A Lens Into Student Government At Booth

In my first blog post I wrote about the diverse academic and professional opportunities available to Booth students. In this post, I discuss the work of the Graduate Business Council, Booth’s student government, where I am President. In my next post I will write about the long-term professional value of leadership positions at Booth.

Donnie Phillips, President, Graduate Business Council

Exactly one year ago, I ran with five classmates for the executive board of the Graduate Business Council (GBC), Booth’s student government. The GBC – comprised of 40 elected students from the first- and second-year classes – has a hand in many parts of the MBA experience, which can broadly be broken into programming/events and representation/advocacy. Here’s a sliver of what the GBC has been up to over the past year:

Programming and Events

    1. Fall Frolics:

At the very beginning of school, the GBC hosts new students for a fun-filled evening of dodge ball, basketball, cornhole, and volleyball. It’s a competition among Booth’s ten cohorts with prizes for the winners.

    1. Winter Formal/Spring Fling:

In Booth’s full-time MBA program, there are two big dances held each year. Winter Formal attracts about 700 attendees and this year will be held at the Shedd Aquarium on February 23. Spring Fling, Booth’s semi-formal, is held in May on a boat that cruises around Lake Michigan.

    1. Distinguished Speaker Series:

Each year the GBC, in conjunction with the administration, hosts a number of thought leaders in business and politics. Over the past few years guests have included Hank Paulson, Former US Secretary of the Treasury and Former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley, and Jack Welch, Former CEO of GE.

    1. Liquidity Preference Function (LPF):

About every other week, the GBC hosts the Booth community for Liquidity Preference Function, a relaxing way to end the week. After classes end on Friday afternoon, appetizers and frosty beverages are provided for all to enjoy and it’s a great time to catch up with friends and colleagues.

    1. Mix It Up Dinners:

In the fall, the GBC members organize 30 dinners where second-year students host 10-15 randomly assigned first-years in their apartments. In the spring, the tables are turned and first-year students host second years. Mix It Up dinners have been very popular among both classes as they are a great way to meet new people outside one’s cohort or recruiting circles.

    1. Random Walk:

Before school starts in the fall, incoming students have the option to attend a Random Walk, one of more than 25 15-person trips around the world. Trips are categorized by culture, nightlife, nature, physical activities, and relaxation and include such varied destinations as Belize, Turkey, Ireland, Fiji, Vietnam, and Russia. For the truly adventurous, there’s even a “Mystery Trip” where participants do not find out where they are heading until they get to the airport! Random Walks are an excellent opportunity to build the beginnings of lifelong friendships with new people. My Random Walk is still exceptionally close; this coming Memorial Day weekend we’re all renting a house on Lake Michigan, which we did last year as well.

Advocacy & Representation:

    1. Technology:

The GBC Technology Committee works closely with Booth’s IT Services department on improving the technology experience for MBA students. Some current projects include an overhaul of the course bidding system and a redesign of the community directory.

    1. Facilities & Green:

Similar to technology, because facilities plays such a crucial role in the daily life of a Booth student, the GBC works closely with the Facilities staff to ensure any issues are acknowledged and addressed. This year the Facilities Committee is exploring a redesign of the student lounge. The committee also works on raising awareness around environmental issues.

    1. Student Satisfaction:

The Student Satisfaction Committee is charged with ensuring students’ overall needs are met and is there to channel students’ requests to the right people. Committee members sit at a table in the Harper Center’s Winter Garden every week to solicit student feedback. The committee has also launched an “Idea of the Month” program where students can send in their ideas to improve the Booth experience. The best ideas win a $50 prize!

This is just a sampling of the 25 committees that GBC members serve on and GBC is just one of many leadership positions available at school. If you are interested in shaping the Booth experience for your classmates, the GBC is certainly one way to do that. As I will detail in my next post, there are many (hundreds!) of leadership opportunities available at Booth and each brings with them different benefits. So think about how you want to get involved and pick your leadership positions wisely.

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