Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fall CWiB Conference

With the number of women at the GSB at an all time high of 35%, it is not surprising that the Chicago Women in Business (CWiB) student group was able to put on a successful Annual Fall Conference on October 25, 2007 at Chicago’s Intercontinental Hotel.

As a first year student the prospect of figuring our which career path you want to take is daunting. Just when you feel as though you are settling into life in a new city with new friends and figuring out what it’s like to be a student again, you are quickly reminded that you have a future career to think about. We looked to Dr. Seuss to shed some very valuable insight:

You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose

As such, we decided to make this year’s theme for the conference - “Forging and Managing Your Career Path.” The CWIB Annual Fall Conference provides a safe environment for our women students to ask many corporate women candid questions about their experiences.

The Conference was well attended by over 175 members and 100 sponsors representing 26 firms across various industries.

We kicked off the event with two panel discussions – Managing and Navigating Your Career Path and Off the Beaten Path. The first panel is pretty self explanatory. We brought in many successful women across a broad range of industries to give their advice on how they had “figured it out.” The second panel was geared towards those interested in pursuing a non-traditional career path such as entrepreneurship, non-profit and corporate social responsibility. Panelists included:

Toby Alfred – Customer Acquisition Leader, Progressive
Katie Cusack – Director, Credit Suisse
Teri Hill – Senior Executive, Organization Strategy Practice, Accenture
Spring Hollis – Director, Deutsche Bank
Kristen Rossi – Executive Director, Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley
Julie Coffman – Partner, North American Recruiting, Bain & Company
Patrice P. DeCorrevont – Managing Director, J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
Marissa Haas – Senior Product Manager, Marketing, Abbott Pain Care
Anne Hamilton –Vice President, Lehman Brothers
Ingrid Tierens – Managing Director, Equity Strategies, Goldman Sachs
Susan Alnaqib – Co-President, Chicago Community Ventures
Margaret Annett – Assistant Treasurer, The Art Institute of Chicago
Chandra Greer – Founder, Greer
Maria Kim – The Cara Program

Following the panel discussions, we opened the floor up to a networking event where students were given the opportunity to float across the room and speak to representatives from all 26 firms. With over 100 corporate representatives present at the networking portion, students were given an amazing opportunity to ask candid questions about specific industries, jobs and firms.

The Conference closed with a formal sit down dinner in the Grand Ballroom where we graced with the presence of a truly inspirational female leader, Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream, who was the keynote speaker for the evening. The theme to Shellye’s speech was naturally about career planning. According to Shellye, a plan, much like a map, will help you navigate the potholed and congested road. It will also help you get back on track when you get lost. Funnily enough, Shellye had a plan to be CEO of a company at the age of 14! She is a true testament to the whole idea of having a plan. Her belief in having a plan is best encapsulated by the following story she shared. When Shellye was in college, she needed a winter coat (an expensive purchase for a student living on a budget). Knowing that a coat is meant to last approximately 5 years, Shellye took her plan into account. Shellye had a plan to be pregnant in 5 years. She took this into account when making her decision to buy a winter coat and opted for the one that she could wear while pregnant over the trendiest coat at the time. Although she was kindly reminded by her roommate that she didn’t have a boyfriend at the time, Shellye was indeed pregnant five years later and had a coat that she could wear.

Year after year, we hear great feedback about how valuable the opportunity to spend quality time with firm representatives is to students. CWiB is one of the largest student groups at the GSB. Our mission is to aid our members in developing professional and personal skills and building relationships with corporate recruiters, faculty, alumni, and other female students. With over 200 members, the group hosts career development, community service, and social events. The women of CWiB are pleased to speak with prospective and admitted students and always welcome new members!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Friday, October 12, 2007

GSB newswire...

Overview of current events from the past week @ GSB:

In a speech to GSB students at the Gleacher Center, Motorola CEO Ed Zander said his company looked into the possibility of buying Navteq Corp before rival Nokia struck a deal but rejected an acquisition because it wasn’t a good strategic fit. “We looked at it and went on our way,” Zander said. He called the $8.1 billion price tag for Navteq “stunning.”

University professor Steve Levitt, author of the best-seller Freakonomics, was this week's guest at the Harper Center for the Becker Brown Bag Series. He discussed the benefits of running experiments in real businesses, even if many short-sighted CEOs have historically refused to participate in what they perceive to be risky undertakings. He also shared with students his most recent study, which analyzes the economics of prostitution in the United States.

Professor Steven Kaplan was quoted in a Bloomberg article about the slowdown in buyouts. Many private equity firms are now unable or willing to leverage up as they did before, Professor Kaplan said. “Those multiples are dead … The amount of leverage they can get has gone down and will stay down,” he said in the October 1 article.

Professor Raghuram Rajan appeared on The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams October 10 in a story about foreign investment in U.S. companies. Although some Americans may be leery of such purchases, Professor Rajan says it often makes good business sense. “People don’t spend $10 billion or $20 billion on a company just to run it into the ground or for some nefarious purpose,” he said.

Professor Rajan was also quoted in an October 6 article by The Economist about whether there needs to be more regulation of banks’ liquidity. Professor Rajan said what is needed is consistent monitoring of banks’ liquidity positions over the economic cycle. One benefit of the recent crisis, he said, is that it will provide a benchmark for assessing whether banks have enough liquidity in the future. More scrutiny may be the only way to ensure less reliance on the state.

Timothy Chen, MBA ’91, was named CEO of NBA China, a subsidiary of the National Basketball Association, according to a September 21 Forbes article. There are an estimated 300 million basketball fans in China, the article said. Previously Chen was CEO of Microsoft China.

James Kilts, MBA ’74, was elected to the board of Pfizer Inc., according to an announcement September 27. He is a founding partner of Centerview Partners, a private equity and financial advisory firm and was CEO of The Gillette Company prior to its merger with Procter and Gamble. Kilts is also chairman of Council on the Graduate School of Business, a group of executives that advise Dean Snyder on program issues and serve as a link to the business community.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Chicago... my future home--but where?

Where to live? It’s a question that many applicants think about in deciding where to apply for business school. Whether you’re very familiar with Chicago or have never visited, housing is always a hot topic among applicants and incoming students.

At first, many incoming GSB students are under the impression that housing is simply a choice between Hyde Park and the north side (usually either downtown or Lincoln Park). While a good portion of students do choose to live either very close to campus or in the popular north side locations, some decide to tap into one of Chicago’s many other interesting neighborhoods. After all, Chicago is known as a city of diverse, rich neighborhoods, so it makes sense that the student body has equally varied tastes when it comes to housing.

Here are a few “other” neighborhoods in which GSBers live that you may not have initially thought of:

South Loop: Want proximity to school outside of Hyde Park? How about closeness to both downtown and the exciting nightlife of Gold Coast? If so, then the South Loop may be a great option for you. Not many years ago, this neighborhood just south of Grant Park was an abandoned area of railroad tracks and warehouses. Since then, it has been revitalized by a frenzy of construction: mainly high-rise and mid-rise condominium buildings with all of the amenities. Many GSB students with families have chosen to invest in buying condos in this neighborhood, while others who prefer to lease have settled in rental buildings or sublet from condo owners.

