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Chicago Booth requires applicants to submit three essays.
1. The Admissions Committee is interested in learning more about you on both a personal and professional level. Please answer the following (maximum of 300 words for each section):
a. Why are you pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life?
b. Define your short and long term career goals post MBA.
c. What is it about Chicago Booth that is going to help you reach your goals?
d. RE-APPLICANTS ONLY: Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? 2. Chicago Booth is a place that challenges its students to stretch and take risks that they might not take elsewhere. Tell us about a time when you took a risk and what you learned from that experience (maximum of 750 words). 3. At Chicago Booth, we teach you HOW to think rather than what to think. With this in mind, we have provided you with “blank pages” in our application. Knowing that there is not a right or even a preferred answer allows you to demonstrate to the committee your ability to navigate ambiguity and provide information that you believe will support your candidacy for Chicago Booth.
Essay Question 3 Guidelines
We have set forth the following guidelines:
The content is completely up to you. Acceptable file formats are PowerPoint or PDF. There is a strict maximum of four pages, though you can provide fewer if you choose.
The document will be printed in color and added to your file for review; therefore, flash, hyperlinks, embedded videos, music, etc. will not be viewed by the committee. You are limited to text and static images to convey your points.
The file will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation.
Files need to be less than 9 megabytes in order to upload. If your file is too large you may save your file as a PDF and upload your essay.
Chicago Booth requests two letters of recommendations. The recommender should know you well and offer specific examples of performance and contributions to the organization. Further, the content and substance is more important than the title of the recommender.
One professional recommendation from a supervisor. A letter from a current supervisor is preferred. If you work for a family business or you own your own company, the letter should be from a client or a bank that does business with you.
There is no preference for source of second letter of recommendation. The second letter should add new and valuable insights to your application. The letter can be professional in nature or from an organization, club or volunteer project with which you are associated.
Other Guidelines: (a) Evaluate the applicants strengths, (b) Recommend areas of development (including efforts taken by the applicant to show improvement), (c) Evaluate team skills and leadership ability (d) Evaluate the applicant's initiative, curiosity and motivation. (e) Any other matters we should know.
Daily Campus Visit Program This is an informal half-day program. You may sit in on a class, attend an Admissions information session, get a tour of the Charles M. Harper Center, and have lunch with current students.
Chicago Booth Live These are full-day events held on a Friday and allow to you to spend a day as a Chicago Booth student. You will engage students and faculty in the classroom, and meet new friends at a reception called "Liquidity Preference Function."
Directions to Campus The campus is located minutes away from downtown Chicago. Visitors can travel using a cab, bus, or train. Allow 30 - 45 minutes for parking.
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid The University of Chicago Booth School of Business 5807 South Woodlawn Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60637 Tel: 773.702.7369 Fax: 773.702.9085 admissions@ChicagoBooth.edu
There are five major components that make up the core curriculum: foundation, breadth, general management, leadership, and electives.
Foundation courses focus on developing analytical tools and knowledge that support the rest of the curriculum.
Breadth courses cover the functional activities of business management and the environment in which firms operate.
General Management examines the concepts and techniques required for effective management.
Leadership training is the only required class. All students must take Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD), where they'll work on key management skills such as negotiation, team-building, and giving feedback.
Flexible Curriculum: Only one mandatory class called Leadership Effectiveness and Development that focuses on management skills such as negotiation, team-building, and giving feedback.
On the Curriculum:
Students have tremendous amount of control over their educational experience which I think is empowering and important because this free choice centric is based on the fact that we’re bringing in adults who have experience in the work force, who understand their life’s goals and our job is to help them get there but not to dictate how they get there.
Finance and economics are most popular areas of concentration. Entrepreneurship is the second most popular.
Setting yourself apart: Self awareness is key to setting yourself apart in a competitive pool. Understanding your unique history and how that has shaped choices and plans is critical.
Essays: Through essays, Booth attempts to not only understand how well an applicant writes, but how effectively they can convey thoughts and opinions.
GMAT and GPA are important predictors of academic success. A mixed academic performance can be offset by a high GMAT score (along with an explanation of the variability in performance).
There are no minimum work experience requirements. However, most candidates have at least two years of experience at enrollment. On average, students with two to nine years of experience are a great match for the Full Time MBA program.
Choice is what distinguishes Chicago Booth from other schools. While Booth deos have a core curriculum requirement, the order, level of difficulty and teaching method is up to the student. Thus, students may design an program that builds upon their prior experience and education to give them the tools they need.
4000 positions are posted and 7000 on campus interviews are conducted for internships and full time positions each year.
Some common applicant mistakes include silly mistakes such as not changing the name of schools from one application to the next and not answering required questions. The bigger mistakes include failing to understand themselves or the schools well enough to explain how they are a fit for Booth.
An Archetypal Chicago Booth Student: Proactive, curious about the world, compelled to ask questions and explore alternatives.
In monitoring the discussion forums, talking with Booth applicants on the road, and meeting prospective students here on campus, the Admissions team is often reminded of the misconceptions prospective students have about the Chicago Booth admissions process. The Admissions Committee finally attempts to de-bunk the top 10 myths!
Myth 1: The GMAT is the most important part of the application.
There is no one admissions requirement that is more important than the other. While the results of your GMAT exam are important to us, they are by no means the only tool we use to make an admissions decision. The GMAT score is not a "make or break" item. At Chicago Booth, our application process is a holistic one in which the Admissions Committee attempts to learn all about you in order to determine a fit between you and Chicago that goes above and beyond your GMAT score.
Myth 2: A campus visit is a must if you expect to be admitted.
Myth 3: It's impossible to be admitted during Round 3.
Booth does in fact accept students in Round 3. Round 2 sees the greatest number of applications and since we fill spots in the program as we progress through the Rounds, there will naturally be fewer spots left for Round 3 applicants. The best advice is to apply when you believe that you can turn in the application that you're most proud of that best reflects your strengths and talents. However, we do encourage our international students to consider applying by Round 2 in an attempt to avoid potential hassles in obtaining a student visa prior to the start of classes.
Myth 4: You must have a minimum GPA or GMAT score and have 5 years of work experience to be considered for admission.
This is an easy one; there are no minimums for these factors! Anyone who has or will obtain a bachelor's degree and can report a GMAT score is eligible to apply for admission to Chicago. You can view our class profile online to see some statistics for the class of 2009.
Myth 5: An interview with a staff member will increase your chances of admission more than an interview with a student or alum.
Regardless of who your interviewer may be, the feedback is valuable and is weighed equally in each and every case. Each year, we rely heavily on our alumni all over the world to conduct interviews with applicants. The same holds true for students here at the Harper Center and those who may be studying abroad. These two groups, each member of which has been carefully trained, conduct the vast majority of interviews. At times, the Admissions staff will also conduct interviews in certain locations.
Myth 6: The earlier you submit your application before the deadline, the earlier your interview invitation will come. The interview invitation process lasts a few weeks for each round as our staff and graduate assistants read and review thousands of applications. The process of inviting applicants to interview is entirely random, and the point at which you hear from us is not a reflection on the strength of your application or the timeframe in which you submitted it - we promise! And we really do extend interview invitations all the way up until 9:00 am on the mid-decision date!
Myth 7: If you were not a Business major, you are at a great disadvantage in the admissions process. Students who apply to and enroll at Chicago Booth come from a variety of backgrounds with respect to their undergraduate studies. In fact, 34% of the class of 2009 had a liberal arts background. We are always excited by the unique experiences that each student's education brings to the community at Chicago.
Myth 8: Chicago Booth prefers applicants from finance and consulting backgrounds. We value diversity in all its forms, including career industry. Many of our applicants come from finance or consulting backgrounds; but many more have work experience in other industries, including military service, marketing, education, retail, and non-profit work, just to name a few. It's not what you do that matters - it's how you do it and the experience you'll bring to the classroom and study groups.
