A former client, a member of the Chicago Booth MBA Class of 2010, was kind enough to answer my questions.
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.
I want to thank Booth2010 for taking the time to answer my questions.
-Adam Markusアダム マーカス
MBA留学 , シカゴ、ビジネススクール