Tag Archives: Booth Community

Speakers, Networking, and Tiny Crab Cakes: Just a Normal Day During Bank Week

Chicago Booth is a major recruiting target for Wall Street investment banks. For most of the recruiting process, banks come to Chicago for networking events, but right after finals, we make a trip to New York to visit them on their turf. This trip is known as “Bank Week”. This year, about 80 first-year students from Chicago Booth’s Investment Banking Group (IBG) made the Bank Week trek to visit potential employers and make a final recruiting push before interviews for investment banking summer internships. The trek is meant not only for those pursuing a career in New York, but also those who are recruiting for Chicago, West Coast, or even global offices of NYC-based firms.

First-year Booth MBA Jason Arican just finished up his trek, and offers a glimpse into his experience with a “day-in-the-life” diary of Bank Week. As Jason shows, recruiting is a tough process for anyone, but the key to Booth students’ success in landing investment banking internships comes from a combination of strong relationships with an active alumni base in banking, a supportive and collaborative environment among the first-years (as well as between the first-year and second-year classes), and great support from Booth’s Career Services.
–Matt Richman

7:50 a.m.: The alarm on my phone goes off. I have an informational interview with a firm at 9 a.m. and figure that I can eke out a ten minute snooze and still make it on time. The nights during Bank Week are late (with some events that are scheduled by banks and others that… are not), so right now ten minutes seems like an eternity.

8:54 a.m.: After a brisk twelve minute walk, I arrive to the building. All of the banks are in skyscrapers that require you to show ID when you arrive and I am stuck waiting in line at the security desk. I did not budget enough time for this and am starting to sweat knowing that I might be a few minutes late.


9 a.m.: I get off the elevator and turn towards the double glass doors of the office. I immediately see a fellow Booth student waiting on the couches inside, so I know that I’m not late. “Time to go to work,” I think to myself as I get amped for the day. I take a deep breath and casually stroll through the doors with the confidence of someone who was not anxiously gritting his teeth 90 seconds earlier.

9:30 a.m.: The informational interview ends on time. The banker was a nice guy and easy to get along with. We talked about my background, and why I am interested in investment banking and, specifically, their firm. At this point in the process we have been asked the same handful of questions a number of times and had tons of feedback from Career Services, the IBG, and second years, so my answers were polished and succinct. It wasn’t always that way though, and there were plenty of conversations that didn’t go this smoothly. Heck, that could be another blog post entirely.

10:55 a.m.: At the next event, I walk into a large reception hall and make a mad dash to the coffee. I turn to look at the food spread and eye a platter of sandwiches. I am 30 years old, but being on a student budget has regressed my thought process to a 19 year old who can spot a free meal from across a crowded room. But I think back to the trainings we had with Career Services in preparation for recruiting – I don’t want a Managing Director picking me out of an audience as the guy crushing a roast beef sandwich with crumbs on his tie. I compromise and make a mental note to find a chair closest to the food for when it’s time to eat later on.

11 a.m.: The speaker is a Booth alum and big supporter of hiring Booth students. As someone who has had a long career in banking, he is uniquely placed to give thoughts about the current environment and, given the spirited Q&A, I can tell we are all quite interested in his perspective.

12:30 p.m.: As the event winds down, a group of students make plans to leave for the next bank. The banks know that we have a tight schedule, so no one takes it personally when you leave – provided that you do so in a courteous way. Prior to Bank Week, Career Services and the IBG stressed the importance of leaving and arriving in groups – especially if you’re leaving a little too early or getting there a little too late. It’s one thing show up somewhere five minutes late by yourself (easy to just get written off as someone who didn’t plan properly), versus what it means when a group of people are a bit behind (the last event probably ran a little long). As a class, we are eager to collaborate, so we work together to coordinate our arrival and departure times.

1 p.m.: For the next event, the bank sends down the Global Head of Investment Banking – about as senior as you can get for an event like this. We deliver a flurry of questions, ranging from thoughts on expansion in emerging markets to what qualities are important to emphasize as we go through the rest of the recruiting process. He is eager to answer these questions and has really thoughtful input.