Myth 9: The Admissions Committee members only read the first essay in the application - they disregard the rest. Our staff, including our Admissions Fellows, reads each and every essay, recommendation letter and transcript that crosses our desks. This makes for a great deal of work but we're committed to putting together the best possible class and to do so, we feel we need to get to know each applicant well. This process is a part of what makes Chicago Booth a unique place. You've worked hard to submit your application, and we appreciate that effort.
Myth 10: A letter of recommendation from the CEO of my company/a Booth alum I met once/the Governor/the President of the United States is better than getting one from a supervisor or colleague who knows me well.
Choose your recommenders carefully! Letters of recommendation are a crucial part of the admissions process and while you may be tempted to impress the admissions committee with the connections you've made, you'll want to work with someone who knows you and your accomplishments, talents and skills well. Your current or former supervisor and a colleague or client who can speak at length about your value to your company or organization is a much better choice than someone who may have an impressive title, but little insight into you as a person or future Chicago Booth student.
Linda Abraham: Hello, my name is Linda Abraham and I am the founder of accepted.com and the moderator of today’s chat. First, I want to welcome all applicants to the Q&A today, and I want to congratulate you for taking this time to learn more about Chicago's Booth School of Business. It is critical for the decision-making process and your admissions chances that you know as much as you can about the schools you’re applying to. Being here today allows you to ask experts about these processes.
I also want to give a special welcome to Kurt Ahlm, Senior Director of Admissions at Chicago Booth, and to Julie Morton, the Associate Dean of Career Services at Chicago Booth. Thanks to everyone for joining. This is your chance to ask the questions that are important to you. About applying, about re – applying, about Admissions policies and of course about career opportunity at Chicago Booth, but I’m going to take advantage of my position as a moderator and ask the first question. So, to both Kurt and Julie, what’s new at Chicago Booth?
Kurt Ahlm: That’s actually a lot new in Chicago Booth as to we just appointed a new Dean. Sunil Kumar comes to us from Stanford. He's going to start in January so that’s one obviously big new thing that’s happening and absolutely bringing a lot of other new things. To be candid, from an admissions perspective and just I think from a school perspective, I think really what’s been new in the past couple of years is we've just been really trying to get out there. We’ve been and really give people greater access and greater understanding in what Booth can provide. I think for a lot of people what seems like new things happening in Chicago is really pretty much business as usual, but I think the way we’re promoting the program and talking about areas like marketing and entrepreneurship and strategy in general management, a lot of things that Chicago hasn’t got the attention from in the past is now becoming just more common knowledge. So, I think that, at least from my perspective, what’s being perceived as new is really just stronger messages out there about the institution.
Julie Morton: Yes, I think from a career prospective, the exciting news for us is that the economy appears to be picking up. Certainly not a dramatic turnaround by any means, but it's definitely more robust than what we’ve seen for the last couple of years, which is great news and a good new development from our perspective. One of the things that we’ve seen sort of gradually is a real diversity of student interest from our career perspective, and related to that, a real broadening of where our students are going in terms of jobs. I think part was frankly driven by the economy - as the economy tanked, especially in areas where Chicago Booth is particularly well-known, such as the financial services field on Wall Street, certain students certainly looked more broadly, but I think that the change is really more profound than that. I think students have really started to look beyond the traditional MBA hirers for potential opportunities because of their interest in their foci.
One of the things that we’ve been able to do which has been great is we’ve got such a great team of people doing player outreach. There are soon to be seven of us on the team who really focus on that and we've been able to really cover the world from a geographic prospective and through that, combined with students broadening of interest, we've been able to make some really nice headway in a new geographic market and also new functions in industries which is a great new development. And then of course the biggest news on campus is that 579 new first years have arrived for their first day of orientation which was last Tuesday so that's big news.
Kurt Ahlm: Yes.
Linda Abraham:: Great, thank you very much. I'd like to follow up with a question for both of you. It has been recently reported that MBA's are increasingly interested in marketing as a post-MBA goal and as an area of study during their MBA. Chicago of course is famous for its strength in finance. What does it offer someone interested in marketing, for example?
Kurt Ahlm: Sure, so, just as something to point people in a direction in terms of a great resource, in terms of learning about marketing at Chicago Booth is – so we have a lot of academic centers here. They were originally put in place to provide greater opportunities to bring in additional research, maintain faculty within the field and they are truly academic centers. A lot of them have evolved and do a lot of student programming. One in particular is called the Kilts Center, named after James Kilts, former CEO of Gillette. Anyway, Chicago has always had a very strong marketing program but obviously it's easy to bucket programs when we're located just 12 miles south of another phenomenal program, Kellogg. And at least in the Chicagoland area and certainly a more global perspective has been that one's known for marketing, the other one's known for finance and I think, now that people have begun to dig a little bit deeper and as schools begin to really promote "fit" a lot more in terms of culture and recognizing schools can provide really good academic opportunities, both of us are becoming more known for a broader range of options.
So, the thing distinctive I think about Chicago in terms of our approach is Chicago has always had a very strong focus on analytics and really understanding how the quantitative elements - I don’t want it to be perceived as just number crunching but really how analytics, including some of the quantitative metrics, really help people to become better informed as marketers. So how do you leverage data, how do you really think about some of these quantitative and analytical measures to really better informed decision-making in the marketing field, right? And, I think, Chicago has had the propensity of really, through a flexible curriculum in terms of discipline-based approach to allow people not only a wide range of opportunity in the classes that they take, but it really has strong bases for understanding problems, dissecting down to the roots and making very effective decisions. So there's sort of this, again, "routine" here of a good thinking about marketing, not just necessarily in a creative sense so, how do this brand come to life in the market place, but really how do you define brand, how do you define segmentation, how do you really define the way your consumers behave, and how they will operate within the market place. And I think that’s the routine here in Chicago. It's very comprehensive, again, very analytical.
And the courses range, you know, anything from integrated marketing communications or something like advertising science, the things like data driven marketing, which is very heavy on the research side. But the blend of marketing classes combined with a lot of the things that Kilts offers which has things like managing labs to bringing companies into classroom settings where students can get real-world practical experience and they provide mentoring opportunities so, if as a marketing student, you want to be mentored by an alum – you have those opportunities. You have scholarship opportunities. So, there are a lot of things that Kilts helps to do that facilitate that marketing element here. So, you get really the best of both worlds. Network options outside the classroom and really sort of that in-depth analytical look at curriculum.
And the last thing I want to say is the beauty about Chicago and not just in terms of marketing but any sort of concentration you decide to pursue is, you know, because Chicago doesn't adhere to the strict core curriculum. We have a lot of flexibility, it's provided. You can start taking elective-based course work immediately at Booth. So, if you’re somebody who’s really interested in marketing but maybe doesn't have a great perspective of what it is to be a brand manager and just think you know, you have the option to start taking courses immediately, so you can take marketing strategy, you can take data driven marketing. You could do a lot of different things to give you that perspective and set you up very nicely to do internship in that field. So, for a lot of people who are career changers, you have the opportunity to begin to tailor-make your MBA early on to set you up, not only understanding the field at a much earlier level but putting you in the position to be more competitive for internships.
How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?
When: I started thinking about MBA around May 2004. My company has a program through which it sends some employees to Top MBA programs and by that time my manager said he would indicate me if I could get the min GMAT the company asks for. I studied for the GMAT and got 670 (which would be fine by that time, right now they ask for 700), but during the process another opportunity came and I preferred by that time to postpone the MBA. In the beginning of 2007 I realized that it was time to re-start.
What: Finance, Finance, and Finance, with a General Management perspective. Although an engineering undergrad, I've always worked in Banking, passing through several different areas. However, I considered - and sometimes consider - switch to consulting, but related to finance industry.
