Wishes to the entire Booth Community and beyond for a Very Happy 2023! What a year 2022 has been! After a disruptive pandemic experience around the world, we finally came back to campus. The Metra trains from the downtown Loop to Harper Center were back to bustling with conversations among Boothies, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and lots of laughter. Exiting the 59th Street University of Chicago station gave us the feeling the wizards must have had leaving the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter Series. Classrooms were infused with intellectual curiosity and the excitement to be back in person. The LEAD retreat returned to Wisconsin to kick off the experience for the incoming 1Ys. Recruiters returned to meet prospective candidates on campus and across different venues in Chicago. And, of course, our co-chairs were back at it to plan to most magical social events to build the community and friendships at Booth. Lastly, the Booth flags were flying high worldwide as Boothies traveled extensively across continents. Here are a few highlights of Chicago Booth last year:
Boothies celebrated as faculty members were honored
It was a normal afternoon on the 10th of October, and most of us were just busy with our schedules when a notification popped up, an e-mail from Dean Madhav Rajan with the subject: “Douglas W. Diamond awarded Nobel Prize.” Some of us started reading up on Professor Douglas to know more about his research and accomplishments but our chests were thumping with Pride, Excitement, and Gratitude, and we pinched ourselves reminding ourselves how blessed we were to be current students at a time like this. Celebrations began the next day as the entire Winter Garden roared with joy for Professor Douglas and some got teary eyed marking this day for life.
A few months later, we heard about Professor Austan Goolsbee leaving us at the start of 2023 to begin his tenure as the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Professor Goolsbee, who previously served as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, has been a favorite on campus for his Platform Competition course. Certainly another exciting piece of news, but this one for some of us a bittersweet twist as current students could no longer bid for his class in the Winter’23 Quarter.
Faculty and leadership continued to seek feedback from students to introduce new courses
This year, we saw two main introductions in our curriculum… 1) Fin-tech oriented courses and 2) Sustainability oriented courses. Our repertoire of fin-tech classes now includes Decoding FinTech, Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, and Web3, and we added three new courses in our Sustainability repertoire including Marketing Strategy (with Sustainability Simulation), The Political Economy of Climate Change, and ESG Reporting and Accountability for Sustainable Businesses. Classmates will put on different decision-making hats as they manage a company in a ‘new sustainability market’ environment as part of the simulation in the newly offered Marketing Strategy course while students will learn the importance of AI and Blockchain as they Decode Fintech in Professor Xiu’s class. “We’re really happy to have fin-tech focused classes finally being introduced at Booth. I have taken the Blockchain/ Cryptocurrencies course last quarter and am now doing the 50-credit course on Decoding FinTech and both have been extremely helpful in my in-semester internship at a Hedge Fund” – Ajay Gundepalli (Second-Year student)
Booth flags captured the community as they traveled across continents
Travel was back as COVID-19 restrictions eased. We started this year with a bang during Spring Break as 300+ first-year students traveled to Columbia while second-years traveled to different locations such as Israel, Morocco, and Patagonia. During the summer, Boothies went across Europe including the mighty Oktoberfest followed by picking our adventures during Thanksgiving and hiking in Phoenix, cultural experiences in Mexico, taking in wonders of the world across Egypt-Jordan, and siesta in the Caribbean. But the expedition of the year was saved for the last month as 30 Boothies hiked Mount Kilimanjaro.
Expansion of the Chicago Booth brand
One of the unique experiences of the Booth MBA is the ability for Full-Time and Part-Time MBA students to interact, learn, and build a broader community with each other through our combined classes and social interactions. Booth bolstered its footprint in London with a sprawling 43,000 square-foot campus to house the Executive MBA Europe Program, non-degree Executive Education classes, conferences, and seminars. The London campus will now be the base of operations for the EMEA region. It was a landmark event for Chicago Booth as it underlined our recognition as the first US business school with two campuses in non-US locations. There’s also a campus in Hong Kong, which allows the school to build a strong establishment for the EMBA program in EMEA and APAC regions. Professor Raghuram Rajan, the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, will be the first Global Faculty in Residence in London during the Spring Quarter of 2023.
Pushing boundaries in Entrepreneurship
Our institution has always been proud of its financial and economic prowess, but this year also marked fabulous news for Booth alums who embarked on entrepreneurial journeys under the foundation of the Polsky Center. Chicago-based Foxtrot (retail and e-commerce store, launched in ’14 by an alumnus of the New Venture Challenge) raised $100M from investors including D1 Capital Partners. The Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize, totaling $665,000 in investment, was awarded to OrisDX, a venture that seeks to help alleviate the burden of cancer morbidity globally through greater access to non-invasive diagnostics and screening resulting in early detection of head and neck cancers. And two-time UChicago Startup Investment Program recipient Kin Insurance, which is changing the way consumers think of the home insurance industry, raised $145M in debt financing. Additionally, Tally Technologies, a startup that automates credit-card payments (founded by Jasper Platz and Jason Brown ,’19 alums) raised $80M from key investors including Sway Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Also, Mindful Care (same-day mental health startup, winner of NVC ’18) raised $7M with investors including Sopris Capital and UChicago.
2022 has been a memorable year at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business but as an institution and community, we keep on pushing boundaries, walking into uncharted territories, and questioning the status quo. That’s what defines us and we look forward to an (even more) path-breaking 2023.