Meet Chicago Booth’s MBA Class Of 2024

University of Chicago campus

A CLASS PROFILE

This year’s class features 621 full-time members, who bring a 729 average GMAT and 3.60 undergraduate GPA to Hyde Park. Overall, GMAT scores ranged from 600-780, with the GRE average coming in at 327 (and a quarter of the class submitting GRE scores). In terms of demographics, international students comprise 37% of the class and hail from 57 countries, numbers similar to previous classes. Women account for another 40% of the Class of 2024, with underrepresented U.S. minorities making up a 19% share of the class. Veterans and LGBTQ students encompass 8% and 7% shares of the class respectively.

As undergrads, the class attended 264 different institutions. Business majors and Economics majors each hold 25% of the class seats. Engineers trail closely behind at 24%. The remainder of the class includes degree holders in Liberal Arts (13%) and Physical Sciences (9%). Another 17% of the class hold graduate degrees. In terms of professional experience, Finance – no surprise – represents the largest segment of the class. Between Finance (20%), Private Equity and Venture Capital (7%) and Accounting (2%), this segment makes up 29% of the class – topping Consulting by a 6% margin. Tech and Nonprofit and Government employees each cracked double digits at 13% and 12% respectively, while the remainder of the class is rounded out by students who last worked in Healthcare, Energy, Consumer Products, and Manufacturing.

Although Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton are regarded as the ‘Big 3’ in graduate business education, the Booth School regularly displaces them in the rankings. In the most recent rankings, the school tied for 1st in U.S. News & World Report and placed 2nd in Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Poets&Quants. Booth scored among the top 10 for Career Services and Alumni Recommendations in the Financial Times student and alumni survey. In U.S. News’ last survey of business school deans and directors on MBA programming, Booth ranked 2nd in Finance and 4th in Accounting – not to mention Top 10 finishes in Analytics and Nonprofits. Despite Booth’s Finance prowess, you’ll encounter a strong defense from students and alumni alike if you attempt to label them a “Finance School.”

“As someone with a “non-traditional” background, I was a bit apprehensive about attending a program full of quants,” explains Amira Khatib, a 2022 Booth grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “While many of my classmates majored in economics or previously worked in finance, the idea of professional homogeneity could not be further from the truth. Every day, I meet someone new and am astounded by the individual path that led them to Booth, the diverse thoughts they bring to the classroom and their unique career aspirations. My peers have founded and sold their own companies, earned Fulbright Scholarships, worked in fashion, served in the U.S. Army, and so much more. I feel so fortunate to learn alongside and from my amazing peers; their aspirations are infectious and inspire me to unlock my own potential.”

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DEPUTY DEAN

Overall, the arrow is pointing up for Booth MBAs. Last year, grads earned $196,600 to start between base and bonus. That was a 10% bump over the previous year – and a near $47,000 jump over the past four years. That’s not the only good news. In April, Booth opened a new London campus. Last fall, Douglas Diamond collected his own Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. What can MBAs expect next from Booth? In December, P&Q reached out to Starr Marcello, Booth’s deputy dean for MBA programs. From new developments to signatures, here is what MBAs – current and future – can expect from Booth down the road.

Starr Marcello. Chicago Booth photo

P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program in the past year and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?

SM: “The University of Chicago Booth School of Business anchors on a multidisciplinary approach to the study of business that prepares students to understand and solve problems in business, policy, and governance, today and in the future. Rather than relying on intuition or familiar patterns to make decisions, Booth seeks data to validate or invalidate assumptions and identify more promising outcomes. Students are encouraged to evaluate business and economic problems and opportunities, using scientific methods and thorough analysis of empirical data. As a result, these individuals are prepared to lead thoughtfully, and often affect positive change with enduring impact.

Building on this approach, Chicago Booth launched an updated curriculum last year that expands learning about the interconnections between the world of practice and problem-solving. Under Functions, Leadership & Management, and the Business Environment, one of the most notable changes was the addition of a category that encourages students to take classes focused on the role of business in society and the ability for business to promote social good. Booth continues to build on its pedagogy–influencing, educating, and preparing individuals to lead effectively and conscientiously across many disciplines, organizations, and diverse teams.

Chicago Booth also saw a dramatic increase in student interest for the Elfman-Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital (PE/VC) Lab, a course that combines lectures, speakers, and case analysis with intensive internships during the academic year. This increase was partly driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed programming online. For the first time, students were able to take internships outside of Chicago–doubling the class size to 160 students in 2021. With 100 firms now hosting interns–up from 65 before the pandemic and of which 34 are based outside of Chicago–Booth continues to expand its PE/VC experienced-based learning options to students.