Where: Here things get complicated, originally, as I am already an AD, I though about doing an EMBA, and I researched in Europe: LBS, Chicago, INSEAD, IESE and IMD, during my research I came across to LBS’s MiF program, and almost decided to go for it. Later, talking to my bank's CFO, he persuaded me to attend a FT program, he believed that at part time one, I wouldn't get 100% from work and from the program; I decided to follow his suggestion, and decided that I wanted to improve my “soft skills” and not only the analytical ones, so it would be a FT program. I made an initial list to research: Europe: LBS, Oxford, Cambridge, IESE, and INSEAD; Uncle Sam’s land: Chicago, Kellogg, MIT, HBS, Wharton, Cornell, Columbia, NYU, Ross, Tuck, Darden, Duke, UCLA, Stanford, Haas.
Later talking to my wife, we decided that I'd only try on metropolitan region. Thus, because of location I crossed out: Oxford, Cambridge, Cornell, Ross, Tuck, Darden and Duke. INSEAD was still "surviving" as it was very close to Paris, and as my wife is an artist, I don't need to explain you anymore, hehehe.
So 2nd list: LBS, IESE, INSEAD, Chicago, Kellogg, MIT, HBS, Wharton, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, Stanford, and Haas. INSEAD here doesn’t fit, right, and so I thought, I wanted a 2 years program, not because I’m a slowly learner, but because I wanted to get a 2 years experience. So INSEAD crossed.
After some more research UCLA and Kellogg were out. So I got as my final initial list: LBS, Chicago, MIT, HBS, Wharton, CBS, NYU, Stanford and Haas – 9 schools, but I would apply to 7 at most.
I decided that I’d take the GMAT before and think more about this list later. After the GMAT, I went to as many info sessions and talked to as many Alumni I could. I decided not to apply to HBS, as I felt I didn’t belong there. Also I decided that I would go for GSB and MIT R1, as I thought R2 for GSB would be extremely competitive and MIT has only 2 rounds, so better on Round 1. As I don’t know if CBS is my first option I decided Columbia RD. Wharton and Stanford would be my R2 schools, because I didn’t have time to prepare good essays for R1 as I spent much time with GSB’s slide question. I decided that if not accepted at GSB – which by previous years the outcome would be before Xmas, I’d try NYU, and LBS, completing my 7 schools. But after the effort I put on my GMAT – fortunately the outcome was good - I decided that 5 would be maximum shots, and after working on GSB essays, and viewing that this year “copy & paste” wasn’t an option, I started seeing that I’d be exhausted if I got to 7 applications. It was very hard and demanding to conciliate the whole application process with my work, especially after July when Subprime started to spread the panic.
The decision: After GSB admittance, I decided to drop my application to Wharton, and that my last application would be Stanford. GSB has always been on “my lists”, no matter what the criteria, so it’s one of my dream schools. For the other schools I am still in the process, MIT I think it’s a perfect fit in terms of school’s philosophy; faculty is extraordinary, also the brand is as good as it gets for ex-engineering students. CBS is a great school, within a great location, I was just afraid with costs of living in NYC, I have some friends who graduated there and all of them loved their time. Stanford: a long shot; if I get an interview there I’d be happy. But with its <7% admittance rate, my perspectives are as everyone else’s.
Summary: Mission accomplished, I’ve already gotten into one of my dream schools, the process was very demanding, from the time I started studying for IELTS and TOEFL (Jan to March 2007), re-studying for the GMAT (April to September 2007) to writing the essays. I really think that those who can make more than 4 applications are heroes, after Stanford, I was exhausted, perhaps because I still need to improve my English skills, perhaps because Stanford is the hardest application package. One thing that in my process was very hard to handle, was the Letters of Reference, my manager is a very busy man, and I think I got really close to piss him of, for those who are planning to apply next year: take care of your recommenders. My whole process took more than 1 year, and fortunately I was admitted before 2008, otherwise I’d still be writing many more essays.
I was after interview admitted to MIT. and at CBS, I got the interview but was dinged afterwards, perhaps my honesty wasn't enough for them as I mentioned during the interview "if I get all schools I'm applying to I'm going to Stanford" - they thought I was a Stanford material, though Stanford didn't even give me an interview...
I had a trip planned to USA, to visit MIT, SF, NYC and Chicago, 3 days before taking off I received CBS's denial, so I really went to visit the other 3 schools. I loved my time in Boston with plenty of snow, students were amazing and I could see me living there, I was pretty confused, as before I was 60/40 to Chicago. After AdMIT weekend I was kind of 50/50 again.
Then I visit the Bay area. San Francisco is a very charming city and the weather is very similar to that here in Lisbon, I really liked the city, and Stanford Campus is amazing.
NYC is NYC, nothing else to say! Even though dinged by CBS, I decided that my application fee would turn into a class (actually a friend of mine who's attending Columbia did), and I went there to get to know the University, and attended a class.
Then Chicago. I was completely thrilled by GSB, by the city, by the people. During GSB's events we heard so many times: "if you're deciding among top 10 schools, go with your gut, it doesn't matter too much where you end up, all these schools are strong, amazing, and will lead you to where you want as long as you work for that". And my gut told me to go there. Off course that If have gotten into Stanford I would have rethought this, and probably would have decided for Stanford; however, after my visit to Chicago I was 95% certain that Chicago was the place I wanted to be.
Later with Stanford's denial, talking to some more friends and especially to my wife, I decided to attend GSB. Now with my VISA settled, leaving work in a week, all I want is to get some sleep in July, I know that when things start it will get pretty hectic.
I'd like to thank everybody here for inputs, helps, criticisms, jokes, etc. You guys are amazing.
Adam: So, what did you learn during your first year at Booth? Booth2010: First year is mainly getting core classes done (Accounting, Microeconomics, Statistics) to be able to take more advanced classes. Form a study group for each class, and learn to study together - collaborating in a team. Time management skill is critical since time flies and there are so many things you need to do. Corporate presentations, mini-presentations at lunch hours (lunch box provided), student groups, lectures of your areas of interest, study group, and social events apart from hours you spend on actually studying the material. MBA is very much about 50% intensive studying and 50% intensive job-hunting. You will need to manage time every minute if not, you will pile up things to do - so it is crucial to prioritize and allocate your time realistically. It helps to know your focus area of interest/industry/job function you want to pursue and keep current with what's going on in other end of recruitment - this year, due to economic hardship, many I-bank jobs were gone, and those who were aiming for I-bank jobs flooded into consulting and corporate finance jobs, while job opportunities itself diminished in number. It is also crucial to develop your network to create a pipeline for a potential position so that people may want to interview you for a position when available.
Adam: What part of the program have you liked the most? The least? Booth2010: I liked the fact that the program offered breadth and freedom of choice in courses, yet according to the class requirements, you have certain fixed path until you claim the concentration. Study group is formed in most of the classes. Professors and TAs allocate enough time for office hours.
There was a program change since 2009: 3 Foundations areas of Accounting, Microeconomics and Statistics remain the same, 6 courses – One course in six of seven categories representing Functions (Finance, Marketing, and Operations), Management (Decisions, People, and Organizations), and the Environment in which firms operate (Macroeconomics and Global Institution and Political Economy) replaces the requirement to take four Breadth requirements and two General Management requirements (A and B). 11 electives, unchanged from the existing curriculum. Leadership requirement now applied to all (Full-time/Part-time/Evening) programs. There are some more changes, so I recommend you to read Booth homepage well and do not depend on past information so much. Basically school added even more flexibility to the program.
About the LEAD program, it is a very much a bond creating, fun program that focuses on your personality and development of team spirit and leadership. When you become 2nd year, you have a chance to become LEAD facilitator for cohort, with which you can develop/demonstrate leadership (and can write on your resume), as well as good presentation practice. Also, other forms of mentoring/mentee opportunities are abundant.
Some professors with less experience and low evaluation scores are to be avoided - it makes a difference. I also had to work extra to understand a professor who used slang a lot - but if asked they will listen to your needs/request.
Adam: How would you describe the culture of Booth? Booth2010: Supportive-competitive. It is not too individualistic as I imagined before - staff are supportive, and professors will make sure you understand the subject. Social events are abundant and you only need to sign up. Most of the students live in downtown, and it is far from Hyde Park where the school is, and you develop social circle at where you are based at.
