One of the perks of designing your own MBA and your own internship is being able to set work aside for a moment so you can sit by a creek and watch the sun set beautifully. Before coming to Booth, I was a consultant in Lagos, Nigeria, where I saw most of my sunsets through the window of an office building or a vehicle in traffic.
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.
The energy from my team is exultant. They’ve just announced the winners for the 3rd Annual MBA Pitch Competition at SXSW Interactive – and we, Riviter, took first place! One of the judges, an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Texas, approaches and asks which business school we’re from. “Chicago Booth,” one of us replies. “Oh,” he says, grinning. “I should’ve guessed. That’s where all of the entrepreneurs I meet are from these days.”
That makes me proud – because, slight allowance for hyperbole aside, he’s right.
Way back in 2012, I came to Chicago for my admissions interview. My former coworker, Dave, was at Booth and launching a start-up. He knew I was interested in entrepreneurship, so the night before my interview he took me to SeedCon 2012, an annual conference hosted by the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club. I arrived just in time to hear the opening keynote from the founder of Alinea, Continue reading A Reflection on the SXSW MBA Pitch Competition
If they are important to you…
My daughter was born the night before my Corporate Finance midterm.
I will quote from my Corporate Finance Syllabus, “I do not allow taking exams outside of the scheduled exam times… the only exception for the midterm is a documented medical emergency.” Is having a baby a medical emergency for the father?
Sweat drips down my face and I’ve been hiking for two hours. At this point, I’m just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. Then we get to a clearing and I see majestic rock formations. Time for pictures! Instagram filter, check. Ummm…I’m closing my eyes in this one. Do you mind taking it again? On to the next trail!
While some of my classmates are busy having adventures in Asia, Europe, Africa, I’m in the exotic land of…Illinois! Starved Rock State Park is only two hours away by car and it’s a nice place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. It’s a place not many of my classmates know about, but it’s very familiar to me. I moved to Chicago when I was in high school and have lived here since (except for two years in Korea, 3 months in France, and a summer in Paraguay). As a Booth Experience blogger, some of my posts may cover similar hidden gems in and around Chicago, although I must admit that my fellow Class of 2016 Boothies from other cities have been doing a pretty good job of exploring in just the year they’ve been here!
But that’s not only reason I wanted to write about my hike at Starved Rock State Park. I realized as I was walking that it’s actually a pretty good analogy for MY interpretation of life in business school. For some of you laboring to finish the GMAT or write those essays, it might feel like you’re scaling a mountain and if you just get to the top, it will be smooth sailing from there. As Boothies, we can fall prey to the same thinking (if I just get this perfect internship, I’m set!) What I’ve gradually been realizing during my time here is that it’s more like a long hike through a wooded trail. Yes, there will be highs and lows, and you might change your mind about what you want to do “when you grow up” several times. The great news is that the flexibility at Booth allows you to choose your own trail. You might go left while others go right, but here at Booth, that’s ok!
If you do find that your path is leading you towards Booth, you can look forward to a community that will support you. Even though a large part of why I came to Booth was to transition to a new career path, I know that what I’m learning through my classes, extracurricular activities, and the Booth community, goes beyond just helping me get that first job. I’m gaining skills and making friendships that I can carry throughout the whole rest of my career, and THAT, to answer the question posed by my fellow blogger, Gordon, is why I’m here and not somewhere else.