Category Archives: Community

Admit Weekend on the Horizon: Meet your Co-Captains!

Admit Weekend is a terrific opportunity for admitted students to experience life as a Chicago Booth MBA for a weekend. Admits learn about the Booth curriculum, tour Chicago neighborhoods, and have plenty of time to get to know fellow future Booth MBAs.

It takes lots of planning to make this happen, but fortunately we have a huge team of great volunteers. The students involved on the Admit Weekend Planning Committee take a “Co-Captain” role in a specific, key aspect of the Admit Weekend experience, from neighborhood and housing tours to partners’ programming.


Several of our Co-Captains offer reflections on their experiences and discuss why all admitted students should come to Admit Weekend!

–Matt Richman

Mary Cate Waris and Jennifer Phillips
Admit Weekend Squad Leader Co-Captains

We both attended Admit Weekend last year and we had such a great time meeting everyone and learning more about the Booth community that we were excited to be involved in planning and organizing the 2014 events. As the Squad Leader Co-Captains we are responsible for selecting and training the squad leaders (current students who help lead admitted students through the Admit Weekend activities) and for organizing many of the events that you will take part in over the weekend. As you may know, Booth uses a cohort and squad system for the LEAD course that all first year students will take. After LEAD, students take whatever courses they want independent of any cohort; however cohorts and squads still function like your home base throughout your time at Booth. Admit Weekend squads work the same way. The squad and cohort activities of Admit Weekend will give you an opportunity to have fun and get to know both your new classmates and Booth’s current students. We hope that you will enjoy participating in the activities as much as we have enjoyed preparing them. Your Admit Weekend squad will introduce you to many of your closest friends during your time and Booth, as it did for us. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Emma Tan
Partners Co-Captain

Starting business school is an exciting journey for not only us, but also for our partners. While moving to a new city can be hard for a couple, Booth has great resources, such as the Partners Club, and an inviting culture that help make our significant others feel like an integral part of the Booth community. The experience so far at Booth for me and my husband has been wonderful, and I wanted to give back as part of the Admit Weekend team. Working as a co-captain to plan the partner-specific programming is a great opportunity for me and my team to share our experience and help admitted students and partners get ready to make the most of their time at Booth. Through the partner experience panel, we will invite students and their partners to talk about the fun and surprises they had living in the Booth community, offer tips, and answer questions about Chicago. We also planned a Chicago resource fair to create an opportunity for partners to share information, make new friends, and bond with this amazing community at Booth! It has been an incredible experience for us to be part of the Admit Weekend Planning Committee to share our excitement about being at Booth with the incoming class!

Prakriti Mishra
Neighborhood and Housing Tours Co-Captain

I am a former UChicago undergrad, and although I moved to NYC after graduation, I was hesitant about coming to Admit Weekend last year, because I felt like I already “knew” Booth and Chicago. However, I am glad I went against my instincts, and flew out for Admit Weekend. The Booth that I saw at Admit Weekend was vibrant, intelligent, and incredibly fun! In the three days over Admit Weekend, I met my current roommate, talked to 2nd years who got me interested in technology and consulting, and saw the city of Chicago in a completely new light. Now, as a Co-Captain for the Neighborhood and Housing Tours, I hope to provide admitted Booth students with a fun, informative and engaging way to see the city for themselves. We have student hosts and tour guides to take our guests around some of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods, and give them a chance to see some of the apartments that current Boothies live in. I hope many of you will take this opportunity to get to know Chicago, and I look forward to seeing you on a tour around one of Chicago’s many exciting neighborhoods!

Booth Hits the Slopes: The Booth Ski Trip in Photos

Brandon Jones is a first-year student at Chicago Booth. Prior to Booth, he worked as a project manager for construction firms in Chicago and Los Angeles. Outside of school, Brandon is an avid snowboarder and diehard USC Trojan fan. At Booth, he is a member of the Management Consulting Group, Giving Something Back, Dean’s Student Admissions Committee, and is a Dean’s Student and Alumni Representative.

He recently returned from the Booth Ski and Snowboard Club annual trip. It is a fun opportunity for Booth students to hang out and let loose after finals. As Brandon’s photo essay shows, the trip is not just about skiing; it’s also filled with themed parties and great bonding experiences for first- and second-year classmates. Enjoy his pictures!
–Matt

It’s Friday evening and I just turned in my last final. The first quarter of school at Chicago Booth is officially done, but it’s not time to celebrate yet. I head home, grab a quick dinner with my wife and pack up for the Ski and Snowboard Club trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. After a 2 hour nap, I manage to pour myself in a cab with two second years and we’re off for our 6:30am flight.

By 9pm, 253 Boothies and partners are checked in to The Lodge at Steamboat and headed to one of the slopeside restaurants for appetizers and much-needed libations. I head back to the condo relatively early to catch up on sleep so I’m ready to hit the hill early.

My roommates and I were more tired than we expected. After sleeping in, we scramble up some eggs and bacon and finally get to the gondola by mid-morning. It appears a few of our classmates have already left their mark in a deep snowbank. It’s going to be a great day.

After a solid first day of skiing and snowboarding, we change into our most radical attire for an 80’s-themed après ski happy hour hosted by the Ski and Snowboard Club. From the photo, you can see that rock star Axl Rose (me), several members of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” USA Olympic hockey team are here, and a few random 80s people.

After a quick dip in the hot tub, we head back to the condo to transform into angels and demons for the Heaven and Hell rave, because the only thing better than a themed party to celebrate the first day of skiing is two themed parties in one night. Rumors have been circulating that a special musical guest might be at the rave, but no one was saying who. Halfway through the night, The White Panda appears and Steamboat is temporarily transformed into an EDM mega-show (at least for the Boothies).

The next day of skiing and riding is gorgeous. We manage to track down some hidden powder stashes in the hike-to-ski double black diamond chutes on Steamboat’s perimeter. Our legs are definitely feeling the gym days we skipped during the last two weeks of class and recruiting.

Of course, not everyone on the trip is a skier or snowboarder. Quite a few people just came along to hang out with friends. A few of these folks discover that Steamboat offers bumper cars on ice and head over to the rink to take out some post-finals aggression on one another. Others go for an adrenaline-packed snowmobile ride or an idyllic snowshoe tour.

Three more days of skiing are punctuated by more après ski events, including a costume-mandatory flip cup tournament, where the Second Year Goths prevail over the First Year Onesie Directions, a pub crawl, a visit to the local hot springs, and an impromptu late-night grilled cheese bake-off. The week culminates with the Ski Bum Prom at Thunderhead Lodge atop the gondola. Everyone puts on their best mountain formal wear for a sit-down dinner before showing off their moves on the dance floor.

It’s finally time to pack up and head home for the holidays. Looking back at the last 6 days and nights makes me realize how fortunate I am for the opportunity to be at Chicago Booth and for the amazing friendships I’ve developed already. Finding a group of people with wildly different backgrounds that can learn from each other in class, support each other during recruiting, and travel across the country to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and raise a glass together is what defines the Booth Experience for me. I can’t wait to see what the next year and a half brings.

Why I Am Here and Not Somewhere Else: My Admit Weekend Experience

By Jatin Jindal, Class of 2015

On behalf of the Admit Weekend Planning Committee, I would like to congratulate Round 1 admits on being selected to join the best business school in the world! When I got the call from the Booth Admissions staff last year, the first thing I did was book my tickets to Chicago for Admit Weekend. I knew that the 24 hour-long flight from Mumbai to Chicago would be well worth the experience I would have at Admit Weekend.

Well, I was not only proven correct, but Admit Weekend exceeded all of my expectations. I had such an amazing experience that I knew I wanted to be a part of the next class’s Admit Weekend planning team. So, I volunteered for the position of Social Media Captain for Admit Weekend 2014. As a Social Media Captain, admitted students will hear from me through social media channels, including photos and posts to the Class of 2016 Facebook page.

