Tag Archives: LEAD

Why I Am Here and Not Somewhere Else: My Admit Weekend Experience

By Jatin Jindal, Class of 2015

On behalf of the Admit Weekend Planning Committee, I would like to congratulate Round 1 admits on being selected to join the best business school in the world! When I got the call from the Booth Admissions staff last year, the first thing I did was book my tickets to Chicago for Admit Weekend. I knew that the 24 hour-long flight from Mumbai to Chicago would be well worth the experience I would have at Admit Weekend.

Well, I was not only proven correct, but Admit Weekend exceeded all of my expectations. I had such an amazing experience that I knew I wanted to be a part of the next class’s Admit Weekend planning team. So, I volunteered for the position of Social Media Captain for Admit Weekend 2014. As a Social Media Captain, admitted students will hear from me through social media channels, including photos and posts to the Class of 2016 Facebook page.

I grew up in Mumbai, India. I spent three years in investment banking in London, and after that, was fortunate to scale up and successfully exit from my own startup. Yet, as I considered my next career moves, I realized there were some gaps in my business training necessary to advance my goals. I was impressed by the awesome resources at Chicago Booth, particularly in tech and entrepreneurship, as well as by Booth’s discipline-based approach to learning, which further confirmed my decision to apply. I should reveal that I am a child of a tropical climate who had never seen snow. So, when I landed in Chicago for Admit Weekend in February 2013 and was greeted by snow, I was both terrified and excited. What amazed me was the fact that the snow had only made Chicago’s sprawling skyline and magnificent architecture look even more beautiful. After reaching my hotel, I made my way to the Gleacher Center, where international student ambassadors were waiting to welcome the international admitted students. It was amazing to see the variety of nationalities present at that event, and I met many of my current friends there for the first time.

Admit Weekend is designed to give newly admitted students a glimpse into what life as a full-time student will be like. One of the most exciting sessions at my Admit Weekend was a chance to sit on an entrepreneurial sales class with Professor Craig Wortmann, who is founder and CEO of Sales Engine and has been a professional sales person for 20 years. We also learned more about Booth’s Leadership and Effective Development (LEAD) course through some fun team-building activities with our future classmates. We capped the day off with an introduction to the Booth tradition of the Liquidity Preference Function (LPF), which is a bi-weekly happy hour in the Harper Center Winter Garden sponsored by the Graduate Business Council (GBC). During the rest of the weekend, we met representatives from every Booth student group – including the Soccer Club, which I immediately got involved with when I started school – and learned about the wide array of Random Walk locations we could choose from. Admit Weekend ended with a celebration at the majestic Art Institute of Chicago, located in downtown Chicago.

Enjoying beautiful scenery of Fiji during my Booth Random Walk

Overall, Admit Weekend was a sneak peek into what Booth has to offer, both academically and socially. At the end of the event, I could see that many of my fellow Admit Weekend attendees were convinced that Booth was where they were going to spend their next two years. I had also made up my mind, and could not have been more excited to start at Booth in the fall.

Overall, my experience at Booth so far has exceeded all of my expectations. I have made amazing friends from all over the world and have learned so many new things in a short span of time.

Dancing at this year’s South Asia Business Group (SABG) Diwali-themed cruise on Lake Michigan.

I highly recommend attending Admit Weekend for two main reasons: first, it will help you decide for yourself “Why are you here, and not somewhere else”, and second, if you are already sold on Booth, you will get a first-hand experience of a compressed two year b-school experience in 3 days, which is valuable in helping you start to think about how to get the most out of the MBA experience. So, buckle up and get ready for Admit Weekend 2014 – you have to be here to experience it for yourself!

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.

The Practice of Leadership in Business

Prospective students will often ask current students, “What is your favorite course at Booth?” It can be difficult to pick just one! This week, Elizabeth Bozek tells us a bit more about one of her favorite classes at Booth thus far, The Practice of Leadership in Business.

One of the questions prospective Chicago Booth students and those recently admitted to the MBA program often ask me is “What is your favorite class so far?” Although I have only been at school for about a quarter and a half, I already have a strong opinion. It may seem a bit funny for a student who is intending to concentrate in finance, but I have actually been enjoying a more qualitative class. The course that I am enjoying most is called The Practice of Leadership in Business, taught by Professor Linda Ginzel. On day one, Professor Ginzel was very upfront with the fact that this course would not be like most of the other classes at Chicago Booth. The class is intended to be abstract – discussions focus around ideas and methods – and there are no right answers or solutions to the topics we cover. Professor Ginzel warned us that it takes a very particular approach in this class to succeed, and that the goal of the course wasn’t so much to teach a particular subject, but to become wiser by turning insights into action for now and in the future.

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Getting Comfortable with Being Vulnerable

When Chris Hauck first approached me to be a DSAC Blogger, I immediately knew he would be a perfect fit for the team. Although it’s only his first quarter at Booth, he is extremely involved and his photographs always capture the energy of the Booth community. In his introductory post, Chris truly lives up to expression “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

I remember my hands sweating. My heart racing. Laying awake at night trying to quiet my mind as it raced to think of possible solutions to whatever hurdle was ahead. GMAT, applications, interviews – every step left me feeling exposed and forced me to examine every nuance of my life. And while getting into my dream school was a great feeling, it wasn’t the end of the process of opening myself up to critique and letting myself feel vulnerable. Every moment at Booth thus far has centered around stepping outside of my comfort zone and learning how to be a better person and professional than the day before.

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