Reflections on Year 1 at Booth

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Mod Note: Each day we'll be posting the top WSO forum posts of 2014. This one was originally posted on 7/5/14 and ranks #15 for the year by total silver banana count. You can see all our top ranked content here.

I recently completed my first year at Booth and felt compelled to share my experiences and advice through a follow-up post to: To Anyone Considering an MBA

It would take me forever to do a complete synopsis of my first year. As such, I'm going to hit some of the highlights and turn this into in a Q&A session rather than a lecture. So questions welcome. And for those of you who lack the patience to read through the post, the summary is that b-school has been amazing and truly lived up to the high expectations that I had set prior to matriculating.

The first important thing for people to realize is that the MBA is an individual journey. You complete it alongside hundreds of peers, but your experience is uniquely yours. Everyone has their own reasons for pursuing the degree. For many it is to explore new career opportunities or land that much-coveted job at McKinsey. Others are looking to establish a professional network. Some put a priority on academics and challenge themselves through classes. There are those that are simply looking to enjoy themselves. Finally, there are people who have no idea why they are there and are figuring it out as they go.

Before It Began

So, on to my story. I took a little over three months off before orientation and traveled extensively, both internationally and domestically. It was easily three of the more enjoyable months of my life. Nothing compares to the peace of mind that comes with having absolute freedom over your schedule while not having to worry about the future. I was able to connect with friends and family I hadn't seen in forever, read books, and pursue hobbies that had fallen by the wayside when I was working. After six years of working, it was exactly the mental reset I needed. I encourage everyone that isn't cash-strapped to leave to take at least a month off. It is worth every moment.

Social

Regarding the social aspect to Booth, I'm going to borrow from a post I made a few months ago on another thread:

CompBanker:

The MBA is crafted in such a manner that you design your own experience. If you want to be academic to the exclusion of all else, you can certainly fade into the shadow of your 600 classmates only to be seen at class and study groups. You can also choose to be hyper social and attend what is daily or even twice daily social events, taking advantage of Booth's grade non-disclosure and doing the bare minimum to get a B (which is usually about 15 hours a week, including nine hours of class time). People self-select. One's impression of the social aspect of b-school is more a reflection on him or herself rather than the school as a whole. This is true for EVERY top business school. Some examples from the past 10 days:

Two weekends ago, more than 100 Booth students rented RVs and drove to the Kentucky Derby for the weekend. They partied all weekend, grilled food, played games, watched and bet on the horse races, etc. Despite this being one of the most "American" experiences during the MBA program, there were tons of internationals South America and Europe.

On Thursday, Booth held its weekly TNDC (Thursday Night Drinking Club). Essentially, this is an unofficial club where a few students reserve an entire bar each week and hundreds of students always show up. It happens every week, even during finals.

On Friday, Booth students performed the annual Follies, a three hour set of skits that poke fun at b-school life. Before the event, students attended the weekly Liquidity Preference Function where they had free food and drinks. More than one hundred students participated in Follies and hundreds of people attended LPF and Follies.

On Saturday, the Jewish Business Student Association reserved the roofdeck of a bar and held an afternoon party to celebrate Israel's Independence Day. More than 125 people attended.

On Sunday, the Armed Forces Group (military vets from all countries) organized a full-day outdoor paintball match. I don't have a final count but more than 100 attendees I believe.

Meanwhile, many people were out of town as a large group of second years had organized a weekend trip to Miami to hang out and have fun.

I'm not even cherry-picking dates or events here. This is literally what went on in the last week and doesn't include any of the athletic events, house parties, trips, and other things that people do on a weekly basis. The number of opportunities to partake in social events at Booth exceed the amount of time you have in your schedule. I'm assuming that the same holds true for other top MBA programs, but you're way off base if you think Booth kids lock themselves in their rooms all day and study

From my understanding, Booth wasn't a fun school 10+ years ago. The majority of students lived in Hyde Park and focused on academics. This has been completely flipped on its head in recent years. Most Booth students now live close together in downtown Chicago and place a high degree of value on social activities. The student body definitely has "nerdy" undertones - it is hard not to with a class full of professionally accomplished 700+ GMAT scorers. However, we still have our fair share of people who like to rage and blow off class to go play volleyball at beach.

The Value of Academics

Academics is probably the area that I have been most disappointed with. As someone who didn't have an undergrad finance degree, I was really hoping to broaden my knowledge base beyond what I learned at work. Unfortunately many of the classes have deep seeded roots in theory that are only marginally applicable to the real world. For example: after taking "Investments," I still don't know what a Swap is, but I can certainly tell you how to identify and profit from a mispricing arbitrage opportunity if one were to exist. This is prevalent not just in some of the finance courses but many of the international business and strategy courses as well. Not every class is theory-driven as I've already found a few to be quite useful in PE. I suspect it is similar at all of the top schools.

The saving grace to this is simple: Grade Non-Disclosure. GND is a closely abided by policy that prevents every student from disclosing their GPA or GPA-like indicators to employers. Similarly, employers are forbidden from asking students about their marks. The result is incredibly powerful. I have no idea who is getting As and who is getting CS, and it really doesn't matter. This enables students to either take challenging classes or focus their efforts on getting a job without worrying about consequences. Whatever your reason, you don't get penalized in recruiting for leading a balanced life. And for those who enjoy hitting the books, we have distinction designations for the top 5% and 20% of the class.

You Want a Job?

Now onto careers. This is probably the most talked about subject for MBA students. The whole degree is surprisingly career centric, particularly for those interested in investment banking or consulting. In fact, both of these paths have an overwhelming amount of events and requirements that include networking, meals, one-off conversations, and info-sessions. Starting in week two through the entire first quarter the students are faced with an onslaught of recruiters from every institution under the sun. Pretty much everyone that puts in the effort ends up at a bulge bracket or elite boutique in the geography they want. A lot of people seemed to have about three internship offers each when recruiting was done.

For those conducting off-campus searches, your ability to succeed is up to you. I spent very little time looking for an internship but found all the alumni that I contacted to be extremely helpful in sharing information or connecting me to people I wanted to speak with. The Booth network is surprisingly strong in PE, albeit less-so as you expand outside of the Mid-west and the country. When combined with my existing network I found that I had a 1st degree connection to pretty much any fund that I was interested in learning more about. Pretty powerful stuff as the school continues to build in reputation.

At this point I've probably written too much and lost 99% of readers. But remember, what I have shared is a small glimpse into my experience. Everyone has their own.

Comments (159)

Jul 5, 2014

What are you doing this summer?

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Jul 5, 2014
snakeoil:

What are you doing this summer?

MM PE. However, I recommend to most people with PE experience that you do something completely different for the summer. Go work at a start-up, new geography, or anything "different." The reason I went back to PE for the summer was due to a unique situation.

Jul 7, 2014
CompBanker:
snakeoil:

What are you doing this summer?

MM PE. However, I recommend to most people with PE experience that you do something completely different for the summer. Go work at a start-up, new geography, or anything "different." The reason I went back to PE for the summer was due to a unique situation.

Why on earth would you recommend this? Wouldn't a summer job at a shop you want to go to be the best thing to do? Or at least some kind of PE experience?

Also, how do you feel about being so far from NYC? One of my sticking points with Booth is the location.

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Jul 5, 2014

Thanks for this update! I agree with everything here. My program also has GND, which makes life a whole lot easier. I barely spend any time on classes but have still done relatively well and have instead focused on recruiting, networking, and socializing. If you do it right, b-school is truly the best 2 years of your life and a transformational experience, one that cannot be replicated elsewhere. It's so much better than college that it's not even comparable.

Best of luck in your second year at Booth!

Jul 5, 2014

Could you touch on your observation on PE recruiting at Booth? Are there a lot of people with solid 2+2 BB/topMM IBD + PE backgrounds that are seeking a post-MBA position, and are they successful at it?

Jul 5, 2014
BlueShirt:

Could you touch on your observation on PE recruiting at Booth? Are there a lot of people with solid 2+2 BB/topMM IBD + PE backgrounds that are seeking a post-MBA position, and are they successful at it?

This was actually one of the more surprising elements for me. There are very few kids at Booth that did the 2+2 and are looking to go back into PE. Some of them exist, but it is definitely the exception rather than the norm. I have a few theories on this which I'm happy to share.

I have four five that applied to Booth with great academic profiles, 2+2 (or 3+2 as seems to be common these days), and a host of other strong characteristics. They were ALL rejected. I was a bit shocked at first. One got into Wharton, one into Kellogg, one into Fuqua, another took a post-MBA role in PE and skipped the MBA, and the last left the industry to found a start-up. All quite talented people. I think the rejections were due to two things though:

1) Booth isn't looking to fill up its class with IBD + PE people. While there are a handful, the school could easily have more if it didn't reject their applications. It really is true that the school attempts to build an entire class rather than accept the "smartest" or highest paid individuals that apply. Booth is teeming with people from non-finance backgrounds that were successful, be it at Teach for America, F500s, Consulting, or their family business.

2) Playing off thought #1, I think fit is an incredibly important filter that the school uses to select candidates. Booth definitely has a midwestern feel despite its global student body. It is very apparent to me that the school only accepts people who fit this mold. As you might imagine, the stereotypical image of the NYC banker / high-finance guy would really struggle in this regards. I think many of them get filtered out as a "bad fit" as a result. To be clear: We have plenty of folks from New England and NYC at Booth, they just tend not to align with the stereotype. Self-selection probably plays a meaningful role as well.

Regarding how successful were people at PE (internship) recruiting, that's a long topic. Two highlights:

1) Also surprisingly, there are a small number of people with PE (and banking) backgrounds that aren't interested in returning to finance. They are leaving the industry to pursue start-ups or even try their hand at marketing / corporate gigs. Whatever their personal reason, they aren't interested in returning to PE despite their eligibility.

2) Everyone I know that was "qualified" for a PE gig ended up in PE for the summer. This is probably a benefit of not having too many pre-MBA PE people in the student body. When alums come to Booth to hire a PE guy, the competition isn't fierce at all. In fact, there were probably 10-20 people that did not have PE experience that landed gigs at small PE shops thanks to the school's PE lab and similar programs. The size range of PE shops that people are going to is quite diverse. We have people going to everywhere: from 2-man shops to Apollo. Most seem to end up at a similar size shop to the one they were at before school. Note, this is just summer internships I'm talking about here.

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Jul 5, 2014

CB, could you elaborate a bit more on the "midwestern feel" of Booth despite the global student body? I assume this refers more to the laid-back personality, unpretentiousness, and humility, that characterize the midwest? I know poets&quants did a breakdown of undergrad schools represented at various top b-schools, and Booth had a very low % of ivy grads compared to the other M7+tuck schools. I imagine this has an impact on the overall culture.

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Jul 13, 2014
CompBanker:

This was actually one of the more surprising elements for me. There are very few kids at Booth that did the 2+2 and are looking to go back into PE. Some of them exist, but it is definitely the exception rather than the norm. I have a few theories on this which I'm happy to share.

I have four five that applied to Booth with great academic profiles, 2+2 (or 3+2 as seems to be common these days), and a host of other strong characteristics. They were ALL rejected. I was a bit shocked at first. One got into Wharton, one into Kellogg, one into Fuqua, another took a post-MBA role in PE and skipped the MBA, and the last left the industry to found a start-up. All quite talented people. I think the rejections were due to two things though:

1) Booth isn't looking to fill up its class with IBD + PE people. While there are a handful, the school could easily have more if it didn't reject their applications. It really is true that the school attempts to build an entire class rather than accept the "smartest" or highest paid individuals that apply. Booth is teeming with people from non-finance backgrounds that were successful, be it at Teach for America, F500s, Consulting, or their family business.

