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!

Tina

***

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!
Jaime

Admit Weekend is here!

Hi everyone!

Campus is all abuzz this week as we get ready to welcome the Round 1 Admitted Students, Class of 2014 to campus this weekend! This week we have a double-header Wednesdays in the Winter Garden for you where we ask students both what they would recommend that visitors to Chicago do, and where they’ve chosen to live in Chicago. Make sure you check out those videos on our YouTube channel or Facebook page!

Today’s blog comes to you from Chloe, who over the past few months has been planning Admit Weekend with a group of first and second year students and the Admissions office. You can check out Chloe’s blog below. For those of you coming to town this weekend, we look forward to welcoming you to Chicago and to Booth!

Tina

***
I came to admit weekend last April, not really knowing what to expect…a big sell? I already had a ticket booked to Chicago for that weekend before I even applied to Booth (fate?) so I figured I might as well attend and pick up a free t-shirt.

Needless to say, I felt right at home that weekend. I had an amazing time, the people were genuine and real. There was never a moment when I felt I was being sold. If anything, I felt like everyone was being themselves and showing me what it would be like to actually attend Booth. When I left for home after that weekend I knew I was going to attend Booth.

So, it should be no surprised that I signed up for the team that is putting this shindig together for the class of 2014. We’re called the A-team, part of DSAC which is the group that does school tours, panels, brings you this blog, as well as other programs for prospective students. A group of 20 first-year students led by two second years started working back in November to plan this year’s Admit Weekend. We’ve worked to be innovative, engaging, and fun.

We start with a pep rally for all of the volunteers for admit weekend, of which there are over 250. That’s almost a volunteer for each admit! We’ve trained all of them on their activities and have done practice runs to test out new ideas. The team has picked amazing places for dinners, night events, and an extra special closing event on Saturday night to officially celebrate all of the admits. The team and all of the volunteers are pumped to welcome the new admits and show them the pride and spirit of the Chicago Booth MBA program. Welcome class of 2014! We can’t wait to meet you.


Students getting excited at the pep rally to kick off admit weekend!


Over 250 student volunteers are the driving force behind admit weekend

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!
Tina

***
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.

Tina

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.

Tina

***

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?

Winterview:

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!!

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