From The Other Side

Many of you come to this site with a goal of learning more about what’s it’s like to be a student at Chicago Booth, and hopefully throughout the year we’ve been able to provide plenty of information in that domain.  Much of what we write about is intended to give you insight into The Booth Experience (ohh, that’s the reason for the site name!), and even a tip or two for what to say in the interview room.

One of the aspects of Booth that I hadn’t previously considered when I started my first year back in August 2015 was what it was like to sit on the other side of the table as applicants filed in one after the other.  I interviewed on campus so I did meet with a student, but I guess it sort of slipped my mind that these roles needed to be filled by upcoming classes.

After spending the last year as an Admissions Fellow, I can finally look back on what that ride has been like.  What started as a fairly competitive process for being selected is now ending with a chance to pass along the responsibilities to the next great batch of students in the Class of 2018.  It’s been a really fun experience, and an influential one in terms of my progression while at Booth.

My main responsibility as part of the AF team (as we’ll affectionately refer to it from here on out) is writing for this site.  I chose this role because I love to put thoughts on paper that people will read, mull over, and maybe even find some enjoyment out of.  It’s been great to have such freedom in terms of how I want to portray my two years here.  I never imagined taking on such a broad range of topics and while there were certainly some pieces better than others, I’ve enjoyed the exploration process as well as getting to hear the feedback.

As part of my other role (one that I share with all other AFs), I get a chance to interview potential Booth students in each Round of applications.  This is an area in which I’ve had a little prior experience before coming to Booth, but definitely not enough to feel 100% comfortable from the onset.

The great thing the Admissions team does is prepare us to interview people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and all geographies.  We learn about how to ask questions and digest answers that assist with the evaluation process.  We run mock interviews to get everyone familiar with the setting, the timing, and the cadence of how 45 minutes should pass.

One of the coolest aspects about being an interviewer, aside from a chance to play a role in the admissions process, is to hear about all the great work applicants are doing.  People’s backgrounds have been so impressive, from the work experience, to the leadership roles, to the passion for this program.  It’s been a pleasure learning more in-depth about what I see on a resume, and everyone I’ve met with has come in very prepared and engaged.

I think moving forward in my professional career, the lessons learned will be obvious.  As I rise in the ranks at my company, I’ll eventually be interviewing candidates and will absolutely lean on my experience here.  But in addition, I think this role has taught me more about connecting with and understanding a diverse set of people, from both sides of the interview table.

I hope for those I’ve had a chance to meet, your experience was a positive one because in each and every case it has been for me.  For those who do attend Booth, I strongly encourage you to apply for the AF program.  It’s hard work and it’s time consuming, but has absolutely been worth it.

(Plus, there’s free coffee in the Fellows room.)

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