicago that are organized or facilitated by Career Services. For example, I am recruiting for consulting opportunities in China, all the major consulting firms in China have sent consultants to Chicago for information sessions, and coffee chats. Furthermore, there are treks organized by student groups but supported by career services for students to learn more about the international opportunities.
Guest: How strong are the international communities on campus?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: The international communities are very strong. We have various student led clubs that represent all regions around the world. I am personally a Co-Chair of the Latin America Business Group. We run events like dinners, parties and professional meetings.
Guest: Can you elucidate on the chances of converting a call in R3? I missed the first two rounds, as I was not doing well health wise.
* Cristina Ochoa: All three application rounds are treated equally.
Guest: If any of you have been recruiting at start-ups, how have you managed the process? How would you best make use of CMC for this?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Startups tend to start hiring a little later in the process March-April. There is a startup-trek to the Bay Area that takes place in February for students to get a sense of available startups/opportunities. If you find startups outside of your network that you want to be connected to, CMC helps identifying the right contact/relevant alums for you to introduce yourself to.
Guest: Who will interview the candidates on campus and off campus respectively?
* Cristina Ochoa: If you come to campus for an interview, you will be interviewed by one of our Admissions Fellows (current second-year students). If you are unable to come to campus for an interview, we will still try to arrange an in-person interview in your city with a Booth alum. If that is still not possible, we will try to arrange a virtual (Skype or phone interview).
Guest: Has any of you had your partner/spouse join you in relocating to Chicago? What kind of support does Booth provide for partner/spouse?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Booth has a very involved group - 'Booth Partners Club' that hosts a lot of activities for your partner to get involved in your life at Booth. Additionally, your partner is invited to most events hosted at Booth (apart from professional events) - this allows you to enjoy the social and cultural elements of school life with your partner at all times.
Guest: Could you please comment on how well recognized the Chicago Booth brand is outside the U.S. (specifically in Europe), as I am very interested in returning to continental Europe post-MBA?
* Emily Kidd: Great question! I am from London and a similar question when I came to Booth. I think the brand really is strong in Europe and more importantly, it's going from strength to strength. Yes, the European schools are well known but I think particularly amongst employers and MBA grads from all schools there is huge recognition of the strength of the Booth brand. Rankings are obviously really strong, plus we've had some great attention from events like our professor Richard Thaler winning the Nobel prize for economics late last year, and significant donations from Alumni. All this combined with the strength of the academics at Booth, which are generally recognized as second to none particularly in economics and finance, make for a great global brand! Just to add one final note on my personal experience - employers who come to campus are often thrilled when you say you're interested in opportunities in Europe. It's a definite plus!
Guest: Given the new regulations around H1-B, do you find that employers (e.g. large tech firms, consulting, etc.) are less inclined to recruit internationals?
* Emily Kidd: Not at all! The general consensus from employers seems to be that they are just as committed as ever to hiring international students. Full disclosure - of course there are some employers who will not sponsor H1-B visas but in my experience, it absolutely doesn't limit opportunities as the majority of employers to sponsor. Tech firms, consulting firms, and investment banks in particular all sponsor and actively want to hire international students.
Guest: When does the visa application process start for international students?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: This is usually 1 month after admission and the school will send you the required paper work and next steps for you to follow.
Guest: I applied in Round 2. Can you talk more about what the interviewing process is like?
* Kim Ge: Congrats on submitting your application for Round 2! Interviews will be granted on an invitation-only basis after evaluation of a submitted application. Candidates invited to interview will be contacted by the mid-decision date with instructions on how to schedule an interview. A candidate who receives an invitation will have only one interview. Interviews are conducted by admissions staff, students, or alumni. They are held on campus or in a location convenient for the prospective student. All interviews, regardless of who conducts them, receive equal weight in the evaluation process.
Guest: My questions surrounding the MBA program in Chicago is whether or not international students secure full time roles within the U.S after graduation? Do international students face substantial obstacles to securing a work permit? Or is it common for international students to land jobs in Chicago?
* Nikhita Giridhar: I'm an international student and recruiting for technology, startups and consulting. While certain industries are harder (CPG), most of the industries are very open to international students. Chicago specifically has a lot of consulting, financial services, CPG and technology and they hire international students.
Guest: How many international applicants are there? Meaning those that did not previously live or study in the US. Are there any statistics?
* Cristina Ochoa: In the current class (Class of 2019), roughly 30-40% of the students are international students.