View from the 53rd

6 p.m.: It is the last open event of the day. The setting for this cocktail event is like no other. We are on the 53rd floor and directly eye-level with the top of the Empire State Building. As the sun sets over this sprawling city, I stop to grab a quick picture and give myself a moment to reflect on just exactly where I am. Recruiting has been an arduous journey, there is no doubt about it. Our days are long and we are expected to always put our best foot forward, executing conversations with excitement, poise, and laser-sharp focus. But what is most important is that we’ve done it together. As a group, we have developed close relationships with each other founded on a culture of teamwork. There are no sharp elbows here because we all know that for any of us to succeed, we need the larger group for support and for the Booth brand to resonate positively.

6:27 p.m.: A server comes around with a plate of tiny crab cakes. I politely decline. PRO TIP: Do not eat the tiny crab cakes. Ever. You will be offered them all the time and, look- I know it’s hard because tiny crab cakes are amazing. But your sole objective is to talk to bankers at these events. Trust me- you do not want to talk to anyone, let alone a person who may want to hire you, with crab meat on your breath.

6:40 p.m.: The tray of tiny crab cakes comes around again. I break down and take one because YOLO.

Bank Week networking event

7:30 p.m.: In addition to the open events I attended today, many banks have invite-only receptions which occur each evening. I’m off tonight, so I head back to the hotel to rest up and explore New York a bit!
****

In retrospect, this was my busiest day of Bank Week. Overall, the entire week was a great experience. In a way, it’s almost like a rite of passage; something that second-year students can regale the first-years with tales of rainy days and anxiety-filled cab rides through New York City to make a meeting with only seconds to spare. Which reminds me… if you come to Booth and make the trip to Bank Week: make sure you bring an umbrella. Whoops.

But more than anything, enjoy yourself. Career Services and the IBG do a great job of helping to ready us, and at no point did I feel unprepared during a conversation or meeting. Bank Week is very much about getting to know potential colleagues and bonding with current classmates. We got to see New York City from a unique perspective and had engaging conversations with really bright people. Sure, the days are long… but ultimately they are quite rewarding and I’m now ready and looking forward to the internship interviews that take place on campus over the next few weeks.