Alumni are very approachable and mostly helpful if contacted. Booth has presence in major industries but not all - so if you are going for industry like healthcare, you might need to find Alumni to reach out for potential opportunities and inquiries.
Career track and classes you take divide your path - and you never see some faces throughout year, which probably makes Chicago different from other schools with core classes where everyone sits in the same class for the first year.
Adam: Do you actually have any time for clubs? If so, which ones are you active in? Booth2010: Clubs activities are mostly during lunch time and I found it difficult to go to those since most of the times there are some sort of lecture during lunch time, or I just wanted to prepare for classes. I am a member of the Healthcare Club in which we share info or organize conferences - also, some cultural group have frequent outings. Occasional communal events help to get back in touch with classmates you rarely see otherwise. It is crucial to have a membership and get your resume out in certain club's resume book to increase exposure to firms. Membership fees amounts to a lot, so select wisely.
Adam: Are there any common characteristics you find amongst your classmates? Booth2010: Hard working, independent self-starters, as most of all MBAs. I find many people have strong finance background - I found others are a bit of minority. However, we have diverse people of various backgrounds, like advertised at MBA fairs - it is true. Very international - many students from India is what I notice at most classes - South Americans are next, East Asia, then rest of Europe, Middle East. International Connection helps especially in times of recruitment.
Adam: How has the financial crisis impacted life at Booth? Booth2010: Impact is clear - many companies reduced their booth area or did not even come to Boston Career Forum - many students choose plan B (ex. IB to consulting). School wide, many people are having difficulty securing internship and full-time job. I heared rumor at some point in April that 50% of 1st years were without internship (should have improved) and 40% of 2nd years without full-time job. (In September, I learned more than 90% had internship, paid and non-paid) Career services have been trying very hard to reach out for Alumni for job opportunities and they have launched a portal specific for that purpose. VC, Investment Managements are now very invisible, and many multinational firms terminated sponsoring visas for internationals. There are some internship opportunities created by school - working for projects. Economy seemingly boosted international students intake - as far as I heard from other students, number of acceptance doubled in many international countries - China, Japan, and France - so it should be a good time to apply, for international students, however loan situation is not any better.
Class of 2011 is the biggest in history, reflecting the economy crisis and choices people made accordingly. While, recruiting is not picking up very quickly.
Recruitment has been hit by cost cutting - less companies are flying to have session, some just canceled the program.
Adam: Do you have any specific advice for those considering application to Booth? Booth2010: Booth is not only finance - also strong in consulting marketing and other areas. If you look at job stats on school website you will verify that. Corporate sponsorship helps. They do care about creative essays. Campus visit helps especially if you meet Adcom and make impression. Also, especially if you know specific companies you want to target to apply in US, it is good idea to research which schools they target to recruit - some firms target not exactly based on school rankings, but geographic proximity. It impacts your candidacy for the company.
Some companies recruit at Booth, and not at Kellogg, and some do at Kellogg, and not at Booth. Of course being a student at their target school improves your chance to be hired, since corporate HR's job is also to maintain School-Company relationship. It does make a difference in the end.
Adam: Anything else you would like to tell us? Booth2010: Two years are big investment in your life. Choose your school well - considering location, program, etc. It helps to have great friends who can support you.
The name DOES open doors and it does command respect
So lets talk about the flexible curriculum a bit. The school really sucks at selling this. Two reasons. First, they lie about how flexible it is. Second, even though they lie, they still forget to mention why what IS true is actually interesting.
So, first off, raise your hand if you've heard "There's only one class required at booth!". Ok you can all put your hands down now, cause that's not true. Reality is here.
Sure, LEAD is the only required class (if you can even call it that) -- but you DO have to take classes among the foundations and functions.
What that means is that you will have to take an accounting course, you will have to take a microeconmics course and you do have to take a stats course. As far as I'm concerned, getting to pick between Accounting I and Accounting II isn't flexible.
So lets say there are 4 required courses.
Nevertheless, the flexible curriculum IS cool. Here's why:
First, you get to know 2nd year students during your 1st year. This is good for a number of reasons. They know how to manage the reqruiting process and they provide a lot of great insights / help / cover letter reviews etc. They are also likely teh very people who will be reading your cover letter for the FT job in a year, so being friends with the new associate at company X certainly doesn't hurt. Third, if they end up in your study group, they know how to 'play the game' and have figured out how to prioritize tasks so that you dont' feel overwhelmed. This is a pretty big perk -- because honestly, without it, you aren't going to get to know 2nd years that easily. Second, its flexbile not just in what kind of classes you take (e.g. I dont want to take that, I'll take this) but also in what order you take them in. That's cool. For instance, if you plan on recruiting for banking but havent a clue about finance, its nice that you can jump right into investments in your first quarter rather than have to be stuck taking accounting first. That helps when it comes time to interview because now you actually know *something* relevant to the subject. Similarly, if you plan on going into marketing, take marketing your first quarter and worry about takign statistics later. In fact, some people dont' do accounting until their LAST quarter on campus. (yes, accounting is that boring) Third, the flexibility means you can have a kick ass schedule. Only want classes monday and tuesday ? Thats doable -- in fact, my final quarter at Booth I had that schedule. What a beautiful schedule -- no class Wed, Thurs or Fri. World's longest weekends. Its also helpful if you want to find a part time job (as some peopel do) because you can actually work two full 8 hour days if you want (and a number of people do in PE and VC) Fourth, even the same classes -- say, introductory economics, are taught by different professors with different styles. One professor might prefer team oriented work like a final report while the other might be a more traditional midterm and final. Hate math? Don't take the one with the midterm and final. Hate teamwork? Try it with professor Y. Prefer a class that has no midterm at all? Take professor Z. Or if you want a class with 70% of your grade determined by homework? Try professor Q. Etc. You can really pick what YOU like and what YOu want. Fifth, you can combine classes to craft a schedule that works. If class A is going to be heavy on reading, then dont' take two other heavy reading classes at the same time - combine a case-heavy class with a non-case based course. Combine a teamwork intensive class with one thats more individually focused.
You put this altogether and you get a VERY flexible curriculum that really lets you take what you want, when you want, with what professor you want. (I got all the courses I ever bid on). So thats a big pro at Booth. The school talks about it, but again I think they just don't do a great job of selling that.
Taking Classes Outside Booth
Some of the other related perks here is that you can take classes outside of Booth if you want (e.g. intensive chinese if you are a masochist) -- some people take classes in the law school as well (e.g. private equity law). I'm told the law school is crazy and its awful, but you can do it if you want. Similarly, you can take two classes pass fail and have them count towards your graduation requirements. Thats cool. Either because you can take something you know will be hard and just pass fail it, or because you can lighten the stress of a quarter you otherwise knew was going to be tough.
The name does open doors. I imagine thats pretty obvious -- but it really does. I like how when you mention you went to Chicago people's eyebrows go up -- they immediately assume you are smart (unless you are a PT who asks a corporate recruiter about consulting, then they and I both think you are an idiot).... and the cachet and almost 'table stakes' assumption about you is certainly a nice perk.
First, there's really very little competition here. Sure, there are those people who *care* more about their grades and there are those that practically appear to be comatose in class -- and everything in between, but there's hardly a lot of competition. A couple of reasons for this. First, there are far more people who aim for a "B or a C" than people who aim for an "A or A-". So, right out of the gate, that reduces the competitiveness in class pretty substantially.
Second, much of what you do (with the exception of certain courses like accounting) is very team oriented. A lot of these team efforts begin to approach collusion instead of competition. For instance, if you have a 5 person team and say, 10 case writeups to do over teh course of a class, some teams will just say 'ok you do the first 2, i'll do the next 2, etc..' and you just cut your workload in a fifth. Professors don't much encourage that of course, it's sort of cheating the learning process a bit being that the whole idea of team oriented learning is taht you discuss (not that you just divy up the work).