2) Playing off thought #1, I think fit is an incredibly important filter that the school uses to select candidates. Booth definitely has a midwestern feel despite its global student body. It is very apparent to me that the school only accepts people who fit this mold. As you might imagine, the stereotypical image of the NYC banker / high-finance guy would really struggle in this regards. I think many of them get filtered out as a "bad fit" as a result. To be clear: We have plenty of folks from New England and NYC at Booth, they just tend not to align with the stereotype. Self-selection probably plays a meaningful role as well.

Realizing that I'm being purely speculative here, it seems more likely that this is just a numbers game, no?

There are, call it, ~300 kids that go 2+2 or 3+2 every year. Assume 2/3rds of them are interested in an MBA. Even if every last one elects to attend, you're talking about ~200 kids across a handful of business schools. You're never going to have more than 20-30 kids attend a single school. In a class of 600, it's bound to feel like an insignificant portion of the class if your reference set is your peer group from consulting / banking / WSO.

Jul 5, 2014

Comp, why did you do the MBA? What do you hope to get out of it? How old are you?

I havent really used WSO in over a year, as I spent a lot of time learning my new job. But I do remember you were progressing in your career doing MM PE. Seemed like you were happy with where you were at.

Jul 5, 2014
Cries:

Comp, why did you do the MBA? What do you hope to get out of it? How old are you?

I havent really used WSO in over a year, as I spent a lot of time learning my new job. But I do remember you were progressing in your career doing MM PE. Seemed like you were happy with where you were at.

All of these questions are outlined in pretty excruciating detail in my To Anyone Considering an MBA thread. The link is in the first sentence of my original post.

On a related note, the average age of my class at matriculation was 28. Individual ages varied a lot. Two years of experience seems to be the minimum. I get the impression that the average age is pulled up by international students who tend to have more work experience while the domestic students hover in the 4-5 year range. I have no data to support it though. It is definitely an older crowd than I anticipated though, which has proven to be a good thing.

Jul 5, 2014

I second CompBanker's point on academics. I have found this very disappointing as well. The core curriculum has been useless for the most part; much of the stuff is theory that people don't use in the real world, and the case study method is an outdated way of studying contemporary business problems. Strategy and marketing were particularly bad because the professors are academics who never worked in the real world. Microeconomics was so poorly taught that I can't tell you what I learned in that class aside from Nash equilibrium, prisoner's dilemma, and auctions.

Jul 5, 2014

Hey CB,

Thanks for somewhat emphasizing on the negative elements of the MBA program.
I think it's sobering advice to some of us to have unrealistic expectations of what the program is really all about (this is probably brady's fault)

Might sound like a dumb question, but I'm curious on what URM representation at Booth is like.
Any insight?

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Jul 5, 2014
Reinhard von Lohengramm:

Hey CB,

Might sound like a dumb question, but I'm curious on what URM representation at Booth is like.

Any insight?

I can only comment based on observation rather than data. I'll do it high level because my assessment is also clouded: how do you classify international students who are technically URMs in the US but didn't come from the US?

We have an extreme amount of diversity as it pertains to people with different ethnic backgrounds. A large part of this is due to internationals which make up about a third of the class. If I were to guess, the largest non-Caucasian group would be the Latins, followed by the Asians and Indians. Most of them were working in their home countries prior to coming to Booth and may not fit your description of URM (I recognize that Asians and Indians tend not be classified as URM). The school doesn't have an overwhelming amount of Europeans or Africans, although I think this is probably due to self-selection above all else.

In terms of the LBGTQ community, they definitely have a presence at Booth. In fact, I find them to be one of the most social and out-going (no pun intended) contingents at the school.

One thing to note though is that everyone is extremely bright and motivated. You hear a lot of stories online about people who "only got in because they were an URM." I don't think that's the case at Booth. People that check the URM box more than hold their own academically and socially.

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Jul 5, 2014

Thanks CB

very surprised to hear the hispanic thing
i would have guessed there would have been crazy representation for asian/indian

Jul 18, 2014
CompBanker:

One thing to note though is that everyone is extremely bright and motivated. You hear a lot of stories online about people who "only got in because they were an URM." I don't think that's the case at Booth. People that check the URM box more than hold their own academically and socially.

I reckon that that has to do with the fact that there are likely several times as many qualified applicants as there are spots at all of the top schools; I remember the director of admissions at Wharton saying that something like 2x the amount of people who actually end up at Wharton are also very much admissible, but just can't possibly fit in the school, and have to be rejected.

So we have URM students who are perfectly capable students, taking the place of other equivalently-capable students. Net/net, you have a student population that is equally talented, except with more URMs.

Jul 5, 2014

Can you elaborate on what the PE recruiting is like a Booth? how difficult was it to land your gig? what percentage of your class received summer PE offers?

Jul 5, 2014

Hello CompBanker!

Thanks for this post! I am starting at Booth this fall, and I am super excited! One of main reason why I choose Booth over other schools is for the intellectual stimulation. However, hearing you comments, I am a little concerned that I cannot apply much of what I learn to the real world.

Is there like a ratemyprofessor system at Booth? I want to try to find classes where the professors can teach and where I will learn real world applicable material. What classes do you recommend?

My second question, did you feel like the environment was very competitive for consulting recruiting?

Thanks!

Jul 5, 2014
VodkaGuru:

I am a little concerned that I cannot apply much of what I learn to the real world.

Is there like a ratemyprofessor system at Booth? I want to try to find classes where the professors can teach and where I will learn real world applicable material. What classes do you recommend?

There is no shortage of intellectual stimulation in the classroom. The classes can be extremely challenging. You move quickly through the material and therefore cover a LOT. I know of undergrad econ majors who struggled to do well in Booth's introductory econ courses. The school also offers accelerated and advanced versions of the introductory courses if you want to challenge yourself.

Depending on your background, you may find the classes more or less valuable. Coming from PE, I've had both wide and deep exposure into a number of different business disciplines. Knowing that I would return to the industry (and maybe this is just the plight of non-career changers in general), I didn't learn much that I felt would enhance my ability to do my job. I'm definitely not alone. However, those who were looking to do banking found the classes incredibly helpful. There are classes where you need to build a full blown financial model akin to what is built at investment banks. These skills easily transfer directly to the real world.

Either way, Booth gives you an incredible amount of data to sort through classes and professors. It is all available on the portal through a feature that was JUST launched called Booth Book. Check it out, I believe you should have access by now.

My second question, did you feel like the environment was very competitive for consulting recruiting?

Depends on how you define competitive. The individuals are incredibly collaborative when it comes to helping each other secure jobs. People do joint case-prep with peers and second years frequently. Former consultants share their experiences from working at McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, or wherever. In this sense it is very much a team environment.

Consulting is the most popular destination though. A LOT of people are gunning for these positions. Also, people are generally trying to secure jobs at McKinsey, Bain, or BCG. While a LOT of people end up at one of these three, there are definitely those who land outside the big three. Geographically, people go all over the country and world to work in consulting. MBB and others recruit for offices globally out of Booth.

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Jul 14, 2014

I have to respectfully disagree here--not to be a contrarian, but rather for a different perspective. Classes at Booth are pretty bimodal when it comes to difficulty. Neither the intro classes, nor the soft skills classes here are particularly difficult. (Macro econ here is especially not difficult, the undergrad in my class set the curve) and the classes are taught at a very accessible level. That being said, the work load of courses becomes difficult as most of the material for classes falls in the last three weeks of the class leading up to the final--so people always see they do well on the midterm only to get crushed on the final. As a grader, I see it all the time. The more technical/finance classes get quite involved, granted yes, more so in theory, but involved none the less, and the more well known professors can be soul crushingly difficult, as are the PhD courses. So yes, if you want to go the 'easy' route and steer clear of the challenging classes, you definitely can. But if that's your plan don't come to Booth, you dont belong at UChicago, better to mentally prepare yourself for it to be difficult. The point about the grades though is too true. Many people kind of coast on by because of it, although honestly, they're missing so much.

Just my thoughts.

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Jul 5, 2014

Sounds like it has been a good experience. Congrats!

Jul 5, 2014

My only question: Are you being forced to do menial data entry and ridiculous grunt work for your internship?

Jul 6, 2014
wannabeaballer:

My only question: Are you being forced to do menial data entry and ridiculous grunt work for your internship?

Absolutely not. I think most MBA internships don't work this way. It definitely doesn't work this way for consulting and investment banking interns. Not every internship is going to be your dream job, but it is rare you'll spend your summer doing grunt work.

Jul 6, 2014

Are there many people that really focused on getting a job at MBB and failed? What do you think the general success rate is for people targeting MBB without a consulting background?

Best Response
Jul 6, 2014
AnalyzeThat:

Are there many people that really focused on getting a job at MBB and failed? What do you think the general success rate is for people targeting MBB without a consulting background?

You're wasting your time trying to figure out success rates and odds. Your ability to succeed will depend entirely on yourself. I couldn't even begin to filter out "who was serious" and "who put in a lot of time to prepare" to determine a number that would be even remotely helpful to you. The truth is MBB takes a LOT of people. However, Consulting is far and away the most popular path (for internship recruiting). Many people seem to do it because they don't know what they want and everyone else is doing it. Some people take it very seriously. Some get internship offers from all three of M+B+B (we had a handful). Some get none even though they were really gunning for it. It may have been because they were competing for popular MBB offices. Maybe their personality didn't mesh well with the interviewer. Maybe they got a case that they weren't prepared to handle.

If you know you want to do consulting, you have a real shot at MBB regardless of your background. That's the best I can really tell you.

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Jul 6, 2014

According to the Booth website, Tuition + Student Life Fee + Health Fee + Administrative Service Fee + Lifetime Credentials Fee + Computer ~ 70K. Total budget is of 94K. Was 24K (2.7K / month) enough for you to cover rent/utilities, food, personal, transportation? Did you live frugally? Will it handicap your social life if you only want to participate in events on or close to campus, i.e. if you're unwilling to pay for weekend trips to Kentucky, Miami, etc.?

Jul 6, 2014
El Lebani:

According to the Booth website, Tuition + Student Life Fee + Health Fee + Administrative Service Fee + Lifetime Credentials Fee + Computer ~ 70K. Total budget is of 94K. Was 24K (2.7K / month) enough for you to cover rent/utilities, food, personal, transportation? Did you live frugally? Will it handicap your social life if you only want to participate in events on or close to campus, i.e. if you're unwilling to pay for weekend trips to Kentucky, Miami, etc.?

I'm not the best person to answer budget questions. I'm paying for school with savings and don't really have the same budget constraints. From observation:

People live frugally compared to the lives they were living prior to school. But frugally means different things to different people. No one is living in a bad neighborhood or turning 1 bedroom apartments into 2 in order to save cash. They do abstain from participating in events based on price though. A few examples:

There is an annual week long ski trip in December after first quarter finals end. Hundreds of students go, but it costs about $1500 all-in. A lot of people elect to skip this trip on the basis of price. Some people decide to splurge and go but cut back on eating out, etc.

The Kentucky Derby trip cost about $350/person for the entire weekend. Very few people at Booth would consider this an insignificant sum. There were still 100 - 150 people who attended though. Of course, that means that 450 - 500 people DIDN'T attend.

