Dispelling Chicago Booth Myths

Myth #1: Booth has no sense of community because its students commute from all over Chicago

My Experience: Booth actually has QUITE a cohesive community. It is a portable community. Rather than living “all over the place”, Booth students tend to live within a relatively small radius of downtown. I was fortunate enough to get to lean on my good friend Cheetarah1980 (Booth ’14) and crash at the 19th floor condo apt (with a view of both the Lake and the Sears Tower) of she and her roommate (also Booth ’14).

Le Chateau de Cheetarah is in the South Loop area, toward the outskirts of the Bootie residential and social radius. Most students live in MPP–I don’t remember what that stands for, but its a popular residential high rise that is referred to as “the dorms” due to the volume of Booth students who live there.

Booth’s community is highly interconnected, taking over entire blocks, bars or even apartments in unified swarms at a moments notice. On my first night in Chicago, I arrived at such a hive. I had just spent 4 hours in O’Hare after the geniuses back in Los Angeles who work for American Airlines loaded my suit bag on the wrong airplane. By the time I got to the diversity cocktail hour hive, I needed that Glenlivet 17 year more than they could ever know.

From there we took a cab to a restaurant and bar that the main hive had taken over by the hundreds for TNDC–Thursday Night Drinking Club, which is similar to Wharton’s Pub, except it moves around downtown Chicago to a different bar each week. Prior to that Cheetarah lasso’d me over to one of her classmates’ sky high apartment close to MPP so that she would not miss their weekly viewing of Scandal. This classmate had great taste in wine, including a nice Robert Mondavi cabernet, so I didn’t complain; I just drank.

Then after being introduced to a fraternity brother of mine at the bar later, more drinks followed. Good times.So if you ever want to witness the community at Booth, just go downtown and look for the 7-10 cabs that are sure to zip by with no less than 8 happy Boothies crammed into the back seat so that their share of the fare will only be $1 each.

Myth #2: Boothies are quant geeks who lack personality and soft skills

My Experience: Also not true. I actually found this to be quite the opposite. I am an introvert. I can chat and socialize for a while, but will eventually need to pull off to myself to recharge. No such luck at Booth. Each time I so much as separated 5-10 feet from the pack, some chipper and personable Boothie was in my face giving me a welcome speech and making sure that I wasn’t some shy guy who felt too awkward to talk to people. I’m not; though, I wish a few of them would have cared a little less lol.

Differences Between Booth and Wharton

Here are a few differences between my experiences during my Booth and Wharton weekends. My experience is not the end all be all; but it is my experience, so here goes.

I definitely saw a cultural difference in the overall presentations during each weekend. While Wharton was more grand, Booth was a bit more intimate. Some of it had to do with the facilities (Wharton’s auditorium vs. Booth’s conference hall) and some of it had to do with presentation style.

Based on my experience, Wharton tended to do more selling while Booth tended to do more telling.  What I mean by that is that I felt like Wharton really did their best to expose the admits to the most tantalizing facts about what it had to offer. Booth on the other hand, had these facts to offer, but didn’t seem too keen on promoting them besides a brief mention of them having more nobel laureates than any other business school and a brief, cursory mention of their #1 ranking streak in BusinessWeek.

Among the Booth community are an array of individuals that range from Olympians to poker champions to special ops veterans; unfortunately, I had no idea that was the case until Cheetarah and a Booth swarm that overtook her apartment one night began to proudly tell me about her their classmates. I hadn’t heard about any of that during the opening presentation. It would have been great to hear in that forum.

The thing is, Booth has plenty to brag about. I really wanted to see them sell it more. If you look at any ranking from law school to med school to b-school to undergrad, the U of Chicago is world-class anyway you cut it. In fact, you’ll see many of the same schools repeating over and over in those rankings; that is not an accident.

On another note, one thing that somewhat eerily presented itself to me was how “American” Booth felt in comparison to Wharton. Yes, there were people from all over the world–including a huge and impressive Latin American contingent; but I felt just a little more part of a global community during Wharton’s weekend. I know that there were also a lot of midwesterners there, and I felt that difference just a tad vs Penn.

MBAOver30 offers the perspective of a 30-something, California-based entrepreneur who is applied to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, and MIT Sloan. He has been offered admission into Class of 2015 from Wharton, Chicago and MIT Sloan. He blogs at MBAOver30.com. Previous posts on Poets&Quants:

How I Totally Overestimated The MBA Admissions Process

Musings on MBA Failophobia

Letting Go Of An MBA Safety School

When A Campus Visit Turns Off An MBA Applicant

Yale, Tuck and Booth: The Next Leg of My Pre- MBA Research

 My Countdown: Less Than 30 Days To The GMAT

From Suits To Startups: Why MBA Programs Are Changing

Why I’m Not Getting Either A Part-Time MBA or An Executive MBA

Preparing To Sit For The GMAT Exam

Falls Short of GMAT Goal, But The 700 Is A Big Improvement

A 2012-2013 MBA Application Strategy

Celebrating A 35th Birthday & Still Wanting A Full-Time MBA

A Tuck Coffee Chat Leaves Our Guest Blogger A Believer

Heading Into the August Cave: Getting Those Round One Apps Done 

Just One MBA Essay Shy Of Being Doe

Getting That MBA Recommendation From Your Boss

Facetime with MBA Gatekeepers at Wharton

The Differences Between Harvard & Stanford Info Sessions

My MIT Sloan Info Session in California 

Round One Deadlines Approaching

Jumping Into The MBA Admissions Rabbit Hole

Relief At Getting Those Round One Apps Done But Now A Sense of Powerlessness

On Age Discrimination in MBA Admissions & Rookie Hype

Judgment Day Nears

Harvard Business School: No News Is Good News?

Researching Kellogg, Tuck, Berkeley and Yale

A Halloween Treat: An Invite To Interview From Chicago Booth

The MBA Gods Have Smiled Once Again

Interviewing At Chicago Booth and Wharton

My Thanksgiving Day Feast: Completing Applications

The Most Painful Part of the MBA Application Process: Waiting

An Invite To Interview At MIT Sloan

An Early Morning Phone Call From Area Code 773 With Good News

An Acceptance From Wharton

Going AWOL From The Admissions Game

The 10 Commandments of the MBA Admissions Game

Networking With Fellow Admits At Wharton and Booth 

MIT Sloan Let My Outspoken, Black Ass In — Hallelujah!

A Scholarship Offer From MIT Sloan

A Five-Star Experience: Wharton’s Winter Welcome Weekend

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