Tag Archives: cohorts

Who Runs the School? GBC! (Graduate Business Council)

This past week, the Booth student body held elections for the next Graduate Business Council (GBC) Executive Board. The 6-person team works with the elected president and representative from each of our 10 cohorts to provide services, plan events, and represent the student body to the administration. The election was bittersweet for me as it meant my time as VP of Student Affairs on this year’s GBC Exec Board was coming to an end.

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Common myths about the flexible curriculum and cohort system

Anyone who reads about Booth is sure to stumble upon two key differentiators: our flexible curriculum and our cohort system. Through discussions with dozens of prospective students, I’ve noticed that they tend to love the former and show some concern about the latter. When I was applying, I too shared a lot of these feelings. But I’ve also noticed that both of these Booth trademarks are all-too-often misunderstood. So here’s my take on what the flexible curriculum and the cohort system really mean to Booth students, and why I wouldn’t want them any other way.

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Admit Weekend on the Horizon: Meet your Co-Captains!

Admit Weekend is a terrific opportunity for admitted students to experience life as a Chicago Booth MBA for a weekend. Admits learn about the Booth curriculum, tour Chicago neighborhoods, and have plenty of time to get to know fellow future Booth MBAs.

It takes lots of planning to make this happen, but fortunately we have a huge team of great volunteers. The students involved on the Admit Weekend Planning Committee take a “Co-Captain” role in a specific, key aspect of the Admit Weekend experience, from neighborhood and housing tours to partners’ programming.


Several of our Co-Captains offer reflections on their experiences and discuss why all admitted students should come to Admit Weekend!

–Matt Richman

Mary Cate Waris and Jennifer Phillips
Admit Weekend Squad Leader Co-Captains

We both attended Admit Weekend last year and we had such a great time meeting everyone and learning more about the Booth community that we were excited to be involved in planning and organizing the 2014 events. As the Squad Leader Co-Captains we are responsible for selecting and training the squad leaders (current students who help lead admitted students through the Admit Weekend activities) and for organizing many of the events that you will take part in over the weekend. As you may know, Booth uses a cohort and squad system for the LEAD course that all first year students will take. After LEAD, students take whatever courses they want independent of any cohort; however cohorts and squads still function like your home base throughout your time at Booth. Admit Weekend squads work the same way. The squad and cohort activities of Admit Weekend will give you an opportunity to have fun and get to know both your new classmates and Booth’s current students. We hope that you will enjoy participating in the activities as much as we have enjoyed preparing them. Your Admit Weekend squad will introduce you to many of your closest friends during your time and Booth, as it did for us. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Emma Tan
Partners Co-Captain

Starting business school is an exciting journey for not only us, but also for our partners. While moving to a new city can be hard for a couple, Booth has great resources, such as the Partners Club, and an inviting culture that help make our significant others feel like an integral part of the Booth community. The experience so far at Booth for me and my husband has been wonderful, and I wanted to give back as part of the Admit Weekend team. Working as a co-captain to plan the partner-specific programming is a great opportunity for me and my team to share our experience and help admitted students and partners get ready to make the most of their time at Booth. Through the partner experience panel, we will invite students and their partners to talk about the fun and surprises they had living in the Booth community, offer tips, and answer questions about Chicago. We also planned a Chicago resource fair to create an opportunity for partners to share information, make new friends, and bond with this amazing community at Booth! It has been an incredible experience for us to be part of the Admit Weekend Planning Committee to share our excitement about being at Booth with the incoming class!

Prakriti Mishra
Neighborhood and Housing Tours Co-Captain

I am a former UChicago undergrad, and although I moved to NYC after graduation, I was hesitant about coming to Admit Weekend last year, because I felt like I already “knew” Booth and Chicago. However, I am glad I went against my instincts, and flew out for Admit Weekend. The Booth that I saw at Admit Weekend was vibrant, intelligent, and incredibly fun! In the three days over Admit Weekend, I met my current roommate, talked to 2nd years who got me interested in technology and consulting, and saw the city of Chicago in a completely new light. Now, as a Co-Captain for the Neighborhood and Housing Tours, I hope to provide admitted Booth students with a fun, informative and engaging way to see the city for themselves. We have student hosts and tour guides to take our guests around some of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods, and give them a chance to see some of the apartments that current Boothies live in. I hope many of you will take this opportunity to get to know Chicago, and I look forward to seeing you on a tour around one of Chicago’s many exciting neighborhoods!

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.