Posts by :
If you’re thinking about business school in the near future, chances are you are also exploring how MBA students finance their education. While the MBA continues to be one of the best short and long-term investments you can make into yourself and your future, it does necessitate a bit of planning ahead. Booth’s office of Financial Aid offers prospective students some information on what to expect and some additional options you may not have considered.
Know what expenses to expect
We suggest you start by looking at current tuition rates at your target schools. Even if it’s a year or two before you want to begin your program, you can start calculating a close approximation of costs now. Most schools break down their cost of attendance to include estimates such as renting an apartment, buying a computer, food, textbooks, and securing health insurance — all mandatory expenses every student will have to factor in. At Booth, for example, students may request a loan amount that can also cover these mandatory items.
Be in the driver’s seat
It’s important to note that your lifestyle during your time as an MBA student can vary wildly based on your choices and, ultimately, you can control how far your money will take you. Be mindful in choosing the right balance for you and plan to be strategic with your spending. Try to identify any easy ‘big wins’—for example, if you can live with a roommate, you can see significant savings in housing costs. Maybe you already have a great laptop, plenty of frequent flyer miles, or have no problem leaving your car behind and taking advantage of Chicago’s public transportation. All of this can add up to significant savings during your MBA program.
Prior to even starting their MBA, many students create a savings goal for how much money they want to set aside by the time school begins. The rationale being that every extra dollar you save now is one you won’t have to borrow.
Other funding options
In addition to applying for federal or private student loans, doing the work to find other funding options will pay off. Does your employer offer MBA sponsorship, or any type of tuition assistance? If so, is it in your best interest to utilize such funds (and accept the terms of such support)? Employer support can require a commitment to return to the employer after school. Be sure to investigate whether an employer assistance program a.) is negotiable; and b.) has amenable terms.
Family may be another feasible source of funding. Whether gift support or loans with favorable terms, approaching family members who have resources may be a worthwhile conversation to have.
Chart your path to success!
Keep in mind; you’re not trying to create a detailed budget quite yet. But when you know what you may spend in a given year, combined with any personal savings and resources, you will develop a clearer sense of what your borrowing estimate might look like.
The majority of Booth students take out student loans to pay for their education and see the lifelong benefits of this investment! Last year 98.4% of the Chicago Booth Class of 2016 received job offers within three months of graduating, earning a median base salary of $125,000. This can certainly help set prospective students’ minds at ease when it comes to understanding the position they will be in upon graduation.
Getting a handle on your financing doesn’t need to feel daunting. Most everyone considering an MBA has the same questions —so you’re not alone. There’s no one right way to fund your education, only a right way for you. As many Booth alumni will attest, minimizing borrowing is great, but taking full advantage of the many experiences and relationships that are only possible while in business school will continually pay dividends throughout the entirety of your career.
The Office of Financial Aid
After checking in with recent Chicago Booth graduates in New York and skipping across the country to visit Booth interns on the job in the Bay Area, we are back in the Midwest to talk with alumni in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s a city where some of the biggest names in food, retail, and energy have their headquarters. First off, we stopped in Ecolab to chat with Maddie Thies, ’16, about how the unique balance of qualitative and quantitative elements she got at Chicago Booth sets her apart from other marketers today. She talks about not only having the data and analytics to back up her recommendations, but also using insights from her international business concentration at Booth to help her connect with her team globally every day.
Watch Alumni Stories: Maddie Thies, Assistant Marketing Manager at Ecolab
More from our alumni in Minneapolis and other major industry hubs to come…
When I was researching Chicago Booth as an international
applicant in 2014, I came across a list of current students from nearly 50
countries around the world. Coming from Morocco, there is no doubt in my mind
that reaching out to the student volunteer from my country was one of the best
decisions I made during the application process. It strengthened my understanding
of the program, provided me with a resource to answer specific questions, dramatically
changed how I thought about my application, and confirmed that Booth is where I
wanted to be.
If you are looking
for a Booth student who can answer some specific questions, our global
community volunteers are a
unique resource. These Booth ambassadors are team of current Booth students, or
country captains, who volunteer as ambassadors for the school and serve as a
resource for perspective students all over the world. They share your
geographic background and can speak to what you may expect living in Chicago
and being at Booth. They can also assist with any of your questions relating to
recruiting, academics and otherwise. You can either reach out to your country
captain when you are visiting the Chicago campus or from afar, depending on
your circumstances. If you find yourself wanting to know more, I hope you will reach
out to our 99 country captain volunteers.
After seeing the impact of the country captain program as a
prospective student, I too wanted to be an ambassador when I started at Booth.