Student Ade Ifelayo said of his neighborhood: “It’s a central, or ‘compromise’ location between Hyde Park, Downtown and the Northside areas. It has easy access to public transportation—on both El and Metra lines. Driving is even better, as it’s against the flow of traffic both commutes.”

Although it still has the feel of a young, new neighborhood, the South Loop is full of everything you’d want in everyday life—from grocery stores and a huge Target, to bars and restaurants, including Ade’s favorite brunch spot, Yolk. (“It’s the best!”)

Wicker Park / Bucktown: These neighborhoods are just west of the Loop, are more affordable than some of the more central locations in the city, and offer a delightful combination of charming shops, restaurants and cafes. This area is also much more parking friendly than the rest of the city can be, which is important because public transportation to the Harper Center can be time-consuming from here. In other words, you’ll probably want a car if you make this your home.

According to second year student Christen Cuculich:

“The people in Bucktown are a little less homogenous than other areas of the city, partially due to the big arts scene in the area. There are no high-rise buildings, few chain restaurants, and you can easily walk to tons of great restaurants, coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, boutiques, music venues, the blue line, dry cleaners, and just about everything you could imagine. Beyond being home to some of the best restaurants and shopping in Chicago, Bucktown is also an ideal area for animal lovers. There are a lot of pet-friendly apartments and condos and there are multiple dog parks.”

Lakeview: This neighborhood is adjacent to the northeast part of Lincoln Park and can best be described as a comfortable, moderately-priced and easily-navigable option for your time in b-school. Families and young folks alike choose to make this their home, resulting in an interesting mix of parks, gyms, pubs and Lake Michigan.

Dru Rossbacher chose Lakeview “for its proximity to the lake, to public transportation and to a myriad of good restaurants and bars” and accessibility to everything from supermarkets to various good places to do yoga. There’s always a lot going on at night, from local bars to trendier clubs—and the chance to attend a Cubs game in nearby Wrigleyville. Dru notes that “it is considered to be one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, so I have never felt unsafe returning home from a night out.” Parking can be a problem, however, since rented spaces tend to be quite expensive and street parking is limited and can take a while, especially in the bad weeks of winter.

Hopefully, you’re beginning to realize that Chicago is a great city offering its residents a variety of living choices depending on what matters to you most. If you come to the GSB, everyone will have an opinion on where is the best place to live—just remember that, whatever it is that you want, Chicago has it.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Q&A with Rose Martinelli

Greetings from all of us at the Dean’s Student Admissions Committee! A very warm welcome to the class of 2009 – congratulations on your success, and best wishes for a wonderful and exciting time at the GSB! We hope to see you soon on the campus.

Our warm wishes also go out to all the prospective students out there, gearing up for this year’s admissions cycle. As you navigate through the exciting, challenging – and often times exhausting – process of b-school applications, we will try our best to assist you in all ways we can. This particular blog entry is another step in that direction. Rose Martinelli (RM), the Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions, answered some of the most important admissions related questions posed by 2nd year student and DSAC co-chair Saurabh Sharma (SS). We hope that the conversation below will help clarify the admissions process to all prospective students out there.

SS: Good morning Rose, and thanks for taking the time out for this chat.

RM: Good morning. It’s my pleasure.

SS: Let me start by asking some specific, application-related questions. I'll begin with a question that is probably on everyone’s mind. The Adcom recently came up with the application questions for the Class of 2010, and there has been one significant change – the PowerPoint slides. Can you talk a little bit about the motivation behind adopting such a non-traditional format?

RM: Well, as you know, the Chicago GSB has a reputation for challenging norms. In some respects that is what the PowerPoint is doing. Traditional essays, although helpful in the application process, tend to be confining. Essay questions do not allow applicants to fully stretch beyond the question and communicate their strengths, weaknesses, passions etc. The PowerPoint slide is our way of giving applicants a blank slate on which to communicate with us. There aren't many restrictions for an applicant, and they have free reign to communicate to the committee whatever they feel is valuable for us to know. An applicant can expand upon their application or they can go beyond it and reveal something completely new. This is their opportunity to express themselves without guidance or restriction.

SS: Compared to the usual essay questions, how differently should an applicant think about the slides? What is similar, and what is not – in terms of how the AdCom will be looking at the responses?

RM: In many respects we are looking for similar things in the slides as we would in the essays. We are looking for organized thoughts, strong communication skills, and the ability to convey ideas clearly. We will also be looking at an applicant's ability to be insightful and their willingness to express themselves in a new medium. In some respects, this question adds an element of risk to the application that has not been there before. There is no question to guide you, or any history to use as an example. Therefore, an applicant's success will largely depend on his/her ability to think and reflect on those things that capture who they are as a person and a potentially successful member of the GSB community.

SS: It appears that there is an option to attach a word document to provide an "explanation" of the slides. In what cases do you think this option might be used? Is there a restriction/suggestion on the length of this document?

RM: The word document is there as a safety net. We recognize that interpretation of material is not always consistent across languages, cultures, socio-economic differences, etc. The intent is that the slides will communicate the messages without explanatory notes. However, we want to ensure that the meaning conveyed in these slides is clearly understood in the evaluation process. If a notes document is included, it should not exceed one paragraph per slide.

SS: While reviewing applications, how would you weigh the actual content vs. the presentation style? Obviously, different applicants will have had different levels of experience creating slides and presenting ideas in that format?

RM: This question is not designed to evaluate the applicants’ PowerPoint expertise, but rather to reveal how people think and communicate their ideas. This question, like the rest of the essay questions, is designed to provoke critical thought and self-reflection, not just their creativity. It is the message within the slides that is important, not the presentation.

SS: Thanks for these responses. Let me now switch gears, and talk about the application process and GSB in general.
Hopefully by now, prospective students would have started thinking about their applications in detail. As they make up their mind regarding this significant change in their lives and decide upon their target school(s), what, in your opinion, should be the key aspects they consider?

RM: For applicants to be successful in this process, they must be effective at doing two things:
1) Self-reflection – Know why you are applying for an MBA. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and why you think an MBA will prepare you for the future. Know your goals and be able to communicate how you think you can achieve them.
2) Understand fit – Every school is different in terms of culture, courses and extra-curricular offerings, so make sure you know what makes an MBA from a specific school so important for you to achieve your goals. If you know yourself and you know how each school can help address your needs, you can make a compelling case in the application. If you do not fully understand or reflect on either of these points and rely solely on your credentials to carry you, chances are you will fall short in a very competitive application process.

SS: Wise words!
As you wrap up the admissions process for the class of 2009, what is your view of the applicants and the incoming class? How was this year?

RM: We had a great year, and are very excited to welcome the Class of 2009 to the GSB. This class is not only bright, but incredibly diverse in terms of background and future goals. We are eager to have them start the program and have high hopes that they will add tremendous value to the GSB community as students and beyond.