The reality is that there are enough events on campus that are absolutely free (and even provide free food and drinks) that you could have a very active social life without spending a penny. There are people who do this. You'll miss out on some of the marquee events because there is no way you're going to go to Miami without having to at least pay airfare. People's budgets seem to allow for them to partake in at least one big event each quarter.

Again, I'm not the best person to talk to regarding budgeting. People seem to build their own and largely ignore the one set forth by the school. It is really hard for anyone to stay within that budget. The one thing you should keep in mind though is that you'll make money during your summer internship. A lot of employers will also pay you a sign-on bonus or partially reimburse second year tuition once you land a full time job. There are also ways to win scholarships during the school year if you're a rock-star. So overall, you aren't as broke as you think you are.

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Jul 7, 2014
CompBanker:
El Lebani:

According to the Booth website, Tuition + Student Life Fee + Health Fee + Administrative Service Fee + Lifetime Credentials Fee + Computer ~ 70K. Total budget is of 94K. Was 24K (2.7K / month) enough for you to cover rent/utilities, food, personal, transportation? Did you live frugally? Will it handicap your social life if you only want to participate in events on or close to campus, i.e. if you're unwilling to pay for weekend trips to Kentucky, Miami, etc.?

A lot of employers will also pay you a sign-on bonus or partially reimburse second year tuition once you land a full time job. There are also ways to win scholarships during the school year if you're a rock-star. So overall, you aren't as broke as you think you are.

Most MBA's in IBD earn 21K (8,333 dollars / month * 2,5 months), right? So that's 15K post-tax, right? How much money do MBA students usually save over the summer?

Jul 6, 2014

Since Booth doesn't particularly favor or look for the traditional 2+2 or 3+2 candidate, how do some of these guys distinguish themselves from that path? For those candidates who do get in from this path, what set them apart from those who got rejected?

Jul 6, 2014
ValueBanker14:

Since Booth doesn't particularly favor or look for the traditional 2+2 or 3+2 candidate, how do some of these guys distinguish themselves from that path? For those candidates who do get in from this path, what set them apart from those who got rejected?

I am way too unqualified to answer this question. Only the admissions committee really knows what they are looking for. I don't have a good appreciation for the pool of candidates that were denied versus admitted. My best advice would be to take a look at the other dimensions on which admissions judges candidates and try to strengthen those.

Jul 6, 2014

Good thread, very informative. thanks!

Jul 6, 2014

Comp, why do you think more and more top MBA students are gravitating towards MBB consulting versus investment banking post-MBA?

Jul 6, 2014
BlueShirt:

Comp, why do you think more and more top MBA students are gravitating towards MBB consulting versus investment banking post-MBA?

Hard to say if this is a trend or just the way it has always been. The appeal of investment banking is very narrow. The folks that want to do it tend to be those who want to make a lot of money and don't mind putting in the time and effort required to do so. A few of them have their sights on PE longer term and are hoping to make the transition after working a couple of years. There is also the whole belief that investment banking isn't what it used to be (not true) and that the compensation is no longer there (also not true). I don't think there are many people who show up to the MBA and say "this banking thing sounds pretty cool, I guess I'll do that!"

Consulting has much broader appeal. It is the perfect career for those who don't know what they want to do because it keeps so many doors open. Consultants go on to run their own businesses, join F500s, etc. Some of the top consulting firms even encourage it (ex employees go on to hire their old firms). Consulting also enables people to have their weekends free, so it is seen as a lot of work, but still gives you time to see family and friends. This is a lot more tenable than banking life.

Maybe I'm completely wrong, but I think these factors lead people to consulting far more than banking.

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Jul 8, 2014

"There is also the whole belief that investment banking isn't what it used to be (not true) and that the compensation is no longer there (also not true)."

Can you elaborate on the Investment Banking "not true" statements?

Jul 6, 2014

Thanks for sharing. I am also heading into my second year at an M7 school (not Booth). Everything you've mentioned seems pretty similar to what I have experienced, too. Especially the part about consulting being the most popular path and the one often followed by those who don't really know what they want to do after school.

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Jul 6, 2014

Really enjoyed the first thread and have been looking forward to this one, SBed.

Seems like there still exists a lot of people who go into MBA not really knowing what they want to do and apply to stuff because everyone else is doing it. I saw this a lot in undergrad and would have thought people would have a much better idea of what they wanted to do and exactly why they were going to business school after 4+ years or experience. Did this surprise you or do you think most come in with a clear understanding of what they want to pursue?

Jul 7, 2014
Quaneaser:

Really enjoyed the first thread and have been looking forward to this one, SBed.

Seems like there still exists a lot of people who go into MBA not really knowing what they want to do and apply to stuff because everyone else is doing it. I saw this a lot in undergrad and would have thought people would have a much better idea of what they wanted to do and exactly why they were going to business school after 4+ years or experience. Did this surprise you or do you think most come in with a clear understanding of what they want to pursue?

I think most people do have an idea of what they want to do. For those of us who have already been in the business world for many years prior to school, it is easy for us to formulate an opinion on which division / sector / industry / geography we want to be in. However, there are a number of people who had no exposure to business prior to school. Military folks have plenty of life experience but no idea what it is like to working in consulting / banking / corporate. Teach for America / Peace Corps folks who are similarly talented, but lack professional business experience. Professional athletes are the same. Not all of the people with these backgrounds go to school with no direction, but it is easy to see why they may still be exploring options when they show up on campus day 1.

Jul 7, 2014

Great thread Comp. I understand there's GND, so how much time are you spending per week on school? Leading up to mid-terms and finals, I'm sure more, but I'd be interested to see your typical weekly schedule broken out. I'm very interested in going to Booth in 3-4 years. Chicago's great, minus the weather, it sounds like socially its really come along, and I think the location allows you to really go anywhere you want quickly. Obviously, O'hare has direct flights everywhere which would be important to me.

Any badass trips? A little private jet action to Miami or Vegas never hurt anyone.

Jul 7, 2014
CorpFinanceGuy:

Great thread Comp. I understand there's GND, so how much time are you spending per week on school? Leading up to mid-terms and finals, I'm sure more, but I'd be interested to see your typical weekly schedule broken out. I'm very interested in going to Booth in 3-4 years. Chicago's great, minus the weather, it sounds like socially its really come along, and I think the location allows you to really go anywhere you want quickly. Obviously, O'hare has direct flights everywhere which would be important to me.

Any badass trips? A little private jet action to Miami or Vegas never hurt anyone.

Booth is on the quarter system - Fall / Winter / Spring + a summer internship. You're required to take 20 courses (+ a orientation-like Leadership class) in order to graduate. Breaking it down, that's four semesters of 3 classes each and two semesters of 4 classes. Classes meet once a week for three hours for 10 weeks a quarter and then finals. This means I'm in class for nine hours a week except for one quarter a year in which I have 12 hours of class a week. Depending on the courses you're taking, some classes require less than an hour of homework a week while others require closer to 10. A lot of classes require group work where you get to pick you own teams and work collaboratively or divide and conquer.

I try to stack at least two of my classes on the same day so that I have five days a week class-free. As you might imagine, this gives me (and every other student) a TON of free time relative to when we were working. What you do with it is really up to you. Most people join a few clubs that they're interested in. My school-related activities are pretty diverse -- I'm heavily involved in a school sport as well as school governance stuff. I also spend a massive amount of time socializing with peers either in common areas, over meals/drinks, or at events. I also take time to work out, read books, watch movies, and some other personal hobbies that I delayed way too much prior to my coming to school.

While I do all this, I definitely take my classes seriously too. Despite my extensive business background, it still takes a lot of effort to get an A- or an A. On the other hand, it takes a lot of lack of effort to get a B- or a C+. Some classes are quite difficult and will leave you in the dust if you don't keep up with the homework or put in 5-10 hours of studying prior to the exam. You'll still pass if you blow off class and are reasonably intelligent, but no one coasts to straight A's. Everything is curved and you're competing against some of the brightest students in the world -- some of which came to Booth exclusively for the academics. I've heard from friends that this is quite different at HBS (where it is hard to study for exams because everything is case based and qualitative). But at Booth, even the soft classes are backed by data and analysis.

As for badass trips, definitely. I did both Vegas and Miami with classmates -- although no private jet. A number of other trips as well. My understanding is that they really pick up in the second year once people have jobs and really don't care about academics at all.

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Jul 7, 2014

Thank you for doing this OP. I will MOST DEF. be taking into consideration your time off to travel suggestion.

Before I ask you my question I'll give you a brief background on myself. Im living in NYC going to a NY non-target approaching my last 3 semesters of school. Haven't taken school as seriously as I should and I now have a (relatively) awful GPA (and have to take an extra semester). Fortunately enough I have been accepted to the Summer Business Scholars Program for 3 weeks at Booth and I'm intending it to spark the academic/professional turning point in my career. I am looking to work in consulting as soon as I possibly can.

Would you happen to have any suggestions for myself as I fly to Chicago this saturday in regards to Booth, academics, careers, and the city of chicago? Thank you again for your post!

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

Jul 7, 2014
WhoSteen:

Thank you for doing this OP. I will MOST DEF. be taking into consideration your time off to travel suggestion.

Before I ask you my question I'll give you a brief background on myself. Im living in NYC going to a NY non-target approaching my last 3 semesters of school. Haven't taken school as seriously as I should and I now have a (relatively) awful GPA (and have to take an extra semester). Fortunately enough I have been accepted to the Summer Business Scholars Program for 3 weeks at Booth and I'm intending it to spark the academic/professional turning point in my career. I am looking to work in consulting as soon as I possibly can.

Would you happen to have any suggestions for myself as I fly to Chicago this saturday in regards to Booth, academics, careers, and the city of chicago? Thank you again for your post!

Sounds like a fun time. But a three week program isn't going to make up for years of under-performance. You really need to step up TODAY and get on the right track. So start performing your best ASAP and don't delay.

As for the city of Chicago, it is awesome in the summer. Go see a performance at Second City, walk / run / bike down Lakeshore Drive, eat out at the restaurants, go to some sporting events, and try to get a feel for the city.

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Jul 8, 2014

Thank you for advice, much appreciated. Good luck with PE and the rest of your time at Booth.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

Jul 7, 2014

Nothing of value to add; just wanted to reiterate that this is another great CompBanker thread, and his findings mirror those from my first year MBA experience to the letter. SB for you.

Jul 7, 2014

Thanks for the insights!

Jul 7, 2014

CompBanker, great thread as usual. How realistic would you say it is to go from MM PE pre-MBA to megafund PE post-MBA? Did you consider this move or was MM PE more of what you preferred? Thank you for the great thread.

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Jul 7, 2014
Sil:

CompBanker, great thread as usual. How realistic would you say it is to go from MM PE pre-MBA to megafund PE post-MBA? Did you consider this move or was MM PE more of what you preferred? Thank you for the great thread.

Somewhere in between really improbable to impossible. I don't know the first thing about Megafund PE recruiting, but my understanding is that they primarily take people that worked there before business school. My guess is you're fighting an uphill battle even if you have great deal experience at a top notch large-cap fund prior to school. Maybe I'm wrong, but I wouldn't count on it.

Personally, I would never go work for a megafund. I don't even particularly think the $1bn+ funds are all that attractive. It's not a market I'm interested in and the work / life balance is pretty miserable. Certainly a good career path if your goal is to maximize earnings though.