Guest: If anyone participated or is participating in consulting recruiting, how was your experience in terms of companies willingness to hire international students?
* Nishtha Jain: Most firms are willing to hire internationals, and I have faced no issues through the recruitment process. For example, I know that many popular ones - Bain, McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, EY, ATK amongst MANY other firms sponsor internationals.
Guest: What ultimately made you decide to go to booth over other school?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: This one is an easy one! In my case, it was Booths culture and people. I felt that people at Booth had a strong culture on giving back, they genuinely like to help, are very smart but don’t brag about it and are super fun. In the end, I thought about making life long relationships, and Booth had by far the people that I wanted to have in my life.
Guest: I aim to launch a start-up in the long-term and I would like to launch and test my idea during my time at Booth. I heard of a few students who have taken a gap year to work on their NVC ventures. Is this option available to international students as well?
* Richard Yin: Yes, you can! You have up to five years to finish your MBA here at Booth and your visa is issued accordingly. Therefore, you absolutely can take a gap year to work on your startup idea.
Guest: I am planning to study in Chicago with my husband. He is applying to public school. Is there anyone with family? How about accommodations, etc.?
* Inbar Goodman: I moved to Chicago with my husband and 10-month old son. We moved on a J visa so my husband has a work permit and he is working in Chicago. Accommodation is the same for singles, couples or families, and we live in the loop like most Booth students. If anyone has any other questions about moving with a spouse/family, feel free to reach out to me.
Guest: To follow up on the start-up question, what resources does Booth have to help students start business? Is there anything specific for helping international entrepreneurs?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Booth has the Polsky Centre that helps you get off the ground with your startup even as an international student - the new venture challenge, the Polsky accelerator, the Polsky incubator. Booth's entrepreneurial faculty are very well connected and advise students.
Guest: How many clubs do students typically join, and are there many international students who are able to take up part-time jobs alongside the participation in campus clubs and events?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Students typically join as many clubs as they have time for depending on their course load and recruiting schedule. For instance, your first year will be recruiting heavy and you might want to join a few professional clubs (perhaps 2) and a couple of cultural/social ones. International students are not allowed to work part-time until their second year.
Guest: Are any of you are taking the "International Business" concentration? If so, would you mind commenting on it? What courses you took, what were your favorite experiences, etc.?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: I am personally not pursuing the concentration. But I have heard it has amazing classes like International Financial Policy, Managing the Firm in the Global Economy, and International Corporate Finance.
Guest: Does Booth provide any support to international students who would like to seek career opportunities in their home countries?
* Richard Yin: Yes, there are a lot of international recruiting events and opportunities facilitated and/or supported by the career services. For example, I am doing consulting recruiting in China and all the major consulting firms have sent consultants to Chicago to meet us. We also have international career treks for you to visit potential employers.
Guest: Could you share any club experience, especially that international students can contribute?
* Richard Yin: For sure! There are many regional clubs that you can join to share your international experience with students wanting to learn more about your country. Furthermore, we have a number of conferences that depends on the students' international network, such as the U Chicago China Forum and the Emerging Market Forum.
Guest: Have you co-chaired an emerging market summit before? If yes, can you tell us about the challenges you have faced during the experience?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: As a Co-Chair of the Latin America Business Group, I represent the region in the EMS. Our challenges include finding common topics among emerging markets around the globe and at the same time reach out to speakers who are willing to talk about those topics. This is an amazing experience and will help you reach out, network, with very interesting people all around the world.
Guest: I heard from a friend that the recruiting can be harder for international students as you need to apply for a working visa if you want to stay longer than 1 year. Have you noticed this? Is it a detriment to your job search?
* Nikhita Giridhar: You do have to apply for a work visa as an international student. This does not necessarily become a detriment to your job search, as all large firms are aware of it and take care of it for you. There will be certain industries/small companies that are harder - but broadly speaking, this is not as hard as it seems.
Guest: What are your favorite and least favorite things about Booth?
* Inbar Goodman: My favorite thing about Booth is the Booth network: only one quarter into my MBA I am already experiencing this with alumni and faculty who are happy to help in anything. This drives a strong pay-it-forward culture at Booth, which I also love. My least favorite thing is probably the colder weather, which takes time to get used to.
Guest: I am curious about how students find the process of relocating to Chicago. Granted the city is amazing, but I would appreciate some student insight into the ease of the transition and affordability.
