We’re down to our final week of life at Booth, which means days are spent hastily trying to sell old furniture, cobble together final papers, and say yes to every event invitation that comes our way. While two years is really the perfect amount of time to be in business school, it doesn’t take away from the sadness we collectively feel about having to leave this community and most importantly this lifestyle.
I probably speak for most of my class in saying that it’s been a transformational period of time. We learned a great deal, engaged in new experiences, and made memories that’ll last a lifetime. But aside from all the facets of school you’ve read about all year, let’s talk about the social aspect at Booth, and what makes it so much fun to be a part of when classes and recruiting take a back seat on occasion (or potentially more often than that).
We know how busy life can be so it is important to prioritize but below I present to you the definitive list of the Top 10 events at Booth, scientifically selected in the 30 seconds I spent thinking about what has been most enjoyable for me to attend. These types of moments are often what take a business school experience from beneficial to unforgettable.
The list is ordered chronologically, so as not to play favorites:
- Random Walk – I can’t think of a better way to break the ice than in a foreign country with fifteen people you’ve never met beforehand. The whole world is your oyster when selecting where you want to go, and with seven days (and nights) of nonstop action, you become fast friends with those around you. Just don’t count on much sleep while you’re abroad.
- Leadership Orientation Retreat – better known as LOR, this is the pinnacle of LEAD training that occurs during orientation and the start of your first quarter at Booth. Nestled up by Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, this trip includes a little bit of everything; team building, zip lines, costume parties, and more leadership practicums than you’ll know what to do with.
- Golden Gargoyles – the culminating event of LEAD is an Oscar-style awards show that features short films made by each of the cohorts. While we give out awards for Best Movie, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Cinematic Use of the Dean, what we really are awarding ourselves for is the decision to come to business school and not try our hand in show biz.
- Ski Trip – If we were ranking these by requirement to attend, this is a clear cut #1. A week’s worth of time on a beautiful ski resort (the two from my time were in Aspen and Telluride) that allows you to be a former Olympian or a pure hot tub dweller and still have a blast all week. Each night features a unique theme and unlimited food and frosty beverages make it all worth it.
- Winter Formal – who says business school students don’t class it up? This is the one event you get to use that tuxedo you unnecessarily bought three years ago, mingling with students and partners at one of Chicago’s famed museums and taking part in a unique auction with items and experiences hailing from Booth’s professors and clubs, among others.
- First Day – I’m using the Round 1 schedule here since it’s the one I attended but life as a Squad Leader is even more amazing than as a prospective attendee the year before. We get to take part in all the events that help shape your view of the school and hopefully leave enough of an impression that you sign on the proverbial dotted line on the way out the door.
- St. Patrick’s Day – while not a specific Booth event, this is no doubt a Chicago institution. Starting with the parade through the city and the dying of the river green, it’s a full day party where all wardrobe choices are allowed and accepted (just follow the color theme).
- Follies – Booth’s very own skit and dance show is hilarious, entertaining, and a testament to how much a smart and talented group of people can improve on their Golden Gargoyles performances. There’s nothing quite like 3 hours of inside jokes that everyone in the room can understand and appreciate.
- Battle of the Bands – In one of the many events that pits Booth vs. Kellogg, this is probably the coolest. Two bands from each school perform in a battle royale of pop songs, old school rock, and everything in between. The venue is a really cool and historic theater that only adds to the atmosphere, and every band brings it like it’s their last time on stage.
- Spring Fling – Your education at Booth isn’t complete without one (or several) trips out to Lake Michigan on a three-story boat equipped with full service dinner and bars. While you take in breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline, enjoy the first days of warm weather (celebrated by the Hawaiian shirt you’re inevitably wearing).
I’ll miss a lot about this place, but most of all will be these types of moments where I get to interact with friends from across Booth in unique and adventurous ways. Every business school is tailored with an experience that should teach you more than just how to calculate weighted average cost of capital or the right framework to use in a case interview. For me, these are just a few of the nights and trips that made it all worth it.