The Booth Environment (From an “Entrepreneurial perspective”)

Today we hear from Dana Fortini, a first year at Booth with a perspective on the Entrepreneurial track. Read on to learn more about Dana!


Hello Prospective Students!

My name is Dana Fortini and I am a first year student at Booth. I am a born and bred New Yorker, with the exception of a year or so that I have spent in Spain. My undergrad years were spent at NYU Stern, where I graduated with a degree in Finance and Marketing, a minor in Mathematics, and a concentration in Entertainment, Media, and Technology. (Yes, I still managed to have a life!) After graduation, it was off to Protiviti, where I was a financial risk consultant with a range of high-profile clients in the financial services industry. In my heart, I always knew that something more entrepreneurial was my calling. At the beginning of this year, a business development position for a client-services based start-up presented itself, and I quickly seized the opportunity. Then it was off to Spain, where I received a diploma in Spanish proficiency and made contacts for my future business. I came to Booth to acquire a skill set more conducive to entrepreneurial undertakings; my ultimate goal is to start a vinoteca (a wine retail space by day, wine bar by night) in the US that specializes in Iberian products. This summer, I would love to have an internship in the wine and spirits industry, either in operations or marketing/ business development.

I chose Booth due to its academic flexibility and strong reputation in entrepreneurship. Starting a business requires a breadth of skills and knowledge. By taking a spectrum of courses, rather than concentrating in one particular industry or area, I felt I could emerge a more well-rounded businessperson. The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship was also a huge deciding factor for me. After visiting for a day, they made me feel extremely welcome! The Polsky Center provides a tremendous amount of support for students pursuing entrepreneurship via lab coursework, assistance in finding internships, and the New Venture Challenge. The value of these resources and support systems cannot be overlooked which leads me to the topic of my first post…

The Booth Environment

If I had to pick a single factor that has highlighted my experience at Booth during my first month, it would be how supportive the faculty, my classmates, leaders within student organizations, and Career Services are of my goals.
Before coming to Booth, I certainly raised a few eyebrows with my declaration that I wanted to start my own business, a business with high overhead costs at that. Reponses ran the gamut from “I don’t know if that’s such a good idea” to “Dana, are you crazy? With this economy, you expect people to buy from you?”

It’s not necessarily tangible, but to be immersed in the positive energy and supportive environment within the Booth community have been incredibly motivating. As I’ve been meeting fellow students, I’ve received so many enthusiastic responses and offers of support; some students have even offered to assist me with the New Venture Challenge (NVC), an annual competition through the Polsky Center that allows students to present their business plans, receive feedback from judges and seasoned entrepreneurs, and potentially receive funding to make the plan a reality. Preparing for the NVC has been complementary to my coursework at Booth in that both reinforce and help me better understand all of the requirements of starting and running a business.

I am also extremely appreciative of Career Advisors, the second-year students who have taken time to help get my resume and my elevator pitch in perfect condition. It’s no easy task to refine these two critical elements of the internship search, but I have received a great deal of guidance over the past month. In addition to the formal resume reviews provided by Career Advisors, I have found that many second-years in the student organizations at Booth will also review resumes for first-years. There are also second-year students, who after reviewing my resume, have put me in touch with contacts from their networks. As one second-year said to me: “If you ever need anything, ask.”

Professor Linda Darragh has also been instrumental in my early phase of the networking process at Booth. I first spoke with Professor Darragh at an information session for the Booth Food Business and Agriculture Industry Club. She helped me identify contacts and former mentees that have specialized in importing Spanish goods to the Chicago area. Not only are these contacts excellent resources and leads (and I plan to learn a tremendous deal from them!), but Professor Darragh has encouraged that I update her and keep her aware of my progress. Despite how busy professors are, they have a genuine interest in the career development of their students.

All of the mentorship and assistance I have received over the past month has further strengthened my determination to start my own business. I am surrounded by 1,000+ students and professors who believe in me and genuinely want me to succeed. The environment at Booth: of support, encouragement, and positivity, with students and professors who are ready and eager to help and better refine business ideas, confirms that I am in the right place.

As told by our 1st Year blogger….”Mocktails”

Hi everyone!

Now that our first year class has completed orientation and is getting settled in on campus, I will be introducing you to our new guest bloggers for the year. This week, meet Chloe Williams!