* Emily Kidd: Sure. To give you a bit of background, I relocated from London. The first and most important thing for me was finding accommodations and Booth facilitated this really well. There are three buildings where most students live and they are very close together and centrally located in the Loop. I met my two roommates through the Booth network and we were able to find a great apartment really easily. After that, things got very easy! I booked a flight and when I arrived, there was some admin around getting a sim card and bank account set up but overall the logistics could not have been easier. Booth is amazing at helping students get to know the school and each other when you arrive. We had 3 weeks of orientation and it was nonstop, there was so much to do and engage with. After orientation was over I honestly felt so at home in Chicago. In terms of affordability, I can only really compare it to London but rent prices are generally much cheaper. Cost of living overall is lower than in London in my opinion.
Guest: How did you guys determine where to live? Do you have roommates?
* Nishtha Jain: Living in the loop area is a popular choice for many students (I believe more than 60-70% stay there). Furthermore, a few buildings such as Millennium Park Plaza (MPP) and MILA are very popular amongst students. As I was an international and couldn't visit, I chose to live in MPP given that many seniors were there and they could help me with the application. Many students do live with roommates and I have one as well!
Guest: A second question I had is how strong do you feel the Booth network is outside the U.S.? Are most students planning on staying in the U.S. after finishing their MBA?
* Emily Kidd: In regards to the brand question, I answered a similar question so I hope that helps and if you have any follow up questions let me know. In terms of how many people stay in the U.S., I wish I could give you a definitive answer but the real answer is that it depends! Many international students came to the U.S. to stay here afterwards, but then some also came for the great education, network, and brand (etc.) with a view to return home afterwards. I would say that on balance, the majority of students want to stay in the U.S., but there are so many people doing different things in different countries there really is no set rule.
Guest: My career background is healthcare marketing. But, if memory serves, Chicago Booth is known for finance. Does Booth have other concentrations to its curriculum other than finance?
* Inbar Goodman: While Booth has a reputation as a finance school, the curriculum is much more diverse than just finance, and there are many concentrations you can choose to focus on besides finance, including Marketing, General Management, Operations, Analytics and others. Many students also pursue careers in industries other than finance, including consulting, tech, entrepreneurship, and other industries.
Guest: I would like to know how many active students participate in the Latin America Business Group and how this group helps Latin American students to prepare for recruiting during the first year at Booth.
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: Great question. Currently, the group has around 180 members. We help students recruit by conducting mock interviews most industries (Banking, Consulting, Tech, Entrepreneurship), we also have a mentoring program (where a second year mentors a first year) and in general we are all a very strong community that is always willing to help.
Guest: Has any of you international students brought your girlfriend or boyfriend to Chicago without getting married? What kind of Visa did she/he get?
* Nishtha Jain: Some countries don't stipulate marriage for getting a dependent visa, so I would recommend that you confirm with the local embassy!
Guest: How does the Booth support IB career?
* Kim Ge: We will be hosting a live chat on Feb 20 that will entail Career Services and students that are pursuing careers in IB.
Guest: How strong are Booth's alumni communities internationally specifically India? Is there an official Booth Alumni Club in the country?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Booth has a small but strong community in India. The Booth Delhi Centre is the seat of a lot of alumni/school relations activities. The Booth Alumni Club of India is a very active and well-connected group.
Guest: How is the security situation within and around the campus? Are there any situations when you feel the insecurity?
* Cristina Ochoa: The entire UChicago campus is very secure. There are free shuttles for students and security offices posted on almost every block of campus.
Guest: What's the best part of being in Chicago?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: I would say everything. You have amazing real estate, great restaurants, a lot of tourist attractions, very good nightlife. Additionally, the city is super clean and safe.
Guest: What is one thing you absolutely love about Booth that you had no idea about during the application process? In other words, what pleasantly surprised you?
* Richard Yin: One thing that really surprised me is the alumni network. I have attended two events where I had opportunities to interact with alumni and I was surprised at how responsive and helpful they are. They are also looking to build meaningful relationships with the students. For example, I spent the winter break in the UK with my wife and had dinner with one of the alumni I met during one of these events.
Guest: How would you define the Booth culture and community in a few words?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Great question. I'd define the culture as one of intellectual curiosity, inquiry, and strong community. The community believes very strongly in the pay-it-forward culture. Second years help first years, first years help incoming students, alumni help current and graduated students. It's very tight-knit!
Guest: Do Consulting companies sponsor visas for non-Americans to work (internship and/or full-time) in the US?
