The Booth (Partner’s) Experience

The Booth (Partner’s) Experience

For those of us that come to business school with partners, it’s important that we find a school that works not only for us, but for our partners as well. Booth’s curriculum is all about flexibility and that extends to our partners’ experiences. To give you a better idea of the wide variety of experiences Boothie Partners have while their Boothie attends school, I went and found six partners (well, I found five and voluntold my own partner) to speak about their experiences in a little more detail.

Pam and her Boothie, Matt

Pam and her Boothie, Matt (me!)

What is your name and where are you from?
Pam Goldstein – Chicago 

How did you meet your Boothie?
We met freshman year of high school and the rest is history!

Did you have to move to Chicago or were you already here?
We were already here, but it’s been great to expand our Chicago community through Booth!

What neighborhood are you living in and why? Did it end up aligning with your initial expectations?
We live in MILA in the Loop because it was important to my Boothie to be connected with the hundreds of students who live on our block — it’s made social events and class projects easy! Both of us also both keep really busy schedules, so living in the heart of so much of the Booth activity has made it easier for us to snag some extra time together. We’ve lived in several neighborhoods during our time in Chicago, and the Loop has been great because it’s so easy to get anywhere else we need to go.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
I love The Second City, a great spot for improv in Chicago and where a number of household names got their start, in Old Town. I can’t wait to support them when they reopen.

How have you engaged with the Booth community as a partner?
I went on a Random Walk trip with my Boothie and several other couples, which was a great way to get to know some new people! I’ve loved staying in touch with them. 

What is your favorite Booth tradition or memory from Booth so far?
We’ve met some awesome people who live in our building and love the community we’ve been able to build with the added bonus of not having to go outside to see people in the winter (pre-Covid!). From impromptu barbecues on our patio to Chinese food in pajamas with friends, the community you build with others in the neighborhood is great. 

How have you balanced your schedule with your Boothie’s schedule?
We set some good boundaries at the start of business school to make sure that we would always have time set aside for us each week while also allowing a few nights to take advantage of everything Booth has to offer. It’s been a great experience, and remaining flexible has been super important. 

Is there anything else you want to talk about as a partner at Booth?
Everyone at Booth is super friendly, and it’s an awesome community to jump into! The time will fly by, so get involved where you’re interested ASAP!


Stephany and her Boothie, Chris

Stephany and her Boothie, Chris

What is your name and where are you from?
Stephany Santa Cruz from Lima, Peru.

How did you meet your Boothie?
Chris was working with the Peruvian Army and he happened to live very close to where I was working. We dated during the six months he was deployed in Peru and five years later here we are!

Did you have to move to Chicago or were you already here?
We moved, Chris moved from Florida and I moved from Peru.

What neighborhood are you living in and why? Did it end up aligning with your initial expectations?
We live in River North and absolutely love it. We wanted an apartment  with a balcony and a big bedroom. Also, location was important to us, we currently live a five minute walking distance from a Trader Joe’s, 10 minutes from CorePower and the Red Line is literally around the corner.  Chris did an awesome job choosing our apartment (with a little extra luck thanks to a couple friends =) ). 

What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
Over the summer, we absolutely loved having lunches or drinks along the Riverwalk. But overall, we like to explore the food scene in Chicago. 

How have you engaged with the Booth community as a partner?
I joined Booth Partners Club as a first year partner and now as a second year partner I joined the club’s executive board. So, I’m currently the VP of Special Events and Community co-chair. 

What is your favorite Booth tradition or memory from Booth so far?
I love the pay-it-forward culture here at Booth. During my first year as partner, I had such a wonderful time attending Booth Partner’s events where I met my closest friends that I knew I wanted to be part of the board the following year to recreate fun activities and guide incoming partners. 

How have you balanced your schedule with your Boothie’s schedule?
Last first year we started sharing our calendars. This year we still do but since I’m working from home and his classes are online, it’s far easier to coordinate activities together.

Is there anything else you want to talk about as a partner at Booth?
It’s been great to be part of the Booth Community and meeting people that we know are going to be lifelong friends!


