I still remember how stressful it was to submit my application for Chicago Booth. Agonizing over every detail, wondering what will tip the scales for the admissions committee, scanning Poets & Quants for insights, refreshing Clear Admit every 1.3 seconds or so—all while working a full-time job!
It’s exhausting. And with Round 2 applications due on January 3rd, I wanted to share my personal experiences on a few questions that I frequently chat about with prospective students preparing for essays and interviews…
Q: How has Booth’s pay-it-forward culture impacted you?
I first felt the impact of Booth’s pay-it-forward culture when I was a candidate, when I connected with a second year student veteran. He helped me tremendously through the process, taking time to revise several editions of my resume and essay, and doing mock interviews over the phone. He did this all in the middle of a very busy summer internship at Amazon.
When I started at Booth, I found that the pay-it-forward culture extended to the job hunt as well. While there are many great school resources (Career Services) to aid the professional search, I was blown away by the help I got from countless second year students, student-led professional groups, and alumni. Nobody was ever too busy to chat with me for 20 minutes about consulting, and I wouldn’t have been able to land my dream job without this fantastic network.
Q: What are the benefits of Booth’s flexible curriculum?
Booth prides itself on providing students with the freedom to choose more of their own academic path than other MBA programs. Why does this matter?
First, coming from a non-business background, I was able to take basic versions of classes that were new to me (accounting), and more advanced versions of classes that were more familiar to me (economics). There was no “one size fits all” solution, so I was able to aim for classes that were neither overwhelming nor too easy—just those that would challenge me at the level I wanted.
Second, no two Boothies will be on the exact same recruiting path, so why should they be the same academic schedule? I was recruiting for consulting, which is very heavy in the fall and winter of first year, so I took fewer classes earlier in the year. Once I landed my internship in February, I was able to pivot my focus and take more classes in the spring quarter. For my classmates pursuing jobs in PE/VC or startups (which do more recruiting in the spring), they followed roughly the opposite schedule.
Q: I’m not recruiting for investment banking, and I am coming from a non-business background, is Booth for me?
As somebody from a non-business background, and not recruiting for finance, I’ve found that Booth was a wonderful place to be regardless of your previous professional experience or future ambitions. Part of this is due to the two things listed above: a super supportive community and the freedom to chart your own path.
When I was applying, I certainly thought of Booth as a “finance” school. But over the past year, I’ve realized that Booth is really a “fundamentals” school. Whether you are in a marketing case competition or a New Venture Challenge team —you can bet that the conversation will include the foundations of accounting, finance, economics, and statistics.
While there are hundreds of places your passions can take you at Booth, you can be sure that you will carry with you the fundamentals of the academic discipline of business.
Putting it all Together
These are some of the areas that Booth has been the most meaningful to me, how will it be meaningful to you? If you can answer that, then you’ll be set up for success on your application.
If you are looking for additional insight, check out the “Ask-A-Student” section of the admissions website, where you can get your questions (like those above) answered by current Boothies.
Good luck to all Round 2 applicants!