* Nishtha Jain: Yes. Most of them sponsor. For example, I know that many popular ones - Bain, McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, EY, ATK amongst MANY other sponsor internationals.
Guest: Could you tell me your favorite or most impressive classes?
* Inbar Goodman: My favorite class last quarter was Entrepreneurial Discovery with Prof. Mark Tebbe. This is a lab class and you work in groups to develop an idea for a product or a service, in a customer-centric design process. Prof. Tebbe has vast experience in Entrepreneurship and startups and it was a great experience learning from him, and I really enjoyed working with my group on our project.
Guest: Can someone please shed some light on how international students from developing countries finance their studies (not company sponsored/no family backing)?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: International students can back their education with scholarships and loans. In particular, by being admitted to Booth, the school will grant you the option to obtain a loan for up to 80% of your living plus academic expenses. In addition, some other companies like Prodigy Finance will loan money to international students.
Guest: Where do Latin American Students typically live? Taking in consideration that living expenses are significantly higher in Chicago than in Latin American cities
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: Usually, students live in the Loop, although some students choose to live in the South Loop or Hyde Park.
Guest: What is the one thing that you wish you knew as an international student before coming to Booth?
* Nishtha Jain: I am from India and I wish I knew how cold it could get! Having said that, the Black Friday sales are a big help and it is only bad for a short period of time.
Guest: What is the current hiring situation like for an international student? Are employers still open to sponsoring work visas?
* Nishtha Jain: Yes absolutely! Of the large student population, many want to stay back in the US and a majority of the companies do sponsor internationals.
Guest: Alumni, how often do you interact with them? Have you tried to approach them for projects/internships/jobs? Many events that cater to alumni meeting students?
* Inbar Goodman: I approach alumni all the time! This is most relevant to researching career opportunities, and alumni are always happy to help (I don't think I have ever not received a response from alumni). I also had a chance to reach out to alumni recently when I planned a student trek, and with the help of the Booth network, I was able to secure visits to many companies and even sit down to lunch with C-suite executives, all thanks to the Booth network. Booth also facilitates opportunities to meet alumni in person, such as Fusion events in major cities.
Guest: I wanted to check how do career services help someone who has higher than then average years of experience (say, someone who is joining school after 11 years of working)?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Yes career services helps all students based on their background and needs. They have great insights into what is available to you and how best for you to get them and have frank and open discussions with you to understand your goals and help you achieve them.
Guest: How did you find roommates for your first year at Booth?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: Every year the class shares a spreadsheet for students interested in having roommates. Here you can look for someone you will like to live with, arrange a call/meeting and in the end decide.
Guest: Any suggestion for the interview?
* Cristina Ochoa: Try to be as calm and relaxed as you can. Ultimately, the interview should feel more like a conversation about your experiences, interest in Booth, etc.
Guest: Can you share any challenges you had encountered to shift to a full time student?
* Nikhita Giridhar: The hardest part is to be able to concentrate for three hours per lecture and study for midterms and finals. Apart from that, Booth understands we are all adults and treats you that way.
Guest: Have you felt any advantages or disadvantages as an international student at Booth?
* Emily Kidd: There are many advantages of coming to Booth from outside of the U.S. because you have so much to contribute socially and in class. It is also really fun to join clubs e.g. Latin American business club, European Club, etc. Plus experiencing school in the U.S. is amazing! Going to baseball games and celebrating thanksgiving is all so much fun. It's just a great opportunity to experience life and school in the U.S. The main disadvantage that I see is around the uncertainty of getting a visa for a full time job in the U.S. after school, but there is so much support available via Career Services to help you and, as I've mentioned in a previous answer, the vast majority of companies do sponsor so in my opinion it really doesn't limit career opportunities.
Guest: I heard stories about Booth students being academic and competitive. Does that impact how you cooperate with each other in and after class?
* Richard Yin: Not at all! My experience at Booth has been that the students are all very helpful inside and outside the class. Booth has a school wide policy of grade non-disclosure, which means students are not expected to disclose their grades to potential employers. That creates a risk-free environment for students to try different classes and take on opportunities outside of their comfort zone. Students are also just very cooperative and helpful in general. Booth has a very strong pay-it-forward culture and I have received lots of help outside of class from my fellow classmates.