SS: I personally have been super-impressed by the knowledge and the helpful attitude of the Class of 2007. What is the buzz in the market, and among recruiters? What are the most common strengths of GSB grads?

RM: Recruiters are big on GSB students for two reasons: 1) Our students leave here with incredible critical thinking skills. They understand the fundamentals of business, are well-equipped to break down complicated problems to the bare essentials, and make smart, well-informed decisions. Which leads me to my second point: 2) Our students leave the GSB with tremendous confidence. They thrive in challenging environments and are not afraid to ask questions. Our entire community is about challenging one another, and companies appreciate people within their organizations who think differently and push for the best answers, not just the expedient ones.

SS: My final question for you – as they go through the application process, what are some of the avenues that prospective students can use to get to learn more about the GSB?

RM: All prospective students should visit our website. There you can learn about our people, our programs and our culture. Through our website they should check out our discussion boards, chats and this blog. All these things give a prospective student an in-depth and revealing look at the GSB through the eyes of our students and staff. I would also encourage students to visit the school. You can sign up for a daily visit or a GSB Live event starting in October. If you can not visit campus, then try to visit us at one of our information sessions being held all over the world. The more you interact with us, the more prepared you will be to write a compelling application. We are a school that is all about transparency, so take the time to explore and ask questions. We want you to be successful, so take the time to engage and get to know us better.

SS: Rose, once again, thanks for taking the time out to answer these questions. I am sure applicants will find your insights quite useful.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Admit Weekend II Recap

"You Are Here."

Over 400 admitted students and their partners invaded the Hyde Park Center from April 20-22 for Admit Weekend II. Students experienced a variety of events, ranging from information sessions on career services and financial aid, to student panels on housing and Random Walks, to hands-on LEAD activities. Saturday evening was capped off by a send-off dinner at Union Station, followed by an informal night out at a local club where admits and current students celebrated admission or the impending end of the academic year.

Admitted students trickled in throughout Friday, joining their current student hosts for breakfast and then heading off to a day packed with activities. Spouses and significant others had their own events to attend but linked up with their partners for meals and the day-ending LPF with Mexican food and all kinds of beverages, as well as student groups that had set up tables across the Rothman Winter Garden.

Other activities on Saturday and Sunday included model classes and a tour of Chicago on bus, which took students around the city's monuments and residential neighborhoods. Deans Ted Snyder and Rose Martinelli were on hand to welcome students on Friday and Mandel Hall and at the Saturday night reception.

For everyone who attended Admit Weekend, thanks for coming! We hope you learned about what makes Chicago GSB such a spcecial place and, most importantly, that you had a great time. See you in the fall!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Monday, April 16, 2007

Student Perspective: Long Distance Relationships

Hello to all, congrats to the newly admitted students, and good luck to those who applied in round three!

Today, we’d like to talk to you about something – or better said, someone, who is often overlooked in the whole MBA process: the significant other. In particular, we’d like to focus on the long-distance relationship. Lo and behold, our target is not to give you some couple counseling – we are not qualified for that. But we would like you to profit from the experience of some students who are going through this.

To frame the problem and assure you that I know what I’m talking about, here is a brief portrait: I am French, and I worked in Germany and China before school. Now I am a second year student at the GSB. My better half is Swedish, and she currently works in Stockholm.

The first thing that we long distance people all see is that you need to count on each other. It sounds like a huge tautology but let me be more precise: she/he will support you. Make sure that this project is as much hers/his as it is yours, if you do not want to wake up one day with a break up email or phone call. Be sure that you let him/her know about the upsides of this program for both of you (a hopefully higher future income, Career chances etc.) and the downsides (distance).

Most of the people who choose the long distance relationship do it because of job constraints. In my case, my girlfriend loved her job. She was torn between her will to be with me and her job. As a foreigner, what would she do in the US? She did not want to quit (it is her first job, so quitting after 3 months might have had some resume repercussions), yet she wanted to be with me. Here is the first tip: talk about that together and be open. If you are the one leaving for the MBA, do not forget that by following you, your significant other might jeopardize his/her career too. Given that at the time you come into school you generally do not know where you are going to end up, this represents significant risk added to you, your life, and your relationship. Ponder also that you as an MBA student will be awfully busy. Our partners club here is doing an incredible job, but many wives/husbands recognize that they do not see their partner so much, while they spend some time with other partners of MBA students within the club activities. The reason is that the whole socializing, events, recruiting, etc. is as much part of the MBA education as sitting in class is. In my case, distance allowed me to focus a lot on school, job, etc. Some of my friends who live with a partner tell me about their constant time struggle. My girlfriend and I decided that she would keep her job and that after the MBA we would go to the same place together, our decision driven by the best of both job opportunities.

That being settled, the hard part starts – separation. Here are a few tips that many saw as critical:
  • By the time you part, always make sure that you know already the precise date when you will see each other again – ideally you will already have the plane ticket. This is critical because it transforms an otherwise empty horizon into a countdown to seeing each other again. It builds up the expectation and shifts the wait from an interrogation (when do we see each other) to an excitement (2 weeks to go!). To help you with this, the academic calendar is published on the school’s webpage and has a very substantial horizon – check it out.
  • Nowadays, communication systems make it really easy to talk together and even see each other. My girlfriend and I are avid Skype users. The network at the GSB is so good that we can also use our webcams with the wireless system. It works very well, and we talk once or twice a day. You will have to get used to the time difference. In general, your schedule as an MBA student will offer sufficient flexibility and breaks so that you can adapt to his/her working schedule – it does take a bit of planning and effort.
  • For you Gentlemen: Valentine’s Day IS important. Roses, sent by any delivery company are best. It will cost you 90-150 USD but hey, that’s no money compared to the 80 grand you are paying in tuition.
  • Look at job options early. Where do you want to go? Where could you go? Keep your significant other informed on a regular basis and take their input into consideration. It will help you to converge towards a mutually agreeable place more easily. Be creative in generating options – use the Career Services Office for help. In my case I discovered with amazement that my target company (Bain & Co) had an office in Stockholm… Maybe I could spend the summer there. If you are interested in the country where your significant other lives, ask him/her for advice. Brainstorm together: what companies are there in his/her place (and that works also if you are from the same country). My girlfriend sent me a list of 60 companies based in Stockholm. Then I cross checked with the list in our career services office – we had data for ALL of them. I ended up at Bain Stockholm for the summer, and when I got an offer, both Anna and I were thrilled to accept!
  • All in all, try to involve your partner as much as you can in your everyday life. If he/she stayed in a country for work, chances are that you will have a somewhat more exciting life than him/her. You will meet people from everywhere, go to receptions, cocktails, diners, parties, etc. Get her/him involved in the experience. Talk about what you do, whom you meet. Ask for his/her advice when confronted with some local problems. Basically, when he/she comes to visit you, he/she should be able to know a lot about all the people he/she will meet. Not only their names, but also if you like the guy, if you’ve worked with him, etc.
Of course this is not a simple recipe for success. Just a few things that people with long distance relationships keep on repeating between each other. Good luck to all!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Campus Visit Logistics

Special note for Admitted Students: Contact your AdCom if you would like to visit campus outside of Admit Weekend. They can help us arrange your visit so that we can best meet your needs as you decide which MBA program is best for you.