Jul 8, 2014

FYI, while I can understand the allure of going to a MF... the culture/lifestyle at these places generally pretty brutal, even at the better shops. When you're coming out of b-school you're no longer of the 2 year mindset and you're much more of the longer-term mindset -- you don't want to hop around anymore and if you're switching jobs its usually because something really bad or something really good has developed in your career.

For these reasons, there are a fair amount of former MF Associates who do plan on going back to PE but at a smaller fund where they aren't getting crushed 24/7.

I've said this before, many of the MF Associates I've met that are figuring out what their next step is have a traumatized "I'm can't go back there" mentality.

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Jul 7, 2014

Great writeup. I have a question on the student body in your program - how many old fogeys like me (30+) do you see at Booth?

I ask because I read the statistics and see the occasional outlier (40s-50s) and people ask the question on this forum occasionally about getting an MBA after 30, but for practical purposes I was curious how often you'd see that.

Jul 7, 2014
Scott Irish:

I have a question on the student body in your program - how many old fogeys like me (30+) do you see at Booth?

I ask because I read the statistics and see the occasional outlier (40s-50s) and people ask the question on this forum occasionally about getting an MBA after 30, but for practical purposes I was curious how often you'd see that.

I was quite surprised at the number of "old fogeys." The average matriculating age at Booth was 28. That means a LOT of people were 30+ when we all walked through the door. I think you'll find that you're in good and plentiful company.

Additionally, age isn't really considered a factor in b-school. Everyone is assumed to be more-or-less the same age. Unless you're an extreme outlier (straight out of undergrad, 35+), you'll be regarded as the same as everyone else. Heck, pretty much no one will know unless you tell them.

Jul 8, 2014

Yup. Age is not an issue at all. I'm one of the oldest guys at school, and this was never a problem. Heck, I know a 36-year old guy at Wharton who just finished his first year there, and he's having the absolute time of his life.

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Jul 7, 2014

Great to hear all those events are still going strong (i finished at Booth in '12). I remember the Armed Forces Paintball trip being a blast so def check it out next year if you can!

Any idea how the IM kids fared this year? My firm didn't take a Booth intern this summer so I haven't heard how recruiting has been going. I know for my class PIMCO basically swooped in and took a bunch of kids, but not sure if they've slowed down...

Jul 7, 2014

This is getting off topic from the thread, but PIMCO did NOT do any full-time MBA recruiting this past year. My best guess is that this was due to the total return fund getting crushed. Unsure whether they will resume FT recruiting this year.

Jul 7, 2014

There seems to be a large social atmosphere when it comes to B-school in general. Would a highly introverted person have trouble succeeding during the MBA and getting an MC/IB offer?

Jul 7, 2014
mike50:

There seems to be a large social atmosphere when it comes to B-school in general. Would a highly introverted person have trouble succeeding during the MBA and getting an MC/IB offer?

The Booth recruiting machine is pretty powerful. Even the most socially challenged people can land good IB jobs. However, I think you're focused on the wrong thing. If you're introverted to the point that you really struggle to interact socially, it doesn't matter if you land the job or not. You'll have a hard time keeping it, getting promoted, and establishing a career without this skillset. The real question you should be asking is whether or not an MBA is the right environment for you to develop the skills needed to succeed. Introversion itself isn't a bad thing. It is only bad when it prevents you from handling situations that are required for your job.

Personally, I thinks MBAs are the most valuable to introverts rather than extroverts because it gives them a relatively safe environment to build their career-related social skills.

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Jul 8, 2014

Hi Mike50,

Introversion is not a flaw. In fact, it can actually be a strength if you understand it. I highly recommend reading "Quiet" by Susan Cain.

Jul 8, 2014
Astraeus:

Hi Mike50,

Introversion is not a flaw. In fact, it can actually be a strength if you understand it. I highly recommend reading "Quiet" by Susan Cain.

I think it was @"ArcherVice" with a hell of a quote on a different thread. "Never miss a chance to STFU." That's got to be easier advice to execute if you're an introvert.

Jul 7, 2014

Awesome post, very informative for those weighing an MBA. I've heard other past and current MBA's have varied opinions in regards to grade non-disclosure. Keep us updated.

Jul 8, 2014

Thanks so much for doing this.

The one thing that confuses me most about Booth separation between Hyde Park and Downtown. Are there certain neighborhoods or apartment buildings that students live in? How much is the Gleacher Center used by students? Is it common to drive between your apartments and campus or is public transportation so convenient that there's no benefit to having a car?

Jul 8, 2014

Most Booth students live in a group of highrise buildings in downtown collectively referred to as "Booth Dorms." The actual building names are Aqua, Millennium Plaza, Columbus, Tides, Shoreham. They are super nice buildings, and a lot cheaper than NYC rent.

Transportation is super convenient. Those buildings are a brief walk from the Millennium Metra station. From there, the train ride to Hyde Park is less than 15 minutes. The walk from the stop to Harper though is a bit of a pain in the ass, roughly 10-15 minutes. During the brutal Chicago winters, this will suck.

Gleacher Center is home to Booth's evening, weekend, and Executive MBA programs, but full-timers can take classes there if they want to take an evening course.

Jul 8, 2014
mbavsmfin:

Most Booth students live in a group of highrise buildings in downtown collectively referred to as "Booth Dorms."

The walk from the stop to Harper though is a bit of a pain in the ass, roughly 10-15 minutes. During the brutal Chicago winters, this will suck.

I know you're trying to help, but as I mentioned above, this is partially inaccurate. I don't think I've ever heard the buildings referred to as the "Booth Dorms." Sometimes MPP itself is referred to as dorms on the basis that there are SO many Booth students living there that you are constantly running into classmates (I'm sure the parties are part of it too).

For the 10-15 minute walk, there are two METRA stops that are walkable to Booth. The 59th street stop is a six minute walk. The 56th street stop is indeed 10-15 minutes. All trains stop at the 56th street stop while some stop at the 59th street stop. If anyone wants to see the specifics, there is a website that shows the exact times everything runs: www.BoothScoot.com. Note that most all students take the 7:35 or 7:48 trains if they have morning class and 12:20 or 12:30 trains if they have afternoon class.

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Jul 8, 2014
Bigred54:

The one thing that confuses me most about Booth separation between Hyde Park and Downtown. Are there certain neighborhoods or apartment buildings that students live in? How much is the Gleacher Center used by students? Is it common to drive between your apartments and campus or is public transportation so convenient that there's no benefit to having a car?

So the majority of students live in a handful of buildings downtown. The most popular is Millennium Park Plaza ("MPP") which is also the cheapest. They have three bedrooms that are sizable where students are paying under $1000/month. So many students live there that it is very common to run into classmates in the hall and people throw frequent parties in their rooms. It is definitely the center of the action.

Besides MPP, there are a number of other popular buildings, including Columbus Plaza and the Lakeshore East buildings (Tides, Shoreham, Coast, Aqua). Columbus Plaza is nicer than MPP but isn't quite as nice as the Lakeshore East buildings. It seems to be where a lot of people with families live as the apartments are big and reasonably priced.

The Lakeshore East buildings were all built in the last decade and range from nice to very nice. Some units have balconies and the amenities are quite nice. The prices are still much better than other major cities, but they are relatively high for Chicago (low $2,000s for 700sq ft).

There are also a handful of people who live in other areas (Hyde Park, South Loop, River North, etc.)

Here's how it works. Each Booth class meets once a week for a 3 hour block. That block is either 8:30-11:30, 1:30-4:30, or 6:00-9:00. Any class that meets in the first two blocks is held in the Harper Center at Hyde Park and all night and weekend classes are held downtown in the Gleacher centers. Full Time students are eligible to take either. Often times professors will teach two day sessions and then a night session of the same course, so there is flexibility. Some people take all morning courses, some mostly night classes, while others stack their classes into 1-2 days to have 5 day weekends each week (remember, you're taking 3-4 classes per quarter). The Gleacher center is also a very popular place for study groups to meet. This Spring Booth opened a brand new massive set of study rooms across the street from Gleacher (at the NBC towers). They are frequently used for study groups or people looking to study alone. Because most people live downtown, often times there isn't a need to go to Hyde Park to study.

The Chicago train (the METRA) runs from downtown and has a "UChicago" stop that drops you off right on the actual campus. The downtown stop is literally right underneath MPP, so most people have a 3 minute commute to the train. If you live in the other buildings, you have a 5-10 minute commute. The train is ultra reliable so you can count on it departing at exactly 7:48am every morning and dropping you off on campus. The train ride takes 12 minutes (express) or 18 minutes (regular). One you are dropped off on campus, it is a 6 minute walk to the Harper center where all the MBA classes/events/etc. are housed.

Here is the fun part: there is an underground passageway called the Pedway that connects directly to the METRA and even some of the residential buildings. If you live in Columbus Plaza, you can take the elevator from your apartment directly to the Pedway and walk to the Metra without ever stepping foot outside. The Pedway also has a wide range of shops including hair salons, banks, dry cleaning, restaurants, fast-food, convenience stores, and more. So while it is undoubtedly quite cold in Chicago, you can cover most of life's necessities and visit all your classmates quickly and regardless of weather. There is also a massive grocery store called Mariano's (run by a Booth alum) that is located a few minutes walk from all of the aforementioned buildings. A car is completely unnecessary (I sold mine and am now carless for the first time in my life since age 16). Furthermore, the blue line takes you directly from downtown to O'Hare Airport for $2.25 and the same with the Orange line and Midway Airport.

Lastly -- night life. Booth students frequently go to the bars in River North (walking distance) for drinks. There are also people who prefer to go to Lincoln Park, Lake View, Gold Coast, and other areas farther North. During the day it isn't uncommon for people to run alongside Lakeshore Drive or the Millennium Park area.

I recognize that this post comes off as being quite rosy and very "pro-Booth." To be honest, one of my biggest concerns moving to Chicago was the commute. I thought I was going to be spending significant time hauling myself back and forth between Hyde Park and downtown. The convenience has been unbelievable which is one of the reasons that I speak so positively about it.

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Jul 8, 2014

Great post/insights. Hopefully it helps me when it comes time for me to decide on a B school. Enjoy your second year @"CompBanker"

Progress is impossible without change...

Jul 8, 2014

CB, a few quick questions:

1. How impressed have you been by the caliber of your classmates?
2. Did you find the finance courses extremely rigorous and challenging since that's what Booth is known for?

Jul 9, 2014
mbavsmfin:

How impressed have you been by the caliber of your classmates?

This is a really tough question. When I first showed up at Booth I was expecting everyone to be a superstar. Smart people everywhere that blew me away in every dimension. My first impressions were actually a bit negative. Foolishly of me, I realized that I was measuring people on just one dimension.

While it is true that not everyone is a genius, everyone has some level of accomplishments - most of which aren't readily apparent when sitting in a classroom. A shocking number of people speak at least two languages fluently. Numerous people run their own business. International students are taking classes in a non-native language and many are still getting better grades than me when I put in lots of study hours. At our "Follies" night, a ton of people took the stage and were quite good at singing, dancing, or both. All of these "hidden talents" started coming out over the course of the year that weren't apparent when I first met people. I've obviously been humbled countless time throughout the year by classmates.

If you show up expecting everyone to have the work ethic of a banker, math prowess of an engineer, and business acumen of Buffett -- you're going to be quite disappointed.

Did you find the finance courses extremely rigorous and challenging since that's what Booth is known for?

