Here’s a talk with Chris Hauck, a first-year MBA student at Chicago Booth. Chris offers some excellent advice to MBA applicants and first-year MBA students – thank you Chris for offering us a window into your Booth experience!
This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Accepted: First, some basics: Where are you from? Where did you study as an undergrad?
Chris: I am a lifelong California kid. I was born and raised in Sacramento before moving to Southern California to go to college at UCLA. I was a double major there in Political Science and Sociology. However, I would say I also got an unofficial minor in leadership. I was very involved on campus and became the President of the Interfraternity Council and Chair of the Communication Board. I continued to live and work in LA until moving to Chicago.
Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Booth? Least favorite?
Chris: There’s a lot I love about Booth. But if I have to pick one favorite, it has to be the people. I love my classmates. It’s such a fun, intelligent and social group of people, they make everything entertaining. Whether we are studying, going to the theater or drinking beers and playing Cards Against Humanity before bars – I am proud to have them as my friends and future network. The teachers, administrators and alumni are all extremely friendly and helpful too. You can learn similar information at almost any school, so it really is the people that make Booth such a special place for me.
In terms of my least favorite thing, I think whatever school you go to, you will be surprised how much time gets dedicated to internship recruiting your first 3-4 months. I have friends who attended MBA programs and warned me that recruiting took up a lot of time, but until I was actually here, I didn’t realize that it really becomes such a focal point. However, one great thing about Booth is that we do receive a lot of support from career services, second years and alumni that provides a lot of structure and guidance through this very busy period.
Accepted: If you were to attend any other b-school (other than Booth), which one would you choose and why?
Chris: Honestly, there are so many great schools, it’s impossible to identify one. I think as people go through recruiting they tend to get fixated on one or two schools. I’ve had friends who were disappointed about getting into a top 10 program, because it wasn’t their first choice. As long as you get into a well-regarded program, you are going to learn a lot, improve your future career opportunities and meet great people.
Accepted: Now that you’re half way through your first year at Booth, is there any advice you can share with incoming students for the Booth class of 2015?
Chris: Just have fun and do not try to do everything. There are so many opportunities to get involved, it’s easy to do a lot poorly instead of a few things very well. Decide what you want out of your experience and invest a lot of energy into the handful of opportunities you will enjoy and learn the most from.
Accepted: Do you think you’ll return to LA after you receive your MBA? What do you see yourself doing post-MBA?
Chris: I hope to be going back to California, but probably not Los Angeles. I would love to be closer to my family, so I will be doing my internship in San Francisco this summer and hope to receive a full time offer there as well. I am interning in management consulting and there’s a very good chance I will be doing that after I graduate as well. I am very thankful that Booth has a strong west coast alumni network. I had alumni from a number of top firms connecting me with colleagues and helping me with case interview preparation. It has been a very time intensive, but ultimately rewarding process.
Accepted: Can you share some admissions advice with people who are just starting out the application process?
Chris: My best advice is to just be yourself and put in your full effort so you do not have any regrets 20 years from now. I think some people have an idea or a stereotype of what business school is and try to craft applications that fit that ideal. My classmates and I are real people with flaws and everything. Letting your personality shine and recognizing areas where business school can help you improve is important. Also, when I was applying, I spent a lot of time and effort on everything from studying for the GMAT to crafting my applications. I had no idea if I would make it into a top program or not, everyone has different strengths and there are a lot of paths to success. My one goal was that I wanted to give the process everything I had, so that if I did not make it in, I could look back in 20 years and know that I tried my best. It was worth it.
For one-on-one guidance on the Booth application, please see our 2013 Chicago Graduate School of Business School Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for Booth, see Chicago Booth 2013 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips.