Checking in with our Entrepreneur

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re all staying warm (in the Northern Hemisphere). We’ve been enjoying a freakishly warm last few days here in Chicago, which no one is complaining about!

In this week’s blog, we are checking in with Dana, our resident entrepreneur, to see what she has been working on while many of her classmates are deep in summer internship recruiting for more traditional industries like banking and consulting. Be sure also to check out this week’s WIWG video where we ask students what a “typical” day for them is like at Booth – you’ll see that there really may be no such thing. Also, thanks for the positive feedback about our “Day in the Life” videos! We’re so glad that you are enjoying them and we are working to produce more to share with you in the coming weeks.

Read on to hear from Dana!

Winter quarter has been off to an incredible start – I love my classes (Building the New Venture with Professor Deutsch was worth every bid point!), I’ve become more involved in student activities, and best of all – I’ve been accepted into the Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP)!

Summer internships between our first and second years are critical to our professional formation. Many start-ups and small businesses have financial and resource constraints that make it difficult to recruit on-campus. With this in mind and thanks to many generous donors, the Polsky Center allows a number of full-time students to receive financial support to supplement summer internship salaries. The EIP program stipulates that students either participate in internships with companies on a traditional entrepreneurial track or within the social entrepreneurship realm. The companies can be start-ups or small businesses with less than $50 million in revenues. Students can either identify a company that they would like to work for, or they can ask the Polsky Center for assistance in finding a company that needs an intern and is in an industry of interest. In the fall after their internship, all EIP participants receive credit for their internships and take the Entrepreneurial Internship Seminar, where students write cases on the issues they faced and provide analysis or propose solutions.

While the recruiting process for traditional internships starts in the fall, the entrepreneurial internship process is on a much more delayed timeline. This is because many start-ups and small businesses cannot accurately forecast their staffing needs months and months in advance. Although my first quarter at Booth was devoid of “Corporate Conversations,” I used the fall to attend industry trade shows and build a network of entrepreneurs who specialize in Iberian importing and distribution. My winter break was spent in Spain to identify products that have the potential to sell very well if imported to the US. Because I have maintained contact with many of the entrepreneurs that I met in October, I am able to have discussions about these products and general export trends. These companies will not know their summer hiring needs until April or May, but by maintaining my relationships with importers, providing insight on products that will pique the curiosity of US consumers, and understanding each importer’s overall strategy and pain points, I will be able to better position myself for an internship opportunity and determine where I can “fit” in a particular organization.

In addition to networking with importers, I have also been meeting and speaking with the founders of many wine and food centered start-ups, such as Foodzie and Grubwithus. These organizations have much more of a “just-in-time” hiring model, but the conversations with the founders have given me perspective regarding internship roles I would enjoy. Even though Foodzie went through Techstars, one of the most prestigious seed-stage mentorship programs in the country, and Grubwithus received angel money from Ashton Kutcher, the founders are all incredibly humble individuals and willing to take time from their extremely hectic schedules to speak with aspiring entrepreneurs. It seems like a formidable task to seek an entrepreneurial internship, but when you combine the Polsky Center’s top-rate resources with a community that supports and embraces those with similar goals, it doesn’t seem so daunting.

When I excitedly entered the Polsky Center to return my signed acceptance form for the EIP program to Jonathan, he asked me about my preferred industry and my ideal internship. As I explained my interests and described a few target companies, he suggested resources within the Polsky Center to complement my search. I must have told him how much I’m looking forward to the summer at least twenty times, but it’s the truth. As I left the Polsky Center that morning, I was reminded of a plaque that hangs in the house I call home in Spain – “cada dia mellor e mellor” – which roughly translates to “every day better and better” and beautifully summarizes my Booth experience up to this point. A million thanks to the Polsky Center and the generosity of its supporters for equipping students to realize their dreams.

Introducing “Day in the Life”

Hi everyone!

Happy Wednesday! This Wednesday, we are excited to introduce hopefully what will become a series of “Day in the Life” slideshows portraying what a “typical” day is like for a Booth student. For this first week, yours truly volunteered to be the guinea pig for this new experiment. Check out the video on our YouTube channel or Facebook page, and let us know what you think! If you have any ideas for any student profiles you’d like captured in the coming weeks and months, please let us know.


Interview season is here!

Hi everyone,

It’s a couple of weeks into the quarter and interview season (for summer internships) is in full swing for our 1st year students! In this week’s WIWG video, we ask students about collaboration at Booth. In today’s blog, we ask Nupur to describe her experience in “Navigating the Recruiting Maze – Part 2” of preparing for interviews that will help her land her dream internship.



