My ‘Why Booth’ Story: Perception and Reality

Chad Strader is a first year MBA student from Augusta, GA. He graduated from Georgia Southern University where he was a member of the men’s soccer team. Prior to Booth, Chad worked at Entrepreneurial Capital Partners – a private equity firm based in Atlanta, GA – and PepsiCo. He is a member of the Booth African American MBA Association (AAMBAA), Booth Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (BETA), Booth Soccer Club, and Private Equity Group. Chad’s hobbies include playing Scrabble, rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, and cooking.
 
As Chad was thinking through important questions about which MBA program he should attend, he took the time to come to Chicago for Admit Weekend. It was a transformative experience for Chad, and one that made Booth his top choice. In this post, Chad talks about what he learned about Booth during Admit Weekend and his first quarter at school, and why Booth was the right fit for him.
–Matt

Congratulations to the Round 1 applicants who were recently admitted! As I reflect back on the day that I received the glorious call from Chicago Booth Admissions, I remember the questions swirling through my mind. Is Chicago Booth right for me? Growing up in Georgia, can I manage the cold? Will the alumni be helpful? How will life be without a paycheck? After attending Admit Weekend and completing my first quarter, I would like to answer a few of those questions.

Is Chicago Booth right for me?
After reading countless blogs, attending admissions events, and participating in online chats, I thought that Booth would be a great opportunity for my career progression.
 
However, I saw Admit Weekend as an opportunity to confirm that Chicago Booth would be the right fit for me, through being there in person and meeting the rest of my future classmates, as well as members of the Booth community. From the moment I arrived at Admit Weekend, I was blown away by how smart, yet down to earth, the current students and other admits were. I had the chance to speak with professors and current students who provided their own perspectives on what made Booth unique. Most importantly, I found that some of the stereotypes I’d heard about Booth were completely wrong, and that for me Booth would be the perfect mix of stellar academics, career advancement, and socializing and building connections with current students and alumni.
 
Will I enjoy student life?
Booth Random Walk South Africa

 

This summer, I went on a Random Walk where, along with 15 Boothies (11 other first years and 4 second year trek leaders), I visited the beautiful country of South Africa. We spent nine days in Johannesburg and Cape Town doing various activities ranging from shark cage diving (which I will never do again!) and a safari to wine tasting. The Random Walk trips take place before arriving at Booth for Orientation, and it was a great bonding experience, allowing us to really start forming relationships with classmates. 
 
Booth Soccer Team
The Booth administration creates an environment that cultivates relationships with other classmates, second years and alumni. Another venue to meet students is through clubs; Booth offers over 70 professional, special interest, sports or diversity/cultural awareness groups. As mentioned above, I’m a member of the Chicago Booth Soccer Club. Recently, 32 members of the school represented Booth to compete in a MBA soccer tournament in Los Angeles. Booth emerged second, the best finish in history by the Booth soccer club, narrowly losing out in the finals on penalty kicks. It was a great opportunity to get to know a great group of my Booth classmates and build strong bonds as we practiced and competed together.
 
Lastly, we’re in Chicago! Chicago is a great city with countless activities from hanging out on the beach to seeing a Chicago Cubs game (the owner, Tom Ricketts, is a UChicago graduate). And if you come out to visit campus in the next few months, you’ll see that the winter’s not so bad here!
 
How strong is the community at Booth?
In searching for the perfect business school, I wanted to feel connected to my current classmates as well as the alumni community.
 
While it’s true that most current students live downtown in the Loop or South Loop, and not in Hyde Park where the Harper Center is located, we have great communities in all the locations that students chose to live, work and play. The majority of Booth students live within a two mile radius (including a handful of buildings in the Loop lovingly dubbed “the Dorms”) which provides a close-knit community. I have had several study groups, social events and intellectually-challenging conversations in the lobby or elevators of these buildings. And when it comes time to go to campus, Booth students take over the 15-minute Metra train ride down to Hyde Park (lovingly dubbed “the school bus”).
Chad and his classmates at Booth’s Leadership Orientation Retreat (LOR)
At Chicago Booth, I have found that the alumni have been instrumental in maximizing my experience thus far. From the time I was accepted, I met with alumni who were passionate about my career and how to best help me succeed. Over the summer, I reached out to over 40 alumni to hear more about their experience at Booth and how to approach internship recruiting. I was overwhelmed at how thoughtful the responses were. From phone calls to morning coffee, each alumnus made an effort to help me grow personally and professionally.
 
The transformative experience at Admit Weekend solidified my choice to attend Chicago Booth. Not only did I meet my roommate at Admit Weekend, but I also started cultivating relationships with fellow classmates. The housing search was another great opportunity to explore Chicago, an amazing city I now call home. My classmates, professors, and the Chicago Booth culture are second to none and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. This blog post is only a preview of what to expect at your time at Booth. The only thing that I can promise you is that you will enjoy it, and I encourage all of our newly admitted students to attend Admit Weekend and get a taste of what you’re in for over the next two years.
 
Share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone