Meet The Chicago Booth MBA Class of 2017

Members of the Class of 2017 at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business

Members of the Class of 2017 at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business

Many consider the Booth School of Business to be the prototype of a “quant school.” You can almost picture a pack of spreadsheet jockeys, who live like monks as they master hedging and tax strategy. But you won’t find many stiffs at Booth – the kind whose calculations are as icy as a January gust from Lake Michigan. Instead, you’ll run across genuine and ambitious professionals, whose sanguine energy mirrors the pioneer stock who built the Midwest.

And you’ll find this Booth spirit in boardrooms across the globe. Best known as the alma mater of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Booth’s alumni include the CEOs of Credit Suisse, Chevron, Hyatt Hotels and Cargill (and CFOs for IBM and Disney). And its graduates helped found leading firms like The Blackstone Group, Evercore Partners, Bain Capital, GrubHub, and The Carlyle Group. Oh, and a Booth alum even manages Bill Gates’ money too.

That’s a wide-ranging portfolio of industries. And the backgrounds of the Class of 2017 reflect similar diversity. They include Jonathan Coffey, who helped shaped NASDAQ’s corporate strategy. Ameerah Phillips, who is also pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, previously worked for Organizing For Action, a non-profit community organizing project that was the outgrowth of President Obama’s 2012 Presidential election campaign. Eliza Matache interned with the European Parliament, while Mary Mei has worked for both Lehman Brothers and the United Nations. And Katharine Wurzbach, a West Point-trained engineer, served five years in Afghanistan, earned a Bronze Star, and has managed teams as large as 80 people.

Kurt Ahlm, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions, announced the changes

Kurt Ahlm, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions, announced the changes

Doesn’t exactly fit the quant stereotype, does it? However, the incoming class fits quite well with Booth’s philosophy, which prizes curiosity, rigorous data analysis, and debate. “This group represents the collaborative, inquisitive culture of the Booth community,” writes Kurt Ahlm, associate dean of Booth’s full-time MBA admissions, in a statement to Poets&Quants. “They are a clear reflection of the bright minds and diverse perspectives that make up the Booth community. True to the entrepreneurial spirit that defines the Booth culture, students already are talking about business ideas and the enterprising opportunities that await them.”

To foster such discussions, Booth casts a wide net, hoping to bring as many voices to the table. “One of the distinctions of a Booth education is the chance to learn from the experiences and viewpoints of others,” Ahlm adds, “thus enabling students to come up with new ideas and realize breakthrough moments every day. While industries such as consulting and finance continue to be staples of the Booth brand, the interest of our students in areas like healthcare, marketing, energy, tech, and non-profit is at an all-time high.”

This interest isn’t the only marker at its high point. For the 13th consecutive year, average GMAT scores rose at Booth, reaching a 726 peak for the 585 member Class of 2017. To put that in perspective, the GMAT score was 687 for the incoming Class of 2004 (and 713 for the incoming Class of 2010). Even more, this class’ GMAT average is a point higher than Harvard’s incoming class (and two points above Kellogg). The class’ GPA average also held steady at 3.59.

Booth also recruited its highest percentage of women ever. At 42%, the percentage of women is up six percentage points over the Class of 2016 – a number higher than the Haas School of Business (considered the standard bearer for inclusiveness among full-time MBA programs). At the same time, the percentage of U.S. minority students in the incoming class climbed to 23% (up 1%), while the percentage of international students fell to 34% (down 2%). Overall, 55 countries are represented in Booth’s 2017 Class.

The class also arrives with five years of work experience on average. Academically, 32% earned undergraduate business degrees, followed by economics (23%), engineering (17%), and liberal arts (13%). Professionally, the highest percentage of incoming class (20%) came from a consulting background. Overall, Booth received 4,286 applications during the 2014-2015 application period.

Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.

  • FStratford

    Why are none of them hot? No one is even 5 on a 10 point scale of hotness. Is hotness frowned upon at Booth?


  • Hi

    Yes, if youare looking for an extension of your senior year of college than Kellogg is for you. Also organizing conferences is fun. If you want to be at a school where the profs WROTE the book instead of those that just READ the book then Booth, Stanford and Harvard are better choice. Except for Rob Wolcott. He is awesome.

  • fuquaguy

    lol …while i agree with you on your point..i hate when people use cheesey sarcasm like you just did. “we belieeeevvvvve you”

    its just sad, how losers like this just troll internet boards.

  • statistics

    we just happen to have the only 2 people at SOM who picked it over superior schools (with scholarships, no less 🙂 !), right here in this comment section less than 10 people. what are the odds of that ?! 🙂

  • Auden

    um yeah, we belieeeeevvvve you, because you said it in an anonymous online internet forum!

    here’s my two cents, I chose Emory over HBS

  • BM

    You’re the one who needs to do the spinning as to why you chose Yale over Booth…

  • Wow

    Best. Business. School. Ever.

  • Siddhartha Kundu

    Chichago is a nice city with great history! I have been there at American Cancer congress in May-June 2013! A great city for students! I am in love with Chichago

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  • Missing Booth

    It’s a very tight-knit group with a phenomenal culture. Not spending time together in HP doesn’t mean we don’t spend a ton of time together in the city. 70% of us live in a 3 block radius, and we don’t view hanging out outside of the Harper Center and having access to bars and restaurants downtown, or commuting the 15 minutes to HP as a negative. But to each his own, interested to hear your thoughts after two straight years of “bangers and lace”.

  • Kellogger

    booth is a great school.

    just not for me. I was shocked that 90% of students live in downtown chicago which is 25 minutes from campus. It felt like a commuter school with no culture. If you want to go into banking in the midwest deff. a great program.

  • YaleSomer1010

    I got into Booth and choose Yale SOM instead…now lets hear you spin this. But thats the truth.

  • Bulldog87

    Not sure what your issue is against SOM but I am a 2017 class member that was non-ivy undergrad and was accepted to two “M7” programs with scholarships. I have met numerous class members who are in the same boat. While we certainly have our fair share of ivy league grads (like every other ivy bschool I would add) it certainly isn’t representative of the entire class

  • Palabras

    Very refreshing to see a group of people who came from really impressive backgrounds and only one was an ivy leaguer. Take note Yale – just because you accepted the scraps of the ivy league who got dinged at the M7 schools, it wont make you a stronger program. Take notes from other successful programs who accept people on their potential and not by alma mater and 720 gpa.