Harrison and his Boothie, Sarah

Harrison and his Boothie, Sarah

What is your name and where are you from?
Harrison Pidgeon, from the suburbs of Boston MA

How did you meet your Boothie?
We were college sweethearts. There is a rosy story but the short version is we’ve known each other since 2011, were on the same student government, and started dating in 2014. 

Did you have to move to Chicago or were you already here?
I moved here for medical school in 2015 and Sarah and I were long distance until 2017 when she moved here. She started at Booth 2 years later!

What neighborhood are you living in and why? Did it end up aligning with your initial expectations?
We have lived in Humboldt Park for two and a half years now and love it. Before then we were in Wicker Park for a year and I was in the TriTaylor area for two years before that. I live, work, play and have become somewhat loyal to the West Side. My partner and I were each living in NYC before moving to Chicago so we were expecting the vibe of a typical urban environment. I think our expectations were relatively aligned with reality. 

What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
This is too tough to pick one thing so I’ll say two. First is the festivals over the summer. On every weekend there are two or three festivals in different neighborhoods and they are a great excuse to explore different areas of the city, enjoy free live music, and spend time outside. The second is EAT. Chicago has an awesome food scene and although Covid has changed a lot, there is still no shortage of awesome food throughout the city.

How have you engaged with the Booth community as a partner?
Not as much as I would like to, to be honest. My work schedule is tough so I can’t attend every Booth event that I’d be interested in. But I have made some great friends with my partner’s friends.

What is your favorite Booth tradition or memory from Booth so far?
I loved the Winter Formal at Crystal Gardens. It was an absolute blast!

How have you balanced your schedule with your Boothie’s schedule?
Communication is key. I don’t have a typical 9-5 job and her schedule changes every 9-10 weeks so as soon as I remember her schedule, it changes. Plus we have a dog who needs to be let out a few times every day. If we didn’t have an overabundance of honest, constant communication I don’t know how we could live well together. 

Is there anything else you want to talk about as a partner at Booth? 
Booth has been great at giving me, the partner, different opportunities to meet and connect with new young professionals in the city. Sarah has also made great friends and has been loving her time as a Boothie!


Samantha and her Boothie, Kwaku

Samantha and her Boothie, Kwaku

What is your name and where are you from?
Samantha Rodriguez, Long Island, NY

How did you meet your Boothie?
Kwaku and I met in undergrad at Providence College

Did you have to move to Chicago or were you already here?
Kwaku and I were already in Chicago when he started at Booth. We moved from New York to Chicago in 2017 because I was pursuing my Master’s at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

What neighborhood are you living in and why? Did it end up aligning with your initial expectations?
We are currently living in the Loop and chose to live here so that Kwaku and I can be fully immersed in Booth’s social life. 

What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
My favorite thing to do in Chicago is to try new restaurants! I am a huge foodie and Chicago is a foodie haven.

How have you engaged with the Booth community as a partner?
Ever since Kwaku started at Booth, it has always been a priority for me to engage with other Boothies and their partners. Some of the ways I have done so are by attending social events such as group dinners, TNDCs, Running with the Bulls, etc. Being a member at Orange Theory Millennium Park has also been a great way to engage with the Booth community because many Boothies and partners are also members and tend to go to the same classes every day. 

By attending these events and making an effort to build relationships with Boothie’s and their partners, I am in group text messages where I am the only non-Boothie, I am invited to dinner and drinks, game nights, vacations, etc.

Fun fact: Kwaku and I have gone on 12 different double dates with Booth students and their partners.

What is your favorite Booth tradition or memory from Booth so far?
My favorite memory from Booth was TNDC at Tao during NBA All-Star Weekend

How have you balanced your schedule with your Boothie’s schedule?
In all honesty, we haven’t found a great way that works well for both of us. The one thing we make sure to do is to block off Friday evenings so that we can spend quality time with one another. Also, for any events that we are attending or even if we are going over to a friend’s apartment, we always send calendar invites!


Natalie and her Boothie, Ariana

Natalie and her Boothie, Ariana

What is your name and where are you from?
Natalie Johnson – I grew up in Burlington, Iowa and moved to Chicago upon graduating from undergrad at the University of Iowa in 2005. I have lived in the Lakeview & Roscoe Village neighborhoods for 15 years. 

