Category Archives: Boothie Life

Tradeoffs and Compromises in the 90-Hour School Week

As he sails past midterms in the final quarter of his first year, Josh Hirschland reflects on his experience dealing with a common (and fortunate) problem at Booth:  too many opportunities for too few hours in the day. Read on to find out how he has made the most of his year.

–Matt

After you’ve been admitted to Chicago Booth (Congratulations!!), you will receive several guides detailing the ins and outs of student life. One of these handbooks will helpfully outline what a typical schedule looks like—how much time you will spend in class, on homework, on recruiting, and so forth—which, when you add it up, will account for between 79 and 105 hours per week. And upon looking at that, and you will say, “That’s crazy; that must be wrong.” And you’ll forget about it.
Until you get to school and you realize that it’s accurate.
For those incoming students who see business school as a vacation from work, the volume of requests that are made of your time as a student can be jarring. Between classes, homework, guest lectures, recruiting, extra-curricular activities, mentoring and leadership opportunities, social engagements, and the daily requirements of being an adult human being, there are literally dozens of things going on at any given moment. And with just 21 months to spend at Booth, every activity represents a trade-off—a deliberate choice that must be made.
Some of these tradeoffs are obvious: most students can only participate in one summer internship before accepting a full-time position, so it’s important to think long and hard about what experiences will help you make an informed choice about your post-MBA career. The bathroom scale is happy to remind anyone who forgets about the opportunity costs associated with going to a happy hour instead of the gym. And the rapidly diminishing balance of many students’ bank accounts is black-and-white (or, more accurately, black-and-red) proof of the positive correlation between short-term international travel and long-term Ramen consumption.
Other examples are more hidden. While Booth’s flexible curriculum and vast array of courses is part of the school’s unique draw, and the chance to take classes at other schools within the University was one of the things that sold me on Booth, with just 20 classes to take between enrollment and graduation, many students find themselves having to choose among award-winning professors in their final year. And though students are encouraged to get involved in a wide range of clubs, it is nearly impossible to take leadership positions in more than a couple without sacrificing quality and foregoing many of the rewarding experiences that come from being a co-chair.
My own experience is living proof of these tradeoffs. Last quarter, I was fortunate to have interviews at fascinating companies located in three different time zones, but each time I got a callback, I found myself having to cross plans off my calendar. As great as it was to save some money and catch up on sleep by having a low-key spring break, it was hard to see photos being posted to Facebook of my classmates sunning themselves on the beaches of Mexico or hanging out in Tel Aviv. And though I had to push marketing strategy back for a quarter, I had the great opportunity to take Building the New Venture with Professor Deutsch.
But the rewards have far outweighed the tradeoffs. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview at most of my top choice companies this year and am excited about my internship this summer at Groupon. While I haven’t made every Booth social event this year, I have been grateful to be able to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend. And while I would have enjoyed spending more time with the Epicureanand Marketing Clubs at Booth, being heavily involved with the Dean’s Student Admissions Committee (DSAC) has allowed me to meet some really amazing prospective and current students.
The best thing about Booth is the overwhelming number of amazing opportunities the school offers and the freedom that students have to chart their own paths. But the flip side of all that amazingness is what Booth students refer to as the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). At a school where economics is held in high regard, it is fitting that the student experience is marked by being able to efficiently allocate your scarcest resource—time—to get the highest level of return. Booth offers so many great opportunities, but getting the most from the experience means focusing on those things that are most meaningful to you. And looking back on my first year, I am happy with the choices I have made!

Black Tie, Dancing, Camaraderie, and…Jellyfish?

As the Winter Quarter draws to a close, Matt Tracey recaps one of the quarter’s biggest events: Winter Formal. You can check out all of the glitz and glam of the evening on PhotoBooth’s Facebook page.

Dana
***

Chicago Booth’s “Winter Formal” came with a bang three weeks ago…what an event. On the surface, it is what it sounds like: an elegant evening affair characterized by shiny black tuxedos, dashing cocktail dresses, food, drink, and photos galore. But Winter Formal, Booth-style, is so much more than that.

