All posts by Bo Shi

Modern Data Science vs Traditional Economics from Steven Levitt of Freakonomics

The University of Chicago is well-known for its rich economics program, producing rigorous academic research and six current Nobel Laureates (#notsohumblebrag). However, it’s not all just academia here. Steven Levitt, of Freakonomics fame, has been a professor at the University of Chicago since 1997. Levitt has arguably been the most publicly influential economist in the last 20 years through his best-selling popular economics literature, blog, and podcast.

A few weeks ago, through the Becker Brown Bag series, Levitt discussed a Booth student’s favorite topic—data—and how modern data science has introduced new approaches to data not traditionally seen in economics. Furthermore, Levitt introduced to the audience his next big project with ambitions to tangibly change the world.

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Why I Became a LEAD Facilitator

At Booth, we pride ourselves on the flexible curriculum, but there is one required class every first-year student must take their first quarter: Leadership Effectiveness And Development—or LEAD for short. Through LEAD, students explore how their personality and cultural experiences impact their leadership style and receive valuable 360 feedback on how their professional behavior is perceived. But the course doesn’t only provide value to first-years. For a select group of ~40 second-year students (including me), it provides the unique opportunity to develop and facilitate a curriculum for the incoming first-years that directly impacts the culture of leadership at Booth.

We call ourselves LEAD Facilitators (Facils for short)—recognizable by our stylish Leadership Development Office polos and unmistakable charm. But we don’t do it (just) for the free swag and recognition. Every Facil’s motivations may be different, here are mine…

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Microsoft: A Whole New World

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked, “Why tech?” or “Why Microsoft?” No, it’s not because the CEO is a Booth alum (Hi Satya!). My answer is that I was seeking an experience completely unlike any other I’ve had before. Microsoft represented the greatest departure from my past professional experiences that I could find.

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Get to Know Bo Shi

I’m a self-described hometown kid—Chicago being my hometown. I grew up in the Northwest suburbs and attended the University of Chicago for undergrad, majoring in economics. At UChicago, I realized my passion for learning and my interest in using data to explain the world.

These led me to pursue strategy consulting, where every few weeks I learned about new industries and evaluated different business problems. After a couple years, I transitioned to a growth-oriented private equity firm, where I focused on software and technology investments.

Now at Booth, I’ve tried to immerse myself in new experiences and challenges. Through both professional and academic avenues, I’ve explored tech, startups, VC, innovation, marketing, and leadership. I’m spending this summer as an MBA Business Planning Intern at Microsoft, where I hope to learn how large technology companies innovate and bring products to market.

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