Guest: Relative to my previous education, academia was not vocational enough to the work place. To what extent is the curriculum at Booth relevant and/or practical? Academia is certainly important, but an application of such knowledge is a different story. Do students have practical interaction with noteworthy firms?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Booth gives you the opportunity to drive your own academic experience i.e. you can make it as academically deep as you like or take advantage of the experiential labs. The labs range from marketing, finance, consulting, product development and you are assigned to prestigious firms in Chicago as well as high-growth startups.
Guest: How long can an international student stay in the US after completing an MBA and before we start working?
* Nishtha Jain: International students can stay back for 1 year based on the OPT. Beyond that, you need employment sponsorship from your employer.
Guest: Have you done or are you planning to do the TECH TREK? How was the experience? Could you talk a bit more about the program?
* Nishtha Jain: Yes, I did the tech trek and had a fantastic time. We visited 12 companies over five days across Seattle and the Bay Area. It is a great way to bond with your classmates, as well as to experience the tech culture in person.
Guest: How did you approach financing your MBA? Do most scholarships come from UChicago or did you approach your local government/businesses?
* Emily Kidd: Good question. I got an sponsorship from my employer but there are a lot of students here that were awarded scholarships from UChicago. I know programs like Fulbright are also great and a lot of people look at similar programs. Also a lot of people take out loans, most people can make quite a clear business case around it. Hope this helps and good luck!
Guest: What is the process for summer recruiting at Booth? I know Boothies have landed great jobs post-MBA, but I wanted to know more about whether these are mostly via summer internship conversions, or otherwise?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: The process of summer recruiting is supper helpful at Booth. The school has a dedicated career development team that will help you during the whole process, I think results speak for themselves, among the students looking for an internship; Booth has a 100% placement. In terms of post-MBA jobs, a lot of them are due to successful internships followed by a full-time offer. Again, the career development team does a great job in helping second years land a job.
Guest: I like the idea of Booth’s career treks on both the east and west coast. I was wondering, are there any international career treks?
* Richard Yin: Yes there are. This year there was a banking career trek to Hong Kong and a PE/VC trek to Beijing and Shanghai. Someone was also starting up a PE/VC trek to Singapore. If you are interested in other career treks, you can always start your own and career services will be happy to assist you with it.
Guest: If a student doesn't get H1B, what are the typical alternate paths followed by him/her?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Typically, it depends on the firm you've been hired by. If they have international offices, they might transfer you. Based on discussions you have with them, you can negotiate returning to the US at a later date.
Guest: I was planning to visit the Booth campus on a date when no campus visit is scheduled. How should I connect with current students and clubs?
* Inbar Goodman: You should use the "connect with a student" tool on the Booth website (https://apply.chicagobooth.edu/portal/studentvolunteer) or reach out to your country captain (https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/student-experience/international). You can also reach out to student group Co-chairs (https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/student-experience/beyond-classroom/groups).
One of the benefits of visiting Booth during a campus visit day is the opportunity to attend a class, so if you are able to come when the campus visit program hosts a tour, that could add value to your visit.
Guest: What has surprised you most about Booth?
* Nishtha Jain: The truly diverse and collaborative culture and been a big and pleasant surprise. For example, my Random Walk had 15 people from 9 different countries! I'm still fairly close to all of them, and we are always there to help each other out - be it classwork, interview prep or cooking mishaps!
Guest: Hi all and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Just wondering if you visited Booth or other target schools ahead of submitting your applications. If so, what, apart from a sense of belonging, were you looking for and did it help refine your choices?
* Emily Kidd: Great question. Yes, I did visit schools and I think there is no substitute for this. It's so valuable to actually see the school and get a sense of the place, students, academics, etc. As you've mentioned, a sense of belonging was really important for me but what led me to Booth was a) the strength of the academics - it truly is remarkable the quality of education you can get here b) the flexible curriculum - I wanted the freedom to construct my own learning experience (within the bounds of Booth requirements) c) the city. I love Chicago. The music, art and sports scenes are huge here, and I've loved the people that I've met.
Guest: I have read online about an opportunity to go on a trek through Career Advancement to explore new career opportunities. If any of you have gone through this trek, how have your experiences been and is it something that you would recommend to prospective students?
* Nishtha Jain: There are many student-organized treks (with help from career services) such as the tech trek, banking trek, healthcare treks etc. These are a great way to experience the culture of different firms first hand and learn about new opportunities!
Guest: Can you tell us more about the Random Walks? How do you register?
* Richard Yin: Random walk is an opportunity to travel to one of 30+ countries with a group of roughly 15 first year students and four-second year students for a week before school starts. Most Booth students go on a random walk, and it is a great opportunity to make friends. I met some of my best friends here at Booth from Random Walk. Last year we received an email mid-February with instructions on how to register. This year shouldn’t be much different.