Socially, the Formal is rather unique in that it brings together so many people all at once. “Semi-formal” in the fall quarter, for example, involved only first-year students (that event was fantastic in its own right). Furthermore, our weekly bar events all over the city of Chicago involve both first-years and second-years, but total turnout—although strong—pales in comparison to the 800+ who eagerly attend the Formal. The end result of Winter Formal is a rich social experience that, beyond providing ample opportunity for friend-to-friend interaction, enables students to meet and talk with a number of new and different classmates as well as helps students experience nearly the whole Booth community in all its awesomeness. Connecting with so many peers at once reminds us that not only are our immediate friends and classmates so great in so many ways, but the entire Chicago Booth community is as well.

The Who/What/Where/Why/When
Who? Chicago Booth students. Roughly 800 of them, both first-years and second-years (and their significant others). What? Winter Formal. An epic social event that—in the twilight of winter quarter—gives students and their plus-ones a chance to unwind, share some quality time, dance, talk, look awesome in front of one another, and… Where? …watch some dolphins and beluga whales chase each other around the Shedd Aquarium, a Chicago landmark that features—beyond the aforementioned dolphins and whales—a pretty sweet collection of aquatic life (including a rather unique jellyfish exhibit). This venue offered something for everyone. Those who wanted to eat could do so liberally at one of the many buffets; those who wanted to drink could find an open bar probably within 100 feet of wherever they found themselves at a given moment; those who wanted to dance could hit the dance floor for the Harlem Shake, Booth edition; and those who wanted to carry on a real conversation (yes, there were plenty of those as well) could meander off into one of the Aquarium’s many scenic corridors and park themselves on a bench. Why? Fun, obviously. That and friendship, camaraderie and celebration, all wrapped into one. When? Every year during winter quarter (February 23rd this year).

While a number of first-year students still are evaluating internship opportunities (depending primarily upon target industry), many attended Winter Formal having just emerged from the recruiting process. For those recently finished with recruiting, Winter Formal was an awesome reintroduction to the Booth social scene. For those students still pursuing internships (first-years) or full-time positions (second-years), Winter Formal served as a reinvigorating break from the process—and the perfect opportunity to share interview stories in a relaxed environment.

The Bottom Line
The sense of community amongst the students at Winter Formal was powerful, and the opportunity to celebrate life at Booth together pushed school spirit to a new high. The people make the Booth experience what it is. Check out some photos from the event here: Winter Formal 2013

Already looking forward to the next occasion for which I have to solicit help tying a real bow tie,
Matt Tracey

The Faces of Follies: A First Year’s Inside Look

With auditions this past week (and a fun karaoke event last week to get the Booth community excited), the Harper Center has been abuzz about Follies. With a multitude of ways for students to get involved, whether it’s singing, writing, dancing, or producing, Follies is an excellent way to showcase the talent we have at Booth (and we have fun doing so!). Check out footage from last year’s show on the Follies YouTube channel.

Continue reading The Faces of Follies: A First Year’s Inside Look

Why are you here and not somewhere else? Be part of Chicago’s growing entrepreneurship and VC scene

Well into winter quarter, Career Treks continue to take place. This week, Liz Han shares her passion for venture capital through her experience on the Venture Capital Trek that took place a few weeks ago and her role as an associate for Hyde Park Angels.

Sand Hill Road. It’s one of the most famous streets in Silicon Valley and home to venerable venture capital firms such as Kleiner Perkins and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. It was also one of the places I visited a few weeks ago as part of the Venture Capital trek to the Bay Area organized by the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Group (EVC) at Booth. Over the course of two days, nine students visited seven of the most well-known VC firms in the US, including KPCB, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Accel Partners.

Continue reading Why are you here and not somewhere else? Be part of Chicago’s growing entrepreneurship and VC scene

Meet The A-Team!

The A-Team is a group of highly trained operatives executing on a critical mission: planning the best weekend of your life. Ok, maybe I exaggerate, but Admit Weekend is a truly fun, incredible and memorable time. While hundreds of students come together to make Admit Weekend happen, a select group of 22 first year students, known as the A-Team, work behind the scenes for months to plan every detail of the weekend, from neighborhood tours throughout Chicago down to the music that will play during the weekend. Today, three A-Team members share how they’ve been involved.
Continue reading Meet The A-Team!