Nope. That's not really a fair question though, I have a very deep background in finance and therefore I can learn the material a lot quicker than my classmates who don't have a relevant background. I also haven't taken ANY advanced finance courses yet (by choice) as I've been trying to take classes that interest me. So I'll have to defer on this question.

To answer the broader question, most of the classes at Booth are challenging. They cover a lot of material and are heavily rooted in economic theory. If you aren't comfortable with math, you'll struggle. You will learn a lot. Some of it will be applicable to your career, some of it is only pertinent to PhD's. Booth deserves its reputation for its rigor. My guess is that the reputation has helped the school on the recruiting front as well, but it is just speculation.

There are also some classes that require very little work and you can secure a B+ just by showing up. Again, you have to really try to fail a class or to ace it. The school provides a ton of information regarding each class (such as average hours of homework per week) as assessed by students who took the class over the last few years. It is pretty easy to judge which classes are easy and which are difficult. You can also view the syllabus ahead of time so you know if you'll be graded on homework, exams, take home exam, class participation, etc.

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Jul 9, 2014

I have so much respect for the way Booth teaches business. I've been disappointed with the lack of quantitative and analytical rigor at my b-school.

Jul 9, 2014

"If you show up expecting everyone to have the work ethic of a banker, math prowess of an engineer, and business acumen of Buffett -- you're going to be quite disappointed."

What level of math / finance knowledge are you expected to have before entering school? For example: are you expected to know basic accounting / be pretty familiar with statistics etc.

Jul 9, 2014

Booth needs to put you on the payroll CB.

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Jul 9, 2014

Yeah, he's definitely a great ambassador for Booth. He's smart but humble and a great writer. Of course, Booth is a very easy school to defend; I see very few flaws or weaknesses in the school, and I probably get along with Boothies better than students at other top schools.

Jul 9, 2014

great read, thanks!

It's all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation. -Gordon Gekko

Jul 9, 2014

Anyone know the major differences between booth and kellog for MBA?

It's all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation. -Gordon Gekko

Jul 9, 2014

They are different culturally and have different strengths. Both are awesome b-schools. Kellogg (and I'm generalizing here) is more fratty and social while Booth is dorkier and more cerebral. This is a generalization of course, but from spending a lot of time with students from both schools, it was pretty clear that Kellogg kids partied harder than the Boothies.

Kellogg is stronger in consulting, marketing, and general management while Booth is stronger in finance. Not sure about tech and entrepenurship.

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Jul 10, 2014
VCPEORIB:

Anyone know the major differences between Booth and Kellogg for MBA?

The biggest difference is really in your environment. Kellogg is out in Evanston in the suburbs. I have a few friends and former co-workers there. Despite being in the same city with lots of free time, we hardly ever see each other. My understanding is that Kellogg students tend to hang out in Evanston in their community and rarely venture into the city. Not to say it doesn't happen and with a class of ~600 there are going to be many cases of people who break the mold, but in general, this is my perception. I walked through the living and social situation for Booth students in detail above so you can compare the two.

My understanding is that the caliber of the students is very similar. I'm assuming that Booth is more economics focused in its education while Kellogg has a broader marketing offering. Overall, they are probably more alike than different.

Jul 11, 2014

I think the primary difference is the flexibility inherent in the Booth curriculum. Booth allows a significant amount of flexibility to shape the program to personal preferences and interests. Generally, Booth is going to have a harder quantitative edge than Kellogg.

Jul 9, 2014

Damn...CB - I think you sold me on Booth. I will consider applying.

Jul 9, 2014

Lol. Yeah CB is an awesome ambassador. But as I said before, the case for Booth is so strong that it doesn't need too much selling. CB is just icing on the cake.

Jul 10, 2014

The quality of the information in compbanker's posts is incredible. It's a shame this type of information isn't available on every school.

Jul 10, 2014

Not to hijack, but I'd love to see similar threads from anyone on here currently attending other top programs. It's nice to see the whole story and not regurgitated fluff you find in a brochure. I especially like the specific points that rarely get addressed (i.e. CompBanker's analysis of the caliber of fellow students, and the difficulty of the classes). I'd like to see individuals post, whether they love or hate their schools, just to give interested candidates better perspective. Come to think of it I've never actually met an MBA who didn't at least LIKE his/her experience. Sure some were disappointed in being unable to connect w/ the student body or losing out on internships/jobs but that's more a personal fault than that of the school, I guess. And who wants to trash a brand they've invested 200Gs in? Would still love to read any reviews that run the gamut, though, for sure.

Jul 10, 2014
TheGrind:

Not to hijack, but I'd love to see similar threads from anyone on here currently attending other top programs. It's nice to see the whole story and not regurgitated fluff you find in a brochure. I especially like the specific points that rarely get addressed (i.e. CompBanker's analysis of the caliber of fellow students, and the difficulty of the classes). I'd like to see individuals post, whether they love or hate their schools, just to give interested candidates better perspective. Come to think of it I've never actually met an MBA who didn't at least LIKE his/her experience. Sure some were disappointed in being unable to connect w/ the student body or losing out on internships/jobs but that's more a personal fault than that of the school, I guess. And who wants to trash a brand they've invested 200Gs in? Would still love to read any reviews that run the gamut, though, for sure.

You jelly about how much praise CB's getting bruh?

Just kidding. TheGrind's post was the first amongst these unusually informative posts. Thanks to TheGrind and CB.

Jul 11, 2014
TheGrind:

Not to hijack, but I'd love to see similar threads from anyone on here currently attending other top programs. It's nice to see the whole story and not regurgitated fluff you find in a brochure. I especially like the specific points that rarely get addressed (i.e. CompBanker's analysis of the caliber of fellow students, and the difficulty of the classes). I'd like to see individuals post, whether they love or hate their schools, just to give interested candidates better perspective. Come to think of it I've never actually met an MBA who didn't at least LIKE his/her experience. Sure some were disappointed in being unable to connect w/ the student body or losing out on internships/jobs but that's more a personal fault than that of the school, I guess. And who wants to trash a brand they've invested 200Gs in? Would still love to read any reviews that run the gamut, though, for sure.

As someone freshly out of undergrad just beginning to look at MBA programs, I had never considered Booth. I thought it was for quant jocks and nerds. Definitely changed my perspective. I'd also like similar Q&A threads for every school from 1-20. Great job CB. Booth admissions would do well by hiring you.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

Jul 12, 2014

I didn't apply to Booth for the same reason, and to make matters worse I had actually worked with people from UChicago (both undergrad and Booth) who embodied the stereotypes. I think in recent years Booth has gone out of its way to bring in more well rounded social "Midwestern" types, as CompBanker mentioned earlier. I have about a dozen current Boothies in my MBA network, and they're all some of the most chill and fun loving people you'll meet. Can't help but think how much hell I'd be raising with them had I not been so narrow in my thinking! (Assuming i'd gotten in of course, big "if").

Jul 10, 2014

Hi CompBanker,

Could you let me know a little bit about internship/recruiting opportunities for non-US candidates? Perhaps on the lines of which types of companies recruit the most non-US candidates and overall how many companies (percentage-wise) are open to sponsoring foreigners.

My background: MBA from non-IB target, rank 15-20 school. Abysmal recruiting for non-US at my place.

Thank you in advance.

Jul 10, 2014
mbaguy2014:

Could you let me know a little bit about internship/recruiting opportunities for non-US candidates? Perhaps on the lines of which types of companies recruit the most non-US candidates and overall how many companies (percentage-wise) are open to sponsoring foreigners.

My background: MBA from non-IB target, rank 15-20 school. Abysmal recruiting for non-US at my place.

Our class is about a third international. A LOT of people are interested in staying in the U.S. after they graduate and therefore work authorization is a very real issue for these people. Every time a company posts a job to our internal database they need to specify whether or not they sponsor international students. This makes it very easy to filter out which opportunities are available to you and which are not. In general, the investment banks and the consulting firms all sponsor. The F500 are a lot more mixed. Some do and some don't. I don't know if there is a pattern or trend in which firms take international students. As you look at smaller companies the likelihood does tend to go down. I wouldn't expect a

In terms of success rates, it appears to me that most of the international students who wanted to stay in the U.S. were able to do so. However, those not interested in banking nor consulting sometimes ended up in undesirable locations. I have a lot of international friends and their idea of staying in the U.S. usually means remaining in Chicago or going to NYC, SF, Miami, or some equivalent. However, a lot of the F500 are headquartered in the middle of nowhere where land is cheap and labor is abundant. While their internship and experience is great, I suspect they will try to re-recruit for full time on the basis of geography.

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Jul 11, 2014

As far as classmates socializing with each other, outside of school wide events, do you see groups segregate for social stuff? E.g. Internationals with their own groups (Latinos in their own group, Indians in their own, same with Chinese), or bros doing their own thing, etc.

Jul 12, 2014
abacab:

As far as classmates socializing with each other, outside of school wide events, do you see groups segregate for social stuff? E.g. Internationals with their own groups (Latinos in their own group, Indians in their own, same with Chinese), or bros doing their own thing, etc.

The answer is both yes and no. There are definitely groups that spend the majority of their time together. The Latins are probably the most severe example. Booth has a massive Latin population. When the LatAm club has a social event they can easily exceed 100 people. Latins can roll 5 or 10 deep in pretty much any situation. Also, many of them are married and their spouses befriend the other spouses which contributes to the numbers even more. They don't need to look outside their group in order to have a very fulfilling and interactive MBA experience.

However, the way it plays out is interesting. The default is for the Latins to hang out with each other, but they are also VERY accepting of people outside their group. If a random American guy wants to hang out with Latins, it is no problem whatsoever. Usually they will switch from Spanish/Portuguese to English if a non-Spanish speaker walks up to them. There are also Latins that choose to befriend and hang out with primarily non-Latins. So not everyone chooses the same path. The majority seem to elect to hang out with each other though, but this is just my impression and not rooted in data.

Outside of the Latins and some of the Chinese, most other internationals are highly integrated. The Chinese are tricky because they themselves seem to have so many sub-classifications (those born in China vs. USA vs. grew up in USA etc.). I'm hardly an expert in this area ... so ask others for their opinions. The Indians are super integrated and hang out with non-indians as much as each other. The Europeans are extremely integrated.

There is never a case where groups are exclusionary. No group would tell you that you can't participate in their social events. In fact, many international student groups put on events designed specifically to introduce others to their culture.

If you're looking for an experience where you hang out with a diverse set of people on a regular basis, you will find no barriers whatsoever. If you're looking to befriend people of a certain nationality (such as the Latins), it is similarly easy, but you'll need to be proactive.

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Jul 11, 2014

Great post. Regarding your point on academics, what schools focus the most on practicality instead of theory? I would think that HBS would fit that bill given the case method. Am I right? What other schools teach less theory and more practice? Thanks to anyone who opines.

Jul 12, 2014
powpow:

Great post. Regarding your point on academics, what schools focus the most on practicality instead of theory? I would think that HBS would fit that bill given the case method. Am I right? What other schools teach less theory and more practice? Thanks to anyone who opines.

This is really hard for me to say. I think most of them don't really focus on practice as much as theory. Academia is strange like that. You'd really need to ask multiple individuals from each school to get a more broad perspective. I think most of them would tout that their programs are highly practical whether or not they actually are.