Step 1: Plan your visit to Chicago GSB
Figure out the best time for you to visit the GSB. Although info sessions and tours are conducted almost every day, we highly recommend that you come when school is in session and when current students are participating in campus visit activities. This way, you can get a student’s perspective on everything from classes to student groups to where we hang out at night. Current students will have a limited role in campus visits during schools breaks (Winter, Spring and Summer) as well as during the first and last weeks of each quarter.

Check out this site for campus visit exclusion dates (no visit activities offered on these days) as well as a general schedule of events for future date ranges. For those of you that want a little more than a regular visit, be sure to check out our “GSB Live” expanded campus visit offering on the same webpage.

Step 2: Register online for your visit
When you determine the date of your visit, please inform the admissions office so we can be ready to welcome you. To do this, you can register online here. This will help us ensure that we correctly match our volunteer resources with the volume of visitors coming in each day.

Step 3: Book reservations for travel and lodging
If you an out-of-towner, you’ll probably need to fly into Chicago and stay at least one night. Visitors often ask, “Which airport should I fly into?” Chicago has two airports: O’Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW). You can use either airport for your campus visit and both have public transportation to and from the center of the city. However, Midway is much closer to Hyde Park and that can be advantageous. For example, if you won’t have much time to make it to the airport after your visit, you should choose Midway if possible. Depending on traffic and your mode of transportation, travel times to O’Hare from Hyde Park can range from 45 minutes to 2 hours during “rush hour”. On the other hand, you can typically make it from Hyde Park to Midway in less than 45 minutes.

As for lodging, the GSB does not have any preferred hotels. However, you can find a list of frequently used hotels here. In addition, you can choose to stay at the International House on campus, which is just three blocks away from the Hyde Park Center. You can learn more about the “I-House” here.

Step 4: Getting to Hyde Park Center
There are many ways to get to campus if you’re coming from Downtown Chicago. The fastest way is to take a taxi, which you can find easily at any hotel. Just tell the cab driver that you’re headed to 5807 S. Woodlawn in Hyde Park.

Public transportation is also a great option. You can take the Metra train to within a few blocks of the HPC. You can find the Metra schedule for the train to Hyde Park here. Note: if coming from Downtown, you can board the Metra at Millennium Station, Van Buren or Roosevelt Road. You will want to exit the train at 59th Street. If you plan take the Metra, call the admissions office for walking directions from the train station.

In addition to the Metra, you can take the CTA’s #2 bus from multiple stops Downtown to 60th & Woodlawn. The HPC is only a two-block walk to the north. You can find the schedule for the #2 bus here.

If you intend to drive, you can find directions here
. You will need about 20 minutes to drive from Downtown, and longer if you’re staying further north. Also, give yourself ample time to find a parking spot since parking can be difficult around the HPC. If all else fails, park in the UofC visitors pay lot on 55th St. and Ellis Ave and then walk to the HPC (it will take about 10 minutes).

Step 5: Enjoy your visit!
Ask lots of questions and take in the entire GSB experience! Be sure to sign in at the Admissions Office when you arrive.

Step 6: Getting back to the airport or your hotel
If you’re low on time and need to go to either airport right after your visit, your best bet is to take a cab. You can call ahead and reserve a taxi through most taxi services. While we don’t endorse any cab company, the easiest number for me to remember is Yellow Taxi: (312) T-A-X-I-C-A-B. You can also ask the admissions receptionists to help you contact a cab company. Cab rides to the airport will be expensive, but they are usually the quickest, most direct mode of transportation. See the travel times in Step 3 for estimates on when you should have your taxi pick you up.

If you have time, feel free to explore Hyde Park on foot or head back up to Hyde Park via any of the previously mentioned public transportation options.

Step 7: Give us feedback
We rely on feedback from our campus visitors to help us continually improve the program. You can post suggestions on our web forum (, e-mail the admissions team ( or contact any of the student volunteers you meet during your visit.

Best of luck to all of you!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Saturday, March 17, 2007

New DSAC Co-Chairs

Our blog has been quiet as we have been busy finishing up with Round 2 applications and winter quarter finals. Before we head out for spring break (with destinations like Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Florida, etc.), we want to announce the people who will be taking over for us soon. Congratulations to the new DSAC Co-Chairs:
  • Victor Burga
  • Martina Dimova
  • Teresa Erickson
  • Denise Jaeschke
  • Natalie Nussenbaum
  • Saurabh Sharma
  • Sabrina Thong
We'll begin transitioning our jobs shortly after spring break. Stay tuned for new voices here at the DSAC blog!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Student Perspective: Motherhood & the MBA

Here are the perspectives of a couple of MBA super-moms at Chicago GSB...
Preeti, Class of 2007, says:
"Admit it, many of you have written about having a balance in life in your application essay and there are a few of us here living that dream. I am talking about those of us who trot about with books in one hand and candy eating toddlers in the other! I know many of you will be making professional and personal decisions soon and family (especially kids) may be one critical part of the decision making process. As a mom who came to the GSB with a 2+ year old, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you how the night long group meetings work with nap times.

"To give you a background on myself, I am a second year student and my daughter is 4 years old now. When I came to school, my daughter was 2 ½ years old, my husband was going to continue working back in California and I was looking at 2 years of single parenthood at Business School with no idea of how to make it work in Chicago. I have had a ton of information, support and advice from friends, administration and even random strangers that have helped me make it work. I had an excellent summer internship and have a fabulous full time job offer. Today, my daughter considers the GSB more her school rather than mine (she claims it is prettier than her own school too!); she definitely has more friends here than I do and she also has a tentative scholarship offer from the friendly Financial-Aid lady, should she choose to pursue an MBA in the future!

"In my mind the challenges that you are likely to face at the GSB will depend primarily on the level of back up support you may have for your parental responsibilities. So if you have a spouse or partner who can share your load, loving grandparents only too willing to take care of the little angel or even a very good nanny (assuming you can afford one on the tight student budget☺) then let me assure you, you are in good shape. Most of us of course, will not have these blessed advantages and things like how do I manage childcare to how will I manage classes, recruiting or student groups will be high on your list of issues. Let me try and answer these questions to the best of my ability:

What are the options available in terms of childcare?