Being a country captain for France and Morocco is my humble attempt at showing
my gratitude to the other country captains that came before me, and pay it
forward to those of you researching MBA programs.
and trading floor at an investment bank in Paris, France. After graduation, I
will be switching to a hedge fund analyst role on the East Coast of the United
States. If you think I can help answer any questions you may have, please contact
Current Student & Guest Blogger
For many, professional or academic summer programs are also a great next step. Whether you’ve been in the workforce for a year or are still in undergrad, whether you’re pursuing finance or education, whether you immersed yourself in business courses or explored the liberal arts, summer programs are a great way to test out a business school experience. Such programs can effectively augment your undergraduate studies, compliment an internship experience, or even help prepare you for a new job. The Chicago Booth Summer Business Scholars Program (SBSP) may be a fit for you, especially if you are curious whether an MBA makes sense for your future. No matter your background, spending three weeks this summer at Booth will give you tangible business skills that you can use right away, and give you a great taste of the business school experience. From learning how to judge the viability of a company’s marketing strategy to reading and assessing a balance sheet, SBSP will elevate your level of business acumen and set you apart from your peers. Past participants met with industry experts who shared an insider’s look at what it would be like to run a nonprofit organization, work as an Investment Banker, or live the life of a Consultant. Recruiters and graduate programs are attracted to candidates who have explored diverse areas of study, and who can join their organization with strong leadership, business, and communication skills in place. The SBSP environment develops students into well-rounded future leaders. One way for you to see if SBSP is right for you is to meet our SBSP alumni and introduce yourself to the SBSP team.
As the student-produced variety club, Chicago Booth Follies puts on several comedy-related
events 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.”
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
Club. Ramiro Sanchez,’16, of the Soccer
Club 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
and professional groups, or keep up with what’s going on at Booth via our student blog. For specific questions, connect with a
comment below. You can also join any of
chats to talk directly with students!
In her Social Enterprise Lab class, Brittany was able to help a nonprofit create a revenue generating business. She also participated in competitions and programming where she sat in the seat of an impact investor and made recommendations to actual social organizations. The hands-on experience has allowed Brittany to explore social impact sectors while building essential skillsets for her future career goals.
We are extremely excited to get to know you and share our love for Booth. I am personally looking forward to hosting the event in Buenos Aires! We hope you will consider joining us so we can answer all your questions, share our stories and just get to know each other.
Look forward to meeting you!
Belen Bazano Sammartino
grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and studied Economics at the Universidad de
San Andres. Prior to Booth, Belen worked for a financial services and big data
startup in Boston, managing teams in three countries and developing products.
Belen spent her summer interning with A.T. Kearney as a consultant in Chicago,
and she will be joining Bain & Company in the Washington D.C. office upon
graduation. At Booth, Belen is a co-chair of the Management Consulting Group
(MCG) and the Latin America Business Group (LABG), a member of Graduate
Business Council (GBC), a Teaching Assistant for the courses Competitive
Strategy and Data-Driven Marketing, Country Captain for Argentina, and an
As you think about your MBA application, you are most likely considering your future career goals and how to choose the right program to achieve those dreams. The business school experience is not just about your first job after graduation. It’s about preparing you to be successful for the entirety of your future career.
With the support of Career Services, Booth students spend two years identifying and developing their strengths and interests, formulating a job search strategy, and then executing on that plan. Part of that plan starts well before business school when they began researching MBA programs, what the programs had to offer, and assessing the level of success their graduates could expect.
Each year in November, we report on the recent graduating class and their first career steps post-MBA, as well as on the current second-year students and their recently completed MBA summer internships. The Chicago Booth Employment Report highlights the organizations that hired members of the Class of 2016, the industries and functions students stepped into, and the cities in which they chose to work.
Before joining admissions to oversee the evaluation and selection of our Full-Time MBA candidates, I spent four years as part of Booth’s Career Services employer development team. With staff based in the Unites States, Europe, and Asia, the team continues to travel the globe to cultivate relationships with employers, identify opportunities, and make those opportunities accessible to our students.
As you move forward with your business school plans, consider your own career path and where you hope to go with your MBA. You have heard us say many times that while we want you to have clear ideas about your future career; you don’t need to have every detail mapped out. Certainly you will make many discoveries during your program and uncover amazing and unexpected possibilities. Know how your goals align with your top business school choices, the potential employers you envision yourself pursuing post-MBA, and which schools can offer you the opportunities you hope for.
We designed our 2016-17 essay as a platform to give you some inspiration – and choice – in how you tell your story. When you look at this collection of distinct Chicago Booth moments, you’ll see our community engaged in everyday life. Don’t hesitate to draw on that vision and have fun with the process.
The essay helped me understand what I valued in my personal and professional aspirations. My approach was to define who I am and what is important to me. I really dug into my work and career choices, as well as my extracurricular activities, to understand what drives my motivation. Evaluating my background and the future impact I hope to have was important in understanding how an MBA will help me reach my goals. I assessed how my values were similar to Booth’s. ~ Stephanie Hsu
I approached the application by thinking about the “why” behind my life decisions. Rather than focusing on a particular highlight from my past career, I thought holistically about the connection between different stages of my life, how they related to my future goals, and how these experiences shaped my personality. It allowed me to tell my story in the exact way that I thought would best portray who I am. That was the beauty of the Booth essay. ~ Stephen Yi
We hope that you enjoy the process, continue to dig deep into your passions and reasons for wanting an MBA, and reflect on why Booth is the place you want to be. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below, or join our live chat on December 14th!
We look forward to learning more about you and reading your essays on January 4th.
Best of Luck,
Senior Director of Admissions