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Fridays from the Frontline: Reflections from Round 1 Interviews at Chicago Booth

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We here at Clear Admit pride ourselves on the clarity we give prospective b-schoolers on elite MBA programs. But we also know that there’s only so much you can glean about an MBA program from the outside, which is why we often encourage MBA hopefuls to arrange campus visits, talk to current students, and meet with alumni.

Chicago Booth has traditionally recruited second-year MBA students to share their experiences with prospective b-schoolers as part of the Round 1 interview process. Booth Admissions Fellow Monisha Shivakumar recently took to the Booth Experience Blog to share the most interesting questions prospects have asked her during these interviews.

The following piece has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the “Booth Experience Blog.”

Reflections from Round 1 Interviews

by Monisha Shivakumar

As an Admissions Fellow, a number of second-year students have the privilege of interviewing prospective students and playing a part in shaping the future student body at Booth. While the interview candidates do most of the talking in these conversations, as an interviewer I like to see what interesting questions I’m asked at the end of the interview that allow me to reflect on my Booth experience. Here are some questions I have been asked that helped in this reflection.

What surprised you most about Booth?
As a prospective student one does a lot of research before deciding on a business school. Given this, it is hard to believe that many things could be surprising once you get here as a full-fledged Boothie. For me, the most surprising thing has been the opportunities for introspection I have found at Booth. While I expected to learn from my classes and my classmates, I was not expecting to learn quite so much about myself. Through leadership development programming, professors who encourage you to question and experiment with your behavior, and even artwork on the walls that asks “why are you here and not somewhere else,” I have found myself in an intense period of self-examination and improvement that I was surprised to find at Booth.

How do Booth students interact with the University?
A flexible curriculum at Booth not only means there is no set order for your classes, but also means you are able to take classes offered outside of Booth at the University of Chicago. Whether it is a class offered by the Law School or Public Policy School, Boothies are encouraged to broaden their horizons and interact with their fellow UChicago Grad peers. Beyond this, Boothies also have the opportunity to mentor undergraduate students by helping them with their interviewing skills or acting as a mentor to Dougan Scholars (a program offered by the University of Chicago that allows undergraduate students to take 6 Booth courses).

How do Boothies leverage the city of Chicago?
One of the best parts about attending a school that is located in a major city is that you are able to take advantage of all the great things the city has to offer. For Boothies, this comes in many forms. At times it means making the most of the Chicago social scene by eating at local restaurants or attending events at neighborhood breweries. Alternatively, the city also helps our professional goals by giving us the chance to do part time internships during the school year at one of the many firms located in Chicago. Boothies are also able to leverage the social impact scene in Chicago through programs like Board Fellows (an opportunity that allows Booth students to act on a Chicago based Non-Profit Board).

What has been the most transformational part of your MBA experience?
At first when I was asked this question, I went through all the great experiences I had during my first year at school to see which one had been the stand-out. Was it the lab class that allowed me to work with a client to help them innovate? Was it the opportunity I had to intern with a Booth alumnus in a global strategy group working on the digital payments landscape? Or was it the opportunity to act in a comedy sketch in front of my fellow students at the year-end follies show? As hard as I tried I really could not choose just one. And upon further reflection I realized that this is by design. If there was any one experience you could have during your time at Booth that had the capacity to transform you, you wouldn’t need a two-year MBA. It is the culmination of experiences professional, academic, and personal that define your experience and work to bring you to the next version of yourself. After all, an MBA experience is setting you up for the marathon that is your life and career. As any good athlete knows, it is never one intense workout but rather a series of dedicated training sessions that get you to your top-performing self. An MBA at Booth is no different.

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Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.