I grew up in Mumbai, India. I spent three years in investment banking in London, and after that, was fortunate to scale up and successfully exit from my own startup. Yet, as I considered my next career moves, I realized there were some gaps in my business training necessary to advance my goals. I was impressed by the awesome resources at Chicago Booth, particularly in tech and entrepreneurship, as well as by Booth’s discipline-based approach to learning, which further confirmed my decision to apply. I should reveal that I am a child of a tropical climate who had never seen snow. So, when I landed in Chicago for Admit Weekend in February 2013 and was greeted by snow, I was both terrified and excited. What amazed me was the fact that the snow had only made Chicago’s sprawling skyline and magnificent architecture look even more beautiful. After reaching my hotel, I made my way to the Gleacher Center, where international student ambassadors were waiting to welcome the international admitted students. It was amazing to see the variety of nationalities present at that event, and I met many of my current friends there for the first time.

Admit Weekend is designed to give newly admitted students a glimpse into what life as a full-time student will be like. One of the most exciting sessions at my Admit Weekend was a chance to sit on an entrepreneurial sales class with Professor Craig Wortmann, who is founder and CEO of Sales Engine and has been a professional sales person for 20 years. We also learned more about Booth’s Leadership and Effective Development (LEAD) course through some fun team-building activities with our future classmates. We capped the day off with an introduction to the Booth tradition of the Liquidity Preference Function (LPF), which is a bi-weekly happy hour in the Harper Center Winter Garden sponsored by the Graduate Business Council (GBC). During the rest of the weekend, we met representatives from every Booth student group – including the Soccer Club, which I immediately got involved with when I started school – and learned about the wide array of Random Walk locations we could choose from. Admit Weekend ended with a celebration at the majestic Art Institute of Chicago, located in downtown Chicago.

Enjoying beautiful scenery of Fiji during my Booth Random Walk

Overall, Admit Weekend was a sneak peek into what Booth has to offer, both academically and socially. At the end of the event, I could see that many of my fellow Admit Weekend attendees were convinced that Booth was where they were going to spend their next two years. I had also made up my mind, and could not have been more excited to start at Booth in the fall.

Overall, my experience at Booth so far has exceeded all of my expectations. I have made amazing friends from all over the world and have learned so many new things in a short span of time.

Dancing at this year’s South Asia Business Group (SABG) Diwali-themed cruise on Lake Michigan.

I highly recommend attending Admit Weekend for two main reasons: first, it will help you decide for yourself “Why are you here, and not somewhere else”, and second, if you are already sold on Booth, you will get a first-hand experience of a compressed two year b-school experience in 3 days, which is valuable in helping you start to think about how to get the most out of the MBA experience. So, buckle up and get ready for Admit Weekend 2014 – you have to be here to experience it for yourself!

My ‘Why Booth’ Story: Perception and Reality

Chad Strader is a first year MBA student from Augusta, GA. He graduated from Georgia Southern University where he was a member of the men’s soccer team. Prior to Booth, Chad worked at Entrepreneurial Capital Partners – a private equity firm based in Atlanta, GA – and PepsiCo. He is a member of the Booth African American MBA Association (AAMBAA), Booth Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (BETA), Booth Soccer Club, and Private Equity Group. Chad’s hobbies include playing Scrabble, rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, and cooking.
 
As Chad was thinking through important questions about which MBA program he should attend, he took the time to come to Chicago for Admit Weekend. It was a transformative experience for Chad, and one that made Booth his top choice. In this post, Chad talks about what he learned about Booth during Admit Weekend and his first quarter at school, and why Booth was the right fit for him.
–Matt

Congratulations to the Round 1 applicants who were recently admitted! As I reflect back on the day that I received the glorious call from Chicago Booth Admissions, I remember the questions swirling through my mind. Is Chicago Booth right for me? Growing up in Georgia, can I manage the cold? Will the alumni be helpful? How will life be without a paycheck? After attending Admit Weekend and completing my first quarter, I would like to answer a few of those questions.

