Winter break provided me with time to reflect about 2016, a year in which I moved 9,896 km from home (Israel) to pursue my Chicago Booth MBA. This was a thrilling voyage and as a social media enthusiast, I had to share my recollections online (see below). My posts resonated with many who reached out to me, inquiring about this whole MBA-in-America thing. TBE readers can find the topics relatable, so here’s a quick recap.
I remember one of the weirdest sensations of business school being that I was now a part of a 500+ group of grownups who were set and ready to make friends with one another like it was the first day of 5th grade. It was something I hadn’t been used to doing in many years having attended a large secondary school that fed from my elementary school, a college that pulled heavily from my high school, and an initial job that was located in the same geographical area I grew up. While I added handfuls of friends at each juncture, I had never done so in such a holistic and comprehensive manner.
Another related quirk about business school is the length of the timeframe. At just two years long, it’s one of the shorter graduate programs available and an undoubted reason the experience shapes up as it does. You spend a fleeting year with the outgoing class and another one with the incoming one, but the bulk of relationship building, memory making, and trip taking happens with classmates in your same graduating year.
As I think about how my time at Booth has shaped up, there is definitely an opportunity to compare and contrast each school year. Both have virtues that make them unique, and both have had challenges that required hard work, sacrifice, and a whole lot of hope. I hate to sound like I’m already drafting my sign-off as a student, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel (or is it darkness, for having to leave this place?) for me to consider a moment of reflection. What made each year great? And what made it different from the other?
What is in your mind when someone mentions a business with more than 100 million monthly (27 million daily) active users? For me, social network and instant messaging seemed to be the only safe bets – it is the same size as Pinterest or LinkedIn according to Statista 2016 data. But let’s try harder and I will give you some hints – the average session length is around 40 minutes… in a row! Still no clue?
What makes this city great? And what about it will you find most compelling?
Many of you are facing the question of whether you want to uproot your life, leave your job, family, and friends and move to a place you may know nothing about. And though that is certainly a daunting prospect, it’s also exciting for a number of reasons. It pushes you out of your comfort zone (the first of many of such occurrences), it gives you a chance to redefine ‘local’, and allows you to navigate it all with many new friends.
There were countless reasons why I chose to come to Booth: flexible curriculum, variety of companies and industries that recruit on campus, rigor of the academic program… the list goes on. However, one of the biggest factors was the school’s location in the city of Chicago. Having grown up on the east coast, I wanted to explore a new city during the two years of my MBA. Booth was the perfect fit since it puts on display the best of what Chicago has to offer. Harper Center in Hyde Park is surrounded by beautiful parks, interesting Gothic architecture, and Harry Potter-esque libraries. On the other hand, Gleacher Center in downtown is located right in between the shopping district of Magnificent Mile and Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) in Millennium Park.