Hi Prospective Students!!

My name is Chloe Williams and I am a 1st year student here at Booth. I am originally from the Midwest – Wisconsin, but recently moved to Chicago from the Los Angeles area. I graduated from Boston University with a degree in Manufacturing Engineering and started with MillerCoors in Milwaukee, WI in a Rotational Management Development Program. After finishing the program I moved to the California Brewery and worked as a Packaging Team Leader. I came to Booth to pursue a career change into Management Consulting.

I chose Booth because of the people I met through campus visits, interviews, and Admit Weekend. I was impressed with how humble and approachable the students were and felt comfortable being myself. After spending a few days surrounded by current students and other admitted students during admit weekend, I knew I belonged here. I hope all of you have similar experiences when you come to visit! If you have any questions feel free to email me through the link on the blog!

This week, I’ll be blogging from Mocktails.

Booth dedicates a tremendous amount of resources to recruiting preparation. The first years in particular are given extensive training and coaching so we can put our best foot forward. The most useful training is by far interactive simulations. Tonight’s event was Mocktails, an event which helps first years adjust to networking at recruiting events. Second years act as recruiters (from the companies they interned at and in some cases are returning to), and first years practice networking with them, going through introductions and small talk. This seems intuitive, but it’s nice to be put in this situation in a risk-free environment to see what could or should actually happen.

I was in the group for consulting which has a fairly big base at Booth. We did two networking simulations and were given feedback at the completion of each of them. Some non-obvious learnings occurred quickly. For instance some people realized how to hold a drink, a plate, and still have a free hand, to shake if need be. Other people realized they should either do the drink or the plate (it really is hard to balance). Another key learning was how to successfully enter and exit a conversation. The most important take away for me was learning how to navigating “crop circles.” I know you’re probably thinking what in the world could patterns created by flattening crops have to do with Business School? A lot, if you want to get a job! A crop circle is the circle that forms around a recruiter or an employee of a company who is recruiting on campus. For most major recruiting events, it is inevitable that crop circles will form. It’s a little awkward and uncomfortable at first, but at least we were able to make mistakes in front of friends instead of in front of real recruiters.

I think everyone walked away feeling more confident about the process and realizing what they need to work on before recruiting events start. All in all, it was great to do a dry run with the people that I will be working besides for the next two years, and it gave us another experience to bond over!

The Official Kick-off to “The Booth Experience”

Hello out there!

Today is an exciting day for DSAC (Dean’s Student Admissions Committee). We are officially launching our integrated social media campaign for “The Booth Experience” – the first ever student-led admissions initiative aimed at sharing the energy, diversity, and authenticity of the Booth student experience with the online community.

You can tune into “The Booth Experience” in a few ways:

“The Booth Experience” is on Facebook. Come “like” us then check back often to keep up with the busy Booth student body!

On our Facebook page you will find:

A live feed from our YouTube channel with weekly videos we call “Wednesdays in the Winter Garden”. Each Wednesday, we will add a new video to our “Wednesdays in the Winter Garden” series (WIWG for short). The Winter Garden is the hub of student activity on campus, and each week we’ll go to the Winter Garden to catch up with Booth students – we’ll find out the latest on what’s happening in our community, and also ask questions that have been posed by prospective students.

We’ve already addressed questions like “What’s Impressed you about Booth?” and “How did you discover Booth?” For this week’s WIWG videos, we did something a little different. We took our camera to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where we spoke to first-year students about their experience during Orientation and at the Leadership Orientation Retreat (LOR). If you have a question that you’d like Booth students to answer in this video series, let us know! Submit your questions through this blog or our Facebook page.

Photo albums with pictures from the latest on-campus and off-campus events – check in to join a virtual LPF (Liquidity Preference Function) – Booth’s weekly Friday happy hour in the Winter Garden, or view pictures of Booth’s adventurous students trekking around the world together on “Random Walks”.

An interactive discussion forum where you can post questions for current students – come join the discussion or post your own questions which will be answered by a DSAC member

A live feed of this student blog – as if you could get enough of us! Or, you can continue to follow the Booth Experience blog right here. We will use this blog to post regularly about topics of interest to prospective students. The blog will include both the 1st year and 2nd year perspective on topics such as extracurriculars, academics, recruiting, and the unique art all over the Harper Center! If you have anything you’d like to learn about – please let us know by commenting or sending us an email.