Navigating the Recruiting Maze – II

Hi all! It’s recruiting season and as you can imagine winter quarter is super intense. December break was filled with submitting job applications and now that bulk of that process is done (corporate deadlines extend well into February), nervousness regarding closed invite lists and actually interviewing permeates the arches of the winter garden. Over the last month, I must admit to having gained a more intimate knowledge of the inner workings of GTS (our internal portal for managing job applications) than I have my textbooks.

So how is the school helping 1st years manage the madness?


Career Services organizes a day-long series of events to get us prepared for the weeks of insanity that lie ahead. The day involved one-on-one mock interviews with a second year (they are recorded so you can watch yourself in absolute glory), a demo interview of a classmate with an industry practitioner (usually a returning alumnus), and practice time with career advisors to prepare for the fit portion of interviews. Finally, there was a much needed education session on how to make the most of all the features offered by GTS. I found the mock interview extremely helpful for two reasons: 1) the second years managed to simulate the exact feeling of an interview and 2) the video evidence of how awesome (aka terrible) I am made a huge difference to how I strategize and focus my prep over the next two weeks just in time for interview season. (See picture below from Winterview)

ITP: (Interview Training Program)

Here’s another avenue to be taped (some people do this twice) while interviewing again with second years who volunteer themselves as representatives of a specific company you want to interview with (most likely they interned there or worked there prior to Booth). The point of these mock interviews is not just to give you a ‘live’ example of what the actual situation will be like but also to get some really constructive feedback on how you can improve your interview performance, with specificity to the particular firm. I know watching myself get grilled really showed me how fast I speak, and even though I’d heard a lot of people say it before, watching myself on video really drove the message home.

Company mocks:

Apart from all the time you spend with second years practicing (one second year volunteered to help over 30 first years with their case practice…. God bless her!!), a number of the firms organize 3-on-1 and 1-on-1 prep sessions. I’ve seen at least 4 current consultants in the last two weeks alone as they help prepare us for the actual interviews with their firms. This experience has been critical in assessing how much work I still need to do and also in better understanding the subtle differences in the way different firms interview.

First years:

My initial thoughts were that first years would either be a blind leading the blind situation or that competition would get the better of us and getting useful feedback would be an issue. Having done mock interviews with 20-30 of my classmates now, I can attest to the collaborative spirit at Booth. We all want to see each other succeed and have been egging each other on as we move from one case to another. I have learnt tremendously from just observing my classmates and also from the candid feedback they have given me.

Now as we enter the final leg of interviews, I hope we all are successful and get the jobs we have all worked so hard for. While you think about getting into school (aka Booth), we are working hard to get jobs and back into the work force. Here’s wishing both of us plenty of luck!!


Hi there!

We are excited to bring you our blog entry for this week. In this week’s WIWG video, we have ask students about the Booth community. In this blog entry, we wanted to explore a particular element of the community and the student experience, which is participating in student groups. While Booth already has over 100 student groups to choose from (ranging from professional clubs to social clubs, to pick-up sports groups), students are encouraged to form their own group if there is none directed towards their interests.

This year, a group of enterprising students started FEAD, the Food, Environment, Agribusiness, and Development group. Read on to learn more from Carolyn Kriss, one of the founding members of FEAD. Carolyn is a first year at Booth interested in general management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Prior to Booth, she worked almost five years in political campaigns and government, concluding at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she helped launch the Healthy Food Financing Initiative.



First, for those who have already been gotten in, congratulations on your admission to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business! I remember being in your shoes a year ago and then having to make the difficult decision among schools. For those still applying, I hope you’ll find that Booth is a place where you can see yourself fitting in and thriving.

One new ace in Chicago Booth’s pocket—the newly-founded Food, Environment, Agribusiness, and Development (FEAD) group, an official club formed this year for students with a professional interest in food and agribusiness. I had the honor of working with an incredibly talented and dedicated core of first and second year students in founding the group, and our ability to so quickly mobilize interest from students and support from the school is a testament to the hunger for a food and ag group, so to speak, and Booth’s commitment to backing up Dean Kumar’s “Swing for the Fences” ideals with real resources.

While the group may be new, Chicago Booth’s excellence in the food and agribusiness space is anything but. Chicago is the world capitol for agricultural commodities and is poised to become a food hub with cutting-edge agribusiness developments, packaged good conglomerates, and food-focused startups. Over 1,000 Chicago Booth alumni are at the cutting edge of each step of the value chain, from farm to fork, including:

• Charles Harper, former CEO of ConAgra (and namesake donor of the beautiful Harper Center)
• David W. MacLennan, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cargill
• Hugh F. Johnston, Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo. Inc.
• Robert Mariano, CEO of Roundy’s Supermarkets
• Matt Maloney, CEO of

With FEAD, Booth is uniquely positioned to leverage its location and strength in business to empower the next generation of food and agribusiness leaders. And Booth’s commitment to building the bench comes not a moment too soon—by 2050, global food production must nearly double to feed the estimated 9 billion world population.
This humanitarian and business challenge motivates us in everything we do. Already, we’ve organized a trip to the Chicago Board of Trade (photo below), and successfully executed a consulting project with Green City Market, Chicago’s leading, year-round farmers’ market, to help them more effectively process food stamp benefits and provide greater access to fresh, healthy food for low-income families. We’ve held entrepreneurial brainstorms for those interested in launching food-focused startups and will host PepsiCo’s Vice President for Innovation and Strategy in their newly-established Global Nutrition Group.