Guest: What percentage of international Booth students remain in the US after graduating?
* Cristina Ochoa: Check out this link: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/ for more information.
Guest: How easy is it to get a scholarship at Booth and what is the percentage typically given? Also, are scholarships merit-based only, need-based only, or both?
* Cristina Ochoa: Scholarships are merit-based only, and you will be notified if you have been granted a scholarship when you are admitted.
Guest: Can you please elaborate on employment opportunities with US investment management companies? Does Vanguard and Blackrock hire on campus / off campus / at all?
* Nishtha Jain: There are many different Investment Management firms that come for hiring. I know that Vanguard definitely hires on campus, but uncertain about Blackrock. If there are particular companies that you are interested in, career services helps in reaching out to them via alumni or contacts that they might have.
Guest: Are there any students from government or public sector? Any programs/clubs/internship that support students who have public background?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Yes there are plenty of students from government/public sector/non-profit. The Net Impact Group is one among many clubs available for you to engage in. Career services and the student community provides detailed support based on students backgrounds from picking classes, to recruiting.
Guest: What are some of the student part-time employment opportunities on campus?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: You can do as much as you like. I personally worked for a company in Chicago. I have some friends that have done some work with the school. It mostly depends on you.
Guest: What do you think makes the Booth program different from the others in the USA?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Booth's flexibility, analytical strength and unique culture of paying it forward makes for a very unique school. You are free to pick your own classes, you are guaranteed of analytical rigor and a very tight-knit community of students, staff and alumni.
Guest: I am interested in hearing more about how you all made close friends at Booth. I know Booth doesn't have sections like some other schools, but that at the same time, there's a focus on a close knit community. How did you meet and make friends?
* Emily Kidd: Great question! I met people and met friends in a few ways. First - Random Walks are trips that take place before school, they go all over the world and are a great way of getting to know ~10-15 people really well before school starts. It’s so nice to know a few friendly faces already on your first day. Second - we do have Cohorts of 60 people. We do orientation and LEAD in these cohorts, and compete in competitions. Within your cohort, you'll also have a Squad of 6 people, who you get to know really well. These forums also have second years in them and it's so great to be able to ask them advice about academics and careers. They are always so helpful. Third - clubs. I really think that there is something for everyone and they're great ways of meeting people.
Guest: What would you say is unique to Booth's culture?
* Richard Yin: From my point of view, there are two aspects that make Booth’s culture unique. One, Booth students have a good mix of competence and humility. Everyone is eager to learn and challenge each other’s idea, but do so in a way that is respectful and cooperative. Booth also has a very strong pay-it-forward culture. For example, during recruiting, the second years are taking lots of time out of their busy schedule, even during exams to help first years prepare for our interviews.
Guest: How many of the 30% of international students tend to come from Africa? Is there a split this granular available?
* Cristina Ochoa: Approximately 1% of the current class is from Africa. See more on the break down by country here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time
Guest: How should one connect with current students/ student groups while visiting campus?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: You can go to this link https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/student-experience/beyond-classroom/groups and find the groups that you like. Here you will see the Co-Chairs information and you will be able to reach out and arrange for a meeting with them.
Guest: I am interested in the LEAD Facilitator role. Is it common that international students participating in this program?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: It is very common. After taking LEAD on your first-year, you can volunteer to be a LEAD facilitator on second-year. If selected, you will get formal training and will be able to help teach the LEAD course on your second-year to first-years
Guest: Are internships usually located within greater Chicago or are they spread out across the US?
* Nishtha Jain: Internships are spread out across the US and the World!
Guest: What is the most fun (non-academic, non-career focused) thing you've done at Booth?
* Nishtha Jain: It’s difficult to pick one, so I'm going to give two! I LOVED the random walk before term started, because I got an opportunity to travel to Costa Rica with 15 people I had never met. They have ended up being my closest friends through the quarter.
I also really enjoyed the Diwali cruise, where 60 of us (Indians and Internationals) put up a Bollywood dance medley.
Guest: How was your experience with the LEAD?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: The experience was great. It is a class where you get to know yourself and your leadership style. This will help you identify your weaknesses and strengths, in order to improve the weaknesses and improve/maintain your strengths.
Guest: I would like to know the expected cost per year including the living costs.