We look forward to sharing our “Booth Experience” with all of you in the coming months. We’re always interested to hear what’s on your mind – feel free to send us any questions/comments/feedback to

Until next time,

Random Walks around the world!

Hello! Hola! Bonjour! Ni Hao!

That is just a taste of how many ways over 250 Booth Students will have been greeting one another and new-found friends in the past week. Over the last week, about 250 students in the incoming class packed up their hiking shoes and put their exploring hats on to visit over 2 dozen countries across the world on ChicagoBooth’s annual Random Walk trips. Led by a team of four 2nd Year students, the 1st years who went on the trip had a once in a lifetime experience of exploring a new country with what would very likely become 15 of their newest good friends.

The RW I took last year to Nicaragua feels like it was yesterday – it was the first time I climbed a volcano, sang happy birthday to one of my classmates on the top of that volcano, then proceeded to sled down, all on our second day there! (see picture below of the “before” – we were a lot dirtier after we came down!)

Keep reading to hear the perspective of three 2nd year students as they prepared to lead their trips this year.

Dale Heidekat:

Where are you leading your Random Walk?

I’m leading the Israel Random Walk.

What are you most looking forward to for the trip?

I’m most looking forward to getting to know a group of incoming first years and sharing the Random Walk experience with them. Of course, I’m also pretty excited to visit a part of the world I’ve never been to!

Where did you go on your Random Walk last year?

I went to Turkey last year and it was amazing!

What made you want to lead a trip yourself?

I had an incredible time on my Random Walk trip last year and so much of that had to do with my great trip leaders. They helped me start my Booth experience off on the right foot, answering all of the questions I had, and helping us all get to know one another. I really appreciated everything my trip leaders did while we were in Turkey and the friendship and guidance they offered once we got back to school. I wanted the opportunity to play that role for a new class of Boothies.

What are you going to do between Random Walk and coming back to Booth?

After Random Walk, two of the other Israel trip leaders and I are planning on traveling around Europe for a few weeks. We are going to visit my family in Southern France and then continue to Barcelona, Mallorca and Lisbon. Then I’ll come back to Chicago to gear up for second year!

Andy Nelson:

Where are you leading your Random Walk?

I am so excited to lead a Random Walk trip to Fiji this year! It is a trip guaranteed to offer the greatest views, fun adventures, and an amazing time with 13 very lucky first years. The other leaders and I have been looking forward to this trip for months, and we can’t wait to fly out there.

Where did you go on your Random Walk last year? What made you want to lead a trip yourself?

Last year I went on a Random Walk trip to Nicaragua, coming back with great stories, better memories, and most importantly, some of the best friends I could ever ask for. It’s these relationships that made me want to come back in hopes that I can help some incoming students have the same experience that I had.

What are you most looking forward to for the trip?

While I feel that Fiji speaks for itself, I am actually more excited to make many more lasting friendships with some of the most impressive and interesting people in the world. It’s going to be a great adventure!

Jamie Castro:

Where are you leading your Random Walk?

Brazil UNO, baby!

What are you most looking forward to for the trip?

Three things:

1) Getting to know the first years, who I know are going to be awesome.

2) Traveling with and becoming better friends with my fellow leaders, who I already know are awesome.

3) Showing the whole group the amazing country where I used to live as a child. (I LOVE Brazil!)

Where did you go on your Random Walk last year?


What made you want to lead a trip yourself?

RW was the bomb. Why wouldn’t I want to do it again?

Okay, seriously, I want to give the incoming first years an awesome experience, just like the one that was given to me.

What are you going to do between Random Walk and coming back to Booth?

If I told you, I’d have to kill you. 😛


As much as possible. Visit family in San Francisco, do more international travel (destinations TBD), eat and drink my face off, and try to make it back alive to get geared up for second year. Oh yeah, and maybe bid on classes…maybe.

Booth Summer Stories

Hello, and welcome back!

I hope you’ve been having a terrific summer, hanging in there with the heat, and even taking in a good old BBQ or two. In today’s post, I am going to check in with some of my fellow Booth Class of 2012 classmates to see how their summers have been going. This summer, Booth students are in dozens of cities all over the US and world, pursuing internships that are a stepping stone to their exciting future career. Today I check in with a Management Consultant at McKinsey in Houston, a Brand Manager working on the Old Spice brand in Cincinnati, and an Operations Strategist at Apple in San Francisco. Read on for more!

