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Spotlight on Student Life: International Students

Join us for a live chat with current Booth international students. Get different perspectives about coming to Chicago from outside of the U.S. and transitioning to life at Booth. Ask about classes, student life, faculty, recruiting, and more. Don't miss this opportunity to chat directly with current students, and hear more about living in Chicago as part of the Booth community.

Chat Transcript 

Guest: Do you expect students from India to give the GMAT? Or is the GRE considered completely equal for Indian applicants as well?

* Kim Ge: For applicants, regardless of their country of origin, we accept both the GMAT & GRE scores.


Guest: What is your advice for international student about school visit?

* Stephen Sendze: It is a good idea to come visit the school. First, sign up for the campus visit tour that would give you a good overview of the school. If you are interested in certain clubs or concentrations reach out to current students to set up face-to-face meetings. The "ask a student" tool is a great resource to reach out to students.


Guest: What is the procedure to secure accommodation once accepted?

* Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos: There are a few buildings where students usually leave in the Loop. You just need to check out the buildings and figure which one you like the most and check their availability. Then, all you need to do is to send some documents and sign the lease (usually for 12 months).


Guest: Hi, I have seen in Booth's website that 55% of the international students accepted a job in U.S. The remaining 45% did not accept a job offer because of the worker visa or mostly because of their individual choices.

* Stephen Sendze: According to our full employment report, 87.5% of our international students have secured a job at graduation and 3 months post-graduation 96% of international students have jobs.  There are numerous opportunities for international students, where they end up is driven primarily by preferences.


Guest: It’s often said that Euro b-school is more diverse and international. Being an international student, what is the Booth most attractiveness for you?

* Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos: When I came to visit Booth for First Day (the admitted students’ weekend), I was impressed exactly by the diversity of the community. In fact, 36% of the class is international and besides that, there is a huge diversity of backgrounds. Coming from 5.5 years doing investment banking, it was important to me to be in a school where I would be able to interact with people from multiple backgrounds and I found that at Booth. Furthermore, I was very attracted by the big sense of community among students and how they help each other. The pay it forward culture is a reality here. 


Guest: Is there any advantage to applying early within a round? (i.e. submitting before the application deadline for that round)

* Cristina Ochoa: There is no advantage to applying early. As long as you apply by the round application deadline, you will be fully considered within the applicant pool.


Guest: Will the Chicago Booth team be visiting any cities in India for admissions/information sessions next year? (Class of 2021)

* Kim Ge: Yes! We visit 3 cities in India every summer. We will be traveling to Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore in July 2018. Dates will be shared shortly on our website.


Guest: Booth is regarded as one of the best (in my opinion the best) quantitative and analytic MBA programs in the world, as a student how do you go about keeping a stable balance between school work and your personal life (going out, networking, recruiting, etc.)

* Rodrigo Studart: This is a big challenge not only at Booth, but also in any school. What helps here is that with the flexible curriculum you can adjust the level of the courses according to your other interests. So, if you have a heavy quarter in terms of recruiting, you can take classes that are not so heavy. In addition, personally, after the first quarter, you get used to Booth's rhythm and you actually can handle personal life, recruiting and classes at the same time.


Guest: A huge differential of Chicago Booth is the number of elective classes. Is there any orientation to help one’s choosing which classes he or she should pick (i.e. a general career path for people seeking private equity)?

* Rodrigo Studart: It's important that you have a good sense of what direction you want to give to your two years here. Once you know it, you can plan ahead to take the classes related to it (i.e. for private equity, the PE Lab is a great choice. A hands on class in which you also work for a PE firm over the quarter). Planning is my recommendation. Additionally, talk to second year students who have the same interests you have, so they will help you to navigate over your choices.


Guest: What do you think is the main differential of Chicago Booth's MBA program?

* Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos: There are a few things that I think are differentials: (i) the community itself and how the pay it forward culture is a reality (I've experienced it both among current students and alumni), (ii) the strength of faculty, (iii) flexibility of the curriculum, and (iv) the opportunity of out of class learnings through the Labs.


Guest: If your HR title is different from what the industry-standard title for your role is, is this something you should indicate in the application (or explain in the optional essay)?

* Cristina Ochoa: Hi! Yes. Please indicate any regional title differences in the application.


Guest: Will Booth visit Malaysia for an interview or via Skype interview?

* Cristina Ochoa: Hi! I don't believe so, but we would match you up with an alum near you for an in-person interview. A phone or Skype interview would be the last option.


Guest: Did you face any issues with the visa process? How much time should be considered to obtain it?

* Rodrigo Studart: I didn't have any problems with my visa and the process to obtain it was super-fast. But, visa processes change from country to country. I recommend that you talk to students from your country to get a more specific advice.


Guest: Will high GMAT (>97 percentile) mitigates low GPA like 2.8? What is more important for applying to computer science program (Dual degree)? GPA vs GMAT?

* Kim Epps: Thank you for joining our chat today. Both are equally important in the application process.


Guest: Does GRE get equal consideration as GMAT when it comes to scholarship decisions?