Is Chicago Booth right for me?
After reading countless blogs, attending admissions events, and participating in online chats, I thought that Booth would be a great opportunity for my career progression.
 
However, I saw Admit Weekend as an opportunity to confirm that Chicago Booth would be the right fit for me, through being there in person and meeting the rest of my future classmates, as well as members of the Booth community. From the moment I arrived at Admit Weekend, I was blown away by how smart, yet down to earth, the current students and other admits were. I had the chance to speak with professors and current students who provided their own perspectives on what made Booth unique. Most importantly, I found that some of the stereotypes I’d heard about Booth were completely wrong, and that for me Booth would be the perfect mix of stellar academics, career advancement, and socializing and building connections with current students and alumni.
 
Will I enjoy student life?
Booth Random Walk South Africa

 

This summer, I went on a Random Walk where, along with 15 Boothies (11 other first years and 4 second year trek leaders), I visited the beautiful country of South Africa. We spent nine days in Johannesburg and Cape Town doing various activities ranging from shark cage diving (which I will never do again!) and a safari to wine tasting. The Random Walk trips take place before arriving at Booth for Orientation, and it was a great bonding experience, allowing us to really start forming relationships with classmates. 
 
Booth Soccer Team
The Booth administration creates an environment that cultivates relationships with other classmates, second years and alumni. Another venue to meet students is through clubs; Booth offers over 70 professional, special interest, sports or diversity/cultural awareness groups. As mentioned above, I’m a member of the Chicago Booth Soccer Club. Recently, 32 members of the school represented Booth to compete in a MBA soccer tournament in Los Angeles. Booth emerged second, the best finish in history by the Booth soccer club, narrowly losing out in the finals on penalty kicks. It was a great opportunity to get to know a great group of my Booth classmates and build strong bonds as we practiced and competed together.
 
Lastly, we’re in Chicago! Chicago is a great city with countless activities from hanging out on the beach to seeing a Chicago Cubs game (the owner, Tom Ricketts, is a UChicago graduate). And if you come out to visit campus in the next few months, you’ll see that the winter’s not so bad here!
 
How strong is the community at Booth?
In searching for the perfect business school, I wanted to feel connected to my current classmates as well as the alumni community.
 
While it’s true that most current students live downtown in the Loop or South Loop, and not in Hyde Park where the Harper Center is located, we have great communities in all the locations that students chose to live, work and play. The majority of Booth students live within a two mile radius (including a handful of buildings in the Loop lovingly dubbed “the Dorms”) which provides a close-knit community. I have had several study groups, social events and intellectually-challenging conversations in the lobby or elevators of these buildings. And when it comes time to go to campus, Booth students take over the 15-minute Metra train ride down to Hyde Park (lovingly dubbed “the school bus”).
Chad and his classmates at Booth’s Leadership Orientation Retreat (LOR)
At Chicago Booth, I have found that the alumni have been instrumental in maximizing my experience thus far. From the time I was accepted, I met with alumni who were passionate about my career and how to best help me succeed. Over the summer, I reached out to over 40 alumni to hear more about their experience at Booth and how to approach internship recruiting. I was overwhelmed at how thoughtful the responses were. From phone calls to morning coffee, each alumnus made an effort to help me grow personally and professionally.
 
The transformative experience at Admit Weekend solidified my choice to attend Chicago Booth. Not only did I meet my roommate at Admit Weekend, but I also started cultivating relationships with fellow classmates. The housing search was another great opportunity to explore Chicago, an amazing city I now call home. My classmates, professors, and the Chicago Booth culture are second to none and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. This blog post is only a preview of what to expect at your time at Booth. The only thing that I can promise you is that you will enjoy it, and I encourage all of our newly admitted students to attend Admit Weekend and get a taste of what you’re in for over the next two years.
 