How did you meet your Boothie?
We matched on Bumble – we are a #swipedright success story. We met in the Bay Area while I was there for a work trip after traveling in from Chicago. I was in the Bay Area for less than 48 hours and managed to convince her to meet me for a drink after we matched on the app. She had a strict rule against dating anyone that wasn’t from the Bay Area, but, thankfully, I was able to convince her otherwise and we have not looked back since. 

Did you have to move to Chicago or were you already here?
I was already living in Chicago and Ariana moved here so we could be together and she could attend Booth. 

What neighborhood are you living in and why? Did it end up aligning with your initial expectations?
We live in Lakeview which is very much a stroller mom and dog mom neighborhood, and we fit right in with our two little fluffy dogs. I have always loved Lakeview, but it was great to see Ariana enjoy it so much, too (despite the cold winters she, as a California girl, is very much not used to).

What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
Where do I begin? Rooftops in the summer, the 606, the Lakefront Trail, playing at the park with our pups, riding bikes, and being outside as much as possible. The city is a beautiful microcosm and we love embracing ourselves in each neighborhood’s distinct identity as much as possible.  

How have you engaged with the Booth community as a partner?
I’ve been able to engage with Boothies via the OUTreach events but, unfortunately, due to COVID this year, the further engagement opportunities have been a bit limiting. 

What is your favorite Booth tradition or memory from Booth so far?
Seeing how happy Ariana was after Booth Voices (Author’s Note: Booth Voices is a recurring event where Boothie’s get together and listen to a few of their classmates tell their stories; usually around a theme)

How have you balanced your schedule with your Boothie’s schedule?
“Balance” is a relative term in our household :-). I’m currently getting my MBA part-time through the University of Illinois and working full time so, my schedule is very busy. The toughest part is the evening when Ariana may have free time but I have to dedicate time to my MBA coursework. I’m a very social person and love spending time with our friends as much as possible, but I’ve significantly reduced that so I can ensure any free time we both have can be dedicated to time spent together as a family. 

Is there anything else you want to talk about as a partner at Booth?
She is amazing. I love her drive, dedication, compassion and, empathy – all characteristics she brings to Booth every day.  She’ll never give up and she’ll make sure you’ll never forget her along the way. 


Diogo and his Boothie, Nathalia

Diogo and his Boothie, Nathalia

What is your name and where are you from? 
Diogo Rebello and I’m from Brazil.

How did you meet your Boothie? 
We are both Brazilian, but we met in Mexico City during a Crossfit class, when Nathalia was there for a work assignment. 

Did you have to move to Chicago or were you already here (or, are you living in a different city)? 
We had the plan to live separately until Nathalia’s graduation, but when Covid hit we unexpectedly started to live together. First in NY, where I work, and now in Chicago since there are no expectations to get back to the office.

What neighborhood are you living in and why? Did it end up aligning with your initial expectations? 
We are currently living in the Loop, and it completely exceeded our expectations! We have made many close friends from the Booth community who live nearby and it’s incredible to get to explore Chicago with them.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the city? 
Meeting Booth friends and walking/running by the lake shore.

How have you engaged with the Booth community as a partner? 
I am having a rich experience as I have contact with a large group of Booth students and partners. I’ve attended small group dinners, TNDCs, and some other celebrations.

What is your favorite Booth tradition or memory from Booth so far? 
Definitely small dinners with the Brazilian group is my favorite part since I had the chance to meet a lot of new friends. Unfortunately, I only had a few chances on Booth traditions, but the Belgium Club’s Halloween party last year was fun!

How have you balanced your schedule with your Boothie’s schedule? 
When Nathalia was recruiting last year and we were living in different cities we used to make the most out of her school breaks to talk to each other/visit. With recruiting over, we have a great dynamic of helping each other when the other is busy and try to match our schedules to have quality time together, like working out or binge watching our favorite shows. Usually, when she is in class or having group meetings I try to help by taking charge of our meals (we usually cook together) to help her have more free time.


Note: A number of the social activities referenced above took place prior to lockdown and those that have been able to proceed have adjusted to City of Chicago and Chicago Booth guidelines.

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