Five Pleasantly Surprising Facts about Life at Chicago Booth

My name is YaoYao Wang and I’m a first year MBA student at Booth, originally from Los Angeles, California. Prior to business school I worked as an Operations Manager at a health products startup while being the CMO of a volunteer-run nonprofit. Outside of work and school, I love playing badminton, cooking, and Yelping. Follow me @yaoyaowang where I tweet about all sorts of business school fun.
In just a few short months as an MBA student at Booth, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons and pleasantly surprising facts.  I share my Top 5 with those of you considering an MBA at Booth. Hopefully my lessons will provide insight into the wealth of opportunities at Booth, as well as the best way to navigate your decision-making to get the most out of your experience.
1. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
No, I’m not actually referring to Newtonian physics here. As a business school student, you quickly learn to manage your time very well; and often, what you’ll find is that you can’t add events to your calendar without taking something off. Planning your career, networking, learning in business school? I’ve quickly learned the key to success is actually all about mastering the art of making tradeoffs. If you can’t decide which amazing classes, student clubs, and recruiting opportunities to sacrifice over others, you’ll get great guidance from Career and Academic Services. And since this is Chicago Booth, home of brilliant professors and Nobel prize-winning economists, concepts like opportunity cost and marginal utility will creep into your daily vocabulary before you even know it, and will help you make these tough decisions.
2. Use your pre-MBA summer wisely.
Once school starts you will have 20 million events and deadlines on your calendar (Legal disclaimer: OK, maybe not literally 20 million events and deadlines, but there are tons of opportunities here!). If you can, take time before Booth to travel, spend time with family and friends, work out, eat healthy, and sleep.
See if you still know how to study. This sounds pretty basic but you’d be surprised at how many of us realize that being in the workforce for a few years has made us forget how to be students. A great way to regain your learning skills would be to take an online class or even a local language or art class.
3. Second years are to first years like sliced bread and zippers are to humanity.
A third thing I didn’t fully understand before starting Booth is the tremendous value that second year MBAs add to the business school experience. Their willingness to help knows no bounds. Got questions about internships, careers, resumes, interviews, classes, housing, transportation, or what to wear in the Chicago winters? Second years will help you with that. I always find myself shocked with the amount of time second years put into planning events that improve first years’ business school experience, whether it be Random Walks, LEAD, student groups, school-wide events, company presentations, workshops, social events, trips, or mixers. If you ask them why, you’ll get a shoulder shrug that downplays their involvement and the usual, “the second years were there for us when we first got here.” You’ll see this sense of paying it forward permeating the Chicago Booth network from the first years all the way up to the alumni.
4. There is such a thing as free lunch.
In the form of Lunch ‘n’ Learns, that is! Career Services and the career-focused student groups host prominent companies from various functions and industries to recruit MBA talent and these presentations often come with free meals! Though I’ve enjoyed not having to buy lunch my first quarter because I’ve been to so many events, the real “free lunches” are the valuable interactions Career Services has facilitated with Booth alumni from companies large and small. Through presentations of mini case studies of recent challenging problems they’ve faced or explaining their company culture and values, I’ve found it invaluable to learn about fit and culture at companies I’m interested in. It’s a two-way street, because as much as companies are recruiting us, we are also scoping them out to make sure we might enjoy our time there as an intern or full-time hire. Additionally, Career Services has been really helpful in working with us to make sure we have a good sense of our career goals and personal needs to get the most out of these events and interactions.
5.  Any interest or hobby you can think of, it’s probably here.
We have an amazing array of student groups solely focused on fun, hobbies, diversity, and interests. Food, wine, boxing, rugby – you name it, we’ve got it. Clubs are a great way to meet new friends who may not be in your classes or recruiting for the same career path. In addition to the extensive list of student groups people are constantly organizing informal events.
I could easily go on and on about the wonderful experience that Chicago Booth has been for the last two and a half months (that’s right, we’ve only been here for two and a half months!) but, there’s no blog or list that could tell you what it’s really like at Booth. For me, speaking with current students and alumni at locally-hosted Booth events and visiting the campus really helped me decide that Booth was the right place for me. As a prospective student, I met so many great people with diverse backgrounds and fascinating life stories, and I’m enjoying getting to know them now as my peers and classmates.
I look forward to seeing you at an on-campus event and welcoming you to our school!

 

