Taking on the New Venture Challenge

Hi everyone,

Happy Friday! Here at Booth we have just completed Finals week (woohoo!) and are getting ready to head off on our Spring Break vacation destinations all over the world. It’s almost a shame to be leaving the 70+ degree and gorgeously sunny days we’ve been having in Chicago over the last week!

In addition to a new blog entry today, we’d are very excited to bring you another Day in the Life – a continuing video series through which Booth’s students share with you what the Booth experience is really like. Today, we join Albert for a day as he starts his day with a healthy breakfast, goes to meetings and class at Harper Center, then Kuma’s Corner (great burger place) for dinner before finishing the night with a model (an excel model). Check it out here and let us know what you think!

In today’s blog, we check back in with our aspiring entrepreneur, Dana, as she gets ready for Booth’s New Venture Challenge that will take place this spring!



Although the spring quarter hasn’t even started, I know it will be one of the most exciting and busy of my time at Booth. Why? I will be participating in the New Venture Challenge (NVC), one of the country’s best-known MBA business creation competitions. NVC is hosted by the Polsky Center and previous winners have included high-profile start-ups such as Bump and GrubHub. This year has been one for the records: the Polsky Center received 119 applications, 52 of which are advancing to Round 2. Although the final round of the competition is not until May, my team has plenty to do and thankfully, the Polsky Center has incredible resources and contacts for us as we work on our business plan. I will be working on Omakase, an online platform that will bring “underground” dining and supper clubs to a broader base of eager diners.

Both Professor Rudnick and Professor Kaplan teach a course, Special Topics in Entrepreneurship: Developing a Business Plan, for those of us who have progressed to Round 2 of NVC. The course not only allows teams to dedicate additional time to business plans, but allows us to practice our presentation skills and receive feedback from our professors and judges. The lecture portions of the course cover legal issues, sales and marketing, and how to develop a financial plan. My team will be one of the first to present; the Monday we get back from spring break, Team Omakase will deliver our first 15 minute pitch and business overview. In addition to the time spent in class, teams also have appointments scheduled with entrepreneurship professors for additional guidance and leads. Although each member of Team Omakase has an extensive network, I am both very impressed by and gracious for the network that Professor Rudnick has provided us, generating further leads in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

After our final business plans are due in late April, the last few weeks in May leading up to the finals are dedicated to our second presentations. Based on the quality of the presentations and the final business plans, a handful of teams are then selected to present in the finals, where the top teams (as determined by a panel of judges) will win cash prizes.

Personally, I feel as though I have a tremendous deal to learn from the NVC process. I have never had to pitch to investors and have never been part of a team to develop a business plan. Although I have sold tangible goods in the past, it is so much different to sell target consumers on an idea and service in its infancy. And no matter how much sales experience I’ve had, it’s always difficult to hear “no” from a potential client or customer. As an entrepreneur, I believe that selling skills are critical to have and I know that by participating in NVC, I can improve a great deal.

The NVC process has already taught me a great deal about some of the nuances in building a business and the decisions that are required. What are the implications for incorporating as an LLC or C-corp? How much equity is appropriate for each team member to have? How do we go about finding a lawyer who has sufficient experience with start-ups? These may seem like relatively mundane details, but the NVC process thus far has taught me not to overlook these important steps.

If you’d like to see how NVC unfolds over the next few weeks, you can follow the Polsky Center (@polskycenter) on Twitter and search for the official #ChicagoNVC hashtag.

Looking forward to spring (break)

Hi everyone!

Wow, it’s really starting to feel like spring here in Chicago! We have been enjoying some days of 60 degree weather, with another week of it to come as we enter into Final Exam week next week. As we look forward to our Spring Break after finals, this week, Chloe Williams blogs about her plans as well as what other students are planning to do over our one week break.

Also this week, make sure to check out the next installment in our Day in the Life video series! Come along with Ingrid, a 2nd year student from Iowa, as she works out, goes to class, partakes in Chicago Restaurant Week and ends her day with a good book (and a class assignment). Let us know what you think and what you’d like to see in the future!


Spring Break

I never thought I would be excited for Spring Break after college was over, after all, it doesn’t exist in the real world. The build-up to Spring Break in business school has been amazing. I’ve been working hard since school started so I really wanted to seize the opportunity and do something amazing. So naturally…MEXICO it is. I never did the Mexico Spring Break in college, the closest I got was Puerto Rico my senior year so I jumped on the opportunity for an all-inclusive trip this time around.

Sometime in December two students sent an interest email about a Spring Break trip to Cabo San Lucas. I was in interview prep mode and knew I wouldn’t want to organize my own trip. This was perfect! I signed up for the 7-day voyage and that was that…it was easy. There are around 100 students going on the trip with more literally being added every day. I am excited as are a lot of my classmates. We have theme nights planned, group dinners, “sport” tournaments, as well as swimming and relaxing on the beach. We definitely have amazingly creative planners in our class!

