Four Things We Like About Chicago Booth

Given its reputation in finance and as an overall program that turns out analytically superior grads, it’s no wonder that thousands of applicants aim for a seat at Chicago Booth every year. What is surprising, though, is that so few of those applicants really know the school beyond its strong rankings and location in Chicago. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Booth applications.

If you’re considering applying to Booth, ask yourself: How do you know if Booth really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Booth admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at four things that set Booth apart from other top-tier MBA programs around the world:

A Quant Focus Beyond Finance
Chicago Booth possesses a strong reputation for its rigor, focus on analytics, and expertise in finance and economics — and, believe it or not, marketing. The finance and economics faculty members at Chicago Booth are outstanding, led by professors such as Eugene F. Fama, whom many call the “father of modern finance.” Chicago Booth is both deserving and proud of its “quant” reputation, but that tends to overshadow strengths in other areas Chicago Booth has been actively improving over the last decade. Not surprisingly, when a Chicago Booth admissions representative is asked, “What’s the one thing that applicants should know about Booth?” the answer will often mention Booth’s strengths in academic areas outside of pure finance — particularly entrepreneurship and marketing.

Unmatched Flexibility
With only one required class, Chicago Booth most definitely takes a different approach to the process of getting an MBA. They do foster training in the “language of business” as they call it — the fundamentals of economics, statistics, and finance — however the unique setup of the program means that students determine how they will meet the requirements of the degree. Chicago Booth is not a prescriptive environment, and the emphasis on — and appreciation for — ideas makes it a place for mavericks and renegades as well as more traditional types.

A Very Large Part-Time MBA Program
Chicago Booth is a big school, with about 3,500 active graduate students enrolled at any one time. (This compares to under 1,000 at Stanford.) The bulk of these students come from the two part-time study options (one Evening program, one Weekend program), totaling about 1,400 students between them. Another 1,100 students make up the full-time program, with about 550 students per graduating class. The balance of Booth’s students are in the EMBA and PhD programs and are found around the world at Chicago Booth’s other campuses. Unlike other schools, full-time and part-time Chicago Booth students often interact, since they sometimes take courses together.

Strong Emphasis on Employment
Perhaps nowhere else is the focus on getting a job as strong as it at Chicago Booth. As part of their application assessment, the admissions team carefully examines applicants’ career goals to ensure that they are achievable. And the school offers significant support to its students, both during their educational experience to construct a practical curriculum, and throughout the job search process too. The difference? There is also a strong emphasis on getting industry to hire Booth graduates. And Booth often seems quicker to publish current placement data on graduates than any other school (we have often felt that some schools were dragging their feet in releasing this data once the downturn hit). This access to data is also evidence of Booth’s commitment to transparency. Every top business school offers career services to graduates, however the support for and emphasis on successful placement out of the program is more significant at Chicago Booth than you may find elsewhere. This focus on graduate success is a key factor in Booth’s #1 position in the rankings in recent years.

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