While we’re very much looking forward to the networking events and consulting projects lined up down the road, we’re looking forward to something else—you. Because FEAD is so new, the class of 2014 will have a huge opportunity to help shape the group, moving it in the direction that matches the passion of its student members. The FEAD Co-Chairs look forward to welcoming you on campus and are available in the meantime to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to reach out, and again, congratulations!

Carolyn Kriss,; Tyler White,, Andres Imaz,; Monica Ganley,; Khairunisa Mohomed;

Surprise, Surprise

Hi everyone!

First of all happy new year! We hope you took some time to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. For those of you who just submitted Round 2 applications yesterday, congratulations on getting that in!

Students here are back at Booth and gearing up for our winter quarter. In today’s blog we thought we would step back and reflect a bit on first quarter. Today’s blog entry comes from Jason Wright, who is a 1st year student originally from Southern California, concentrating in Operations Management and Entrepreneurship, and looking to become a difference maker in urban education reform after spending some formative time in strategy consulting. Read on to hear more from Jason!



The sigh of relief. That’s what is passing through my lips as I write. I completed my last Final exam five minutes and half a Mushroom Swiss burger special ago. As such, I can finally reflect on the first chapter of my Booth story. I would entitle that chapter “Surprise, Surprise” as my first quarter at Booth has been characterized by a series of pleasant surprises:

1) This school is not full of socially inept nerds. I already knew that the incoming MBA class was full of brilliant, accomplished women and men recognized as rising stars in their respective fields. What I didn’t know was the level of kindness, sociability, and humor almost each of my peers exudes. I have seldom met a person I didn’t immediately want to spend my non-existent free time with. I’m now convinced that I significantly bring down the average “cool factor” of this school since I do little else but study and spend time at home with my wife and seven month old daughter.

2) This student body is not full of stone-hearted, exploit-you-to-death ambition. I honestly believed that I would be one of the only students on campus with a commitment to work in the social sector. I figured I would regularly voice the dissenting opinion of compassion in classroom discussion. Wrong again. A large chunk of both the 1st and 2nd year classes on campus have intentionally chosen career paths that allow them to do socially impactful work. More surprisingly, there are an inordinate number of students interested in my personal area of passion, education reform. I’m very excited to work with a number of them in the Social Entrepreneurship Lab course next quarter. Prior to enrollment, I would’ve bet you a significant sum of money this wouldn’t be the case.

3) I am not the only student from a non-traditional background or with color to my skin. Every business school claims to value diversity. As I’ve become acquainted with my first year class, Booth’s stated commitment has been proven true. As a recently retired National Football League player, I believed I would likely have one of the more interesting stories on campus. Then I met a classmate who performed and taught dance all over the country. Then I met another who worked in the White House. At a networking event I met an international volleyball player who became an accountant. I was shocked to see on Linkedin that one of my humble friends is a multilingual phenom who did multiple high level military missions in the Middle East. And let’s not forget about my friend who started an educational non-profit while sailing around the freaking world! Additionally, it has been so comforting to meet so many fellow African-American students as well as other minority and international members of our first year class. All of these men and women are extremely intelligent and as they inevitably succeed, Booth will have a noticeable presence in the increasing diversity of the global business landscape. That is an exciting thing.

4) I DO belong here. As confident as I may sound in the preceding paragraphs, I came to school expecting to be something of a village idiot given my low baseline of business knowledge. It turns out the Admissions office knows a thing or two about who to let in. While I have certainly had to spend additional hours in preparation compared to classmates who’ve come from corporate positions, I’ve also seen myself rise to the level of gifted peers in coursework and debate. This was in large part facilitated by the patient instruction of Marketing study group members, encouragement from academic advisor Christine Gramhofer, and impactful mentorship by the LEAD course facilitators. I’m grateful to each one of them for bringing me light years forward in both personal and professional development.

So with all that has happened this quarter, I can hardly imagine the remainder of my time at Booth being as dynamic. But if I’ve learned one thing about business school (and life in general for that matter) it’s that I don’t know truly know how things are going to pan out. I expect that the surprises yet realized will make my experience at Booth more fulfilling than I could ask, think, or imagine.

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