In 2022, Chicago Booth graduates experienced a robust job market and saw significant increases in salaries and compensation packages. According to our 2022 Employment Report, 96.8 percent of job-seeking full-time MBA graduates accepted job offers within three months of graduation, with a median salary of $175,000 a year–up from $160,000 a year in 2021–and within three key industry sectors: consulting, financial services, and technology. Employers have often shared that Booth students, through their course work and leadership experiences, are prepared to take on functional roles that demonstrate the value of an MBA, such as investment banking, consulting, and product management.

Chicago Booth also doubled its financial aid across a broad range of programs and significantly increased its Boundless Scholarship Matching program from $75 million to $100 million. Increasing the availability of hundreds of scholarships has removed many financial barriers, and made Chicago Booth more accessible to diverse and accomplished students from all communities.

Whether through our Full-Time, Evening, Weekend, and Executive MBA programs, students learn from the same world-class faculty, benefit from the same intellectually stimulating courses focusing on reflection and practice, and gain access to the same powerful alumni network. Recently, Booth expanded its global presence with a new campus in London to extend its offerings to residents in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and from elsewhere around the world.

In 2023, Chicago Booth will mark its 125th year anniversary. Since its inception, Booth has been a global leader in business education and research, where rigorous debate and learning has led to innovation, leadership, and lasting impact. Booth alumni affect change in more than 120 countries across the globe. As such, new graduates can expect a supportive, extensive, and growing network of global business leaders and collaborative changemakers.”

P&Q: If you were giving a campus tour, what is the first place you’d take an MBA applicant? Why is that so important to the MBA experience?

MBA students in the Harper Center

SM: “The Rothman Winter Garden at the Charles M. Harper Center (Harper Center) in Hyde Park is the heartbeat of Chicago Booth and an incubator space where the Booth community comes together, formally and informally. Surrounded by classrooms, study spaces, art, and cafes, and teeming with natural light, the Garden’s architecture is intentional and inspiring.

Many student clubs hold presentations and events in this space as well as throughout Chicago, and Chicago Booth supports a sense of community and belonging for students from all backgrounds. From diversity dinners to women’s leadership programs to our annual Pink Party, Booth students can participate in cultural, regional, religious, and personal affiliation group activities, and other diversity and inclusion initiatives hosted throughout the year.

The Rothman Winter Garden has also hosted the celebrations of several Chicago Booth faculty members who have won the Nobel Prize. This includes a gathering this year that brought together hundreds of students, faculty, and staff with Douglas W. Diamond, the Merton H. Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, who won the 2022 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The Harper Center itself houses the main locations for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which supports and awards student entrepreneurship through its New Venture Challenge, the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, and the Kilts Center for Marketing – just a few of Booth’s centers that serve as resources for students and whose research collectively drives change in business and society.”

P&Q: What is the most innovative thing you have introduced into the MBA program in recent years? How has it been a game changer for your program?

SM: “By deepening its connection to the University of Chicago, Chicago Booth continues to innovate and expand its joint-degree opportunities. For instance, Booth’s joint-degree program in law and business places students at the intersection of legal and business expertise, integrating the distinct flexibility and interdisciplinary strengths of UChicago Law and Chicago Booth. We recently began offering a three-year accelerated JD/MBA along with the traditional four-year JD/MBA program structure. Additionally, our unique joint-offering of a two-year MBA and a Masters in Computer Science (MPCS) enables students who are interested in product management within technology, as one example, to secure jobs post-graduation.

Chicago Booth students also have access to resources and programming of more than a dozen research centers and initiatives that focus on everything from entrepreneurship to social impact, and from behavioral economics to finance and the markets. One example of these programs is the Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is transforming the field of AI by using machine learning and behavioral science to determine how AI can best support human decision-making and improve society. Additionally, the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation integrates Booth’s business fundamentals with research and experience-based learning, to advance social innovation and thinking around critical topics such as corporate social responsibility and ESG. Chicago Booth’s Healthcare Initiative integrates diverse disciplines that engage in healthcare research and facilitates collaboration with partners across the university, in order to address the complex challenges facing the healthcare sector.

We also continue to innovate in how we enrich our dynamic community, and ensure the wellbeing of our students. Through a more comprehensive and cohesive approach, we are building on our wellness program to strengthen overall support for the physical, mental, and financial needs of students.”

P&Q: What have MBAs told you is the most memorable, signature experience they’ve had in your program? Why did it resonate so much with them?

