Each year prior to Orientation, small groups of incoming first year Booth MBA students, led by seasoned second year MBAs, spend a week traveling on “Random Walk” trips to exotic locations and getting to know one another. Chicago Booth Class of 2015 MBA student Caroline Lu produced this video of her Random Walk to Chile. In addition to Chile, other Random Walk groups this year went to Fiji, Russia, UAE, Alaska, and about 20 other locations around the globe.
Hongtae Kim worked in investment banking in Hong Kong prior to coming to Booth. He was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and decided to return mainly because he loved the academic atmosphere of the University of Chicago and Booth, and enjoyed the city and the Chicago Bulls. He is concentrating in Marketing, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship at Booth, and will be working at AccuRadio, an internet-radio startup based in Chicago, over the summer.
His story shows that in order to land your ideal internship, it sometimes requires patience, motivation, and a little luck—coupled with leveraging the huge, diverse, and generous Booth alumni network. While Booth alumni are well-represented in finance, consulting, and corporate fields, the independent and entrepreneurial nature of our students and alumni means that you can find us in unexpected places.
Coming to Booth, one of the most common pieces of advice I got was to fully utilize the Booth alumni network. As an international student, I was a bit skeptical of how much I would be able to leverage the alumni network and didn’t know how I was supposed to do it. On top of that, I was looking into a music-related career path which isn’t a “traditional” post-MBA field.
While it sounds like a cliché, the Booth alumni network is everywhere and willing to help you out, and you could encounter alums in some random places. For instance, I met Kurt Hanson, Class of 1980, in San Francisco at the SF Music Tech Summit which is a conference for music tech startups. I had decided to fly to SF to make connections and learn about what’s going on in the industry, but I wasn’t expecting to meet any MBAs, let alone Booth alums. Naturally, when I bumped into Kurt (by accident) at the cocktail networking session, we were both pleasantly surprised to meet someone from Booth at the event. Kurt was invited as a panelist as a veteran in the radio industry and the Founder / CEO of AccuRadio, an internet-radio start-up based in Chicago. We casually talked about Booth, our backgrounds and the conference, and the following week, Kurt invited me to visit his office in Chicago. We continued our discussion on the music tech industry over dinner.
After a couple of meetings, I asked if I could work for his company over the summer as an intern, and he was excited to have me on board. Like most start-up recruiting, there was no formal vetting or interview process. He talked about his company and his views of the industry and I expressed my strong interest in the business. I also identified a couple of areas in which I could help the company as an MBA intern. I will be working in a broad range of projects including revamping the company’s search engine marketing efforts, supporting fund raising efforts, and identifying international business opportunities. While the projects are varied, I am certain that the range of my summer experience will help my transition from banking into technology. I am very excited about the opportunity, as the company sits in the exact field I was pursuing, and I will have the autonomy to define my own projects and apply my classroom studies to my summer internship.
When it comes to networking, especially if you have a narrow target list, I think the most important thing is to be aggressive and seek out different venues, rather than relying solely on the on-campus recruiting process. My decision to fly out to San Francisco to attend a conference that fit my interest was what made the difference for me. I ended up meeting a potential mentor in the music tech industry and a Booth alum who was happy to help me out. Especially as a career switcher, having first-hand interaction with an insider helps you express your interest and make a case for yourself.
I am looking forward to my summer in Chicago, especially after going through four winters in Chicago! More importantly, I am excited to get great experiences and networking during my summer that will help me achieve my career goal of carving a niche position in the evolving music tech industry.
Admit Weekend is a great opportunity for admitted students to experience life as a Chicago Booth MBA. Admits learn about the Booth curriculum, tour Chicago neighborhoods, and have plenty of time to get to know prospective and current Booth MBAs. The “A-Team” is a group of volunteers who are members of the Booth Dean’s Students Admissions Committee (DSAC), and who are responsible for planning all of the weekend’s activities. Here, several A-Team members offer their perspectives on Admit Weekend.
Tiffany Lee, International Captain
I ultimately chose not to take the 15-hour flight from Hong Kong to attend Admit Weekend here at Booth, and boy, did I regret it. Many of my fellow first years still often fondly refer to the “you-had-to-be-there-moments” of their own Admit Weekends. So, I chose to do the next best thing when I became a Booth student—help plan Admit Weekend and convince international admits to not make the same mistake I did. What I like about being International Co-Captain is that not only do I get to interact with potential new classmates from all over the world, but also, I am able to use my past experiences to help make the selection and transition process easier for students that are moving to the US for the first time. For example, my co-captain and I created a moving guide that is tailored for international students to answer any questions they may have, such as where to buy winter clothes and which country captains they can reach out to. We hope to see many international students at Admit Weekend and in the coming school year!
Marina Lidow and Amanda Litzenberger, Partners Captains
Working on the A-Team and planning Admit Weekend has been a great experience! Both of us attended Admit Weekend last year with our partners and were inspired by how the weekend was not only a great opportunity for us to interact with and learn about Booth, but also a wonderful way to show our partners what the next two years would really be all about. As Partner Co-Captains we help plan and execute the partner-specific programming for Admit Weekend. Through events such as panel discussions and conversations about neighborhoods, we illustrate the Booth partner experience, clarify what to expect, and answer questions about Chicago. It has been a great experience making new friends with each other and the rest of the A-Team, and also getting to know the members of the incredible partner community at Booth!
Emily Stetler, Music and Stage Captain
I had such an amazing experience when I attended Admit Weekend last year that I knew I wanted to be a part of it this year. As Music & Stage Captain, I am responsible for planning all of the music that you will hear throughout the weekend as well as the slideshows showcasing life at Booth. Given my love for music, this role enabled me to embrace my inner DJ in an effort to help create a fun, high-energy weekend that you won’t forget. Being on the A-Team has been a great opportunity to work alongside my classmates and meet the incoming class, who we are excited to have join us next year!
On behalf of the A-Team and Booth Admissions, we look forward to meeting you all this weekend!