After recently returning from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, I can gladly say that it has been one of the most rewarding academic experiences of my life. Choosing to go to Booth was natural to me given my prior academic background in economics and my desire to be taught by some of the most coveted professors in the world. While Booth is notorious for being academic, as an exchange student I was able to witness the importance being placed on holistic and professional development of students. Every class that I took was engaging as students were expected to actively participate. The exchange program was rigorous and demanding, with a huge emphasis on the effort put in by students.
The calibre of the student and professor cohort is exceptional which gives one the opportunity to connect with leading professionals from all over the world. I particularly enjoyed the fact that most courses require students to work in groups which provides one with the opportunity to immerse themselves in stimulating and intellectual discussions. Life at Booth exposed me to a completely novel case-based approach to learning. Having completed majority of my education in India and the UK, I found the education system in the US to be vastly practical. I enjoyed the openness and transparency as well as the empowering environment that motivates you to make an impact. Every idea at Booth is valued, and students are taught to shape and hone their critical thinking prowess. Overall, I would say that the standard of academic teaching at Booth is impressive and unparalleled in many dimensions.
Classes and Amenities
Once I decided to choose Booth, I was overwhelmed by the variety of courses offered. As opposed to LSE, University of Chicago has a unique course bidding process where one has to strategize and allocate points to secure a course. In my cohort, certain courses had an extremely high demand, hence it is important to prioritise the courses that you wish to take early on. As an exchange student, we were eligible to take most of the courses offered as long as we possessed the pre-requisites to enter the course. As an LSE exchange student, I was required to take 400 units (equivalent to 4 full term courses) and found the workload manageable despite being demanding. Most classes are structured to run 3 hours long with active participation from the students. Classes with the same professor had multiple sections at both Booth campuses – the downtown campus and the main university campus. I enjoyed the fact that I had the flexibility to choose the location of my classes. In terms of amenities, both campuses have the best amenities with world class infrastructure. The south campus is massive, spread over a huge area and has mesmerising architecture, a Hogwarts feel to it. It felt amazing to study and be part of a thriving international student community in such a beautiful campus.
Life in Chicago
Another reason to choose Booth was the fact that I wanted to experience studying in a university with a campus located in the heart of the city. Chicago is an extremely diverse and an iconic American city with a vibrant culture and culinary scene. The magnificence of the high-rise buildings and the beautiful lake Michigan left a lasting impression in my mind. There are plenty of activities and opportunities to explore the city are endless. I loved the fact there is something for everyone to do. To make the most of my time in the city, I chose to live in downtown Chicago similar to the majority of full-time MBA Boothies. The city life was amazing with great options to eat out and enjoy a thriving nightlife. Living in downtown Chicago, I found it easy to get around the city as well as commute to the main Booth campus located to the south of the city. I personally felt that living in downtown was more convenient to socialise with fellow Booth students. Every week, Booth students organised the ever so popular weekly social events called the TNDC (Thursday Night Dance Club) at popular locations in downtown. These events were a great way to connect with other exchange students as well as the full time MBA student community.
Overall I can say I was very happy with my time at Booth and I would recommend choosing it as your 1st option. It is a must-experience exchange which I hope will empower you to do bigger things in life.
– Keerthana Unnithan, GMiM 2020