For MBA students interested in investment banking, Chicago Booth provides top-notch opportunities. Because of Booth’s reputation and the relationships that Career Services builds with employers, our MBA program is a recruiting target for all investment banks, large and small. Booth Career Services and student groups organize a variety of career treks after finals are over. Booth students pursuing investment banking spend “Bank Week” in New York attending formal events and cocktail receptions, conducting informational interviews with bankers, and networking.
My experience during Bank Week was the culmination of all the networking I had done during the recruiting process. Beginning in September, Career Services and the student-run Investment Banking Group (IBG) organized about 50 events with many different investment banks. These events gave us an opportunity to get acquainted with all of the firms looking to recruit Booth students, and to begin the networking process.
During Bank Week, I began most days at 8am with a walk uptown for a breakfast networking reception hosted by one of the banks. Wanting to focus on the networking part and not the breakfast, I usually ducked into a deli on the way to pre-game with a bagel and lox. The days’ subsequent receptions and office visits were set up back-to-back, so I strategized with classmates who had lived in NYC previously to figure out the best way to hustle to the next event without being late or looking too undignified running through Midtown Manhattan. Bank Week evenings featured cocktail events and dinners hosted by individual firms.
After the formal portion of the week was over, I rounded out the trek with a couple of last minute meetings that I’d managed to schedule and happily, but exhaustedly, flew back to Chicago in time for the holidays—and to begin preparing for interviews.
One thing that prospective students may hear about Booth is that apart from the LEAD course, we don’t have a strict cohort system for our first year’s studies. While formally true, Booth’s flexibility provides us the ability to form our own cohorts. During investment banking recruiting, I’ve developed close friendships and camaraderie with many of my classmates, whether sharing good news or frustrations. You might think that students pursuing finance jobs would be competitive with one another, but I’ve found that most Booth students are well-versed in game theory, and have reasoned that the optimal outcome for each of us comes from cooperating. We often share emails or business cards from people we’ve met, information about each bank and its process, and pass on all manner of rumor, speculation, and innuendo to help each other strategize through the process.
- Spending an evening off the grid with a few of my classmates at a Korean BBQ, chowing down on an experience called “Meat Mania.”
- Arriving to a Starbucks in Midtown to prepare for meetings I’d organized with bankers in the neighborhood, to find it filled with fellow Boothies camped out for the same purpose.
- Relaxing at the end of the week at a Booth Fusion happy hour event, where I ran into friends from the Banking Trek, the Retail Trek, and Investment Management Trek happening concurrently, and some alumni based in NY.
The success of my time in New York confirmed that Booth was the best choice for me for business school. Bank Week was the perfect mix of structure and flexibility. Booth provides access to top firms in finance through formal programming, but gives us enough room to customize the recruiting process to our own needs and goals. On top of that, I’m building a great network of colleagues and friends for the future.