Luckily many of the people who hire MBAs aren't looking for a highly technical skillset (outside of perhaps banking). The MBA isn't a technical degree the same way a Masters of Accountancy or a Masters of Taxation are. They hire smart people and expect to train them on the job.

Jul 11, 2014

Thank you for a great post. I do have a somewhat difficult question, but it is relevant as I plan to pursue an MBA soon:

Considering what you said about the academics, do you still think the ROI of attending still makes sense? Especially for those that need to borrow to get through. Seems like an expensive social club, and while networking is important, getting practical knowledge should also be a part of the experience.

Jul 12, 2014
the_gekko:

Considering what you said about the academics, do you still think the ROI of attending still makes sense? Especially for those that need to borrow to get through. Seems like an expensive social club, and while networking is important, getting practical knowledge should also be a part of the experience.

I think you're looking at the MBA in too narrow of a lens. You can't break down the experience into social and academic. There are so many other things that contribute to the ROI. For example:

Many people enter into the MBA with great technical skills. That is what is valuable at the entry/junior level. These people have excelled as individual contributors on projects and tasks. They come to school with a great work ethic and resume. However, often times they lack the ability to succeed at the next level. Can they manage others? Managing people requires a completely different skillset. Interpersonal skills are vastly more important. Can they articulate themselves? How many times have you listened to junior employees someone who "UMed" and "AHed" while trying to convey a point? The ability to articulate an idea in a compelling and succinct manor is one of the most valuable skills a business person can possess. The MBA facilitates THIS kind of learning as much as it facilitates technical skills.

Different people attend the MBA for different reasons. You should probably save your money if you're attending for the purpose of learning debits/credits. Some people do place a lot of value on the networking aspect of it. I'm one of them. Some want the pedigree. Some the recruiting opportunities. Some the life experiences. So while it is easy to throw out a line such as "expensive social club," you're missing the fact that there is a tremendous amount of value to be gained outside of these narrow components.

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Jul 11, 2014

I'll do a Kellogg one next year if no one does it this year, if people are still interested in the differences.

Jul 11, 2014
OpsDude:

I'll do a Kellogg one next year if no one does it this year, if people are still interested in the differences.

And @"WallStreetOasis.com" and @"AndyLouis" should put there somewhere easily accessible for future reference. Hopefully, we can have these reviews for all Top 10-15 B Schools on WSO.

Finally, @"CompBanker" given that you can schedule your classes for 2 weekdays/5 - do Booth MBA's find some sort of PT employment in Chicago during the semesters? I imagine you did not want to do it because of your experiences and financial situation, but what if someone is not that financially well-off and wants to earn some extra cash during the MBA?

Is it possible to do this from Kellog @"OpsDude"?

Jul 11, 2014
snakeoil:
OpsDude:

I'll do a Kellogg one next year if no one does it this year, if people are still interested in the differences.

And @WallStreetOasis.com and @AndyLouis should put there somewhere easily accessible for future reference. Hopefully, we can have these reviews for all Top 10-15 B Schools on WSO.

Finally, @CompBanker given that you can schedule your classes for 2 weekdays/5 - do Booth MBA's find some sort of PT employment in Chicago during the semesters? I imagine you did not want to do it because of your experiences and financial situation, but what if someone is not that financially well-off and wants to earn some extra cash during the MBA?

Is it possible to do this from Kellog @OpsDude?

I don't want to hi-jack CB's thread, or speak too much before I actually experience the school, but Kellogg and Booth have different philosophies. Booth is very much into creating the academic experience you want, Kellogg is very much into creating a close-knit culture...so you're put in cohorts and take most of the same classes the first half-year together to build relationships (also has the week-long kwest before classes start, where you party internationally with future classmates/make close friendships). On top of that, you have more group projects than any other schools. Booth focuses more on quant skills, and Kellogg focuses more on soft-skills. (This is a generalization of course, both schools are huge and have both soft-skill and hard-skill classes of course).

To answer your question directly, I''ve spoken to a bajillion Kellogg students and not one has had part-time work. I think its theoretically possible to be a TA second year, or a RA of a dorm (not positive about this), but no 2nd years I've spoken with have done either. Our classes are Monday Tuesday Thursday and Friday, with free beer in the lobby on Friday. I just messaged my friend who finished his first year - 1st quarter your schedule is pretty much set (although you can waive classes if you want), but after that you can do a 2 day schedule if you want. Some classes are 3 hours and some meet twice a week. You have the option to go to the downtown chicago campus to take classes with the PT people if you want.

More generally about part-time work - at Booth or Kellogg, barring another financial crisis, most everyone graduates with a good if not great job....so once people get to campus they tend to become less worried about a few thousand bucks here and there - which is why you see few people take part-time work and see people go on expensive vacation on pure debt. You also get summer internship money, signing bonuses, and some jobs even will pay for your 2nd year (e.g. Deloitte). Columbia students have internships primarily to enhance their employment prospects - there's a lot of competition for NYC finance, not because they need money (although Columbia is both the most expensive M7 school and has the worst financial aid).

Personally for me, I went to undergrad business school where I studied finance...an over-competitive school with no campus and no school spirit. Due to this, and the fact I want to transition into Management Consulting, Kellogg was the clear number 1 choice for me when applying to business school, since it literally had everything I wanted in a school (well, aside from hot weather haha). Anyways, as said I don't want to hi-jack this thread, but feel free to PM me with any further questions. I did an AMA back in the day you're welcome to bump if you can find it too.

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Jul 12, 2014
snakeoil:

CompBanker, given that you can schedule your classes for 2 weekdays/5 - do Booth MBA's find some sort of PT employment in Chicago during the semesters? I imagine you did not want to do it because of your experiences and financial situation, but what if someone is not that financially well-off and wants to earn some extra cash during the MBA?

There are very few people who do it for financial reasons. I think only the extremely debt-adverse people attempt to lower the debt burden through a part-time job. There are plenty of people who do work on the side for career purposes though. I know some who still work for their old employer helping out on projects or even with buyside M&A deals in one particular case. It can be really easy to do or a huge time-sink depending on the arrangement.

For those looking to break into PE with limited or no experience, Booth does offer the PE lab. The lab essentially pairs you with Chicago-based PE shops and gives you academic credit (not $$$) for interning at a PE firm during the school year. The actual experience varies widely depending on the needs of the PE firm. Some have you working on deals, others reviewing CIMs and modeling, and still others may give you a project to research a sector to determine if it is worth investing in. These internships last throughout the quarter and some of them extend into the summer for internships and potentially full-time jobs. Anecdotally, the sponsoring PE firms tend to be run by Booth alum or have a number of Booth employees and are looking to hire specifically from Booth. This isn't surprising as much of Chicago-based PE is dominated by Booth and Kellogg alums.

Again, I don't recommend working PT for cash but certainly for experience. The class schedule allows it if you don't mind sacrificing the time.

Jul 12, 2014

I have some questions of practical nature...

Re internationals:
Are many of the internationals top 1-percenters (e.g. only a fraction of Argentines can afford a 200K education, yet there are quite a few of them at top U.S. business school)? Are international students integrated well at Booth/in Chicago? E.g. does the hooking up primarily happen between Americans?

Re internationals from Europe:
Are any of your classmates doing internships in London? Was London their first choice or were they pressured to pick that location due to Visa restrictions? As a European student, is it possible to do an internship in Houston, or will you be eligible only if you have ties to the state, e.g. went to high school there?

Re winter break:
Is it okay to go home to your home country and relax over winter break, or are you expected to spend the "break" preparing for recruiting season?

Re keeping some powder dry for unemployment:
In which month does people typically start working, i.e. how many months of unemployment are there (and you should budget for) after graduation? Also, if you're relocating to Manhattan, I guess you should have cash available to pay for deposit, broker fee, etc.?

Re IBD:
People who do a summer internship in IBD and get an offer, when do they get their sign-on bonuses? Is it normal to get your money in December, i.e. in the same year as the calendar internship (obvious reasons being taxation and keeping borrowing levels down in the final semester)? Do BB's give standardized offers, i.e. would it be impossible to negotiate a signing bonus of 100K? Tuition reimbursement is only for people going back to their old companies, right? In addition to the standard signing bonus of 50K, you get a relocation allowance of 8K, right? Is the relocation allowance taxable?

I realize that the list is long, but hope you have time to answer them :)

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Jul 12, 2014
El Lebani:

Re internationals:

Are many of the internationals top 1-percenters (e.g. only a fraction of Argentines can afford a 200K education, yet there are quite a few of them at top U.S. business school)? Are international students integrated well at Booth/in Chicago? E.g. does the hooking up primarily happen between Americans?

I just answered the integration question above. Regarding the international 1-percenters, this is a frequently thrown around stereotype that is I find does not play out in reality. There are some internationals that come from very wealthy families but they are few and far between. Many internationals appear to come from middle-class or upper-middle class backgrounds in their home countries. The educational cost is not prohibitive, but they need to constantly monitor their bank accounts just like Americans do.

Internationals are also hooking up just as much as the Americans. I know a few of them who look outside Booth and are crushing it on Tinder around Chicago. Some classmates even start dating each other during the MBA. It is a normal social environment just like undergrad.

Re internationals from Europe:

Are any of your classmates doing internships in London? Was London their first choice or were they pressured to pick that location due to Visa restrictions? As a European student, is it possible to do an internship in Houston, or will you be eligible only if you have ties to the state, e.g. went to high school there?

London is one of the more popular destinations for summer internships. The people who go there originate from all over the world, not just Europe. On the flip side, most Europeans appear to be doing their internships in the U.S.

As for Houston in particular, we have a small group of people interning there, primarily at investment banks. I think we had something like five people who wanted to do investment banking exclusively in Houston. My understanding is that they all got multiple offers (in some cases 5+) because the demand vastly outstripped supply. The sample size is small, but I know one of them is international and another is not from Texas. I'm sure there are more but our class is 600 people and I don't know everyone and their exact summer plans / childhood.

Re winter break:

Is it okay to go home to your home country and relax over winter break, or are you expected to spend the "break" preparing for recruiting season?

Of course. You can do whatever you want. You get 3-4 weeks for Winter break and can spend it however you please. Depending on your target industry and background, you may elect to spend part of the time preparing. Bankers tended to prep the most followed by consultants and then the rest of us. Overall most people just travel, relax, and hang out with friends/family.

Re keeping some powder dry for unemployment:

In which month does people typically start working, i.e. how many months of unemployment are there (and you should budget for) after graduation? Also, if you're relocating to Manhattan, I guess you should have cash available to pay for deposit, broker fee, etc.?

There is some flexibility here. I've heard that people get offered different start dates and can choose. Some go right after graduation, some in the fall, and I've even heard of some in January. I think consulting firms are the most flexible. This is something you have a little leeway on. And yes, of course you should make sure you can afford to pay your moving/rent related expenses.

Re IBD:

People who do a summer internship in IBD and get an offer, when do they get their sign-on bonuses? Is it normal to get your money in December, i.e. in the same year as the calendar internship (obvious reasons being taxation and keeping borrowing levels down in the final semester)? Do BB's give standardized offers, i.e. would it be impossible to negotiate a signing bonus of 100K? Tuition reimbursement is only for people going back to their old companies, right? In addition to the standard signing bonus of 50K, you get a relocation allowance of 8K, right? Is the relocation allowance taxable?

Investment banking hiring is extremely standardized. Your offer is going to be your offer. Even if it weren't, I'm not sure how you'd expect to negotiate a $100K sign-on bonus as a fresh associate right out of your MBA. That's a pretty darn significant signing bonus. I don't know when people get their sign-on bonuses or how much they are. You'll get enough to easily cover your relocation and put a dent in your debt burden.