Cosme Salazar:

What are you doing this summer?

I am a Summer Associate with McKinsey and Company in their Houston office. During the summer I am working on an organizational strategy study for one of the largest companies in the world.

What have been your Top 2 best experiences of your summer job?

Two experiences from the summer really stand out. First I have been very happy with the professional development and support that I have received from my internship. I have multiple people at the firm (up to the partner level) that are frequently checking in to see how my experience has been and offer advice on what I can do to grow professionally and reach my long term goals.

My other favorite experience has been all the fun summer events that I have been able to attend. My wife and I attended an amazing Summer Conference that McKinsey hosted for all their summer interns in Dana Point, California. I got to meet company leadership and other consultants from all over and get a better perspective of the many opportunities available with the firm. I have also attended Astros games, the theater, and I met many future Booth students at an admissions event I hosted in Houston.

What will you take away from your summer?

This summer I have learned how to create a concise and cohesive story to deliver a compelling message. Before this summer I knew consultants were pros at producing PowerPoint slides by the hundreds, but now I really appreciate the problem solving and the thought process that goes into crafting a meaningful message rather than a deck of slides.

What are you doing before starting back up at school?

I won’t have a lot of free time after my internship ends because I will be a LEAD Facilitator for the first year students. We have to put the finishing touches on some things we have planned to kick off a great start for the class of 2013.

What are you looking forward to about returning to Booth in September?

I really look forward to enjoying Chicago this fall. I live in Hyde Park, and when it’s warm I love to walk around the community with the parks and fun restaurants. I’m also really excited to hear about the great internships that my classmates enjoyed this last summer.

Ryan Bennett:

What are you doing this summer?

I am the Marketing intern on Old Spice at Procter & Gamble. My biggest projects include: 1) developing a global e-commerce strategy to stay ahead of the consumer as she transitions from shopping in brick & mortar stores to buying all her groceries online, and 2) creating a long-term growth plan for the “black sheep” part of our portfolio that has been growing gangbusters recently almost by accident.

What have been your Top 2 best experiences of your summer job?

I will forever remember being in the thick of the Fabio versus Old Spice Guy YouTube duel. The campaign quickly became a cultural phenomenon and it was incredibly exciting to sit in the center of it. Second, I’ve enjoyed engaging with P&G’s leaders to hear their collective vision for how the company is evolving. I’ve had astonishing access to management all summer, including dinner at the CEO’s house, a happy hour with the head of North America, a fireside chat with the CMO, and a one-on-one lunch with a Group President.

What will you take away from your summer?

As corny as it sounds, I’ll leave Cincinnati having made a ton of new friends. The 52 Marketing interns formed a close-knit community that will yield strong lifelong relationships. From a career-building perspective, I appreciate the experience of managing very large cross-functional teams, a skill that I never had the opportunity to develop during my time working on Wall Street prior to business school.

What are you doing before starting back up at school?

My fiancée and I are going on a road trip through the Midwest as we drive back to my home in Virginia. We’re excited to check out those random culinary hotspots profiled on “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” along the way!

What are you looking forward to about returning to Booth in September?

I cannot wait to swap internship war stories with my classmates. It will be fun to compare my time at P&G versus what other Marketers experienced. I’m probably even more excited to hear from friends who spent their summers in emerging markets or pursuing entrepreneurial ventures.

Donna Wu:

What are you doing this summer?

I’m working as an MBA intern in Operations at Apple. That’s all I’m allowed to say 😉

What have been your “Top 2” best experiences of your summer job?

Attending a series of Executive Speaker speeches given by the Apple Executive Team and seeing Steve Jobs (on more than one occasion) getting lunch at Cafe Macs.

What will you take away from your summer?

People at Apple are some of the smartest and brightest individuals I have ever met. Their passion for the company and products is unbelievable. I know this is going to sound cliche but being surrounded by culture of excellence pushes me to be the best I can.

What are you looking forward to about returning to Booth in September?

Seeing all my Boothie friends again! This summer has been like an eternity, and I can’t believe how much I miss them. It’s amazing the kind of relationships you build at Booth – ones that last a lifetime 🙂

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