Cabo is not the only option. There are also other group-run trips for Spring Break including the Greater China Club’s China Trek, the Chicago Global Citizens trip to Vietnam, as well as students going all over the country and the world. No matter where Booth students are venturing off to this Spring Break, I know we’ll all come back with great pictures, stories, and will have appreciated the time off!

Booth “After Hours”

Hi all!

Hope you’ve had a great week! This week at TBE, we bring you the third installment in our Day in the Life video series. Today we follow around Alicia, a second-year student from Lake Tahoe, California, as she embraces a day filled with a morning workout, classes, meetings, and a Valentine’s night Chicago Bulls game with her husband. Check out Alicia’s Day in the Life here!

This week, as I was reflecting on what we could blog about, I went back over our last few entries. I realized we were showing you a lot about the serious (and important!) side of Booth – recruiting, academics, etc. Here at Booth, we fully embrace working hard…but we like to have a good time too! So I want to take you on a tour of “After Hours” Booth by sharing what I did with friends last week. Come along, and hopefully you’ll get a sense of how we balance work with fun here at Booth!


6pm – Happy Hour at the Purple Pig (River North)
The weekend starts with drinks and tapas-style snacks at one of my favorite Chicago establishments, the Purple Pig. Tonight, the occasion is a group reunion. Abby, Eileen, Lindsay and I worked together in Data-Driven Marketing (my favorite class at Booth) last year, and became good friends through the experience. Our schedules are very different this year, but I love the opportunity to catch up with the girls and talk about the classes we are planning to bid on for our final quarter. We even make plans to form a team for Entrepreneurial Selling with Professor Wortmann if we all get into the class!

8pm – Rockefeller Leadership Challenge Reunion (South Loop)
I head home by 8pm to get my apartment ready for guests. Tonight, I’m hosting my Leadership Challenge Team’s get together. Our team of 10 competed together for the Rockefeller cohort in the fall of our 1st year during the Leadership Challenge competition, and we’ve made an effort to stay in touch ever since. Every quarter, one of us hosts a get together to catch up. It’s a great group because we do so many different things at school that we rarely see one another – it’s really nice seeing them and using them to bounce off different ideas and reflect on the Booth experience.

11pm –LaSalle Power Company (River North)

Every Thursday night, hundreds of Booth students gather at a bar in downtown Chicago to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and generally unwind! This week we were at LaSalle Power Company, a bar in the busy River North neighborhood.


5pm – LPF (Liquidity Preference Function) at Houlihan’s (River North)
Most Friday afternoons, Booth hosts LPF, an event normally held at Harper Center. It’s open to the entire Booth community – a chance for students, partners, faculty, and administratorsto mingle over beverages and steaming appetizers. From time to time, LPF is hosted “off-campus” – as it was this week. LPFs also usually have a theme – this week’s was a Mentor-Mentee LPF. I went to meet up with my mentee, year Liz, a first year from Miami, to see how her quarter’s been so far.

8pm – Potluck Dinner at Dan’s (Gold Coast)
Tonight, my friend Dan, who I met on my Random Walk trip to Nicaragua, is hosting a potluck at his apartment in the Gold Coast. Dan is busy working on his company for the New Venture Challenge, and tonight I meet the rest of his team for the first time. We get to know each other over Dan’s slow-cooked brisket, Jamie’s mac n’ cheese, my Thai fried rice, and much more.

11pm – House Party (Gold Coast)

Booth students live all over the city in a variety of housing options. Tonight, four students who live in the Gold Coast are throwing a party at their big spacious house, and have invited a couple hundred of their closest friends! Great chance to catch up with people and kick off the weekend together.


7pm – Dinner at Chizakaya (Lincoln Park)

A few friends and I decide we are in the mood for Japanese, so we headed over to Chizakaya in Lincoln Park for some Japanese pub food. You should definitely try the Wagayu cheek skewers and chicken skin skewers (for the more adventurous).

11pm – Barrelhouse Flat (Lincoln Park)
After dinner, we hop down the street to check out Barrelhouse Flat, a bar offering late night food and specialty cocktails. We spend the evening people watching and mixing in with the Lincoln Park crowd.


7pm – Dinner at Flaco’s Tacos (South Loop)
One of my best friends from before school, Meghan, comes down from Kellogg, where she is a second year. We grab dinner at Flaco’s Tacos right around the corner from where I live and catch up over tacos and burritos.