Third, peeople just aren't like that -- its quite common for people to share cheat sheets for final exams ("oh i took that class last quarter, let me give you my cheat sheet for the final") or notes or other resources.
Fourth, and perhaps this should have been first, we have grade non disclosure. IT means that you cannot divulge your GPA to any recruiter until after you graduate. So (and this relates to my first point about most people not aiming for As) there's really very little incentive (outside of your own personal sense of accomplishment) to aim for As. I'm proud of my high honors but other than my parents, I'm not sure anyone cares.
Fifth, it takes EFFORT to get something lower than a C. I don't know of people who have -- although I know they exist. But honestly, you REALLY have to do nothing to get below a C. The overall difficulty of the academics are far overblown.
Sixth, part of it is just being smart -- pick your teammates well. People get reputations as 'idiots' or 'slackers' quickly, and those people won't find themselves in good groups. If on the other hand, you get the opposite reputation you'll find that people you barely know are trying to get you to join their group. Having the pick of the litter makes your life a lot easier. It's not always easy to cut out the weak ones and I've thrown a few really poor performers under a bus which I didn't like to do, but it was the right choice. By the time I got into my second year, I had all of the smartest folks in teh room pairing up on my team - most of whom (if not all) were smarter than I was.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. I was a <3.0 undergrad and I graduated with high honors from Booth. That either means I got smarter in the interim, everyone else got dumber, or people just dont' compete that much on academics. It seems unlikely that either of the first two things happened.
LEAD is arguably the most overhyped utterly useless entirely worthless bag of garbage ever concieved by man. And that's me being polite. In all seriousness, I don't think I could create something more worthless if I tried.
The problems with LEAD are numerous. First, from the get go they tell you take it seriously, but then clearly set it up so that you don't have to. 50% of your "grade" in LEAD is attendance. Soemthing like 25% is just submitting the homework and the remaining 25% is discretionary. Keep in mind that LEAD is just a "pass fail" course. So in other words, if you show up, hand ANYTHING in (even if its a blank piece of paper with teh words 'i hate you' written on it) you've got a 75% in the class. How can you possibly fail? Moreover, how can someone tell you this is a capstone course that you should take seriously when the grading is set up this way?
You might not believe it, but there is always someone who DOES fail LEAD. If you find someone who does, take note -- they are the type of person you dont want in your study group.
To me, thats enough to kill it, but lets continue painting this pig, shall we? Now, a leadership development class, you would presume, would be taught by people with, well, leadership experience. Not so. It's taught by second year students. Now some of these people are impressive, but its hard to take a 22 year old analyst from Merrill seriously when they tell me how to be a CEO. I have undigested meat in my colon thats older than some of these people.
Its a farce of the highest order and one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen. These people know nothing more about leadership than you do, some of them barely have more than a few years experience. Bring in a CEO to talk, or bring in someone who does this stuff for a living. But to purport that a 2nd year is somehow now qualified to teach ethics and leadership is insulting to my intelligence and to theirs. As for crisis management? Seriously? A 25 year old teaching you how to manage life crises? With what? Some 'johari window' or other such crap pulled from some framework? It's the equivalent of my attending swimming lessons at a local pool and then teaching a class on 'how to ditch an airplane in high seas and survive'.
Then there's the mock cases you do that are supposed to represent 'real life' situations...... just kill me now. The real life examples are so far removed from real life, they might as well be taken from the latest harry potter movie. How about this for a nice realistic situation you might find yourself in? *real case*. You play the CEO of a 5B dollar hospital. I play the CFO. Someone else plays the Private Equity buyer. The nurses at the hospital have been giving free medical care to some homeless people and the CEO and CFO are worried that if they sell to the PE buyer they firm will put a stop to it. Is it unethical to withhold that from the buyer? What should they do? Then you get together and pretend to debate it for 30 minutes. The key word here is pretend.... because here's the kicker: everyone already knows everything: everyone has read the same case, and everyone knows each others arguments ahead of time because they are all in the written case, so you just spend half and hour mentally regurgitating out crap you ALREADY KNOW to each other. (You aren't allowed to make up facts).
Worse, they tell you what the supposed personalities of each person are - so if the CEO is supposed to play hard and tough - are you supposed to be hard and tough? What if thats not the type of person you are? They also tell you what point of view you are supposed to argue. What if you don't agree with the supposed point of view you are supposed to take? How will this help you practice your skills by pretending to be someone else and pretending to adopt some viewpoint you don't actually have?
So here's how it goes: Nurse: "But its not that expensive!" (page 2 of case) CFO: "How expensive is it?" Nurse: "Uhm uh I don't know the case doesn't say". CEO: "Well I think its important for our community" (page 3 of case), other guy: "But its bad for our relationship with the PE guy" (page 4 of case)..... Third guy: "Well I don't actually feel this way but I'm supposed to say that I oppose telling the buyer...." (page 5 of case) . CEO: "Yea, ok, well uhm, I disagree) (page 6 of case, except you can tell he doesnt)
As if that didn't render the excercise entirely meaningless already, there's absolutely no evaluation of an outcome. There is never a 'right' answer. It doesn't matter what you decide. They don't even take a tally to see if you all come to a similar decision.
Here's how LEAD Should be. First, don't hand me the exact same case info as everyone else, because thats just retarded. Second, use something realistic. How about this: A member of your study group hasn't been pulling their weight and you arent sure how to deal with it. Or maybe you've started a new job and you arne't happy with your assignment, and want to take on more leadership, how do you handle that? Or maybe your new boss is doing something you are concerned about, who, if anyone do you tell? Now *thats* real, relevant, and unlike becoming the CEO of a fictitious hospital, probably something will happen to you in the next 5 years. Third, make the !(#!(#@ decision matter. In another course I took they actually had each game be zero sum - someone wins, someone looses, and although your grade isn't tied to the outcome you do see z-scores for everyone so you can see how you did.
You want to know who benefits? The people who teach the class - they get to get up in front of an audience 2x a week and practice public speaking, they get a large amount of one-on-one training with a real executive coach (he's older than 25). I honestly believe LEAD exists not for the students in the class but for the people selected to teach it.
so there's another con of the program.
Jobs are a wierd beast -- in some ways its very uncompetitive and in other ways its hypercompetitive. A lot of it frankly, is just PERCEPTION.
On one side of the coin - people do help each other out -- I had an instance where I was walking to an interview and ran into a girl I knew who had just finished her own interview (for the same job). She mentioned to me that I should brush up on concept X and concept Y -- out of her own volition. I ended up with an offer from that company in part thanks to her heads up. I had that kind of thing happen more than once -- I made groups of people to practice cases with and we shared frameworks we developed amongst ourselves. To be completely transparent though, I have to admit that when others asked me for my frameworks, I wouldnt' share them. It's not because I'm competitive but its because I spent hours and hours building them and I wasn't about to just give that work away to people who couldn't be bothered to do it themselves. (I did share them with people I trusted however).
On the other side of the coin - you DO have the people on the other end of the spectrum as well. One guy showed up to a top 3 consulting firm recruiting dinner after having accepted a job offer in banking. Considering banking was his top choice a lot of people wondered why he didn't have the curtesy to cancel and give someone else a chance to go. He said he wanted to keep his options open. People like that don't make great impressions and I promise you it did him far more harm among his peers than it helped him -- he ended up loosing his FT job offer and I doubt a lot of people are going out of their way to help him.
Another fellow came up to me one morning and asked me if I had landed job X. I told him I didn't. He said "I did" and walked away. A few months later over drinks I complimented him by telling him: "I'm glad you got that job. I honestly think you were the better candidate and you seem happy. I know it came down to me and you at the end there and for what its worth, I think they made the right choice." His response? "Oh, I don't think they ever really liked you. I think they were just being nice to you." Another fellow that wasn't much liked to be sure.
These examples are the worst of them though - honestly, people aren't generally like this.
