Thursday, October 23, 2014

Top 5 Things to See Before or After Your Chicago Booth Interview

For Round 1 applicants, interview decisions are right around the corner. Since many of you will be on campus soon, here’re a few things I’d recommend trying to see when you visit:

The art collection at the Harper Center – spread throughout the building, the collection of art at the Harper Center is one of the largest contemporary art collections in Chicago. If you take the tour, you’re bound to see parts of the collection, but take some time to admire it yourself. The art collection here is something a lot of students take pride in – a couple times each quarter, the Graduate Business Council organizes art tours, and the tours fill instantly.
Courtesy of

The first Heisman Trophy at Ratner Athletic Center – I know it’s hard to believe, but the University of Chicago was once a football powerhouse. We’re even undefeated against Notre Dame (2-0, but who’s counting?). The former football glory came with the hardware to prove it, and included the first Heisman Trophy. Won by Jay Berwanger, the trophy now sits on display in the center of the main athletic center on campus.
Courtesy of

Booth 455 – For those of you interviewing on Super Saturday, your interviews will take place in the beautiful, newly leased space in NBC Tower. Sitting across the street from the Gleacher Center and along the Chicago River, Booth 455 opened up a number of new group study rooms and a handful of classrooms for students to use. Booth 455 quickly became my (and many students’) favorite place to hold group meetings – the study rooms are modern and comfortable and perfectly located for most students. Booth 455 is also a great example of how the school constantly invests in making the experience even better.
Dean Sunil Kumar, Dean Robert Gertner and students at the 455 ribbon cutting last year, courtesy of Chicago Business 

Mansueto Library - Completed in 2011, Mansueto is a glass-enclosed library and study space for the entire University. Below the study space are underground bookstacks, allowing for increased capacity. For any fans of the Veronica Roth trilogy, Mansueto was also the home to the Erudite faction from the Divergent film. Around the corner from Manseuto, you’ll also find Nuclear Energy. The sculpture commemorates the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction, and is actually located at the exact spot the reaction took place (don’t worry, it’s safe!).
Courtesy of

Current Booth Students – For those of you interviewing during the week, stick around after your interview! Current students come and go from the Harper Center all day and we all want to help you make the best choice for you for business school. While you’ll get a chance to ask plenty of questions during the interview, feel free to stop any of us around the Harper Center and ask anything you didn’t get the chance (or didn’t want to ask) your interviewer. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

10 Recruiting Tips From a Second Year Student 
(Success Not Guaranteed!)
As The Zombies would sing, “it’s the time of the season for…recruiting.” 

Okay, maybe not quite. 

But whatever song lyrics you want to use to describe this time, no one can deny just how important and how intense the next few months are for students hustling to get the internship or job of their dreams. For the past few years, Booth has been #1 on The Economist’s charts for the best MBA program in the world, in no small part because of the strength of its career services.

We’ll write more about the nuts and bolts of recruiting—the scheduling, the resources, and the decision-making process, but in the meantime, have some tried-and-true tips:  

1. Eat breakfast. Even if you have an 8AM interview. Actually, especially if you have an 8AM interview—you’ll need the energy, and it’ll keep you from being a cranky, hangry interviewee. My favorite is Starbucks blueberry oatmeal with the fruit/nut/seed medley swapped out for nuts, and a Veranda Blond, tall, no room, to go.

2. Get your dry-cleaning done the week before. There will be unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from getting your stuff to the cleaners and you do not want to be remembered as the one in the dirty suit. In a pinch, I like Pressed Garments; they’ll come pick up and drop off your dry cleaning at scheduled times. Tip 2a: sometimes they’re late, so allot an extra 15 minute window.

3. Remember to smile and bring good energy. As someone with a naturally stern face, I understand that smiling is not necessarily the easiest thing to keep in mind when in a high-stress environment. It makes a difference, though, and it’s always better to start off the interview with positivity.

4. Surround yourself with people who think you’re awesome, but who can also give you constructive advice about what you can do better. Your mom’s great, but your mentor who went through the same thing you did last year AND has a nifty, prioritized list of your strengths and weaknesses is better.  Even better: Career Advisers, second-year students who are trained extensively to advise critically and effectively on specific career tracks.

5. Crush the math. This! Is! Booth! So, naturally, the quant bar is set high. Make sure you know all the nifty tricks for quick adding and subtracting, and that you can take 15% of anything and apply a 20% CAGR to any base year in your sleep.

6. Do not be shy about asking for help from your classmates. We want to help, and it would be the saddest thing ever if you wanted to know something but didn’t ask because you didn’t want to inconvenience us. I can’t count how many times classmates offered their time and their expertise in helping me achieve my goals; to this day, I haven’t had a single classmate turn me down when I asked to meet with them or get help on case or fit prep. It’s one of the reasons why I feel so strongly about giving back, formally (MCG resume workshop) or informally (coffee chats with anyone who asks me).

7. When asking people about their summers, don’t be a crazy. Slow down and try to build a little bit of natural rapport before bombarding them with questions. Don’t ever underestimate the power of small talk—it’s an effective and frequently necessary step towards building a connection with someone It’s so, so important to treat people (recruiters, contacts at target companies, second years, etc.) as people, rather than a means to an end. Small talk won’t do that on its own, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Right: “So you were in Chicago over the summer; did you get to go to one of the festivals?”  
Wrong: “Which partners and which practices did you get exposure to? Can you put me in contact with them? Also, can you do cases with me tomorrow because I need 1-on-1 coaching ASAP.”

8. Communicate with your classmates in your groups for class. Be upfront so that the group can set reasonable expectations about deadlines and responsibilities. Don’t be the person who’s so busy trying to kiss up to 20 banks that it leaves their group in the lurch: it’s disrespectful, you WILL develop a reputation quickly,  and it will backfire if you ever have to do #6 for re-recruiting.

9. Stay calm. Yes, it feels like you’re sinking into the Mariana Trench, but you’re strong and resilient because you’re a Booth student and it’s in your blood. It gets better; it gets WAY better, so keep that in mind when it feels like you’re one bad crop circle away from meltdown.

10. Re-recruiting is a thing. A huge thing. So don’t stress out if you don’t get exactly what you wanted during internship recruiting. Things happen for a reason, people fall in and out of love with companies and jobs on a regular basis. 

Take a breath; you’re at Booth and you’re going to be wildly successful no matter what you do.  


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Summer, Revisited (The Consulting Edition)

Linda, Management Consulting  
A.T. Kearney, Chicago

Friday, 06/13
First day of work, and I’m not even done with my last final. The new Chicago office is gorgeous but my brain is otherwise engaged in trying to figure out how much I don’t know for Lubos Pastor’s Portfolio Management class. Answer: too much. Second answer: it's ok, it was worth doing for the experience.

Key Takeaway: Don’t take morning AND afternoon Friday classes Spring quarter.

Wednesday, 06/18
Training, Day 2. Starting to remember peoples’ names. I’m in a group with two associates from the New York office, one in Toronto, and one in San Francisco. We're trying to figure out how much we can save in transportation costs. Our slides look pretty good for a bunch of people with zero consulting experience and negligible artistic skills. 

Key Takeaway: Listen to the full-time associates when they tell you the slide makes no sense. It doesn’t, even if you break out the fancy graphics.

Monday, 06/23
First day at the client site; first day getting up at 4:30AM to catch a 6:30AM flight out to Connecticut. This is the stress-test for career switchers—can you handle life on the road? I am armed with three apps, a Monster energy drink from the 7-11 across the street from MPP, and the ability to pass out on any moving vehicle in under 5 minutes. Verdict looks good.

Key Takeaway: Apply for Global Entry before your consulting internship.

Tuesday, 07/01
My manager is God’s gift to new consultants. I’ve been assigned to a workstream of my own (!) and am learning how to structure a well-reasoned hypothesis and analysis around investment income for the client. The transition from financial services is a little weird—whaddya mean we have to wait for data? Not having a Bloomberg is making me a little sad.

Key Takeaway: Structure your case and figure out what data you absolutely need, before you ask for it.

Saturday, 07/12
In New York, at LAF (Learn About the Firm) to get a better sense of the firm as a whole and get to meet Kearney folks outside of your case team and your office. On Friday, I had some great chats with the heads of the E&P (Energy and Processes) and PE (Private Equity) practices—the E&P teams who won the Client Impact award for their work in Saudi Arabia definitely had fun. Then the real fun began: afternoon cruise in the harbor around the Statue of Liberty followed by Top of the Standard followed by a great night in New York City.

Key Takeaway: Always remember to take something fancy to a firm outing in case you need it. 

Saturday, 07/21
Midterm Review! I would have spent the morning quaking in my boots except I was too busy building my new slides on international competitors in a new market segment. I’ve gone through a truly ludicrous number of historic annual reports and investor presentations in the last week.

Review is totally in line with what I expected. Everything’s great, I’m on track to getting an offer, but my slides still need to be improved. My manager: “They are…just a little bit ugly. Hahaha.”

Key Takeaway: By Week 5, you should know exactly where you stand. If you don’t, that’s Trouble with a T.

Thursday, 07/31
Cannot believe the end is in sight! The last two weeks have really started to ramp up. Gone are the leisurely team dinners—our key deadline is soon, our deliverable to the CEO is beginning to expand in scope, and the Head of Strategy is scheduling many, many meetings. Working past midnight most days at the client site; have eaten my way through 85% of the room service menu.

Key Takeaway: Make friends with your Information Services counterpart. They are very nice, and you get better, faster data when crunch time comes.

Friday, 08/15
Last day of the internship; went to salon to get a blowout for my final presentation. Hair looked awesome and presentation looked even better.  My fellow interns had amazing summers, and it was really something to see all the impactful work that they did in ten weeks. Are we really the same group of people who sweated through Excel Training 101 earlier in the summer? Unbelievable.

Key Takeaway: Work hard, work smart. Crush that internship.

Wednesday, 08/27
In Shanghai!!! Living with my aunt and uncle, and seeing my grandparents on a daily basis. The food is so amazing I nearly cried when I bit into my first xiaolongbao (soup dumpling). My grandparents did cry when I showed them all the pictures of my first year at Booth—dinners with friends, Chicago outings, hiking the Inca Trail with 25 awesome Boothies and partners during Spring Break.

Key Takeaway: When the work’s done, when the slides are in, remember how to take a step back and embrace the important things in life: your loved ones and your community.