Tuesday, November 14, 2006

University of Chicago Fall Preview (visit)

Well, I won't into a lot of detail here since it was two full packed days. I will say that I highly recommend the experience if you're considering it. I think it only happens in the fall. I've pasted in the 2006 schedule below to give you an idea. So for those not applying until next Fall, you should keep an eye out for this next year.

The only downside to the Preview is that you don't really get to see a typical day at the school or sit in on actual classes which is important. That was more than made up for me by getting to hear from and talk to so many current students. The Preview was student organized and there were tons of panels with current students as well as multiple opportunities to chat with students during meal time or social events. For me, how I feel about the student body is critical. I feel fairly confident that the academics will meet my needs (the list of electives for the Analytical Finance program is very lengthy) so the big question is, do people enjoy their experience and I will I enjoy them? For me, the answer was a resounding yes. Students struck me as articulate and thoughtful with a good dose of humor. The other benefit of the Preview was getting to know so many Prospectives. It's also instructional, I think, to see who else is most interested in the school. I found that the folks who loved Chicago as much as I did, were also the people I enjoyed spending time with while there. Whereas the Prospectives at Kellogg who didn't like U Chicago were not people I could imagine being friends with. This theme sounded true throughout my later travels to programs on the East Coast.

The other good thing about the Preview was getting so much contact with the Admissions staff as well as the workshop they provided about the application process and what they value most in applicants. The Dean of Students also showed up to have lunch with us on Saturday.

I was already excited about U Chicago and the weekend completely sold me. Plus, for an Econ grad who loved Economics, U Chicago occupies a special place in my heart.

Bottom line - smart folks, friendly. Fabulous Finance curriculem. Who can beat the flexible program?! I like the presumption that I'm adult and can make my own bloody decisions and who are they to tell me what to do with myself. That's the tradition that I come from and I'm not ready to give that up and I don't think I can spend much time with people who don't consider that of paramount importance too. An MBA degree is already a little risky for folks who like to think things through and are convinced only by hard evidence. The MBA cultures seems rife with herd mentality, nifty little meaningless slogans, poor use of the English language and really bad fashion choices ;) The risk at U Chicago of these offenses seems a little lower at least. I'm not going for a stamp on my ass - I need to come out 2 years later with better (real) skills than I went in with.

Fall Preview 2006 Schedule

Friday , October 13
Diversity Preview Registration & Continental Breakfast 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Diversity Panel that includes women and under-represented minority groups of students and alumni 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
Diversity Breakout Sessions to discuss the application process and student experience from a diversity perspective 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
General Registration 12:00 p.m.
Lunch with Student Hosts 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Welcome and Program Overview 1:45 - 2:15 p.m.
Model Classes (four concurrent sessions) 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Break 3:30- 3:45 p.m.
Student Involvement Panel 3:45 - 4:45 p.m.
"Liquidity Preference Function"
(a GSB tradition)
4:45 - 6:30 p.m.

Optional Small Group Gatherings and Affinity Dinners
These activities are at your own expense, should you choose to attend.

8:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 14
Registration and Continental Breakfast 9:00 a.m.
Day Two Overview 9:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Admissions Committee Sessions 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Graduate Assistant (GA) Q&A Sessions 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Lunch with Graduate Assistants (GAs) 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Affinity Group Panels (concurrent 40-minute sessions, including Chicago Partners Q&A) 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Break 2:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Application Case Workshops 3:00 - 3:45 p.m.
Application Case Debrief and Closing Remarks 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Closing Reception 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

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