"Well, depending on where you choose to live these options will vary. Since most first year students prefer to stay in Hyde Park to be near school let me highlight the options here.
Schools and Day cares: Most day cares are willing to accept a child above the age of 2 years although there are a couple that accept younger children too. Some of the day cares and pre school in the area include Ray school, Little People Learning Center, Akiba Jewish Day school, Parents Co-op Day care, Lab school and of course all the public schools in the neighborhood. The University of Chicago website has a link to many of these and Google is always a useful ally when searching for the school that best fits your needs. Be warned that getting your child in any good school can require a lot of advanced planning and you may have to lay the groundwork now.
Baby sitters and nanny services: Hyde Park is good place to be if you are looking for baby sitters; students at the university generally can be reliable sitters and once you have built some trust in the relationship they can be good resources for those last minute recruiting dinners. Do not ever underestimate the student body within the GSB as well! My daughter has been baby sat by future bankers, consultants, corporate stars and VCs many times (in the spirit of the GSB’s affinity for numbers, let me also clarify that the ratio of men to women baby sitters has always been in proportion to their total presence in the class). Nannies are also available and I was put in touch with a couple of agencies through the administration here at the GSB.
Final word: Start researching early, develop childcare backups and form friendships with others in similar situations.

How will I manage parenthood with a full course load and with recruiting thrown in?

"Let’s be honest and accept that it will not be easy. Again, a lot will depend on the support system that you will have, but I truly believe that being at the GSB will give you a clear edge as compared to other schools. I am sooo thankful for the flexible curriculum and the ability to pick and choose classes that let me plan my time with my daughter. Besides being able to choose the level of the class that allows you to better manage your time, you also have class timing flexibility. I once scheduled an entire quarter of classes such that I could take my daughter to ballet and swimming classes. Since many classes are offered simultaneously in the full time, evening and weekend program, you can afford to stay at home to comfort your fevered child and yet not miss the valuable class discussion. The same holds for recruiting interviews and networking sessions. Most professors are very understanding and allow you to attend other sections to resolve personal conflicts. That being said, it can be tough that many recruiting events are held in the evening (or on the weekend) and you may be forced to miss out if you do not have a backup care provider available. With a little bit of help and a lot of organization, you will be fine even if you are like me and really do not have a steady support network.
Final Word: Schedule your classes such that there are makeup sessions to fall back upon, consider retaining a nanny for the recruiting season, ask friends to help you out with evening networking events.

How about managing study groups, extra curricular involvements and other student activities?

"If you have managed to read up to this point you may have seen a theme emerging! Yes, as always, it is up to you to make it work. It will help to have study groups that are understanding of your scheduling needs or are game for the occasional group meet with a curious child around. My approach has been to schedule my classes and group meets while my daughter is at school and then schedule net meetings and chats when required.
As far as student group involvement is concerned there are some activities that require more time commitment than others and you will have to pick and choose what you want to be involved with. My advice would be to go for quality and choose an activity or role that is manageable (both in terms of your and your family’s requirements) and something you really believe in. This will ensure that you do not feel stressed about the demands on your time and can continue to contribute effectively throughout your GSB stay. There are plenty of opportunities at the GSB that will give you a very good networking platform with your peers and with alumni while not requiring an extended time commitment. Besides, having a child puts you in a different league and I will bet that you will end up meeting and becoming friends with a set of people that you may never have known if it was not for your child. Of course there will be times when others may feel that you are overloaded and preempt your choice with their decision of not letting you take on a role but that just gives you more time than what you budgeted for with your family!
Finally, on the social scene, yes, you will miss out on the TNDC, the international exchange program, and a couple of formal events that are “Adults only,” but when you have a unique, direct-to-home entertainment package waiting for you at home who is really glad to see you every time, you can live without being the life of the party at other events!
Final word: Choose your battles; be prepared to miss out on some opportunities and try to pair up with adjusting or like minded people for course work.

Finally, the biggest of all worries….Am I doing the right thing for my child and for me by choosing to return to school?

"I will admit that I had many concerns that were very personal like what if my daughter was uncomfortable and unhappy and grew up ill adjusted? Was I being selfish putting her and my professional life on equal footing, asking her to adjust maybe too early in life? I was concerned that it would be a stress on our family with my husband half way across the country and my child would feel the change. We have had to take a hard look at what we want as a family and all three of us have made adjustments but overall the process has worked out well for me. My daughter is a very outgoing and friendly who has been thoroughly spoiled by my colleagues at the GSB and I believe the kind of exposure she has received as a 4 year old is not very common. Obviously, a major portion of the credit for my success goes to my husband and daughter both of who have adjusted exceptionally well. But I feel that another major component of my success has been the GSB itself with its flexible curriculum, very understanding administration (I have had staff help me out when I have been in a real bind) and the faculty who extend the flexibility even further. I don’t think I could have done this at any other school. Finally, I am fortunate to have some very, very good friends and colleagues who have been crucial in helping me make this work. They are closer to us than even family and I feel that the network that I have formed with this group will stand the test of time. All in all, it has been a fun ride and with some great moments thrown in.
Final Word: Was it worth it then? Definitely! Would I recommend it? Surely! "
Maria, Class of 2007, has similar sentiments:
"I am a second year at the GSB. When I started the MBA program, my baby was 4 months old. My husband works in consulting and travels frequently, so, we built the structure (daycares, nannies…) as if I were working.

"I was also a consultant in the past and I do not think that managing an MBA with motherhood is much different than being a consultant and having a baby. The only difference is that when you work, you earn money to maintain the infrastructure. You need to keep in mind that when you study and have a baby you will require the infrastructure, but you will not be earning money. It is something to consider in your budget.

"I have been able to manage doing two internships, getting offers from the companies that I am interested in, getting good grades and being involved in the community (e.g. helping first years with recruiting). Most importantly, I have enjoyed a lot of time with my baby. The benefit of the GSB is that you decide your schedule; the courses, professors…you have flexibility so you can adapt your schedule to the baby’s. You just need to be very organized and plan ahead as if you were working. Obviously it is challenging, but it is a lot of fun! And just one last advice: do outsourcing of all the work of the house!!!! The time that you spend with your baby has to be “quality” time. Have somebody to do the laundry and clean the oven…and you play with your baby when you are at home!"

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Friday FAQ: What if I get a ding?

While the Round 2 interview invite deadline is rapidly approaching (February 21), the Adcom team is still working on their application reading and sending out invitations. So for those of you who are still waiting for that invite--don't give up hope!!

However, for a percentage of Round 2 applicants, next Wednesday will bring sad news, and more sad news will be delivered on March 28 to another group of applicants. We are of course speaking of the dreaded "Ding" (and no, we are not referring to deals given by Southwest Airlines). After spending countless hours researching and visiting schools, writing and editing essays, studying for the GMAT, and organizing everything from transcripts to recommendation letters, the receipt of a denial of admission can be very painful.

The goal of this post isn't to necessarily cheer you up (but you should take heart in the fact that the writer speaks from experience with the ding). The goal is to help you put things in perspective and hopefully to give some guidance regarding next steps.
"What do I do if I get a ding?"
The first thing to consider is deny feedback. Chicago GSB admissions has changed their approach to deny feedback this year. It will be offered during the summer months, but the sessions will be by invitation only.

If you get invited for feedback- SCHEDULE A SESSION!!! There's no reason not to take advantage of the offered slot to get advice on how to improve your application. If an Adcom tells you that you need to address a certain area, then be sure to point this out if/when you reapply, and of course don't forget to actually address the issue in your reapp! If you do reapply, make sure you continue to network with any current GSB students you've met during the process. Keeping a pulse on the GSB will help you craft compelling reapplicant essays.

