One of my most vivid memories of being an undergrad at the University of Chicago was graduation. Graduation here is rife with tradition – in the morning, every college gathers on the main quad for a campus-wide ceremony, complete with a bagpipe processional. Across the campus, students are quiet, excited and nervous, with one exception. Booth students treat graduation for what it is – a celebration. This means goofy additions to their caps and gowns and plenty of laughter and cheering. This is an aspect of what makes Booth so unique to me – while it retains many great University of Chicago traditions, it also has its own culture. In this post, I’d like to highlight some of the ways Booth integrates itself into the greater campus community, while still maintaining its own vibe.
There are lots of ways Booth students can engage with academic areas outside of the business school. I know a few students who are pursuing joint graduate degrees between Booth and another UChicago school. You can graduate with joint degrees in law, medicine, public policy, social services and other select programs . Furthermore, Booth also offers a special certificate program for students interested in health care administration and policy that leverages Booth, the Harris School of Public Policy, the Law School, the Pritzker School of Medicine and the School of Social Service Administration . For those driven to pursue joint degrees, Booth/the University of Chicago make the process seamless and easy. For anyone interested in a joint degree program, I’d encourage you to check out both Booth’s and the specific program’s admissions pages to understand the application process and requirements.
Booth’s flexible curriculum encourages students to explore a variety of interests. As a Booth student, you are able to take up to six courses outside of the business school. Typically, this option is most attractive to those interested in the healthcare and/or the private equity/venture capital space, as the law school offers some targeted classes in these areas. However, this is a general trend and not a rule. There are a plethora of interesting and exciting classes taught across the university, and it’s a resource I wish I’d taken advantage of more.
The University also encourages graduate students from across the University to socialize and expand their networks. This is primarily done through the Graduate Council (the student-run governing body for graduate programs). This year, the University is hosting the second-annual Gargoyle Gala, a social event aimed at bringing together graduate students for non-academic, social-focused settings.
In return, there are ways for non-Booth students to engage in our community. Opportunities like the New Venture Challenge are open across the University. This is a great chance to build a diverse team with unique skill sets – for example, many concepts entered into the NVC require app development or some computer science background; luckily, the college has a great computer science division with a number of college students eager to join your team. This creates the ultimate balance of providing Booth students both an opportunity to interact with the rest of the campus while still ensuring our ability to participate in the things that make the school great.
Finally, I can’t leave out the great undergrads here at the University of Chicago. One of the best opportunities for Booth students is to become a mentor to undergrads involved in the UChicago Careers in Business program. This incredibly competitive program provides career advice, networking opportunities and internship experience to undergrads interested in some of the most common business career paths. Providing mentorship to UCIB students both expands your network and allows you to work on your coaching skills.
Overall, Chicago Booth balances creating a unique, exciting and fun culture within the broader realm of the University of Chicago. The combination of the University’s never-ending pursuit of knowledge with Booth’s unique culture is exactly what made me want to return to UChicago for my MBA.