The Real Chicago Booth: Debunking Myths About The School

Charles M. Harper Center
The Charles M. Harper Center is the global headquarters of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, home to our faculty, leadership, and many of our administrative, program, and research center offices.

The Real Chicago Booth: Debunking Myths About the School

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, which ranks number 11 in our ‘Top B-schools’ ranking, is well known for its prestigious MBA program and strong alumni community.

Yet, beneath its formidable reputation lie misconceptions that often cloud the perception of many applicants. Kate Richardson, an admissions consultant at mbaMission, recently broke down some of the top misconceptions about Chicago Booth that may reshape applicants’ understanding of the prestigious B-school.


Chicago Booth is well-known for its finance program. Booth’s finance faculty members, which include Nobel winner Eugene Fama and Fischer Black Prize winner Raghuram Rajan, have made significant contributions to the finance field. And 32.6% of its most recent class (Class of 2023) went into the finance industry.

But Richardson says there’s more to Booth than just finance. One of the most overlooked programs at the B-school? Entrepreneurship.

“Entrepreneurship is the most popular concentration at Booth, which makes sense given the school’s experiential lab courses and the robust resources offered by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” Richardson says. “The Startup Summer program offers incoming students the chance to work for a Booth-led start-up the summer before they start their MBA courses. And the school’s popular New Venture Challenge is a top start-up accelerator, helping launch more than 370 start-up companies over the past two decades.”


Many prospective applicants are drawn to Booth for its flexible course offerings. The business school offers students more freedom than other business schools as students are not required to pick a concentration and they can choose their courses, electives, and professors right away in the first quarter.

Flexibility at Booth, however, goes well beyond course selection.

“Perhaps where most applicants misjudge Booth is thinking that flexibility applies only to course selection, when in fact, it extends to the entire Booth experience: which student clubs you join, the teams you form, where you live, and so on,” Richardson says. “The school does not assign you to a learning team to collaborate with a preselected group of fellow students, you do not take multiple classes with the same cohort of students, and you are not required to live on campus. Booth truly supports the freedom of each individual student to make their own choices and believes that this freedom best prepares students to navigate future ambiguity and complexity.”


On campus, the Charles M. Harper Center is the business school’s center of activity.

“This six-story atrium serves as a gathering space for events and a common area for students, faculty, and staff to connect throughout the day,” Richardson says. “Fun fact: the Harper Center also houses an impressive contemporary art collection of 500 works by more than 120 global artists.”

But one of the unique aspects of Booth is that its community stretches far beyond this one building.

“Although the campus is located in a diverse neighborhood called Hyde Park, just south of downtown Chicago, most students opt to live in Chicago’s vibrant downtown, in an area known as ‘The Loop,’” Richardson says. “In fact, a recent student shared that most students live in one of three apartment buildings right next to each other. This off-campus proximity creates an incredible social scene, with regular dinners at Chicago’s many eateries and popular weekly ‘TNDC’ (Thursday Night Drinking Club) events at local bars. In addition, Booth students who live in The Loop have an easy train ride down to Hyde Park and enjoy all the benefits of urban living, with modern apartments and easy access to restaurants, shopping, museums, and Chicago landmarks.”

Sources: mbaMission, P&Q

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