* Cristina Ochoa: You can find a full table of estimated costs for a nine-month period of enrollment here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/tuition-financial-aid
Guest: Booth is very known by its academic excellence (9 Nobel prizes among other rewards), how accessible is the faculty?
* Inbar Goodman: From my experience, the faculty is very accessible. Some faculty members also host specific events, which provide an opportunity to connect with them beyond the classroom.
Guest: Should someone aim to work in Europe post-MBA, what would be the incentive to go to a US school for an MBA instead of a European one (LBS or Instead for example, which would provider a wider access to European employers)?
* Emily Kidd: For me it was all about the quality of education, and that's what drove me to Booth. I also wanted the rigor of a 2 year course, and I think there truly is global recognition of the strength of the Booth brand. I can't speak to European employers at European business schools, but I can tell you that there is no shortage of opportunities in Europe at Booth. The commitment from employers has been really impressive. They will fly employers over to Chicago to meet prospective employees. There are also 'Europe treks' e.g. I joined the Investment Management group and over thanksgiving a group of us went to London to meet ~10 employers.
Guest: Do you have any thing you wish you had done before you went back to school for your MBA?
* Nishtha Jain: I did a pre-MBA role at a firm, which I thought was a great way to get exposure to a new function and company. I know that many people like to take time off to travel/ spent time with family before shifting to Chicago.
Guest: How was your interviewing experience?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: It was good. Interviews at Booth are very relaxed; the school really wants to get to know you as a person.
Guest: How much of a connection with the city of Chicago do you have while at Booth? Is the majority of your time spent on or off campus?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Majority of Booth students live downtown - by virtue of that you are as intrinsically connected to Chicago as anyone else living in Chicago. You spend time for classes, and events on campus. Most study groups meet in the downtown campus (Gleacher Centre) so you will spend a lot of time there as well!
Guest: I can see from the report of employment and from the both tech club that tech is one of the growing industries at Booth. I would like to know on what positions do students usually go to work at tech companies.
* Nishtha Jain: Product Management, Product Marketing Management, Corporate strategy, and Internal Finance are some popular choices.
Guest: How early do you recommend moving to Chicago before to the program starts?
* Emily Kidd: Most people move in early August. Leases usually start around this time and it gives you an opportunity to move and settle in, then perhaps go on a Random Walk trip in mid-late August before starting school in early September. If you want to come in September just in time for school starting that's also fine, although I'd recommend coming early and doing the Random Walk if you can! It's a great way to meet people and make some friends before school starts.
Guest: If I am not able to attend First Day or the Random Walk, is there a way to contact with other admitted students to share rent/apartment?
* Emily Kidd: Yes! I met one of my roommates in London - the admitted students there regularly had drinks together and there were about 20 of us moving over from London last year. I met my second roommate via a spreadsheet where people post their interest in sharing an apartment, and a bit about themselves. She was living in New York at the time and so we just factime'd a few times and then started looking for an apartment together. Most people follow a similar pattern to this. The spreadsheet is a great way of immediately accessing a full list of people looking for roommates.
Guest: Does the Careers Office grant additional scholarships for 2nd year students? Additional to the one the Admissions office provides.
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: Yes, there are more scholarships for second years. Usually they are academically based or merit based.
Guest: Is anyone recruiting for PE? Is it hard as an international student to land a PE internship? And later on receive a full time offer?
* Nikhita Giridhar: PE as an industry has off-cycle recruiting and that can make things a bit uncertain. Career services helps you get in touch with the right PE firms based on hiring requirements. There are also PE treks to Asia (HK, Singapore, China) over the winter break.
Guest: My question is directed towards any one coming from a more conservative background. What is the biggest cultural shift that you have to adopt going to the US? How can I better prepare myself?
* Nikhita Giridhar: I moved from India. There's a very strong international community and you will blend in perfectly. It's perhaps useful to just understand the culture of the US (TV and books help) and understand that you can take your time in integrating yourself.
Guest: Could someone please comment on the opportunities available for students interested in learning about the Middle East and North Africa region? Any particular courses of interest? Does the Middle East and North Africa Group organize any events?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: There are many opportunities regarding the Middle East and North Africa region. Through the MINA group, students get access to opportunities and network in the region. MINA also organizes the best dinners, with local cuisine from the region and many people willing to share experiences.
Guest: What are the opportunities available to get into impact investing or quasi-government agencies post Booth MBA?
* Sebastian Perez Restrepo: There are many opportunities to get in to impact investing. For starters, Booth has the Social New Venture Challenge, which focuses on social ventures. In addition, there is a student-led group regarding social impact and a class that involves a trip to India and working with a potential impact opportunity.
Guest: In terms of seeking financial aid for international students, is it better to take a student loan in the US or in your home country? What are the points to take into consideration when making the decision? Does the Booth Admissions Office (or any other group within Booth) assist with finding the right student loan in the US? (Specifically India, if possible to address)
* Nikhita Giridhar: It depends primarily on the rate you get. In my experience, I preferred a US co-signor based loan as the rate was great. Once you are admitted, Booth gives you details on all available aid options in the US.
Guest: Do students at Booth often take classes outside of Booth in other U Chicago schools, e.g., the law school?
* Emily Kidd: Yes, you can! I would not say it's particularly common but it's absolutely an option that people take advantage of. Taking a class or two at the law school or the economics department is most common. This is a great feature of the flexible curriculum actually, because you have the freedom to study outside of the business school if you choose to
Guest: I have not attended campus. Will this fact be disadvantage in admission process?
* Nishtha Jain: Not at all. I hadn't visited campus and I'm here! The admissions team understands that it is not possible for everyone to visit Booth and hence there are events like this chat for you to get to know the school better.
Guest: I am planning a class visit in the last week of January from India. Are there any specific days that I should plan on visiting the school? What else should I keep in mind?
* Nikhita Giridhar: No, there are no specific days that make for different visit experiences. If you know what class, you want to sit in on (a major part of the visit) - you can reach out to current students to check when that class is (what days) and plan your visit accordingly. Aside from that, all of the visits follow the same schedule.
Guest: Could you share your application experience, tips that can help us?
* Nishtha Jain: Be yourself! Just work towards showing the best and honest version of yourself to school through all parts of the application. From my experience, I would also encourage you to research the school and understand why you believe that Booth is a good fit for you.
Guest: Between academics, recruiting, and social activities, where do you find yourself spending most of your time?
* Nikhita Giridhar: This depends heavily person to person. It is a subjective question and changes quarter to quarter. Last quarter I spent most time on academics and networking activities (for professional development, leadership roles and jobs). This quarter is primarily recruiting.
Guest: Can you tell us more about the Career Treks and how often they happen?
* Richard Yin: Career treks generally happen before or during the recruitment process, they are usually organized by student groups and supported by career services. Most of the treks are career specific, for example, we have banking treks to New York, the Bay area, London and Hong Kong, PE/VC treks to New York, the Bay area and China, tech treks to the Bay area and startup treks to the Bay area. You can always also start your own trek if there is interest from other students.
Guest: Are there resources at Booth to practice coding and better fit for tech roles?
* Nishtha Jain: There are classes such as Application Development, R, Machine Learning that can help pick up skills. The tech club, booth hacks club and analytics club also host a variety of workshops to help you prepare better for tech roles.
Guest: Do you think that international applicants are disadvantaged in applying in round3?
* Inbar Goodman: All rounds are the same, so definitely don't be discouraged from applying in Round 3. If you are admitted in Round 3 you will have to have a quick turnaround with your US visa application, but it should not pose a problem.
Guest: I am registered to take the GMAT for 15 February 2018. Does this mean I will be considered for the 3rd round of interviews or would you consider the application as the results become available?
* Kim Ge: Unfortunately, you will need to apply with a GMAT or GRE score by the round deadline.
Guest: Is it better for international students to find accommodations once they've arrived or can accommodations be sorted before arrival?
* Nikhita Giridhar: Accommodation can very much be organized prior to your arrival in Chicago and even recommended. There are housing options that are shared with you when you are admitted - there are several options based on your location preference that will be shared with you.
Guest: How would you recommend selecting referees? Particularly if one, has only worked in one firm under a single manager who is, as most managers are, strapped for time?
* Nishtha Jain: The manager should definitely be one of your recommenders. For the second, you can explore getting a client, or a manager from outside of work (for e.g. any philanthropic organization that you are a part of) to write about your candidature.
Guest: How feasible it is to major in both operations and entrepreneurship?
* Richard Yin: It is very feasible. Most students have concentration in at least one area. Most concentrations only require 4-5 courses and Booth students need to complete 20 courses to graduate.
Guest: Are there any classes which focus on FinTech?
* Nishtha Jain: I know the FinTech Revolution is a popular class. Besides that, the other finance and tech classes, as well as NVC and the Polsky Centre can be great resources for staying up to date with the industry.