This winter, London Business School (a partner school to Booth and one of the most prestigious MBA programs in Europe) welcomed 13 Booth students. The cohort included second year students Sri Sridhar and Tanvi Sinha, who partnered up to share about their academic and social adventures with The Booth Experience.
Academics Abroad – Sri Sridhar
When applying to Chicago Booth as a prospective student, I was particularly interested in the International Business Exchange Program (IBEP) where Boothies spend one quarter studying abroad and enjoy an unparalleled experience in terms of academics, social life, travel, and adventure. Considering the impact of globalization, I felt that today’s business leaders are required to be adept at managing multinational organizations. The IBEP program serves as an excellent opportunity to learn about business from a foreign perspective and network outside the Booth community, while representing Chicago Booth globally. So when I learnt that I had been accepted to study at London Business School (LBS) along with 12 other Boothies, I was thrilled!
Despite some setbacks and uncertainties due to Covid, I felt extremely fortunate that the IBEP program did take place. I think most Boothies would have used any opportunity to avoid “Chiberia” during the Winter quarter!
Upon arriving at LBS, I was truly amazed to see the reputation Chicago Booth enjoyed outside the USA. Professors used teaching material prepared by Prof. Kaplan for entrepreneurship classes, my Advanced Corporate Finance professor recommended readings by Booth professors, and LBS students immediately recognized the Chicago Booth brand and considered it synonymous with academic rigor. Some faculty members from Chicago Booth also teach at LBS. I was able to take advantage of that by taking “Social Media and Internet Marketing” by Prof. Mohan who serves as Adjunct Professor of Marketing at both Chicago Booth and LBS.
While the data-driven approach of Chicago Booth is most recognized for developing quantitative skills, I found the classes I took here at LBS helped me advance my qualitative skills. One particular class, “Strategies for Growth and Transformation” focuses on how some firms experienced exponential growth but suddenly declined and struggled to maintain market share. Case discussions involve understanding how growth can be revitalized and how leadership can motivate employees to transform the business. The cases are written by Prof. Vermeulen who uses his past interviews (with firms) and experience (as management consultant) to share his insight and prompt discussion. This class helped provide a qualitative insight into real world scenarios that many MBA students may face as they progress in their careers.
My time at LBS helped provide a fresh perspective into business and commerce. It offered a unique chance to work with people from different cultures and values, thereby prompting me to challenge my existing assumptions and hypotheses. I also got an opportunity to present a TedX talk at LBS whilst representing Chicago Booth—something I wouldn’t have ever imagined prior to this experience. The chance to participate in the IBEP program is truly one of a kind. It has helped my professional goals and has also allowed me to represent the Booth brand globally—something I am very grateful for.
Jetsetting with a flexible schedule – Tanvi Sinha
When I had applied to IBEP in the winter of 2021, I didn’t realize that I would be patting myself on the back a year later. The exchange quarter at LBS has been a key highlight of my Booth experience.
As someone who wanted to optimize for both learning from some of the amazing professors at LBS and traveling in Europe, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of flexibility LBS offered. The students could bid on classes that run over 10 weeks (like Booth), 5 weeks or 1 week (called Block Week), while keeping the total number of contact hours the same across these formats. I was fortunate enough to be in two of the classes that Sri mentioned earlier, and I agree with her in that these classes provided a very strong base for enhancing our qualitative skills.
The student community at LBS is extremely diverse with ~90% international students, bringing in rich perspectives and experiences. Almost all the student groups on campus are free for the students to join, making it easy for everyone to experience a variety of cultures and traditions. LBS receives a large cohort of exchange students every quarter and does a phenomenal job in making everyone feel welcome and part of the LBS community. Apart from the official events organized by the school, our cohort had a weekly time set up for a happy hour to catch up on London stories and travel adventures.
During my exchange quarter at LBS, I got the opportunity to travel to 11 countries and experience things that I had never done before, such as, scotch tasting in Scotland, skiing in the Swiss Alps, traveling with people I had met a day before, among others. The most exciting part of these trips was that no two were with the same group of people, making these the perfect avenue to get closer to exchange students at LBS and other Boothies participating in exchange programs across Europe.
As I prepare to go back to Chicago, I take with myself the memories I made in the classes at LBS, the mixers organized by the LBS exchange committee, the get-togethers planned by the exchange students, and the cities I traveled to with friends, both old and new.