I honestly believe it FEELS more competitive than it is. The recruiting season at Booth (and at any other school) is a stressful time. You balance classes, activities, friends, family and job hunting in a short four or five week timeframe all the while acutely aware of who has what job. Word travels fast -- "Did you hear so and so didnt' get a 2nd round?" or "I heard they are only hiring four people this year" or "I can't believe she got an offer from Goldman, she can barely keep herself from walking into walls." You'll see friends get denied from dream jobs, you'll get 2nd rounds they don't (and feel bad about it) and vica-versa, you'll see some REALLY smart people struggle to find a gig, you'll also see some of the dumbest people you've ever met magically land gigs at top firms. You'll question your interests, etc. Imagine for a moment the stress of your MBA interview and waiting for a decision from the school -- now just repeat that experience a couple dozen times, except this time, if the answer is no, you don't just keep your old job and reapply next year -- this time, if the answer is no, you have no job and you just blew a couple hundred G. It makes the MBA admissions process look like a cake walk.
It's a stressful process and that tends to breed some degree of competition - no one wants to be the person without a job offer while all their friends are sitting on two or three. But that feeling that 'this is it' -- that this is the 'ultimate test', the 'end to all ends' is really more in your own head than anything else.
That stress effects different people in different ways - some people are perfectly content not interviewing on campus and holding out for their dream job till June. Others don't or can't.
So, is it competitive? Maybe. It certainly does feel competitive -- but I don't think thats a function of Booth, I think its just the nature of the game. I imagine you'd feel that stress at Wharton or Kellogg or any other school just as much as you would at Booth.
Now lets talk part timers.
For internships, only FT students can recruit. For full time jobs, PT students (provided they have a certain number of classes and have completed certain training) can recruit. Make no mistake about it, this will piss you off (even if half of them blow their chances within 10 seconds of opening their mouth). There is nothing more infuriating than some guy with a job he may or may-not have any real intention of leaving showing up to a recruiting event and monopolozing the recruiters time. You'll want to punch their lights out more than once.
I got my revenge one night at a recruiting dinner -- I showed up early and dressed business casual. All the part timers always overdo it and showed up in suit and tie. I'm calm and collected and drinking at the bar, and pretty soon I've got a semi-circle of these yahoos around me and frankly id prefer it if they just screwed off and let me finish my drink before the company representatives kicked thigns off. It then dawns on me they think I work for the company, so I turn to one of the guys, look him straight in the eye and say "So, what do you think are the 3 biggest challenges facing our firm over the next five years?" It was the most beautiful deer-in-headlights look I've ever seen. The guy practically crapped himself right then and there. You might think this was mean, but trust me, spend a quarter dealing with PT people showing up to every event you have and you'll be a little mean too.
The point is they are there - they will piss you off. The good thing is that they are generally pretty unpolished when it comes to recruiting and most of them blow their chances immediately.
Example - same night, same dinner. Halfway through the meal, this girl shows up, plops down next to me and apologies for being late. I'm thinking to myself, "Sweetie, 20 minutes is late, an hour into dinner is idiotic." Although she had probably already destroyed her chances, she gracefully stepped on mine after mine from taht point forward. She proceeds to explain that shes late because of "homework" but that she lives in a "really nice apartment just down the street" and that therefore it only took her a "few minutes" to walk over. Great, so you show up halfway through a meal because of homework? Yea, what a winner. As if that wasn't enough, she then interrupts the recruiter (sitting on my left, shes on my right) and proceeds to pepper her with questions. The recruiter, who was quite clearly in the middle of another conversation with the person to her left, is left in an uncomfortable position of trying to manage this. My conversation in the mean time is also cut short as this girl begins to talk across from me. As if this wasn't enough, she then starts to talk about how she's also perhaps interested in consulting (note: this was not a consulting company dinner) and starts asking me if I am thinking about consulting too..... in front of the recruiter. I deflected the question and spent the rest of the night hoping the flambe desert would accidentally set this girl on fire. In the end, the only person to get an offer from that firm was a FT student.
Another PT student recruiting for a consulting gig went to some event and commented to the recruiter "So hows the hiking thing going?". The recruiter was obviously perplexed -- how did this girl know she had started hiking? The rest of us were just confused. Turns out, I later discovered that the recruiter's profile on facebook was set to open and that this girl had basically gone e-stalking. You can bet that girl didn't get an interview.
So, does it make it 'harder' to land a job? I honestly don't know how much of a material difference it is, but it will certainly FEEL like it makes a difference. It helps that they seem to all have the sabotage switch soldered to an 'ON' position though.
If you ask me what the #1 thing that irritated me about Booth is, I'd tell you exactly this. To be fair, this situation isn't limited to just Booth, other schools have similar policies, although I think Booth makes it too easy for PT to show up.
As we close this issue and as you walk away from your Admit Weekend experience, I wanted to share a couple of things with you that I’ve learned during my tenure here at Booth. As a member of the Class of 2012 who started Booth with the Class of 2011 I feel uniquely positioned to impart my sage wisdom and sound advice on those of you future Booth students who will not have had the advantage of an extra year here. So as I wind down my first first year and prepare to enter my second first year, here are a few bits and pieces of insight and advice in no particular order:
Decide sooner than later where you’ll be spending the next two years. I agonized over my decision for as long as possible dragging any and everyone (mailman, neighbor’s nanny, no one was safe) into my vortex of ambivalence and indecision. I always knew deep down where I would end up, and you may too, so just trust your instincts and pull the trigger. Once that’s done you can start wearing your Chicago Booth visor all the time.
Go on a Random Walk. I didn’t go on a Random Walk, but I wish I had – it’s a great way to meet people. If I had gone on a Random Walk I’d like to think that during LOE I would have been part of that private power hour in room 302 instead of quietly sobbing myself to sleep because I’d let the Wisconsin pollen get the best of me.
Travel. When people told me that business school was a great time to travel I thought they were crazy. Well, it may seem counterintuitive to travel extensively when you have no income, but what’s counterintuitive when you’re sitting on a beach in Barbados sipping Pina Coladas?
Stay out of Kovler Café. The money you save on sandwiches and salmon specials will make a difference when it’s trek time. But if you must, go for the taco salad. Life changing.
Write for ChiBus. This one requires no further explanation.
Do something outside of Booth. Getting sucked into the Booth bubble is a lot easier than it looks. In order to stay sane I recommend trying to get involved in something outside of school. Tutoring middle schoolers, joining a bowling league or taking pole dancing lessons, a little bit of outside perspective goes a long way.
Make sure you like your community directory photo. Trust me on this one, that photo will follow you for the next two years, so make sure you send in a photo that highlights your good side.
Don’t worry about your name tent. I haven’t seen mine since September.
Don’t buy Gatorade from the vending machine opposite Kovler. It will get stuck. I will say ‘I told you so.’
Check out the Museum of Science and Industry. Good, clean fun, within walking distance of Harper.
Don’t eat noisy snacks in the quiet study lounge. Those green apples may be free, but they are not a free pass to annoy everyone within spitting (figuratively) distance.
Bring your checkbook. There is an abnormal amount of check writing at Chicago Booth, don’t be that guy with a credit card and a confused look on his face.
The #2 Hyde Park Express is amazing. Just try it.
I could go on, but half the fun is figuring these things out for yourself! Best of luck
Last edited by Praetorian on 02 Nov 2010, 19:24, edited 13 times in total.
I am genuinely torn between the two schools (although Booth gave me a decent scholarship and Kellogg hasn't given me my financial aid award). I am currently a finance attorney, but I am headed to business school to pick up the fundamentals of management (accounting, finance, strategy, managing enterprises, marketing, etc.) to build up a family enterprise (chain of dental specialty centers) and dabble into other entrepreneurial interests. Essentially, my focus is on entrepreneurship.
I think both programs are great, but have different strengths. Based on what I've seen online and in my visits, it seems that Chicago Booth's entrepreneurial scene is more robust and impressive. Kellogg's health care management program, though, is very strong.