Living and Learning in Hyde Park

Adam Hanselman is a second year MBA at Chicago Booth.  After graduating from BYU, Adam worked in economic consulting with the Analysis Group and then in operations strategy at Capital One.  After graduation, he will move to Houston to work in energy investment banking.   Adam is a member of the Dean’s Student & Alumni Representatives (DStAR),the Investment Banking Group (IBG), and Energy Group , and he and his wife are members of Parents of Little Ones at Booth (POLO).  He is married with two children (future Boothies?!?!).
Adam is also a proud Hyde Park denizen.  While many students live in downtown Chicago, Hyde Park, the home of the Harper Center, is a vibrant community which offers many amenities and a great intellectual environment around the University.  Adam shares why he loves living in Hyde Park, and how he and his family have built their academic and social lives in and around the University of Chicago community.
–Matt Richman
When I decided to return to school for my MBA, the impact on my family was one of my main considerations in choosing which program to attend.  Chicago Booth and Hyde Park are a unique combination of a great MBA program and a family-friendly neighborhood.  Chicago Booth has been a great experience for my entire family and living in Hyde Park is a big reason why.
On the way to school
My family and I live within 3 blocks of tons of other families with one or sometimes both parents in graduate school at Chicago Booth or elsewhere at the University of Chicago.  There are fellow MBA and Law School families that we do babysitting swaps with for date nights on a regular basis (gotta keep the romance going!).  It’s always fun to stop by the University tot-lot, which is only one block away from our apartment, and catch up with whoever is there letting their kids get the wiggles out.  My son goes to pre-school a block from the Harper Center and it’s convenient that I can drop him off at school and then go right to my classes. Our apartment is also a nice size for our family, for a very reasonable price.  My family and I get a great quality of life in a walkable neighborhood.
Hyde Park soccer league
In addition to the community of families in Hyde Park, I love that I can walk to school in about 10 minutes or I can head over to one of the two (super nice) University gyms, get a workout in, and then go to school.  The gym is free for students and my wife also has a membership (she gets a discounted price).  We like being so close to Lake Michigan, with its beaches and footpaths, and there’s even a beautiful vintage movie theater two blocks away.  Although there is great public bus service within Hyde Park, we can walk to most everything we need and want, and when I need to go downtown it’s only a 15 minute Metraride from the station between my house and Chicago’s Loop, including our downtown campus at the Gleacher Center.
Hyde Park has helped my family to develop lifelong friendships and to enjoy the 2 year Boothexperience more than I could have hoped.  We’ve taken our kids trick-or-treating in the neighborhood and at the Harper Center, and put them in sports leagues in Hyde Park.  My family is part of the social life at Booth, and we rarely miss a Friday afternoon Liquidity Preference Function (LPF) at Harper.
Booth kids trick-or-treating in Hyde Park
Whether or not you have a family, Hyde Park is a great place to get access to everything that Booth and the city of Chicago have to offer, at a relaxed pace.  Booth students have so many options for which neighborhood to live in, depending on their preferences, and I’m glad that I picked Hyde Park.  Although I’m looking forward to moving to Houston, I’ll really miss the community my family and I built in Hyde Park.

 

Adam’s kids playing in a Hyde Park park

Modern Families: Booth’s Flexible Cohort System

Chicago Booth has a cohort system which matches our independent and flexible outlook on the MBA experience.  We start off with our cohorts during orientation and our leadership development class in the first few weeks of school, but our flexible curriculum means that we have the opportunity to take the classes we want, with any of the other 1,000+ first- and second-years at Booth.
Jen Tan is a first year MBA student at Booth, and was elected by her peers as president of the Bond Cohort.  Jen is currently the only dual-degree MBA-MSW in both of her programs. Her earlier career includes unicorn hunting (“recruiting”) for the Clinton Foundation and rainmaking (“fundraising”) for Facing History and Ourselves, two non-profits headquartered in her hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Jen is transitioning into healthcare as part of her pursuit of social justice.
Here, she shares her unique perspective on what the Booth cohort experience means to her, but before you get started, she’s just got to say that Bond is the best cohort at Booth of all time. OF. ALL. TIME.
–Matt Richman (Bond Cohort)
For the first decade of my life, I grew up in a house that contained 15 people: my two parents, three brothers, four cousins, and six aunts and uncles. In the years that have followed, the families have moved apart. But my big family, which has only gotten bigger and closer, has provided me with a lifetime of experience in building and maintaining relationships that are as deep and complex as they are diverse and time-tested.
For me, the Booth cohort experience creates that same sense of home for its individual members, much in the way that sharing a house together provides the essential bonding experience by which most families grow together. Booth students are assigned to cohorts which operate primarily during the first two months of school. Students begin orientation together as a cohort by participating in our one required course, Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) and spending a weekend out-of-state competing against other cohorts in the Leadership Orientation Retreat (LOR), Fall Frolics, and a host of other events offering equal parts delight and aggressive competition (at least, for Bond cohort). Throughout the remainder of the MBA program, the Graduate Business Council (GBC) hosts occasional cohort competitions, trivia nights, or t-shirt days to show cohort spirit.
The Booth cohort experience is unique among business schools. At other programs, cohorts take all of their classes together for part or all of the first year, sometimes in the same assigned seats. At Booth, however, the onus to maintain the cohesion that was initiated at the beginning of the year is largely up to the cohorts themselves. Specifically, it is a responsibility of the cohort president to set the tone for the culture and to help foster the sense of community that each cohort ultimately has. For all of these reasons, I decided to run for president of my cohort, a role that I serve with joy and pride.
Much in the way that one’s family can often feel like a household that has randomly gathered together people who share very little aside from an address and, perhaps, some facial features, the Booth cohort provides students with a space to share with people who are smart, social, and passionate in an infinite combination of ways. But while your cohort is assigned to you and you to your cohort, ultimately, each person is given the choice to determine how much meaning that designation can have. It is an arrangement that provides us with the opportunity to forge deep relationships with people we might not have met otherwise, while also allowing us the freedom to hang out with other people if we choose. As one would expect at Booth, given the similar flexibility provided by the course selection process, students are trusted to learn to the best of their abilities and respected for the choices they make in doing so.
Indeed, the opportunities and challenges that are uniquely presented by the Booth cohort echo the school’s philosophy toward the community it has created: that people can find a social environment in which their individualities are respected and appreciated, and that every person feel encouraged and supported in pursuing whatever it is that makes her/him happy.
Growing up in a large family wasn’t without its challenges. As with any large group, you find variety across interests, personalities, and communication styles. But being able to grow into our individual selves and forge unique relationships with each other in the process is the thing I love most about my large family and the lives we now share, no longer in the same house but now across states and time zones.
The same is true for this school we love: your Booth cohort is the big family that will always welcome you with open arms—all you have to do is reach out.