My First Booth Case Challenge – Kilts Quantitative Marketing Case Competition

First-year MBA YaoYao Wang recently competed in a quantitative marketing case challenge sponsored by Booth’s Kilts Center for Marketing and Kraft Foods.  It was a unique opportunity for YaoYao and her team to test out the marketing skills developed during their first quarter at Booth, and to engage with Booth alums at Kraft, who were very involved in making the competition a great experience for the participants. The case competition shows a number of Booth’s strengths – our analytical and data-driven approach to business problems, the deep and active alumni network represented in a variety of industries and functions, and the Kilts Center – which make Booth an incredible choice for anyone looking get into a career in marketing.

Booth is off for Winter Break for now.  Enjoy the holidays, and stay tuned to The Booth Experience to learn more about what students do during break, including Ski Trip, career treks, and planning for Round 1 Admit Weekend!
–Matt

As a first-year taking Marketing Strategy and recruiting for marketing internship roles, I was naturally drawn to Booth’s inaugural Kilts Quantitative Case Competition, sponsored by Kraft Foods. Since the Kilts Center for Marketing focuses on advancing marketing at Chicago Booth, this was a perfect fit. I appreciated how involved Kraft Foods got with the case competition; not only did they send three executives, including Deanie Elsner (’92), Chief Marketing Officer; Greg Guidotti, Senior Director of Marketing, Ready-to-Drink Beverages; and Triona Schmelter, Vice President of Marketing for Meals, to be judges, they also developed the case from a recent and very real business issue the company was facing with one of its major brands, Planters. Two Booth alumni and Kraft Senior Associate Brand Managers, Johnni Rodgers (’12) and Ketan Vaghani (’09), developed the case over the course of eight months using Nielsen data.


My team of five first-years was an unlikely assortment of Boothies hailing from several different backgrounds, including a former economic consultant, Peace Corps volunteer, researcher, engineer, and start-up enthusiast. We joined together to form Team A1. We were fortunate to be picked for the case competition, as only half of the 20 teams that applied were selected to participate. We attributed this initial success to our fun-filled PowerPoint presentation that highlighted our differences and complementarities as well as our fit with Kraft.

At the start of the competition, all 10 teams gathered at Harper to get more information about the case from the original case “Krafters” themselves, Johnni and Ketan. We were introduced to Kraft’s history and more importantly, that of Planters and Mr. Peanut. My team and I went home from the kick-off full of ideas and energy. Our first strategy? Stop by our local drugstore to browse the aisles, check out Planters’ direct and indirect competitors, and of course, pick up some Planters to snack on for the group brainstorm session.

The next few days passed by in a blur. In between classes, corporate events, study groups, and other case competitions (two of our members were involved in a Booth Business Solutions Group case project as well), we somehow found time to meet, discuss our findings and come up with a solution. By the time we presented our recommendations to the Kraft and Chicago Booth faculty judges three days later, we had learned much in that short time about marketing, Nielsen data, managerial decision-making, and strategy. Everybody in my team was invigorated by the fact that we had an opportunity to take a sneak peek into a real challenge that a huge Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company faces. We had been told countless times by recruiters, alumni and second-years that companies look for future employees who can deal with ambiguity, and we finally had a chance to practice. This wasn’t an in-class case where a professor would guide us in discussion to a particular solution, and it wasn’t a homework problem set where we would get the answers. We had to use limited data, analyze it, and come up with suggestions for future steps. That’s as real as it gets as an MBA student practicing critical business skills, and exactly the kind of problem solving that our Booth classes train us for.

Though my team did not win the competition, we felt that we gained a great deal through the experience.  We were reminded once again of why we chose to apply to and attend Chicago Booth and why it is the right place for us. We were able to combine our quantitative and qualitative analytical skills and apply them to a real-world business. We were able to present our ideas to the real decision-makers at Kraft. We listened to Deanie Elsner’s words of wisdom, and were gratified to learn that she was impressed by everybody’s findings and mentioned that with the increasing importance of big data, it was a great time to be Chicago Booth students on the forefront of research designed to grapple with these kinds of high-level analytical problems. The Kilts Case Competition was simply unreal in terms of the level of learning, application of our classroom marketing knowledge to actual business problems, and teamwork and camaraderie we got to experience with our new classmates over the course of a few days.