If you're not invited for feedback- DON'T DESPAIR!!! Feedback is invite only due to time constraints. Lack of an invitation does NOT mean that your application was hopeless. There is simply no way that the Adcoms could give a sufficient amount of time to each and every denied applicant to address issues with their application. If you fall in this category, your best bet is to reach out to people in your network with business school experience who would be willing to critique your application and provide their own feedback. It's quite possible that he or she might see something in the application that you hadn't noticed before and will be able to provide direction in how to improve it if you decide to reapply.

You may also have to consider some tougher questions. If you have been admitted elsewhere, do you want to accept the offer, or do you want to decline the admit offer to take another shot at the GSB? Do you want to postpone your MBA plans and focus on your career?

The MBA application process involves a lot of self-assessment and reflection, and a ding usually prompts re-assessment. It is most important to keep things in perspective and stay positive.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Student Perspective: Being an early bird at Chicago GSB

by Eva Karagianni, Class of 2007

For those of you thinking of applying to Chicago GSB without having completed the typical 4-5 years average of work experience, I would like to share my story of coming to the GSB straight after I completed my undergraduate degree in my home country, Greece.

To put things into perspective, “straight from undergrad” in my case didn’t mean “zero work experience”. I was actually working while studying for my degree for a maritime company in their operations department and I had therefore gained exposure to the “real business world” before I arrived in Chicago. Of course, this is not to say that people with even less work experience should be discouraged from applying if they believe that this is the right time for them. In fact, if I wanted to summarize my experience, it’s simply been amazing, highly rewarding, and despite some initial worries about the timing, I never looked back.

I am currently in the second year of the program and after spending my summer in consulting with McKinsey, I accepted an offer in marketing from D&B, which I am joining after my graduation in June 2007. But enough about me. I would now like to attempt to answer some questions that may be in your mind if you are in the same shoes I was in a couple of years ago.
How will less work experience affect me during my GSB MBA program?
In academics: Depending on your academic background, namely whether you have studied in a business related or quantitative academic field before, you may find it easier to adjust and perform in business school classes. Of course, this applies to other students as well, but traditionally early applicants have done exceptionally well in academics.
+ You still remember what it is like to be a student so getting used to it won’t be as much of an issue to you.
- Your contribution in the class may be initially limited since discussions often revolve around “real world” issues and people draw examples from their experience. However, keeping up with your newspaper readings and a good business sense can compensate for that in most cases.

In recruiting: This, at least for me, was a major concern. Will companies treat you like any other MBA student? Will you be able to go after MBA level jobs? The answer highly depends on how you present yourself, how convincing you are in conveying a mature image and eventually how successfully you manage your expectations and target list. Apparently, someone with less work experience will target positions that highly accentuate learning. On the other hand, someone who is well above the average will target positions where extended work experience can be leveraged.
+ You will belong in a minority which is generally perceived to be comprised of exceptional people. Others, including recruiters, will always admire and respect the fact that you had the determination and ability to come to Business School earlier.
- Some recruiters may simply reject you on the premises of less work experience. Yes, it did happen to me. No, it doesn’t feel nice. However, it is absolutely expected. In fact, it’s fine. It simply means that this is not the right working environment for you. So move on.

In social life: Come on now… of course you can hang out with everybody. Don’t be a baby ☺
+ You will probably get a lot of “wow” reactions for your age
- Your classmates will insist asking you if you are allowed to drink every time there is an event involving alcohol. Get ready to be teased a lot.
How do I know if I am ready?
That’s a hard one. It’s different for everyone but here are my basic statements:
  • I am excited about going back to school. Self explanatory. If you feel you’ve had enough with school for the time being, then no career justification can do it for you.
  • I feel comfortable in my current position; I feel I’ve completed my cycle here (for those working). I have a strong business sense that is gratified by my academic achievements; I’ve done a lot of volunteer or extracurricular work that can compensate (at least partly) for lack of work experience (for those studying).
  • I have a plan. I know, I know. We are all told we need a plan for applying to business school. But I cannot stress enough how significant this is for the early birds. If you find yourselves struggling with putting it into words then maybe you should consider delaying this application for a couple of years or more.
How will my application to Chicago GSB be perceived?
It will be evaluated like any other application: spherically. My case, as well as others, proves that there is no prejudice against “early bird” applications on behalf of the school.
+ This is a school where academic achievement is highly appreciated. Therefore don’t underestimate its power on your resume.
- You will certainly have to work hard to show maturity and to compensate for the “gaps” in your resume. Go back to the points made above to see how this can be achieved.

That’s it from me. And please feel free to contact me with any questions at ekaragia at chicagogsb dot edu

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Admit Weekend I (Feb 23-24)

Admit Weekend is less than two weeks away, and we can't wait to welcome over 100 Round 1 admits to the GSB for the weekend. We've been planning for Admit Weekend since last fall, and we're excited that it's almost here. We have great schedule of events for the weekend that include a headline model class, social events in the city, a student-led city tour, and endless opportunities to meet current students and fellow admits...your future classmates!

Some of the events that we're most excited for include:

Model Economics Class with Kevin Murphy
Kevin Murphy teaches some of the more exciting and dynamic economics courses at the GSB, and we're lucky to have him join us to teach a model class during Admit Weekend. Kevin was named a MacArthur Fellow for 2005 and was selected for the "genius grant" for his work in revealing economic forces shaping vital social phenomena. This is a great opportunity to see what it's like to participate in a class at the GSB and maybe learn a few things while you're at it.

Bowling, Food, & Drinks at Lucky Strike on Friday Night
After a full day of programming on Friday, we've rented out Lucky Strike Bowling downtown. Kick back, relax, and enjoy food and drinks with fellow admits and current students. And don't be afraid to show off those bowling skills.

Chicago City Tour
For those people who are visiting Chicago for the first time or want to get a tour of the city from current students' perspectives, join us on the city tour. This is a great way to see the highlights of the city, get a feel for the different neighborhoods and potential places to live, and hear from current students how they city will be a big part of your GSB experience.

Closing Dinner & Celebration at Gleacher Center on Saturday Night
To end the weekend, let's celebrate! Join us at the Midway Club at the Gleacher Center, our downtown campus building, for a dinner celebration.

Lastly, be on the lookout for an e-mail or call from a first-year the week prior to Admit Weekend. Each Admit will be paired up with a current first-year student "Host." Your Host will arrange to meet you when you arrive on campus on Friday and will be your personal resource starting at Admit Weekend.

We look forward to seeing everyone on the 23rd!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Monday, February 5, 2007

Decisions, decisions

We all get questions on why we chose Chicago GSB over other programs, and we all have our own answers to that question. When the time comes for you to decide which MBA program to join, the best thing you can do is talk to as many current students as possible and really take a close look at what the different programs offer. Attend Admit Weekend if possible. Choose a program that is the best fit for you, based on the aspects that matter the most to you.