A-Team Perspectives

Admit Weekend is a great opportunity for admitted students to experience life as a Chicago Booth MBA. Admits learn about the Booth curriculum, tour Chicago neighborhoods, and have plenty of time to get to know prospective and current Booth MBAs. The “A-Team” is a group of volunteers who are members of the Booth Dean’s Students Admissions Committee (DSAC), and who are responsible for planning all of the weekend’s activities. Here, several A-Team members offer their perspectives on Admit Weekend.

–Matt

Tiffany Lee, International Captain

I ultimately chose not to take the 15-hour flight from Hong Kong to attend Admit Weekend here at Booth, and boy, did I regret it. Many of my fellow first years still often fondly refer to the “you-had-to-be-there-moments” of their own Admit Weekends. So, I chose to do the next best thing when I became a Booth studenthelp plan Admit Weekend and convince international admits to not make the same mistake I did. What I like about being International Co-Captain is that not only do I get to interact with potential new classmates from all over the world, but also, I am able to use my past experiences to help make the selection and transition process easier for students that are moving to the US for the first time. For example, my co-captain and I created a moving guide that is tailored for international students to answer any questions they may have, such as where to buy winter clothes and which country captains they can reach out to. We hope to see many international students at Admit Weekend and in the coming school year!

Marina Lidow and Amanda Litzenberger, Partners Captains

Working on the A-Team and planning Admit Weekend has been a great experience! Both of us attended Admit Weekend last year with our partners and were inspired by how the weekend was not only a great opportunity for us to interact with and learn about Booth, but also a wonderful way to show our partners what the next two years would really be all about. As Partner Co-Captains we help plan and execute the partner-specific programming for Admit Weekend. Through events such as panel discussions and conversations about neighborhoods, we illustrate the Booth partner experience, clarify what to expect, and answer questions about Chicago. It has been a great experience making new friends with each other and the rest of the A-Team, and also getting to know the members of the incredible partner community at Booth!

Emily Stetler, Music and Stage Captain

I had such an amazing experience when I attended Admit Weekend last year that I knew I wanted to be a part of it this year. As Music & Stage Captain, I am responsible for planning all of the music that you will hear throughout the weekend as well as the slideshows showcasing life at Booth. Given my love for music, this role enabled me to embrace my inner DJ in an effort to help create a fun, high-energy weekend that you won’t forget. Being on the A-Team has been a great opportunity to work alongside my classmates and meet the incoming class, who we are excited to have join us next year!

On behalf of the A-Team and Booth Admissions, we look forward to meeting you all this weekend!