9pm – Eli Young Band concert at Joe’s (Gold Coast)
Afterwards, it’s off to see a country concert with Meghan (who is a big country fan!). Joe’s on Weed is a great venue that Booth has used in the past for off-campus get-togethers. It also doubles as an intimate concert venue. The band was lively and the people-watching of the crowd was quite entertaining. We had a great time!


6pm – Dinner at Avec (West Loop)

Tonight I catch up with a Booth friend from one of my old class groups at Avec, one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. They don’t take reservations, but luckily we can get there early enough to snag a couple of seats at the bar and enjoy their inventive gastropub fare (something I will truly miss about Chicago!).


7:30pm – Cardio Dance class with CWiB (West Loop)

CWiB stands for Chicago Women in Business – it’s a club that brings together Booth’s women and through which I’ve met many of my good friends. CWiB hosts social events regularly, and tonight, a dozen ladies meet at the Lou Conte dance studio in the West Loop for a cardio dance class that gets our hearts pumping as we learn a dance routine.


7pm – Ski Trip Reunion (Gold Coast)
The 5 of us who roomed together on the Aspen ski trip had been trying to get together for weeks to catch up and reminisce about that great week. Tonight, we meet up at Dana’s studio apartment in the Gold Coast, order take-out, and watch Aspen Extreme (a brilliant movie from the early 90’s that will make you want to quit your job and move to Aspen to become a ski instructor too!) to kick up some Aspen nostalgia.

So as you can see, we stay pretty busy both on campus and off!
What are you looking forward to doing in Chicago and at Booth “After Hours”? We’d love to hear your comments and ideas below.

Recruiting from an International Perspective

Hi everyone!

This week at TBE we are proud to bring you the 2nd installment in our “Day in the Life” video series. This week, we follow Cosme Salazar, a 2nd year student from Houston, TX who moved to Chicago with his wife and three children. Come join Cosme for a bike ride down Lakeshore Drive, a day at Harper Center, and an evening hanging out with fellow LEAD facils!

In today’s blog, we check back in with Nupur to get her reflections on recruiting, and in particular recruiting as an international student, especially now that she has landed her dream summer internship in Singapore!

Thanks for reading!


Hi Everyone,

Now that on–campus recruiting season has started to slow down, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the recruiting process as I experienced it, particularly with regard to international recruiting as that’s the path that I’ve pursued. I am happy to report that I’ll be headed back to Singapore to work at one of my top choice consulting firms. I thought it might be helpful to break down the process of landing a position abroad in the different phases that I experienced while at Booth: the pre-school season, fall quarter networking, interview season and (everyone’s favorite part) the offer process. =)

The pre- school season:

Living in Singapore, I was invited to pre-MBA networking events by firms in Singapore as soon as I registered my interest in consulting with Booth. The larger consulting firms who have offices globally are well networked in their recruiting efforts and make a concerted effort to reach out to future MBAs from a few key global business schools. This was my first engagement with my future employers, and was integral as it allowed me to meet the individuals that I subsequently reached out to once I arrived in Chicago. One of them even gave me a profile of my interviewers before I had my actual second round interviews.

Fall Quarter Networking:

During the fall quarter, international recruiting comprised of three parallel efforts. First, the mega consulting firms with scale and global presence typically brought representatives from various international offices to Chicago. It was really great to see so many firms make the special effort to send staff all the way out to Booth to get to know us better! In fact, all of the major firms I was interested in hosted Southeast Asia networking nights/dinners where I was able to meet more partners, principals and consultants to learn more about the firm’s global presence. For the smaller firms, I typically reached out to the Southeast Asia recruiters through their Chicago counterparts. Finally, During December break, the Asia Pacific student group organized a trek for students to meet recruiters in Singapore. While I did not go on the trek myself, a few of my classmates did and they found the interactions extremely useful.

Interview Season:

The application process for all consulting firms is the same and you specify your office choices on the application form. After that, the shortlisting of candidates for closed lists (by the office you applied for and the Booth recruiting teams) begins. International location recruiting for me and all my other classmates happened off-campus. Some of us had first rounds in Chicago at the firm offices, by partners and principals from the region/office we had applied to who had flown down for the recruitment process, while others had their first and second round interviews in Boston, New York, Mexico City etc depending on the office you applied to. I had my first round interviews in Boston, New York and Chicago. Almost all the firms gave their decision on the same day within a couple of hours and then second round interviews were held the same afternoon or next day. The second round decisions with offers were also made within the day.

Offer Process:

As soon as the firm makes you a verbal offer, expect congratulatory notes by the Booth recruiting teams and other people from the office you have applied to, especially alumni who want to both congratulate you and show you how you can make the most of the internship experience. I was floored by the number of people who were willing to help me and speak to me about their summer experiences at their firms. Sell weekends are an opportunity to get to know the firm better where representatives from the firm at various levels candidly share their experiences and the value that the firm has brought to their careers. They are usually at the office where you have been made an offer and it is the time you get to meet all the other candidates who will become part of your summer class. In my case the offeree weekend was held in San Francisco and was combined with the offerees from China and Australia.

