Why I Chose to Attend Chicago Booth

Chicago BoothToday’s guest post features Jessica Wood. She has been a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for Chicago’s Booth School of Business since 2008. Previously, Jessica worked in Strategy Consulting and Business Development. Now, she spends her time raising a family in Houston, and working as a Head Consultant and School Specialist for Chicago Booth.

As an Art History major at a small Liberal Arts college, I had never taken a finance course or an accounting course when I applied to business school.  Additionally, almost all of my professional experience was in marketing.  My “soft skills” were strong but, in order to have a successful post-MBA career, I knew I needed to improve my knowledge of finance and financial theory.  I also knew I wanted to go to school in a big city and that I wanted to attend a top 10 school with a strong alumni network.  The University of Chicago Booth School of Business immediately made my short list.  

I was most drawn to Chicago Booth because of its reputation for having a rigorous quantitative program.  Furthermore, Booth’s flexible curriculum would enable me to focus on the skills and classes I needed at the level that was most appropriate for me. This way I wouldn’t need to take Accounting 101 with CPAs as they would all be taking upper level courses.  While classes, professors and reputation all played a role in my decision, so did location.  Like I said, I wanted a program in a city and Chicago definitely fit the bill. My other front runner was a similarly finance-focused school in New York, but, after looking at accommodations and the cost of living, I felt that I would be more comfortable in a Chicago school (although I ended up moving to New York after graduating and I think both are fabulous cities).

Booth was a great choice for me. I loved the size of the school and the diversity of the student body.  Career services helped me find an internship in my field (consulting) that enabled me to spend the summer living in New York but with clients in San Francisco so that I could experience both coasts and make the right long-term career decision.  While class work kept me challenged and engaged, I also had plenty of time to socialize and volunteer.  I tutored inner-city Chicago youths, co-chaired a campus club and helped a private elementary school formulate a strategic plan.  Not only did I accomplish my academic and professional goals, I also had two fabulous years filled with great friends and memories.  Today I live in Houston, Texas and am still great friends with many of my business school colleagues – in fact, I’m even married to one.

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