Just want to hear your thoughts on this. As of now, I am leaning towards Booth. If I end up getting a similar scholarship from Kellogg, it will become very tough.
As I stated, money talks and if you are talking significant money at Booth and end up with nothing at Kellogg...then your decision is easy IMO. If Kellogg ends up being fairly close in gift then its time to make a tough decision.
I am not doing the entrepreneurship path, and I dont think there is a real difference in the reputation of the entrepreneurship of the two schools. Both have solid programs in it, I know Steel is doing some entrepreneurship stuff at Kellogg (choose it over MIT for entrepreneurship too) so he might be worth PMing. Also I dont think this is a path that requires a reputation like many other fields. You will use the same skills as a GM, you will just happen to own the company. If you have a great idea and manage it properly then you will be succesful no matter which school you choose. Yes Kellogg does have a better rep in healthcare but once again you are planning to start your own business not recruit for healthcare jobs then it probably isnt that big of a selling point for you.
One selling point of Kellogg's ent program is the paid internship they put you up for. They will actually set you up with start-up companies that apply so they are screened by the school. Then they pay you better than what start ups typically pay. Kellogg does have the larger selection of electives (overall and entrepreneurship courses). Boh have clubs, I know kellogg has both an entrepreneurship club and a family business club (both might be of interest to you) and I am sure Booth also has a club. Both are going to have some sort of business plan competition (I think steel is working on one right now).
For me the decision is more based on fit. Unfortunately admitted students weekends overlap so you cant attend both. You will enjoy you life at both schools but they do have different personalities. Its hard to see the difference in many ways since students at both schools love them. Things to look at, where do you want to live and what type of community experience are you looking for. The vast majority of Kellogg students live within a mile of the school and each other...this creates an incredibly tight knit community. You can live downtown if you want but it seems like you would miss out on some of the community experience.
I wont say Kellogg's alumni are as close to the school as Tuck but I can tell you reaching out to alums from many years ago, they still feel a strong attachment to the school and community. I have had conversations that go beyond school and they will talk about local bars or things in evanston they did with their friends. I have heard from friends at various other schools about the involvement of alums, and I think Kellogg is one of the strongest in this areas...there is a huge push to involve alums more too. Beyond reaching out to them for the jobs, money, and stuff like that...they are trying to keep them in the fold. The spending on alumni relations has gone up drastically over the last few years and the school realizes their best ambassadors are alums. I know classmates who worked for alums and it is one of the reasons they ended up here.
If you have a significant other moving with you, the JV at Kellogg is a huge sellling point for many couples here. I think this is part of the reason Kellogg has one of the highest percentages of students bringing a significant other with them. I know my wife has made some of the best friends she has ever had here over the last 9 months...trust me when you are slammed with school and recruiting it is nice for them to have that group of people who understands what they are going through. I enjoy having that too since it helps them realize that they are not the only ones dealing with all that stress and time apart. They also do a lot of fun things together and we do a lot of stuff as couples with our friends too.
Either way you go, you are going to have a blast for the next few years. The schools have a lot in common and are great places. I know personally I had schools ranked before I got decisions but promised myself since they were all top 5's if one gave me a lot more money thats where I would go. I got admitted to my #1 and got money so my decision was easy. The easiest decision for you probably will be if Kellogg gives you nothing or way more money. If they end up being very close, you should try to remember what your gut was telling you before you got admits. I know I liked all my schools but definitely felt a stronger pull to Kellogg than the others.
Last year, I had the choice between both schools - I got accepted at both. It was a very tough choice, so I guess you have to break it down in elements and assign weights to each element. Visiting the school IMO won't give you an honest view of the school, since these visits are marketing tools usually. Also, welcome week-ends are not only marketing tools but they are organized in the same time for both schools (it was the case last year and I'm sure it was no coincidence).
Back to the elements:
- Academics: tough one. Both have their lot of great teachers - and I'm sure, their lot of shitty ones too (I know Wharton does). Yes Chicago has an important amount of Nobel Prizes, but: 1. are they going to teach you? 2. if so, are they any good at teaching? Very often, the answer to these questions is no. I'd put them equal, despite the fact that Wharton's curriculum is quite demanding - I can't judge Chicago's curriculum (demanding vs. other business schools: my undergrad was 10000x times more demanding than this in terms of exams, but that's another debate).
- Program: the big debate here is cohort system vs. cherry picking your classes. You've seen in the Wharton thread what I think are the pros and cons of a cohort system (103-t66548?sk=t&sd=a&start=780). At Chicago you can choose ALL your classes. It's a very good thing if you have a good idea of what you want to do, but it's hard(er) too meet people I guess. To be honest the core system gives you a good base to tackle the electives in the second year, which is good, and there are certain great classes I would have never ever chosen if I had to cherry-pick (ethics with Donaldson for example, a real eye-opener), but I still think that Chicago's system is very nice. I don't know how you get to get close to people though in that kind of system, especially considering the fact that EC activities are not that extensive from what I gather (more on that later). So basically here it's up to you to determine what works best for you. It's a tougher call than I would have imagined: in the beginning I thought that cherry-picking was brilliant, but now I see all the advantages of a cohort system, which I didn't see before.
- Brand name: this was the element that made me favour Wharton over Chicago (the weight was heavy on this one for me). I still believe that Wharton has a big edge in terms of brand over Chicago, especially in finance and outside the US (and even in the US for that matter). Although I do agree that Chicago has the momentum atm in terms of brand. I think that if it goes on like that, in 10 - 15 years they'll be challenging H/S/W. But that supposes that Wharton doesn't react. But at the moment IMO Wharton is still the best financial school in the US. That has an impact on the financial recruiters IMO.
- Geography: well, NY and DC are 1 hour away and AC is next door (not sure if that should come into balance but just mentioning ). The close presence of NY is a poisoned gift: that means that it's very easy to go and visit Wall Street firms and show your face and motivation, but that also means that the companies EXPECT you to do it. The closed list events for NY have been announced apparently, and the rumour goes that the most successful ones (the ones that got in >6 events) are the ones that were constantly there visiting companies (I think it's a complete aberration but blame the game, not the player). For me, applying in London only, it didn't change anything. In terms of tourism, obviously NY's presence next door is super exciting.
- International students: both schools are pretty international, but I think Wharton has an edge here, which is nice. 45% of students in my class are international, which is unparalleled in an MBA program in the US. The flip side is that this international presence is skewed towards Asia (the Indian-friendly reputation is not a legend), but it's by no means a disadvantage of course.
- Sports: I'm only going to talk about Wharton here, I don't know how Chicago is. The indoor infrastructure is great here: the gym is great, the fitness centre is huge and has everything you want: basketball courts, a (great) golf simulator, a pool, etc. The outdoor infrastructure however is a true calamity: it is embarrassing that a university like Upenn only has one or two "multi-purpose" grass fields. I know that the university is in the middle of the city, but still, that's no excuse. That's actually my biggest complaint about the school.
- Infrastructure: Chicago clearly has an edge here. They have a brand new building dedicated to the MBA students. Wharton's Huntsman Hall is gorgeous and pretty new too, but we have to share it with the undergrads (there's a story behind this but I wont go into details) and it's clearly too small for 2 big programs like ours. It's tough to book study rooms and it's tough to find sports in the study lounges, especially in the buy periods. However, there are plenty of other places where you can go and study on campus (and even meet those fit girls from law), but it's annoying that you can't do it in your own building.
- Student groups: I'll comment here on the 2 EC activities where I had interaction with other schools: soccer and rugby. Basically in both we crush Chicago! More seriously, in both sports we have sent 2 teams every time to each tournament. I actually can't remember seeing Chicago at ANY of those tournaments. It's not a big sports school IMO at that would have been (if I had known) a big deal-breaker. I also know that we usually have good teams in financial competitions (from what I heard), but so might Chicago (I don't know). But globally, due to the sheer size of the program, you'll find that student groups are bigger, which makes it nicer.
