Best Booth Moment: Belgian Beers on a Sunday Evening

Our Best Booth Moment series continues with students telling us about their favorite interactions with Booth faculty outside of the classroom.

Each year during the Booth Winter Formal, the Giving Something Back club runs a charity silent auction with several items up for bid. One of the packages this year was an evening of Belgian Beer Tasting with professors Chad Syverson (Competitive Strategy) and Marianne Bertrand (The Firm and the Non-Market Environment). A small group of students bid collectively to win the package, and then invited others to join them at the event (including me)! Though I didn’t get a chance to learn from either of these professors in an official classroom setting during my time at Booth, I jumped at the opportunity to casually chat with a couple of brilliant professors in a more relaxed environment. Though I didn’t get a chance to learn from either of these professors in an official classroom setting during my time at Booth, I jumped at the opportunity to casually chat with a couple of brilliant professors in a more relaxed environment.  

Twelve of us (10 second year students and 2 partners) went over to Professor Bertrand’s home in Wicker Park, and were warmly welcomed by her husband and two daughters. We luckily experienced a night of good weather and took full advantage by enjoying a wonderful charcuterie set up on their back patio!  We were spoiled by not only our 2 hosts but a surprise guest, Professor Emir Kamenica, who teaches Game Theory.  After swapping thoughts on who would end up on the Iron Throne (no Game of Thrones spoilers here), we all sat down and started the Belgian Beer flights.

Professor Bertrand grew up in Belgium, and she has been doing these Belgian Beer nights for the charity auctions for seven years. The first time they held the event, Professors Syverson and Bertrand made a PowerPoint and taught about the beers in a more lecture-type style, but have since made it more informal. 

I really appreciated the way we did it, as we got to learn about the professors’ upbringings, research, families, and upcoming trips that they were going on — all while sampling the beers. Throughout the evening, we tried a Wit, a Saison Farmhouse Ale, a Dubbel, a Tripel, a Quad and some others that I may be forgetting about after the plentiful frosty beverages. 

Around this point in the evening, the professors began asking what our favorite and least favorite classes at Booth were! Although I won’t spill the beans on what was said, it was quite interesting that the professors were seeking feedback on what types of lecturing techniques work and don’t work in the classroom, and what truly makes a class special to us. This really made me feel like they take class feedback to heart and are constantly trying to improve the offerings to new batches of students. 

It was really nice to get out of the Loop for an evening of great conversation and beer! A special thanks to Professors Bertrand and Syverson for hosting!

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