Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Academics at Booth

Hi everyone!

In this week’s blog and WIWG video, we’re going to talk a bit about the academics at Booth. In our WIWG video, we ask students what their favorite class and/or professor has been so far. And in our blog today, Dana Fortini shares her thoughts on classes and Booth’s class bidding system. Read on to learn more!


I can’t believe that midterms are over and that it’s time to start selecting courses for the winter quarter; time sure passes quickly!

Here at Booth, we use a system called iBid to bid for and enroll in courses. iBid is a Dutch-auction system where students are given bid points (new full-time students start with 8000 points and accrue 2000 points for each additional course they complete). There are 6 phases of bidding during a bidding cycle, so if you would like to make adjustments to your schedule during the first few rounds, you still have time!

In order to help students better understand how to spend our bid points, there are Course Price History spreadsheets that detail closing prices on a section-by-section basis for past courses. You’ll also hear many students talking about their “Bid Strategy” during the week leading up to the first phase of bidding.

Strategic bidding aside, I feel as though it is important to select a combination of courses that will best prepare me for summer internship opportunities and have a quantitative-qualitative balance. From previous experience, I know that I can feel overwhelmed with three or four very quantitative courses, so I like to add “balance” to my course load by taking at least one management-oriented, people-driven course each quarter.

So now I’ve gotten through the tough part: narrowing down the list of courses I would like to take during winter quarter from 7 to 3. I am dying to take “Building the New Venture”! The course is great for students who would like to start their own businesses. The class focuses on both strategic and tactical issues that arise from entrepreneurial endeavors. Because I would like to enter the New Venture Challenge competition this spring, I believe that Building the New Venture would be great preparation because of the course’s emphasis on building teams and identifying customers. After reviewing the Course Price History spreadsheet, it looks like I’ll have to be a big spender – this course is one of the most expensive at Booth!

I would also like to take my first course to apply towards my International Business concentration, “Managing the Firm in the Global Economy.” If given the opportunity, I would love to have an internship with a wine exporter or distributor in Spain. The course focuses on legal implications and export decision making, amongst other issues that global firms face. If I do end up working abroad, having a working knowledge of how firms make decisions to enter specific markets will be a very useful skill to have.

And last, but certainly not least, my Excel skills could definitely be refined. No matter what functional area of an organization or industry you’re in, strong Excel skills are crucial. I plan to take “Managerial Decision Modeling” in order to better utilize Excel’s analytical tools and to get plenty of hands-on practice before my summer internship.

As you can see, Booth’s academic flexibility definitely helps each student create an individualized program of study that will ultimately allow us to realize our goals. I can’t wait to take my first entrepreneurship class (fingers crossed my bidding strategy proves successful!). Happy bidding!


  1. Hello Dana,

    Thank you so much for a detailed insight into the iBid process. While I like the fact that Chicago Booth is flexible on courses we want to take, I was interested to know how much is provided by the career office or advisers in choosing a certain coursework? I know that Chicago Booth is rated #1 in its career office. Moreover, how accessible are professors if a student is interested in discussing a certain course in detail before enrolling?

  2. Hello JZ! Here at Booth, we have both Career Services and Academic Services who provide guidance to students that will best help them prepare for their career goals. Many students (myself included) utilize both offices on a regular basis. By working with both offices, I have been better able to determine and plan my coursework for subsequent quarters in order to best prepare for internship opportunities. I think that both offices have helped me make very good decisions. I have developed strong working relationships with my advisers over the past few months. In general, my experience with professors comes from requesting to "waive" certain courses. I have found professors to be very responsive and genuinely interested in the goals of their students. Booth students also have access to a wealth of information regarding specific courses and professors (we have access to the syllabus, detailed course descriptions, and feedback from previous students) on our internal academic services website. I hope this helps answer your questions!