I know that my friends who applied to offices in Latin America and Europe had similar experiences. In fact for quite a few of them, representatives from their office proactively reached out to them and helped with case prep sessions. The career services team also proactively seeks international internship opportunities and blogs about them. I know I kept a close watch for all Asian postings.

Now that I’ve accepted the offer, I’m very excited about the summer that lies ahead and am looking at making the most of what is left of my winter quarter at Booth. Post-recruiting season was kicked off with Winter Formal which was a masquerade ball this year and an absolute blast! I’m now looking forward to spring break and traveling with my classmates.

An International Perspective

Hi everyone!

I hope you’ve had a great week! This week at TBE, we are doing one more double-header of WIWG – first asking students to reflect on what they would change about their Booth experience, and second, in honor of restaurant week, asking them what their favorite restaurants are in Chicago. You can check out these videos and more on our YouTube channel.

In this week’s blog, we wanted to take the time to get an international student’s perspective on the Booth experience. Over one third of the Booth class hails from outside the US, and we receive questions all the time about this subject. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Jaime. Jaime is a first year student from Spain who is pursuing concentrations in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. Prior to Booth he has lived in France, New York, and Hong Kong. Jaime is also the founder of Club-MBA.com, a very popular MBA website in Spanish, and the author of the blog,“Mi MBA en Chicago Booth”, in which he writes about his experience at Booth.

Jaime will share with us his first months of MBA and how his transition to Booth as an international student has passed so far. Keep reading to learn more!



Hola a todos! Hi everyone!

I just finished my recruiting season and I would love to share some insights of my first months here at Booth!

First and foremost, why I decided to attend Booth?

Curriculum flexibility (I love it!), career opportunities, strength in entrepreneurship, rigor, momentum, and most importantly, because of the people I met when I was deciding among several acceptances, some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met but at the same time humble and super friendly. In addition, what I really like about Booth is that we enjoy both studying in a traditional American top university, and also living in one of the most amazing cities in the US, Chicago.

Moving to Chicago

Many international students ask me about the transition to Chicago.

Moving to Chicago was a really smooth process. I came with my wife (also a Booth MBA student) and we found our apartment through a housing agency that works with the University. They were very efficient and we signed for the apartment online (they sent us many apartment options with many pictures, and we decided). When we arrived to Chicago everything was organized and the apartment was ready for us: a 40th floor apartment with views of the lake and Millennium Park, and almost all my classmates within a 5 minute walk in similar apartments.

I didn’t have any problem adapting to the life at Booth. The school really helps you in the transition and I got used to the school life very fast. In addition, my classmates are very supportive and almost 40% of students in the class are international so there is strong diversity here.

By the way, if you plan to come to Chicago with your spouse, you should definitely check out Booth Partners, a very active and popular club. Also, there are many events organized at the school where partners can come. Finally, the city of Chicago offers a great deal of opportunities for partners. For example, there are many other universities where many partners study other programs during our MBA, which can be very helpful for international students.

What about Academics?

As you probably know by now, at Booth you can choose which courses you take and with what professors. There is a website with information about how the course is taught (case method or traditional way, how it’s graded, how many assignments are required, and you can access course and professors evaluations) so you have plenty of info to help you choose. During my first quarter, I took Microeconomics, Financial Accounting (both part of the required foundations), and Marketing Strategy, my first case method course ever. I enjoyed the three courses a lot and I have learned a ton!

How was recruiting?

One of the things that have amazed me the most is how strong Career Services is here at Booth. They help you from day one to find your ideal job, with resources such as Career advisors (second years experts in specific functions), Industry Immersion (series of events where we have a risk-free way of learning about the differing roles in each industry), tons of events during the first quarter (seminars about how to build a strong resume, cover letters and things like that), ITP (Interview Training Program, we interview with second years who volunteer themselves as representatives of a specific company you want to interview with), Winterview (day-long series of events including mock interviews), specific clubs events that organize mock interviews, and many others.

Thanks to all the resources available to us, I was well prepared for my interview session and I have been lucky enough to get an offer from McKinsey & Company in Madrid for my summer internship!

Ok… and what about the terrific Chicago Winter?

Well, as I’m writing this, winter has not been anything hard compared to what I expected. In fact, I only remember a week or so with temperatures below 0º C (32º F), with only a few days very cold. Before coming here I was expecting something like 6 months of winter. Anyway, it seems that this winter is some kind unusual.

Thanks for reading and good luck to those who have applied on Round 2!

Official Student Blog for Chicago Booth. Here we talk about our experience and share stories about our time at Booth.