I'd also like to take a minute here to tell the admits that the best thing they can do is JOIN THE RUGBY TEAM. It's the largest sport at Wharton and by far the most fun. Don't worry if you've never played, 80% of the team members didn't play before. It's great fun, there's a fantastic team spirit (on AND off the pitch) and it's a great alumni resource (the rugby team is a very close network inside the Wharton network).
- City: well here I think Chicago has an advantage. Philly is not nearly as bad as people thinks, but it's still not great. Chicago is a big, lively city. Although Philly has a lot to offer too: all major sports are present, decently sized city where you can do most things by foot (an exception in the US), a decent selection of bars, etc. But in terms of choice I'm sure that Chicago outclasses Philly. Plus Philly - although apparently it's getting better - is still a fairly dangerous city (the Centre City is safe though). I won't go into too many details (don't want to scare anybody off), but it's definitively a difference compared to Brussels for example (where I come from).
Finally I'd like to finish here with the Wharton Leadership Ventures: the leadership ventures are great (although overpriced) possibilities to visit places where you will probably never go again: Antarctica, Kili, Cotopaxi, etc. That is something that I definitively took into account when I decided for which school I was going to go to. Chicago has its own pre-term trips, but I don't think that the selection they offer equals Wharton's selection.
Academics I agree with Audio in that both are well recognized, but I will advise that Chicago's exams are hard: EXTREMELY hard, and my undergrad was tough (Electrical Engineering in Telecommunication, integrals all over the place till my last day). And from the professors with prizes (Nobel or whatever) they do teach well, actually one of the most praised teachers is Kevin Murphy who will probably be a Nobel Prize a couple years from now, also these folks with prizes have to be good speakers, they had to defend their things to have their prizes. From talks with friends of mine at Wharton, the approach is different, but both will give you World Class education. If you can go to both places and watch a couple of classes. It is indeed a tough choice regarding here.
Program I'm a chooser, and I wanted to start with challenging courses. The "challenge everything" from Chicago is present almost everyday, instead of taking a basic class in a topic I already know (and pay 5 grands for this) I can pick a more advanced class and go further, learn more. It can be overwhelming though, as with choices you need to think ahead and think wisely. Another thing that is good for career switchers is that while in other schools people are learning basic stuff and going for summer internship interviews, you may go learning more advanced things - this is what a second year told me. Just keep in mind that it means that you will work hard, especially if you're like me (I decided to push myself). Regarding that making connections, I believe that all depends on you, it doesn't matter if one goes to Chicago, or Wharton or anywhere else, to make connections it depends on you.
Brand name Wharton still has a "heavier brand name" but The University of Chicago beats UPenn, in some countries - South America for instance - this makes a difference especially if you want to recruit for some rules and industries outside the mainstream. If you want to see what is better for you see the courses that each school offers, for me Chicago has an edge over every school for the thins I want to do after school (IM and Trading).
Geography Chicago is isolated, no doubt about it, but for $150 bucks you can fly to NYC; however from Philly is much shorter and perhaps less expensive and by train. As Audio said location is sometimes a poisoned gift, I imagine how hard is to people in Columbia and NYU, they must go everytime to recruiters.
International students 40% in Booth, not that far from Wharton, and I can say it´s pretty balanced there, though Asians are majority, for natural reasons. I made good connections with people from all continents.
Sports The structure is good, but honestly, I haven't had time to benefit from it, I used the swimming pool once and played basketball once. I have a friend who's into Ironman stuff, and he's been everydays at the Ratner Center: http://athletics.uchicago.edu/facilitie ... center.htm
Infrastructure I just want to add that even though we share facilities with PT and Weekend MBAs, I think it's good, I used many times the Gleacher Center to study, and next quarter I will have a class downtown. There are plenty of space to study, though during exams sometimes it's hard to book rooms, but nothing that I would complain.
Student groups Chicago is not a big sport school, everybody knows that Audio, stop remembering me though. I am participating in 5 groups - Investment Management Group, Hedge Fund Group, Latin American Business Group, Public Speaking Group and DSAC (The group that helps prospective students). I may join another one the Media and Entertainment Group. I'd say though that 3 is the max number, I'm participating more in the first 3 I listed. Other groups participate in challenges such as the IPO, Consulting, etc, and I know that a groups is in the final phase of a marketing thing with Mozilla.
City Here Chicago has a BIG edge in my opinion, especially in Arts - my wife is a Fine Artist and only NYC beats Chicago. As Chicago is the "Midwest Capital" there are many options there in terms of bars, nightlife, restaurants, etc. Sports are not that good though, as the Chicago teams are not that good the the Phillies have just won the MLB. I've never had problem with Hyde Park, though people always advise not to go further south than campus. I was talking to rhyme a couple of weeks ago and I told him that Chicago is a city to live, not only study, for an urban person like me it's perfect. Also prices there aren't bad, actually comparing to my friends in Boston, Philly, NYC, Bay Area, Chicago is cheap. Some people don't care about 2 years, I do, 2 years will be, luckily, around 3.5% of my adult life for me and my wife this is a huge number. The weather is harsh, especially for a Brazilian like me, but hey I'd be screwed everywhere but California.
I am deciding between Haas (full scholarship) and Booth (no money). I like both locations, and enjoyed my campus visits. I want to continue to pursue a career in finance post-MBA. Booth is obviously a strong finance school, but Haas isn't bad and is also providing me with a full tuition scholarship. What would you guys recommend? Thanks in advance!
Academic Requirements All international applicants are required to hold a college or university degree equivalent to a four-year American baccalaureate degree. In light of the Bologna Accord, Chicago Booth will also accept all three-year international degrees to fulfill the undergraduate prerequisite for application to Chicago Booth. You will be asked to either submit official academic records or provide a scanned transcript.
English Language Examinations For those whose native language is not English, Chicago Booth requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
When to Apply We encourage international students to apply for admission in Rounds One or Two. An early application will allow you sufficient time to secure a student visa should you be admitted. While we recommend that international students apply in earlier rounds, there is sufficient time for students to apply for and secure a visa in Round Three.
Financing Chicago Booth provides financing opportunities for all students regardless of their citizenship, with or without a co-signer. More information regarding the program will be made available to students via the admitted student's website upon admission to the program.
There are also several scholarships & fellowships available to international students. Read more about scholarships and fellowships.
Student Visas Should an offer of admission be extended and accepted, international students are eligible to apply for either an F-1 or J-1 Visa. To meet the eligibility requirements for a student visa, international students must show proof of equivalent academic documents (diplomas), results from the TOEFL/IELTS examination (please review the English Language Exam Requirements for waiver eligibility), and financial resources to pursue their course of study. Detailed information regarding the requirements and application process to obtain a student visa is sent to admitted students in the spring.
The University of Chicago has signed a participation letter with the new International Student Loan Program ("ISLP"), which will provide loans requiring no co-signer to international students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
ISLP, originally conceived and discussed under the convening authority of Graduate Management Admission Councilâ, quickly evolved into a loan program to be provided by a consortium of organizations experienced in the student loan arena. This consortium, led by Deutsche Bank, which expects to provide initial funding, includes Access Group as program servicer and administrator; Liberty Bank, N.A. as originating lender; and Moehn and Associates as program manager. The ISLP was developed with the involvement of Chicago Booth.
The program will make educational loans available to international students who are not eligible for federal assistance and cannot qualify for standard private loans because they do not have a U.S. co-signer. Under the agreements, Deutsche Bank, as initial investor, expects to purchase notes, the proceeds of which will provide financing to international students for an amount up to the total cost of attendance, less any financial aid received. The terms of the program balance student costs and school risk in providing loans for Booth students. The loans will have terms comparable to private loans available for students with U.S. co-signers. The transaction remains subject to completion of required documentation and regulatory approval, if any.
"Providing international students with access to a Chicago Booth education is a priority," said Rosemaria Martinelli, associate dean for student recruitment and admissions. About one-third of the students enrolled in the school’s MBA program come from outside the U.S.