SM: “Many students have described Chicago Booth’s “pay-it-forward” culture as one of the greatest returns on investment. Booth’s dynamic global alumni network comprises 55,000 leaders, many of whom support new Booth graduates. Booth Alumni help new Booth graduates through mentorship, career guidance, and by providing networking opportunities and key connections at events like Booth 20/20, Alumni Breakfast Series, and Booth Family Dinners. New Booth graduates also engage with other alumni at First-Year Reunion Events such as Reconnect and its Alumni clubs (to connect recent graduates to the Recent Alumni Guide), and benefit overall from alumni’s general commitment to hosting events and remaining engaged with Chicago Booth.

Our students and alumni have often shared that Booth’s approach to business education, the Chicago Approach™, prepares them for success throughout their career. The Chicago Approach is rooted in fundamental scientific disciplines at the heart of business–economics, accounting, psychology, sociology, and statistics—taught by the world-renowned business school faculty. This provides individuals with an enduring framework; its portability makes it adaptable to any situation, in any industry, and at any time. Our students and alumni say that because of Booth’s unique curriculum–and its focus on analytics and empirical data–they are more prepared than their peers to tackle today’s constantly changing, data-driven business landscape. It has helped to inform their decision-making, launch their careers, and made them highly marketable in numerous competitive industries. 

Full-Time Booth MBA students also remember the Random Walks trips to global destinations hosted by Booth. Second-year students lead first-year students on “adventures,” where all students have the opportunity to build camaraderie and experience different cultures, nightlife, nature, sports/physical activities, and relaxation.”

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business

P&Q: How does the MBA program leverage the resources of Chicago in general and the University of Chicago in particular? How does that create more opportunities for your students?

SM: “Students benefit from Chicago Booth being part of a globally recognized research institution – the University of Chicago. Booth continues to strengthen this relationship through its programming, such as the Joint-Degree and Certificate Program. Through Booth’s ten joint-degree and certificate programs, students on a business and economic track can go beyond the MBA by gaining access to courses at the University of Chicago to further tailor their areas of study that best suit career goals.

Booth is a global leader in quantum sciences, and with a leading law school, medical school, and public policy school – all comprising expert scientific minds. Booth offers several project-based courses that include university students who bring different skills and experience to the classroom, and to projects, especially in courses focused on entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and healthcare.

Students bring their areas of expertise to teams solving real problems in business and in society. For example, our Healthcare Analytics Lab course looks at issues facing healthcare providers through the lens of data. Business, medical, and public policy develop hypotheses and use tools and frameworks to analyze and impact real world healthcare delivery. Working with a broad cross section of students enhances teamwork, career preparedness, and leadership skills.

In Chicago, students have the advantage of being in one of the largest business hubs in the world. Chicago Booth offers PE/VC labs, capital award competitions for local start-ups, and internship opportunities with major Chicago-based and other PE/VC firms during the academic year. The Polsky Center’s programs and the Polsky Exchange in Hyde Park also allow students to work with numerous local ventures, build deeper connections with the local entrepreneurial community, and learn how to drive economic development on the south and west sides of Chicago. Another of Booth’s Chicago-based programs is Duality – the first accelerator in the country that supports next-generation startups focused on quantum science and technology. Duality currently has partnerships with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Argonne, and P33, which are in or near Chicago.

The Rustandy Center’s Net Impact Board Fellows program matches Booth MBA students (and through Alumni Board Connect, local Booth alumni) with nonprofit organizations in the Chicagoland area. This experience provides local non-profits with pro-bono business support while encouraging lifelong service to non-profit work.

Chicago Booth’s Center for Decision Research (CDR) is another resource for MBA students. Innovation and problem solving require an understanding of people, their motivations, and the markets in which businesses operate. Booth faculty offer courses that focus on the theory and practice of behavioral science–motivation, decision-making, negotiation, and behavior, all increasingly essential when working in finance, marketing, policy making, and management, and an asset in any career field. Indeed, behavioral science experts are highly valued by Fortune 500 companies, innovative start-ups, and impact-focused nonprofits.

In addition to courses, CDR’s PIMCO Decision Research Laboratories allow its academics to perform high quality behavioral science experiments. Among its labs is the world’s first interactive discovery center Mindworks: The Science of Thinking in Chicago. Located on Michigan Avenue’s cultural corridor, people enjoy immersive human behavior experiences as researchers gain scientific discoveries studying a larger and more diverse group of participants.

Finally, most Booth students reside together in downtown Chicago, and enjoy all the experiential benefits that come with being in the heart of one of the largest and most diverse cities in the US. Students come together to enjoy food, culture, music, festivals, theater, architecture, beaches, and an unparalleled skyline along Lake Michigan.”

Next Page: Profiles of 12 members of the Class of 2024

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