It’s hard to believe we are Booth alumni now. Seems like just a few TNDCs and a couple classes ago that we started writing for this blog, and now another year has passed in a blink. This was certainly a year with much uncertainty, but one thing we know without doubt is that the value of our newly earned Chicago Booth MBA will remain unchanged. With graduation in the rearview, we wanted to share some of our team’s top takeaways and favorite moments from the past two years, as well as advice for future applicants.
Top Takeaways from Booth
Manage your time, and that includes making sure you block off free time in your calendar. Sometimes a fully back-to-back calendar feels productive, but it’s really unsustainable over the long run. Give yourself an hour every once in a while to do absolutely nothing.
Be judicious in selecting extracurricular opportunities. There are so many clubs to join and trips to take that it is almost overwhelming. Make sure you are intentionally leaving time in your schedule to recharge and take care of yourself.
Think about the one or two things you want to dedicate your time to at Booth. Quality of over quantity. Becoming deeply involved in a Research Center, or GBC, etc. can me more impactful than stretching yourself over a number of commitments.
Opportunities are everywhere. Don’t just rely on the “main” channels for anything including recruiting, finding friends, or deciding on what classes to take. Think outside the box and be open to a wide array of experiences.
It may sound silly, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there when meeting peers you want to get to know better. Hosting events is a great way to meet people. Consider hosting pre-games to a small group dinner or virtual hangout, or a 1Y/2Y mix it up. Make sure to invite a variety of people. One of my best friendships at Booth started after I asked a classmate on a friend-date after class one day, and now I can’t imagine what my Booth experience would have looked like without her in it!
Stay in touch with as many as you can. That goes for new classmates and staff. You’d be surprised how many professors actually do want to hear from you even after you leave their class or Booth.
Remember that everyone has a lot going on, not just you. It can be easy to lose sight of that fact while working on a group project or when you’re deep in the throes of interviewing, but empathy, patience, and a friendly check-in or piece of encouragement can go a long way.
Favorite Booth Moments
Every year there’s a Phoenix Film Festival where every cohort chooses a team of first years to produce a short film based on a theme. It was my first time trying to produce any sort of video, and I learned that it can be a lot of work. Luckily, my team worked really well together and we came up with some great ideas. The result? We ended up winning with our video The Search Ends Here! Check it out!
Taking the Global Social Impact Practicum class was a real highlight (read more about that here). It was incredibly enriching to use the tools I had developed in my career before Booth, as well as honed throughout my first year here, on a project with a tangible and impactful legacy that would live far beyond my two years here.
Advice for Applicants
Get feedback. Find alums or friends who have applied to MBA programs already to give your essays a lookover. It’s always good to apply different perspectives to your work.
Attend events, whether virtually or in-person, and talk to current students. Selecting the right MBA program is a two-way street, so it is important to identify a school whose culture aligns with your own values and a program that is best able to support your specific goals.
Doing extra research to find out what exactly you like about Booth beyond surface level traits will go a long way to showing your passion and enthusiasm for the school. Those who are truly excited about Booth have a smile that says it all! Attending virtual events where you can speak to current students is one of the best ways to find out about programs or activities that people are most involved in, and that may not be mentioned on the website.