Packing for my internship in California, I faced mixed emotions. On the one hand, I secured my dream internship and looked forward to exposing myself to the world’s hub of innovation: Silicon Valley. On the other hand, I was worried about departing from Chicago, a place I call home. “Will the Booth community and brand be as strong elsewhere?” – I asked myself. I have learned many new things during this fantastic summer, and here are some of my revelations about Booth.
It’s intimidating to walk into a new career (even an internship) with zero work experience in the field. But that’s exactly the situation that I, like many of my peers, are finding ourselves in at this moment.
Like many Boothies, I’m a career transitioner (military to consulting, in my case). Though I was comfortable leading 150 combat soldiers, I was quite nervous thinking about how I should interact with a client. Also, like many of my peers, I like experiential learning in addition to classrooms and coffee chats – feeling like I need to touch & feel a process before I really understand it.
Fortunately, Booth built a course that’s exactly what I needed: Strategy Lab, which is a hands-on class that pairs small teams of students with real clients, solving real problems, mentored by real consultants.
Coming from a non-traditional background of majoring in biomedical engineering and working as a software developer, I have to admit that I was nervous about coming to business school. Not only did I have a lot to learn in the classroom (since I had only taken one business course during my entire undergraduate experience), but I also had a lot to learn outside the classroom when it came to management and leadership styles. The flexible curriculum at Booth really helped me brush up on my business skills for the former, but Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD) was what really helped me excel at the latter.
One of the aspects of Booth that I absolutely love is the fun rivalry we have with that other MBA program to the North, Kellogg. It was something I did not expect coming into Booth at all (I assumed rivalries ended with college football!) but also something that I find myself getting super excited and competitive about every time. Almost twice a quarter there is some Booth v. Kellogg event, from case competitions to conferences, to soccer, rugby, and flag football, all the way to my personal favorite, BATTLE OF THE BANDS!
Every spring, our AudioBooth club organizes an epic battle between the incredibly talented musicians of both MBA programs. I love the event because the music and energy is incredible, but also because I get to see my student peers show how talented they are beyond the classroom. This year was unbelievable- the bands left it all out on the stage and I was blown away by the talent of the musicians.
We’re down to our final week of life at Booth, which means days are spent hastily trying to sell old furniture, cobble together final papers, and say yes to every event invitation that comes our way. While two years is really the perfect amount of time to be in business school, it doesn’t take away from the sadness we collectively feel about having to leave this community and most importantly this lifestyle.
I probably speak for most of my class in saying that it’s been a transformational period of time. We learned a great deal, engaged in new experiences, and made memories that’ll last a lifetime. But aside from all the facets of school you’ve read about all year, let’s talk about the social aspect at Booth, and what makes it so much fun to be a part of when classes and recruiting take a back seat on occasion (or potentially more often than that).