MBAcrunch » Beyond the Classroom: Exploring Your Ambitions – Part 2 » MBAcrunch
By Chicago Booth January 14, 2017 Leave a Comment
In part two of our student group we explore how groups create opportunities for students to pursue passions beyond the classroom, take on new challenges, and make lifelong friends. We asked students about their favorite special interest groups and shared some of their experiences below.

As the student-produced variety club, Chicago Booth Follies puts on several
in the fall and winter, but
the main event is the show in spring. “Booth’s annual variety show has actually
been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences I’ve had here,” said
John DeChellis, ’16.  “I’ve never really
been involved in anything related to theater, so the opportunity to stretch
myself by helping to write scripts, come up with scenes,
and think about comedy in a structured way was incredibly new to me. It opened
my mind in so many ways.”
Booth Sports Clubs

Open to students of all skill levels, Booth’s 10+ team sport groups let students
take an active approach to making connections outside of the classroom. Said
Jenny Dunn, ’16, of the Booth
Volleyball Club
. “I’ve been really happy that I could channel my existing
interest in athletics to a number of the social activities at Booth.” Sports
clubs also allow students to flex competitive muscles in non-business
situations, like the annual basketball game
against The Kellogg School of Management, which was played at the United
Center, home of the Chicago Bulls.
“It’s just so amazing to have
that competitive drive outside of your classes and career search,” said Gordon
Taylor, ’16, of Booth’s Basketball
. Ramiro Sanchez,’16, of the Soccer
agreed, “It’s been a great outlet.
We won two MBA tournaments and I love that the club allows me to experience and
pursue this passion.”

As an official club, the Booth Partners network is comprised of spouses and
significant others of current students. In addition to events and monthly
social activities, Drew Thomas, ’16, appreciated that Booth as a whole offered
his family a day-to-day community. “For my wife, Jen, being part of the Partner’s
Club has given her a community here that she can just dive into and thrive in.”
 Ray Liu, ’17, agreed, “Within the
Partner Group, there is a subcommittee called POLO. We get to hang out with a
lot of Boothies who have kids and organize interesting family events like
visits to the zoo.”
Affinity Groups
Affinity groups create
a smaller community within Booth that focus on the different perspectives and
needs of various student populations from diverse backgrounds.
Diversity is strongly valued here at Booth, and students’
commitment to fostering an open environment drives the different affinity groups’
constant support of each other’s missions.

American Business Student Association (HABSA)

HABSA seeks to mobilize resources for US resident Hispanic students and promote
academic, professional, and social dialogue. As a member, Gaspar Betancourt,
’16, was pleased to find “a community of Hispanic-American students who look to
each other and find comfort in our similar backgrounds and shared experiences.”
He continued, “We organize dinners and have a
really great time getting to know people on a more personal level. It’s a nice
way to keep in touch with your roots and stay connected to who you are.”

American MBA Association (AAMBAA)

AAMBAA connects students of African descent with the Chicago Booth community,
corporate partners, and the city of Chicago. Meeting speakers from the 30th
annual DuSable Conference was a highlight for Gordon Taylor, ‘16, “The
conference brings in leaders from the African American community, one being
John Rogers, chairman and founder of Ariel Investments. Hearing his perspective
and knowing that somebody who looks like me is at the top of the investment
world was really inspiring.”

Outreach is Booth’s student group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students, and allies. “We connect the local population of Booth students that
identify as LGBTQ with our greater ally community, create opportunities for
people to understand what it means to be LGBTQ in the workplace, as well as how
to create a safe environment,” said Erik Underwood, ‘17. The group facilitates
programming around ally education and fun social activities to create a wider
community within Booth. One of the largest events every year is the Pink Party,
which draws over 300 Booth students to a drag performance by student allies. “We
got a lot of support and involvement — we actually had Diversity Affairs office
staff and faculty act as judges. I’m really grateful to have such a strong
community here at Booth.”

Students of all backgrounds
and levels of experience can get involved in tech through the Booth Hacks
group. As someone already familiar with tech, Jake Walker, ’15, enjoyed the monthly
workshops that cover anything from SQL to learning how to create an app.
Interest in the group has grown quickly. Jake notes, “The Intro to Coding Fundamentals
program was so popular, that it actually became an official eight-week course
in the subsequent quarter.”

Dance Club

As choreographers behind the famous First Day flash mob – the Dance Club provides a creative outlet for
students at Chicago Booth. “It’s so fun seeing people in a different
context. You don’t always expect that someone who was recruiting for banking or
consulting would also have such impressive dance ability,” said club
member Sana Suh, ’16. “People really put as much effort into these student
groups as they do into their classes and recruiting.”

“Being a member of AFG has paid so many dividends because of the pay-it-forward
mentality here at Booth,” said Navy veteran Drew Thomas, ’16. “The group isn’t
just US veterans, but veterans from all over the world including Israel, South
Korea, and other nations.” Students share in their past experiences and assist
one another in positioning their backgrounds to pursue future careers. Before
school starts, AFG reaches out to new members to assess what they are interested
in,” continued Drew. “We have regular club meetings. We network with Booth
alumni who are veterans, as well as veterans at large, to help prepare one another.”
International Groups
International students make up more than a third
of the
 student population at Booth,creating a welcoming environment with
endless opportunities to engage peers from around the world. In addition to classroom
 exchanges, their diverse experiences are shared through more than a dozen
regionally-focused student groups.


As co-chair of the Japan Club, Nobu Kawai, ‘17, organized a spring break trip
to his native country of Japan for more than 50 students and their partners. “It was
really interesting to exchange our thoughts and views, while introducing
members to my home country.” Following the trip, the club took part in
International Week on campus, sharing Japanese, tradition, and culture with the
larger Booth community.

Business Group

The Korean Business group is a forum for students who are from or have an
interest in Korea with events that are both career-related and social in
nature. In addition to Korean food tasting, Korean movie nights, networking
with Korean companies, and other social events, Sana Suh, ’16, felt “it was just
really nice to be able to meet other Koreans and share in the experience

American Business Group (LABG)

LABG seeks to foster engagement between Booth and Latin American alumni,
corporations, and institutions. The groups’ 150 members represent over 20
countries and organize networking events and socials. Having moved from
Santiago to Chicago, Erik Underwood, ’17, joined LABG to find other students
who were working within Latin America and “keep up-to-date on the different
industries back home.”

Eastern North Africa Group (MENA)

The MENA Group focuses on supporting Middle Eastern students in the global
academic society and develops platforms of cultural and business ties between
the US and MENA region. As a Co-Chair, Ziad Abouchadi, ’17, seeks to “promote
the culture and the language of the region.” Recently, the group organized
several panels where experts in the region discussed a wide range of topics
from the Iran deal to the role of women in the Middle East. They also organized
food tasting events, social mixers, as well as treks to Dubai and Morocco. “I’m
extremely proud not only of being a member of this dynamic group,” said Ziad, “but
also of a community as open and broad-minded as Chicago Booth.”

Hear from more students about all of our business
and professional groups
, or keep up with what’s going on at Booth via our student blog. For specific questions, connect with a
, or
comment below. You can also join any of
our live
to talk directly with students!


About Chicago Booth

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Since 1898, Booth has produced ideas and leaders that shape the world of business. Our rigorous, discipline-based approach to business education transforms our students into confident, effective, respected business leaders prepared to face the toughest challenges.

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