As for the tax consequences, I don't think you understand the way income taxes work if you're asking if the relocation allowance is taxable. Any time the company pays you money it is taxable as income. It doesn't matter what you call it. There are certain tax laws that enable you to deduct actual relocation expenses, tuition expenses, etc., but if you're getting a check from the bank that hasn't had taxes withheld, it is taxable.

Jul 12, 2014

How helpful have been the classes you took your first year? Have the classes at all fundamentally changed your thoughts on finance, business, and economics? I can't speak for your experience, but I've been sorely disappointed with most of my courses and how shallow they have been.

Jul 13, 2014
mbavsmfin:

How helpful have been the classes you took your first year? Have the classes at all fundamentally changed your thoughts on finance, business, and economics? I can't speak for your experience, but I've been sorely disappointed with most of my courses and how shallow they have been.

For me, some have been helpful but most have not. I came into Booth with an extensive background in business due to my time in IB/PE. I'm also not a career switcher. As someone with multiple years of experience in my desired career path, it stands the reason that the academics would be less valuable to me. The people who seem to get the most out of it are the ones who come from non-business backgrounds looking to go into investment banking or consulting. There are a whole slew of classes to help build understanding of these areas as well as technical skills (modeling, valuation, etc.). Obviously it would be redundant for me to take these classes.

As for "fundamentally changed your thoughts on finance, business, and economics." I don't have any economics background so I've learned a TON about economics in general. But "fundamentally changed"? This is an MBA program not a spiritual retreat. I can't say that I ever expected this.

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Jul 12, 2014

CB, I'm hoping you can give me a little more insight into the impact of location in recruiting success - especially in regards to consulting. It's well known that from Kellogg and Booth most people are targeting Chicago/NY/SF, more or less in that order. Obviously the NY and Chicago offices are much bigger than the offices in Miami or Atlanta, but I'm wondering how it plays out in practice: Do people who go for the smaller offices have better or worse recruiting success in general? After living in NYC for 9 years, I'm totally over living in a big city and I'd be more than happy to work at a smaller office if it would help my chance of successfully recruiting

I'd particularly love to live in LA, if you have any information specifically on that office it would be great too. And Atlanta too, since my SO grew up in Georgia.

I've tried asking this question to different times, but keep getting contradictory answer, or a derivative of "well, demand is more variable in the smaller offices..." Hoping you can possibly give me some better insight.

Jul 18, 2014
OpsDude:

CB, I'm hoping you can give me a little more insight into the impact of location in recruiting success - especially in regards to consulting. It's well known that from Kellogg and Booth most people are targeting Chicago/NY/SF, more or less in that order. Obviously the NY and Chicago offices are much bigger than the offices in Miami or Atlanta, but I'm wondering how it plays out in practice: Do people who go for the smaller offices have better or worse recruiting success in general?

Best I can offer is an anecdote. I was not involved in consulting recruiting, but I got a blind email from a McKinsey regional office in a city that I used to live in. They set up a call with me and tried to convince me to apply to that office. It was quite clear that they were hurting for applicants. Based on that, I'd say that your odds will be better if you're applying to non-traditional offices. But that's all I'm basing it on, I really don't know.

Jul 19, 2014
CompBanker:
OpsDude:

CB, I'm hoping you can give me a little more insight into the impact of location in recruiting success - especially in regards to consulting. It's well known that from Kellogg and Booth most people are targeting Chicago/NY/SF, more or less in that order. Obviously the NY and Chicago offices are much bigger than the offices in Miami or Atlanta, but I'm wondering how it plays out in practice: Do people who go for the smaller offices have better or worse recruiting success in general?

Best I can offer is an anecdote. I was not involved in consulting recruiting, but I got a blind email from a McKinsey regional office in a city that I used to live in. They set up a call with me and tried to convince me to apply to that office. It was quite clear that they were hurting for applicants. Based on that, I'd say that your odds will be better if you're applying to non-traditional offices. But that's all I'm basing it on, I really don't know.

Actually it's not that they are hurting for applicants, but that's what MBB do. Basically midway through recruitingn season, they go through resume books and try to figure out which good candidates (mostly based on work experience and GMAT) didn't pursue them. They reach out to them and try to get them in the fold.

Happened to me and several other classmates I know. Gave me opportunity to do informational, invited to small group dinners and even made it to close lists without much effort at all. And my school was definitely not hurting for applicants. I believe this has to do with the much larger number of people consulting firms interview (hundreds) compared to other opportunities, so they can take random shots without missing out their core interested people.

Jul 12, 2014

I actually just visited campus yesterday, was surprised at how confined the MBA program is to Harper Center but it was pretty nice actually. Regarding the lifestyle, the admissions director said most students live in the "Booth dorms". I looked these apts up and they're fairly expensive, was just wondering how most students pay for this, just take out loans?

Finally I know you said that likelihood of going mm to mf PE is low, but what kind of competition is there for these summer internships at the school? What megafunds recruit on campus, how many students do you think are interviewing for these types of positions? Do the funds take a certain amount from Booth every summer or are you competing with everyone else at all other schools for the same seats? Would networking help, for example if I know someone at a megafund that gets me in touch with others in charge of hiring, or is it too structured like a bank?

Also, if you secure a mf summer position wouldn't that give you leverage to get in full time after graduating?

Just trying to gauge the possibility of using a Booth MBA to move up market.

Jul 13, 2014
Khayembii:

Regarding the lifestyle, the admissions director said most students live in the "Booth dorms". I looked these apts up and they're fairly expensive, was just wondering how most students pay for this, just take out loans?

Expensive is a relative term. Most Booth students are paying somewhere in the range of $900 - $1,700 to live either by themselves or with a roommate in the heart of Chicago. Some go up to the low $2,000s if they choose. The apartments are quite spacious and well located. Chicago is ridiculously cheap compared to most major cities. It will be higher than your costs if you were living in the suburbs or the likes of Cleveland - but people are generally quite impressed with the cost of real estate.

Finally I know you said that likelihood of going mm to mf PE is low, but what kind of competition is there for these summer internships at the school? What megafunds recruit on campus, how many students do you think are interviewing for these types of positions? Do the funds take a certain amount from Booth every summer or are you competing with everyone else at all other schools for the same seats? Would networking help, for example if I know someone at a megafund that gets me in touch with others in charge of hiring, or is it too structured like a bank?

Also, if you secure a mf summer position wouldn't that give you leverage to get in full time after graduating?

Just trying to gauge the possibility of using a Booth MBA to move up market.

None of the Megafunds recruit on campus. Your success in PE will largely be driven by your pre-MBA experience and your own networking efforts. Yes there are programs to facilitate people getting PE jobs, but in my opinion they are more designed to help people break in to the industry than to move up market. If your objective is to go from a $1bn fund to a MF the school's official recruiting channels will be of limited to no help. It would be up to you to network with alums at your desired funds and secure interviews.

As for Booth student "quotas," I'm sure you know that the PE industry is not very geography constrained. PE funds hire talent from the top schools all over the country and invest across the entire world. You will be competing with EVERYONE for these spots. You'll definitely have a leg up if you're looking for PE in Chicago simply due to the massive Booth alumni base in the city. I imagine Chicago-based PE jobs on our job board are not cross-posted at Wharton/Columbia/HBS, but you'll still be up against these folks if someone another school decides to cold call the PE shop. There is no obligation to hire Booth students over HBS and vice-versa.

In summary, PE recruiting is largely unstructured. Not only will networking help, but it is required in 95% of cases. I'm sure HBS gets more PE job postings than Booth -- so maybe their experience is different. I really can't say.

Jul 13, 2014

What firms recruit for PE on campus, then? What kind of firm are you hoping to end up at?

Jul 18, 2014
Khayembii:

What firms recruit for PE on campus, then? What kind of firm are you hoping to end up at?

I'm hesitant to answer this type of question. PE recruiting changes year to year based on the fundraising cycle, needs, etc. Firms that post jobs this year may not post jobs next year. Also, while plenty of PE firms POST jobs and invite Boothies to apply, they aren't coming to campus and holding networking events / conducting interviews on campus. It is all done on their terms.

I went through our database and selected names that I thought would be recognizable to people on this board. Here are some of the firms that have recruited over the past few years. There were also a lot of smaller funds available that I didn't pull. Note, I think most of these were full time, not internships. I also filtered out anything that wasn't a front office investment role.

Abraaj Capital
Advent International
Baird Capital Partners
Blackstone
Carlyle - Africa Fund
D.E. Shaw
Fortress
Goldman Sachs - Asia SSG
Goldman Sachs FoF
H.I.G. Capital
HarbourVest
Highland Capital
Insight Equity
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners
Norwest Equity
Parthenon Capital Partners
Permira
Saw Mill
The Sterling Group
Warburg Pincus - Asia
Wind Point
Windjammer

Before anyone tries to contact any of these firms: All of these job posting have since been filled / expired -- so don't bother trying to reach out!

Jul 15, 2014

This is one of the most informative threads I've seen on WSO in some time. It has completely corrected any misconceptions I've held about Booth or MBAs in general.

Regarding GND. Could you elaborate more on how GND is enforced? Is there essentially an unwritten rule among campus peers to divulge your GPA from your resume? Is the same policy present at other top MBA programs? Does GND remain intact throughout your two year experience? Is GND lifted following graduation / three months following graduation / six months following graduation? If not, what incentive is there to strive for A's besides personal satisfaction? Do you think your Booth GPA will be an important factor for future career endeavors down the line (perhaps 4-6 years following graduation)? Thanks.

Jul 15, 2014

At Booth, GND is a policy of the Graduate Business Council, meaning it is a collective agreement among students and is not an official school policy. It's essentially self-enforced, although career services will make sure it's being followed on any documentation they have (like your official resume in the online job system) and will make sure it's being followed by firms doing OCR. Frankly, I was never in my two years there asked about my grades. It's just not a big deal. The policy does lapse at graduation, which I guess could be a plus if you're still looking for a job then and have a great GPA, but 4 years down the line your is not going to matter that much if at all.

FYI, Booth's curve is that the max GPA for a class cannot be higher than 3.3, but professors have leeway on how they assign grades within that constraint. Some will give out more B's so they can give out more A's, but some will give almost everyone a B+.

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Jul 18, 2014
SlikRick:

Regarding GND. Could you elaborate more on how GND is enforced? Is there essentially an unwritten rule among campus peers to divulge your GPA from your resume? Is the same policy present at other top MBA programs? Does GND remain intact throughout your two year experience? Is GND lifted following graduation / three months following graduation / six months following graduation? If not, what incentive is there to strive for A's besides personal satisfaction? Do you think your Booth GPA will be an important factor for future career endeavors down the line (perhaps 4-6 years following graduation)? Thanks.

Question overload. I'll hit them all briefly because BTD gave a very accurate overview above.

1) It is implemented by Student Government and self policed. The school prevents you from including your GPA on your resume when you apply for jobs on campus or talk to recruiters. Recruiters aren't permitted to ask you your GPA (they know this and just don't ask) and you aren't permitted to tell them. Ignore mbavsmfin's comment above: McKinsey HEAVILY recruits and abides by the GND policy.

2) GND is intact through your entire time. 2nd year you can disclose Dean's list, but still not GPA.

3) All bets are off once you graduate.