One applicant for the Class of 2009 recently made an entry to his blog describing his decision between LBS and Chicago GSB. His decision process may help you through your your decision process.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Friday, February 2, 2007

Friday FAQ: Interviews

Now that invitations to interview have started to be released for Round 2 applicants, it's appropriate to address the following frequently asked question:
"What can I expect in my interview?"
Interviews for admission to Chicago GSB are conducted by invitation-only and are 'blind'. This means that the interviewer has not read your application; he or she simply has your resume. A GSB interview isn't dramatically different than a first round job interview. You'll probably be asked:
  • where you've been (i.e. "walk me through your resume" or some variation)
  • where you'd like to go and how you plan to get there (i.e. goals and the usual why MBA and why Chicago)
  • some behavioral-style interview questions (each interviewer has their own favorites to get to know you better)
It is not a stress or confrontational-style interview and you will not be asked technical questions. We'd just like to know a little more about you and get a sense of how you might fit in at the GSB.

A follow-up frequently asked question is:
"Should I do my interview on-campus or off-campus? Are the interviews different? Will they be evaluated differently?"
Interviews will vary a bit because each interviewer has their own style, but all Chicago GSB interviewers (Adcom professionals, 2nd year Graduate Assistants, and Alumni) have the same training and guidelines, so there will be an element of consistency. Interviews are evaluated the same and with equal weight within the context of your total application, no matter where the interview took place. So where you interview is all a matter of your preferences and what is within your time and resource constraints. If you haven't had a chance to visit campus previously, the interview is a great opportunity to come and see the GSB in person.

There is one potential area of difference. On-campus interviews are conducted by either an Adcom professional or a 2nd year Graduate Assistant. Your interviewer will likely be scheduled to conduct multiple interviews that day and will have to stick to the 30 minute time limit. 30 minutes is fairly short to cover all of the things I mentioned above, but your interviewer will do his or her best to keep things on schedule and allow time for your questions at the end. In comparison, an alumnus will probably have only one interview scheduled that day and may or may not be on a tight schedule. When time is not an issue, there may be more small talk, more time to dig deeper into the questions I mentioned above, more time for questions and conversation at the end. That being said, the differences will be pretty minor and shouldn't really influence your decision.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Addendum to International Student Financial Aid

Following on the last blog post.....

Just for frame of reference, here is the current interest rate information from the financial aid office. Please note this applies to international students and is for informational purposes only. It is not a guarantee that the rates will be the same in the future because the rates are reviewed and adjusted on a quarterly basis.
The interest rate on the International Student Loan without a cosigner is variable and is adjusted quarterly and is based on the 3 month LIBOR plus 3.5%. The current in school rate is 8.61% and 8.76% in repayment. This rate is good until 3/31/2007. There is a 5% insurance fee that is deducted from each disbursement.

The interest rate on the UC Alternative loan with a cosigner is also a variable rate and is also adjusted quarterly. This interest rate is based on the 91 day T-Bill plus 3.25% in school and 91 day T-Bill plus 3.40% in repayment. The current interest rate is 8.254% in school 8.404% in repayment. This rate is good until 3/31/2007. There is no insurance fee on this loan.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Demystifying Financial Aid for International Students

So, you are considering coming to the GSB for your MBA. Maybe you have already been admitted. And suddenly you realize that it will cost you a lot of money, and you worry worry worry. Money, Visa, moving, …

Keep cool, this is totally doable, and we all overcame it so why can’t you? Here's a bit of advice and a few ideas.

First things first: MONEY.

For international students, it is indeed the primary concern. The reason is that in order to get a visa, you have to bring proof of sufficient funding to your local US Embassy or consulate. That means securing some money up front, or having the awkward discussion: “Dad, could you write a letter stating that you will give me $100,000 if the bank does not fund me?” Yikes! Well my dear friends, the GSB is always willing to help you and make your experience more enjoyable. If you are admitted, you will receive a loan guarantee from our financial services office. That’s right, you get a paper saying that the school will lend you the money without cosigner should you come to us. This is not free money, God forbid! It is just a guarantee that someone will lend you some money to pursue your MBA. What does that mean for the immediate future? You can breathe easy and actually carry forward your research for financing AND your Visa in parallel. The Chicago GSB does its best to make sure this is a hassle-free experience for you.

So back to the money part. You are sure to get a loan, but you still need to plan ahead. This means developing a budget. You can go to our webpage to see a typical budget of a student at Chicago GSB, and make your own based on this data. Careful, these are costs for one school year (Sept-June), and you have to plan for two! Then, conduct a market survey. Go and visit a few banks, and ask them the following question: "Ahem (clearing throat)… I’ve just been admitted to a top business school in the US that might guarantee me a comfortable income in the future. Would you be willing to lend me (insert your budget figure here)? If so, at what terms and conditions?" You might be incredibly surprised at how banks are receptive to this idea. They know what an MBA is, and the prospect of future regular cash flows is good for them. Next, compare the terms they offer with what the Chicago GSB can offer.

Let me state it loud and clear: the GSB does an awesome job at finding good terms for its students. However, some local specifics in your country might make it better to borrow there. For example, I borrowed in Euros at 4.5% fixed rate. It is tax free because of a French law. Finally, it was in Euros at a time where 1 Euro was 1.15 USD. Now it is about 1.3 USD, so actually the MBA will cost me less than planned, especially due to the fact that I am going back to Europe after I graduate. Get it? Think about looking close to you. The terms may be better or worse, and it's up to you to choose the best option for you.

Second obstacle: VISA.

There’s no way to escape it: if you are a foreigner, you’ve gotta get one!

For your visa application, accurately follow the GSB’s instructions. They are real pros. Follow the links they provide in your admission letter, fill in the information they need for your papers accurately and completely. Be sure to read the page they give on the difference between F-1, J-1, etc. And if you have ANY doubt, CALL THEM. They will answer your questions and help you with a diligence you have rarely seen anywhere else.

Take a diligent look at all the documents for the consulate. For that, follow the instructions on the website of your local consulate or embassy. It is long and boring, but it is necessary. Be sure to go to the embassy with ALL of your papers, having done all of the necessary online payments, with the vouchers for all of these payments. You will be fine, MBA students always are. Nobody has ever been stranded, and the Chicago GSB certainly will not allow anyone to be stranded.

Finally: CELEBRATE!!!

That’s right! For crying out loud, you made it! So go downtown and indulge yourself somewhere, you deserve it.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday FAQ: What happens after I hit submit?

A question recently posted by "whatalife" at the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums:
"I would like to request the admissions committee to kindly explain the application reading process on the Chicago DSAC blog. There is some speculation and rumors flying around the various forums and it is unneccassarily increasing applicant anxiety.

It would be great if you could explain the process in as much detail as possible. For example, are the applications read in order or in a random fashion, how many people read an application before a decision is made etc."

