Chicago Booth prides itself on the strength of its community. And while the transition to an all-virtual environment presented considerable challenges, it also created an opportunity to engage with each other in a way we haven’t had the opportunity to before. Though we had to contend with moving to online instruction for our final quarter of the year and mostly interact with our classmates via Zoom, the Graduate Business Council (GBC) has been creative in keeping the Booth community spirit alive.
As Booth’s student government organization, GBC is composed of elected cohort leaders whose mission is to be the voice for the student body and facilitate a great student experience for all. As a current student leader on GBC, I’ve had the honor of serving within diversity & inclusion initiatives, faculty & facilities improvement discussions, and internal operations of the council itself.
Within the Graduate Business Council, we have the newly formed Community Committee (nicknamed ComCom) whose purpose is to foster a sense of community in the Full-Time Booth MBA Program. ComCom is led by first-year Nick Weiss, VP of Student Experience, who was recently recognized in our weekly student life newsletter for going above and beyond this quarter to help the Booth community remain unified during this difficult time.
Through the Community Committee, Nick has been able to spearhead a centralized virtual gathering platform that started with a couple of small events, but has grown to be much larger due to overwhelming student demand. Lucky for us, Booth offers premium Zoom accounts to its students with the capability to host up to 300 participants for unlimited time at no extra charge. We kicked off the quarter with virtual workout classes and happy hours, and have since engaged in such activities as African dance workshops, pantry consultation parties, and even midday micro meditation sessions.
The Marquee event of the quarter was the MBA Battle Royale, a virtual charity event which brought together top MBA programs from across the country to compete on a virtual game show. The Battle Royal was a fun, multi-round event where slates from each school competed over who best represents the business school ethos. Tickets were sold for students and alumni to watch via Zoom with all proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders–we ended up raising $55K!
Future ideas for virtual gatherings include lunch-time video chats where small groups of Boothies are randomly paired together, virtual video game (or board game) tournaments with both contenders and spectators, and even periodic fireside chats between GBC and the student body to facilitate more engagement and voice collection. Despite all the disruption and uncertainty that is going on in the world today, you can rest assured that the Booth community will continue to stay strong and discover creative and exciting ways to be together.