Category Archives: Admissions

International Experiences at Booth

Hello again,

Often you have heard me talk about the vast and diverse network of friends and colleagues you will build while at Chicago Booth. Today, I would like to address another important aspect of Booth – diversity of experiences. Be it in future career fields, geography, clubs, or academics, there are endless opportunities to create the Booth experience you want. This quarter, Ward Pendarvis, a fellow classmate of mine, decided to study abroad in Hong Kong. Although he is just starting the program, Ward offered to share his experience and thoughts thus far:

Winter quarter has just started at Chicago Booth and as most of my classmates are hunkering down for a Chicago winter I have just arrived in Hong Kong with 6 of my Booth classmates. We are here for a 3 month long International Business Exchange Program (IBEP) at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Classes start this week and I’m excited to break into a new routine and a pretty eclectic set of Asia focused business courses.

When I first began researching MBA programs during my application process, one of the most important characteristics that I was looking for was a strong international business component. Prior to school I had been working in Beijing, China for a little over two years with a private equity firm. During this time, I came to fully appreciate the importance of “emerging” markets for small US companies and international conglomerates alike. This experience highlighted the importance for me to pick an MBA that could offer significant international opportunities. While I knew Booth had a remarkably strong worldwide alumni base and an extremely diverse student body, it was their IBEP program that sealed the deal for me.

Based on Booth’s exceptional reputation, the school secured partnerships with 33 MBA programs across 21 different countries. As HKUST is arguably one of the best MBA programs in Asia and is situated in a geographic region I am interested in, it immediately caught my attention. At HKUST I found offerings of core business courses, but I also found a unique offering of courses specific to the region such as “Investments and Finance in China” taught by Professor Larry Franklin, an accomplished businessman in the region, and the Entrepreneurial and Family Business Seminar. Finally, while studying abroad I will gain the opportunity to build another network of classmates and professionals, similar to the one I have built at Booth, who will hopefully be valuable friends and contacts going forward. Along these lines, I am also planning on also using the IBEP opportunity to find careers in the region following business school.

Although international exposure was very important to me, it was equally important that I didn’t miss out on the full Booth experience. The quarter system at Chicago meant that instead of missing 1/4 of the MBA program, as I would have if we were on semesters, I would be away for just 1/6 of my MBA. Booth’s flexible curriculum also supported this goal. The ability to take the classes I wanted, when I wanted, meant that I could plan my schedule around the IBEP program and not miss any of the classes I was interested in.

Finally, as I said earlier, I’m here with 6 other Booth classmates. In the months leading up to IBEP, Academic Services planned several social events for us to get to know eachother better prior to our departure. Although we each have a different career or industry focus, we are all bringing our Chicago experiences and camaraderie to the table. As I begin to settle in for the quarter, I’m extremely excited about everything this experience has to offer.

Thanks Ward. Hopefully when he gets back we will hear how the experience was. Prior to closing, I want to comment a little further on the IBEP program. While some of the Booth community travels to our partner schools, Booth is simultaneously hosting 75-85 international students at Booth–an experience which enriches those who decide not to participate in the IBEP program.

As always, good luck on the applications. If you want to learn more about the IBEP program you can read about it here.

– Todd

Ward traveling through Asia prior to starting the IBEP program.

The 2010 Booth Ski and Snowboard Trip

Hello again and Happy New Year

Over the course of the two years a student spends at Booth, there are virtually unlimited opportunities to hang out with friends, go on unique trips and build even stronger networks. Having just come from the Booth Ski and Snowboard Group’s annual winter trip, I wanted to use this week’s posting to share my experience at this phenomenal event.

By the time the holiday season rolls around, school has been in session for almost four months. While the first quarter of the academic year always seems to be very busy with classes, recruiting and generally just getting back into the swing of things, there is no shortage of fun; even so, there is one event that is on the minds of almost anyone who skis or snowboards (and even some who don’t) – the annual Booth Ski and Snowboard winter trip. This trip, arranged by the ski group’s four second-year co-chairs, is a seven day extravaganza that takes place in a Rocky Mountain resort during the first week of winter break.

This year’s location was Sun Valley, Idaho, and it was a great turn out. With a little over 200 first and second-year Booth students rolling into Sun Valley on December 12th, our school pretty much took over the town. Although it was a long day of travel to get there, as we started trickling into the resort our bags were taken and we were directed to a reception where the co-chairs had set up a reception with free food, drinks, and music. Almost as soon as people entered the room any stress that might have been present due to travels or finals vanished amongst friends. Just an hour into the trip and surrounded by a great group of Boothies, it was clear this was going to be an amazing week.

Over the course of the trip most people started each day off by meeting up at the slopes and spending the morning and afternoon skiing or boarding together. While it was unbelievable snow (we got several feet of fresh power while we were there), the skiing and boarding was just a fraction of the trip. The winter trip was, as it always is, a big deal at Booth and the co-chairs went above and beyond in ensuring that the trip this year was something no one would forget. Backed by corporate sponsors and discounts from the mountain, every day after skiing there was a new location where we all joined up again for après ski (a get-together after the last ski runs of the day) for free food and drinks. Following après, most folks decided to go back to their rooms, clean up, and likely take a much needed nap prior to the evening’s activities. At night there was something new and exciting every day as well: tubing down the mountain after it had closed for everyone else, scavenger hunt teams (we had to run around the town and get pictures of our team with things from a predetermined list), a winter carnival (a competition of a bunch of goofy events), a hot tub party night, ski movie release night, and a few theme nights where we just hung out at different venues in town.

The trip was incredible; the only real challenge of the trip was just knowing when to call it quits for the night so you could still make it up for first tracks on the mountain. As the trip came to an end, however, the co-chairs held one final event for us – a formal dinner where awards were presented to some of the more noteworthy, memorable, or funny experiences of the trip and a slide show of pictures from the week. It was a perfect end to a perfect trip (I attached some pictures at the end of this posting).

As you have heard me say before this is just one experience from one group but by now I hope you are starting to see a theme across the Booth experience: a world-class education, an incredibly tight community, and an overall great time. At Booth there are over 70 student led groups like the Ski and Snowboard group that all hold events for their members. While not all events are trips or socially related, regardless of your interests, I can almost assure you that at Booth there is a group of students with similar interests holding equally fun or engaging events.

Until next time, best of luck on applications and I hope to see the folks who were accepted during round 1 at Admit Weekend (there is no better way to experience Booth than to come to campus and experience the stories and atmosphere I write about).

A group of us atop of Sun Valley

Hanging out at one of the venues during an 80’s theme night

Take Care,