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Fridays from the Frontline: My MBA Timeline – Year 1 at Chicago Booth

The business school experience crams so much into such a short timeframe, it’s easy to blaze right through those two years.  Given the combination of coursework, internships, case studies, networking, and extracurriculars—not to mention exploring your surroundings—it’s understandable why many students find it difficult to stop and take stock of the once-in-a-lifetime experience an MBA offers when they’re in the thick of it.

To encourage current students to reflect, recent Chicago Booth graduate Monisha Shivakumar took to the Booth Experience Blog to share a timeline of the first year of her MBA degree.

Tune in next week for Monisha’s summary of her second year.

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

My MBA Timeline: Year 1

by Monisha Shivakumar

Ask any graduating second year and they’ll agree on one thing: your two years at business school fly by. While every quarter includes time for academics, professional development, building a social network and self-exploration, each quarter is unique and can be a different 10-week journey. Read on to see the timeline of my first year at Booth and check back to catch a glimpse at my second year as well.

Random Walk in Budapest and Vienna

Getting into Booth: While most people think you have to wait until you’re on campus to start your MBA, in reality your business school experience begins the day you get in. I spent my six months prior to Booth traveling, meeting fellow future Boothies at events organized in NYC (some of whom are now my closest friends!) and getting ready to move to a new city to start the next chapter of my life.

Orientation+ and LEAD: Upon arriving in Chicago fresh off of Random Walk, the first month of Booth I went into was Orientation+. After spending a few years working, it was daunting to think about going back into school life and meeting the ~600 new people in my class. The fact that Orientation lasted a full month and helped me get set up for easing back into school helped with this a lot. Orientation included programming such as Booth 20/20 where we got to hear advice on how to navigate our time at business school from Booth’s alumni. It also was the kick-off to LEAD, Booth’s custom leadership curriculum that helps you get started on your path as a leader.

Appreciating the art at the Harper Center before heading off to class.

Fall Quarter-First Year: Once Orientation was over it was finally time to start my classes! While many students take the three foundation courses (accounting, statistics and microeconomics) their first quarter, I took advantage of Booth’s flexible curriculum and took Competitive Strategy. Taking this course where we analyzed companies ranging from Amazon to Coca-Cola, helped give me a solid foundation for the future courses I’ve taken during my MBA. Along with jumping into classes a lot of first quarter revolved around recruiting. Getting the opportunity to attend many company presentations and network with individuals from various firms helped me decide on the path to take for my summer internship and career post-MBA.

Winter Quarter- First Year: After getting some much-needed R&R from winter break, I went into my second quarter ready to tackle the interviews for my internship. Some of my best memories from this time involve prepping for my interviews with a group of other first-years. The late nights spent getting feedback from my classmates about how to refine my pitch, while helping them with the same led to some of the closest friendships I’ve made at Booth. I also took the time to stretch the limits of Booth’s curriculum this quarter by taking New Products Lab, an experiential learning class where I got the chance to work with a real client to develop a new service.

Spring Break trip to Japan

Spring Quarter- First Year: With recruiting behind me and warmer weather finally arriving in Chicago it was time to celebrate! This quarter I took some of the most fun classes I’ve taken at Booth including Negotiations with Professor Linda Ginzel where I got to develop this useful life skill while trying out my learnings on my classmates. I also explored my creative side by taking part in Follies, an annual sketch comedy show written, produced, and performed by Boothies. Finally, I decided to gain a new professional experience by doing a spring internship at Transunion where I worked in a global strategy group and learned from the Booth alumni who worked there.

Hard to believe that all of that happened in a single year! Come back for the exciting adventures I had in my second year at Booth.

Posted in: Feature Small, Fridays from the Frontline, Weekly Columns

Schools: U. Chicago Booth

About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer
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 is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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