* Cristina Ochoa: Scholarships are merit-based, but not solely on test scores. We review all applications holistically, and GRE & GMAT scores are treated equally.


Guest: Approximately, how much more does the MBA-MPCS dual degree cost compared to just the MBA? (Are there other dual degree options that qualify students for a STEM OPT extension?)

* Cristina Ochoa: You can find more information on the MBA-MPCS dual degree here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/joint-degree/mba-mpcs-degree


Guest: Will the Chicago Booth team be visiting any cities in Brazil for admissions/information sessions this year?

* Kim Epps: Yes! Chicago Booth will be visiting Brazil this summer. The dates and locations for our summer travel will be announced on our website in the coming months.


Guest: Does the response to the main applicant question have to be either a textual essay or presentation? Can it for instance be a screenplay (submitted in PDF format)?

* Cristina Ochoa: The essay response can be either a written essay or a slideshow presentation, as stated in the application.


Guest: How early on should you decide your career path? I'm considering both entrepreneurship and PE

* Stephen Sendze: It’s fine if you haven't decided a career path when you start B-school. Many of my classmates have changed career paths upon starting or after the first year business school. As you, become more familiar with the numerous resources available to you at Booth its normal for your preferences to change. For the next part of your question, you can do both entrepreneurship and PE. It’s going to require a lot of work but it’s doable.


Guest: Could you tell us at which month will the new essay questions be released?

* Kim Epps: The 2018-19 essay and application deadlines will be released in June 2018.


Guest: If you were interested in a dual degree, is it possible to apply to in once enrolled at booth or would it have to be before?

* Kim Ge: Depends on the joint degree of choice. We have several joint degree programs. Details for each program can be found here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/joint-degree


Guest: Understanding the broad diversity in Booth, what is the profile that admissions committee is looking for when analyzing candidates?

* Cristina Ochoa: We are not looking for any specific profile in our applicants. More than anything else, we want you to be as genuine as you can be in your application, so that we can get a good sense of you, your background, and why you think you would be a good fit for Booth.


Guest: When will the next admission cycle be released/announced?

* Kim Epps: Hi! The 2018-19 admissions cycle will be announced in June 2018.


Guest: What is/was the one most difficult thing about adjusting to life in Chicago for you as an international student?

* Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos: Hi! Adjusting to Chicago was very easy. It is a city that has everything you would expect from a big city and with a very friendly population. People in general are willing to help you with anything you need. Coming from Brazil, the toughest part for me was adapting to the winter, but even that was easier than I expected.


Guest: What is/was the one most difficult thing about adjusting to life in Chicago for you as an international student? Did Chicago's world-famous Deep Dish Pizza make up for this struggle?

* Rodrigo Studart: That is an easy question. The winter was definitely the hardest part, especially for a Brazilian student like me. You get used to the winter, but it is a bit hard. Not only the Deep Dish Pizza, but also all the other students and school events will help you on it. You will always have many things to do, even being super cold outside!


Guest: What could the candidates do if he/she is waitlisted?

* Kim Epps: Waitlisted applicants are provided with next steps to guide them along the waitlist process.  


Guest: Do students with no background in finance have a slight handicap at Booth? (E.g., you might be taking introductory courses, while your classmates take more ones that are advanced) Does this affect recruiting?

* Stephen Sendze: There is no handicap what so ever. Booth has a flexible curriculum, which allows you to take pick classes based on your preferences. The introductory classes are challenging and do provide concrete building blocks for the more advanced classes. Before graduating you will be able, take many advanced courses. Concerning recruiting it depends on what career path you are focusing on. For investment banking, finance background is a plus but not a necessity. There students who did teach for America before Booth and got investment banking internships. For private equity, finance experience is important. The school provides a Private equity lab course in which you work with a private equity firm in Chicago getting live experience working on deals. This is great for students without prior private equity or finance experience. In conclusion, there are resources at Booth to help you get the skill sets you need to achieve your career goals.


Guest: What would you recommend Indian applicants to do between now and the Round 1 deadline to improve their chances of being accepted?

* Kim Ge: It's the same advice to any applicants, regardless of country origin. Learn as much about Booth as you can -- review our website, talk to alumni & current students (via the Connect with a Student tool: https://apply.chicagobooth.edu/portal/studentvolunteer, attend events (information sessions, student-hosted events, live chats, like this!) try to learn as much as possible to see if Booth is the right fit for your personal and professional goals. A Chicago Booth degree is much more than a 2-year experience, it should be one you are interested in for a lifetime.


Guest: Is there one class you would absolutely recommend taking?

* Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos: This will vary according to your interests and background, but I will list a couple of my favorites: (i) Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity, with Professor Kaplan and (ii) New Venture Strategy, with Professor Schrager


Guest: Are students required to travel within the US (East/West Coast) extensively for networking and recruiting? Alternatively, does most recruiting happen on-campus?

* Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos: Hi! Not a lot, but it depends on what you will be recruiting for. For the traditional post-MBA industries, the recruiting happens on-campus and the companies come to campus for networking events and interviews. For some of the final rounds you might have to travel to where the company is located to interview. Besides that, there are a few industry-specific treks