4) I don't think my grades will ever be an important factor for future career endeavors. Ever. Forever ever. The incentive to perform well is solely a personal one (and perhaps you're chasing the scholarship money that is awarded for good grades). Many of us (myself included) can't stand the thought of doing poorly. We study out of instinct or irrational fear that grades actually matter.

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Jul 19, 2014
CompBanker:

Ignore mbavsmfin's comment above

LOL

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Jul 15, 2014

CompBanker, thanks for a great post! Can you please share your experience of resources available at Booth for people interested in real estate development careers post-MBA?

Jul 18, 2014
Arb1trageur:

CompBanker, thanks for a great post! Can you please share your experience of resources available at Booth for people interested in real estate development careers post-MBA?

Unfortunately I don't know much at ALL about real estate development. I have a few friends who were interested in RE PE that took internships in the field. I recognize that is different than RE development. We definitely have RE specific classes and alums that come to the school to talk about their careers in RE, but I'm not the right person to answer that question.

Jul 15, 2014

Bro, grades don't matter in b-school. And you can learn plenty without obsessing over the curve.

Jul 15, 2014

From my understanding, pretty much every top b-school except HBS, MIT, and Stern, have grade non-disclosure. At my school, we do have a curve whereby the bottom 10-15% in each individual class needs to get the lowest passing grade while 55-65% get the "average" grade and the top 25-30% get the highest possible grade. Despite GND, this curve is STRICTLY enforced. When the professor enters grades into the system, if he violates this curve (i.e., giving the top grade to more than 30% of the class), the system will automatically reject it and force him to abide by the curve. This was a decision made after a school-wide vote by the faculty and deans.

In terms of recruiting, GND is strictly enforced if the firm goes through on-campus recruiting. They cannot ask for your b-school grades, and if they do, career services have told us that we are not at all obligated to divulge that information. Now if you do want to reveal it, that's totally up to you, and students who made the Dean's List can always put that on their resumes to "stand out." However, I have seen very little evidence that grades have any impact on recruiting. I was never asked about grades during interviews, and neither were my classmates in finance. The exception from what I have heard is some of the major consulting firms. McKinsey for instance actually don't do OCR at most b-schools (this is something that most pre-MBAs don't know about) because they don't want to abide by GND and other restrictions on offers that career service would impose on them if they did do OCR. So MBAs would apply online by following the link for their school and go from there.

The incentive to get A's mostly comes from within, a desire to just do well in general and make Dean's List. Most people in b-school are driven but realize that grades don't really matter so they take it easy in that department and focus on having fun and recruiting. There are some gunners, however. My learning team of 5 has 2 hardcore gunners, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

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Jul 16, 2014

Good thread, thanks!

Jul 16, 2014

ya lost me in the first paragraph but thanks for sharing:)

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Jul 16, 2014

Thanks for such a relevant and insightful post

Benjamin A Gilman Scholar
Economics & Finance, Mandarin Chinese & Japanese
Small Business VP

Jul 16, 2014

As a full time 2012 Booth MBA graduate all I can say is....well said...sir...well said. The Booth experience was A+...academically and socially...

You wanna hedge risk? Risk comes from not knowing what your doing.

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Jul 17, 2014

Do you still keep in touch with a lot of your MBA classmates?

Jul 17, 2014
EuroboyRob:

As a full time 2012 Booth MBA graduate all I can say is....well said...sir...well said. The Booth experience was A+...academically and socially...

you guys should listen to Rob. also Booth class of 2012 was the shit!

Jul 17, 2014

Good stuff Compbanker. Posting from an anon account but this is an amazing contribution, hopefully we can get other schools as well!

Jul 17, 2014

Thank you so much for sharing the experience.
I myself is currently doing a part time masters in finance degree. I totally agree with you that in business school, esp for post-experience degrees, networking is prob as important as the studying part, if not more.

Im just abt to finish my 1st yr, going on to my 2nd yr and will definitely spend more time on the social/networking part, despite the fact that a full time stressful job + part time study combination is killing me already...haha

Jul 17, 2014

I think in terms of pure academics and quality of faculty, no b-school can rival Booth. Its finance course offering for instance is more extensive than any other school out there. And the faculty is on the cutting edge of research. Socially it has improved drastically over the past decade. No longer is Booth the stereotypical haven for quant geeks; it is now filled with smart interesting charismatic people who are having the time of their lives in Chicago.

Jul 17, 2014

CombBanker, magnificent post. I've been considering MBA for the past few months and this post itself has bumped Booth in my list.

Jul 19, 2014

Question for you:how rare is it for a Booth student to move into PE without prior experience in either PE or IB? Does this even occur? I'd imagine that the deck is stacked against such an applicant without valuations experience outside of a classroom setting.

Jul 19, 2014
BmoreNerd:

Question for you: how rare is it for a Booth student to move into PE without prior experience in either PE or IB? Does this even occur? I'd imagine that the deck is stacked against such an applicant without valuations experience outside of a classroom setting.

Jul 30, 2014
BmoreNerd:

Question for you:how rare is it for a Booth student to move into PE without prior experience in either PE or IB? Does this even occur? I'd imagine that the deck is stacked against such an applicant without valuations experience outside of a classroom setting.

I'd say that it is difficult to move into PE without prior PE experience and very difficult without prior PE or IB experience. At least with IB experience you can talk the lingo and are familiar with the deal process and relevant documents. Without either you're at a massive disadvantage.

Booth does a number of things to help bridge this gap. The classes seem particularly helpful for students who haven't had significant exposure to financial accounting or excel modeling. Some of the classes are quite intense and gave you hands on experience doing valuations. It is far from a replacement from grinding it out for 2 years at 100 hours a week, but you're not flying totally blind.

The primary method that people use to break into PE with no prior experience is the PE lab. Students apply to be a part of the PE lab and are interviewed by local PE funds (usually lower MM, microcap, or mezz funds). The firms then employ the student during the quarter on a part time basis (~20 hours / week). Day-to-day tasks can vary widely, but the people who get hired into these positions often have no PE/IB experience. The student gets the equivalent of 1 class credit for the work. The lab sometimes rolls into a summer internship (or even a FT job) with the same PE firm and by the end of the summer the student has six months of PE experience. This gives them a fighting chance during FT recruitment.

So it isn't perfect and it isn't easy, but it does happen. I think the majority of people are best off going through investment banking recruiting, working a few years, and then trying to make the leap to the buyside with solid experience at a reputable bank. Of course everyone has their own path.

Jul 30, 2014

Awesome. Thank you for the clear and concise reply. For such an individual, do you think that there would be a bigger focus on metrics? From what I hear, PE firms want raw ability and oftentimes ask for GMAT and even SAT scores. Do you suspect that a mega GMAT (770+) be of advantage for such a student without prior experience in PE recruiting? Same goes for IB without prior experience.

CompBanker:
BmoreNerd:

Question for you:how rare is it for a Booth student to move into PE without prior experience in either PE or IB? Does this even occur? I'd imagine that the deck is stacked against such an applicant without valuations experience outside of a classroom setting.

I'd say that it is difficult to move into PE without prior PE experience and very difficult without prior PE or IB experience. At least with IB experience you can talk the lingo and are familiar with the deal process and relevant documents. Without either you're at a massive disadvantage.

Booth does a number of things to help bridge this gap. The classes seem particularly helpful for students who haven't had significant exposure to financial accounting or excel modeling. Some of the classes are quite intense and gave you hands on experience doing valuations. It is far from a replacement from grinding it out for 2 years at 100 hours a week, but you're not flying totally blind.

The primary method that people use to break into PE with no prior experience is the PE lab. Students apply to be a part of the PE lab and are interviewed by local PE funds (usually lower MM, microcap, or mezz funds). The firms then employ the student during the quarter on a part time basis (~20 hours / week). Day-to-day tasks can vary widely, but the people who get hired into these positions often have no PE/IB experience. The student gets the equivalent of 1 class credit for the work. The lab sometimes rolls into a summer internship (or even a FT job) with the same PE firm and by the end of the summer the student has six months of PE experience. This gives them a fighting chance during FT recruitment.

So it isn't perfect and it isn't easy, but it does happen. I think the majority of people are best off going through investment banking recruiting, working a few years, and then trying to make the leap to the buyside with solid experience at a reputable bank. Of course everyone has their own path.

Jul 23, 2014

This is an absolutely awesome thread. Gave you a silver banana. I would like to send you PM, CompBanker but i can't due to lack of bananas. Can you please send me one so I can reply. Thanks.

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Jul 25, 2014

So I've heard students studying abroad. I would like to do it my second year during the Winter. Do you know if many students pursue this options and if you would recommend it? I definitely want to be in the fold of things at Booth, and I'm afraid I might miss out of things at Booth my second year.

Jul 25, 2014
VodkaGuru:

So I've heard students studying abroad. I would like to do it my second year during the Winter. Do you know if many students pursue this options and if you would recommend it? I definitely want to be in the fold of things at Booth, and I'm afraid I might miss out of things at Booth my second year.

@"CompBanker", I'm interested in this as well. Thanks!

Jul 30, 2014
VodkaGuru:

So I've heard students studying abroad. I would like to do it my second year during the Winter. Do you know if many students pursue this options and if you would recommend it? I definitely want to be in the fold of things at Booth, and I'm afraid I might miss out of things at Booth my second year.

This is a trade off like everything else at Booth. I don't have the exact statistics, but I estimate that roughly 5% of Booth students study abroad and it usually happens in the Winter. I can't either recommend it or denounce it --- the value really comes down to what type of experience you want to build for yourself. I will say that quarters go by quite quickly and that there is so much stuff going on that you will miss out on many events even if you stay in Chicago. That's just the nature of the MBA. Booth has no shortage of study abroad options (33 partner schools, which you can access online even as a non-student).

Jul 30, 2014

Seems Business Insider has decided to steal WSO content: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-first-year-at-a...

Jul 30, 2014
CompBanker:

Seems Business Insider has decided to steal WSO content: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-first-year-at-a...

Your next thread: "Reflections on my lawsuit with Business Insider"

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Aug 11, 2014

A humble approach to a decent post. Brava.

Hope you enjoy the remaining journey!

Aug 15, 2014

Hi @"CompBanker", I would like to ask you some questions. I know that you have answered some of it on a thread that you started about a year ago. But I do not know if things have changed with time and a longer period of observation? With regards to relationships in b-school, do your initial observations still hold true after a year? Is it true that about 1/3 of women were in relationships when they matriculated? Is it true that most of the attractive women were in relationships before they started school? And for those that were in relationships before, do they stay attached throughout the mba program or do they become single thereafter? And lastly, what industry/profession did most of the attractive women work in before they came to b-school?

Sep 3, 2014

I'm planning a visit to Booth in the next few weeks. How do you think I can maximize my time spent in the area? What should I learn/pay attention to?

Sep 4, 2014
dr4215:

I'm planning a visit to Booth in the next few weeks. How do you think I can maximize my time spent in the area? What should I learn/pay attention to?

I think the best thing you can do is try to get a feel for the people as well as the every-day life experience. There is a plethora of information available online about classes, rankings, and the "facts" about Booth. What isn't available online is to walk around the city, tour the apartments that students typically live in, take the METRA, walk through the pedway, and all of those things. This will enable you to better capture what life at Booth is actually like. Afterall - going through business school is about far more than the classes - it's also about making friends and living in a certain place for two years.

Sep 4, 2014
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