All of us on DSAC remember feeling this way with our business school applications. You pour your heart and soul into your applications, you finally hit submit, and then it's just a black box until you get an email or phone call with good news or bad news. We understand your frustration, so we'd be happy to shed a little light on the process.

The first people who handle your application are the application processing staff members. They print out all of the parts of your application, create a file folder for it, and batch it up with other complete applications randomly. If anything is missing from your file, these are the folks that will email you or call you to resolve the problem. Applicants usually have a lot of questions about this stage: In what order are the processed (FIFO, LIFO, etc)? How are they batched? We assure you that this is done randomly. The completed applications are batched in groups (quantity depends on number of applications in a given round) and distributed randomly to the first readers.

The first read is usually done by a second year GSB student who has been selected and trained as an admissions Graduate Assistant. The application then goes on to the admissions committee (adcom) professionals where it gets read by 1 or 2 adcom professionals. The decision that comes out of these first 2-3 reads is "invite to interview" or "deny." Invitations to interview are released on a rolling basis. Decision input into the system takes awhile, and again, the process is random (no FIFO or LIFO order). For Round 2, this started on January 24th and will continue through February 21st. If you have not received an invitation to interview by February 21st, you will receive email notification that your status has been updated in the online application system, which will show the denial decision.

If you've been invited to interview, you will have your interview either on campus or with an alumnus in your area. Your interviewer will submit a report that is added to your file. Your complete file is then read by several additional adcom professionals before a final decision is reached. Admits will begin receiving calls a day or two before the decision deadline (March 28th for Round 2, May 16th for Round 3). Denials will be notified on the decision deadline via a status update in the online application system.

We hope this clears up the confusion, puts the rumors to rest, and alleviates some of the anxiety. Best of luck with your applications!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday FAQ: Flexible Curriculum & Networking

The Chicago GSB has an approach to curriculum that is different from other MBA programs. There is only one truly required class, LEAD, the leadership class for first year students. In addition, LEAD is the only class with a structured cohort and learning team system. Other than that, the Chicago GSB curriculum is very flexible and highly customizable. There are many benefits to this system, but people often wonder about the trade-off. A question that comes up frequently is,
"If the cohorts exist for only one class and for only one quarter, are you still able to create a diverse network of friends at the GSB?"
The answer is yes. In fact, many of us feel that the flexibility of the curriculum actually enables us to interact and form friendships with even more people than we would under a more extensive and structured cohort system. Rather than taking core classes with the same group of first years, you may end up in an elective class with a mix of first and second years as early as your very first quarter on campus. Each class is a different set of people, and you can form study groups with different people. In fact, over the course of your 20 classes at the GSB, you could theoretically have 20 unique study groups with no repeats.

Beyond classes, there are many ways to meet people. Connections can start before classes do via Random Walks. Other connections are made through student groups, social events like LPF and TNDC, the GBC mentor program, ski trip, spring break trips, and job treks (Bank Week, Brand Week, and West Quest). Or just spend the lunch hour in the Winter Garden at HPC (pictured at right), which is the social hub of the GSB.

And of course, there are always the friends you make in your LEAD cohort and learning team.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Countdown to Round 2 Deadline

Hope those of you who are applying to the Chicago GSB in Round 2 are having a relaxing evening. You probably are if you've already submitted. But if you've been procrastinating and are making 11th hour edits to your essays before tomorrow's 5 pm CST deadline...well, chug a Red Bull and keep on plugging away.

Don't forget to proofread your essays before you hit submit...look out for typos, spelling & grammatical errors, and the dreaded NAME OF ANOTHER SCHOOL! And try not to put off pulling the trigger to never know what may happen with the system, especially with the heavy load that comes with an impending deadline.

Once you've hit submit, it's out of your hands, so it's time to kick back and relax. Best of luck to all Round 2 applicants! And if you aren't able to make the deadline, you should give it a go for Round 3.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Friday, January 5, 2007

Friday FAQ: GMAT & GPA

This is the first installment of a recurring blog post we'll be doing weekly...Friday FAQ. Each week we will take a question that comes up often on the discussion forums and in information sessions. Topics will vary based on what's hot, but expect us to cover admissions, career services, curriculum, student life, the City of Chicago, etc.

By far, the most frequently asked question is....
"Is my GMAT or GPA good enough to get in to Chicago GSB?"
So it is the first one we'll tackle here. The short answer is: we don't know. And while this may seem like we're dodging the question or trying to hide something, it's the truth and there are many good reasons for it. Your stats are only one aspect of your application. Decisions are not made based on stats alone and there is no magic formula used by the admissions office, so the notion of offsetting a below average GMAT or GPA with something else is a little misguided. The admissions office isn't in the business of admitting stats. They want to admit well rounded applicants and those decisions are made based on essays, recommendations, extracurricular involvement, GMAT, GPA, interview performance (if invited) and overall fit with the GSB. Decisions are made based on a holistic assessment of all components of your application.

At the end of the day, a 'good' GMAT and/or GPA won't get you into Chicago GSB, nor will a 'bad' GMAT and/or GPA keep you out. In fact, what makes a GMAT/GPA good or bad anyway? It's hard to say. If you must measure your stats against some sort of yardstick, the best you can do is the stats of the latest entering class. The Class of 2008 had an average GMAT of 703, with 80% of the class scoring between 640 and 760. They also had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.5, with 80% of the class between 3.0 and 3.9. What does that tell you? That 10% of first years scored lower than 640 on the GMAT and 10% of first years had an undergrad GPA less than 3.0. However, it doesn't tell you what the lowest GMAT or GPA is (which for privacy concerns is not publicly available) could be anything because Chicago GSB has no minimum requirements for GMAT/GPA.

A typical follow up question is... "Should I retake the GMAT or take some classes to create an alternate transcript?" And the answer is always personal and entirely up to you. If you feel like you can significantly improve your score or grades, and have the time and the resources to do so, then by all means give it a shot. But don't forget to consider the tradeoff: your time and energy might be better spent doing research on the GSB and writing your essays.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


Throughout the 2 year MBA program at Chicago GSB, the folks in the Office of Career Services provide programming and advising to support us in our quest to find the perfect job+career. Some of those activities are driven by the staff, others are driven by second year students. This weekend will be one of the major programming events of the year. wInterview is a one day off-site event jointly run by Career Services staff and second years to prepare first years for their internship interviews (which start later this month). This is not a required event, but it is a "must attend" event because the experience is invaluable as you start the recruiting process.

Highlights of the sessions include:
  • Second year panel discussions with insider tips to navigate the process
  • Function-specific interview demonstrations (an actual recruiter interviews a brave first year and gives live feedback for everyone's benefit)
  • First year mock interviews, conducted by second years and recorded to DVD for posterity (to make fun of yourself later, and hopefully break your bad habits of saying "you know" and playing with your hair before your first real interview)
  • Review of the on campus recruiting process and website...the nuts and bolts of how to accept close list interview invitations and bid your way onto open lists
wInterview is one of the most helpful events offered by Career Services. Hope the first years are read for interview boot camp this weekend!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums