This week we talk to Danielle Foster, Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.
Danielle joined the Admissions Office in October of 2011. She works as a member of the Admissions Committee, while also managing and spearheading relationships with Chicago Booth global alumni of the Full-Time MBA Program. Previously she was Assistant Director of Recruiting for the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.
A native Virginian, Danielle received a BA in sociology and a BA in criminal justice from Roanoke College. Danielle is a die-hard Washington Redskins and Virginia Tech football fan, and can be found traveling the world for Chicago Booth and for leisure. This month she is in the Middle East and India!
Has the profile of Booth candidates changed since you’ve been there? How?
The profile of Booth candidates are as diverse as the markets they currently work in, and will be working in after graduation. We see talented and skilled individuals apply from across all industries, and welcome the depth of interests that our applicants possess. As business and markets shift and change over time, so do our candidates.
Who is the ideal Booth MBA candidate?
We know that students who pursue a Chicago Booth MBA will transform in terms of who they are and how they think. Because of this, we value and seek talented individuals who appreciate the importance and power of ideas. Individuals with a diverse perspective, defined direction, and an overall curiosity for the world around them fit well into the culture at Booth.
We want our students to challenge the status quo, have a unique sense of humility, and possess the ability to take risks. All of these areas, plus many more, help us sustain the special culture that defines Booth as an institution that is full of scholars and students who are unafraid to cross boundaries, share ideas, and ask difficult questions.
What are your top three tips for impressing the admissions team in the application form?
The first is authenticity. We are very transparent at Booth and we appreciate applicants who are able to do the same on their application. Be true to yourself and tell your story as it is unique to you. Do not write what you think we want to hear. Just be you!
The second is thorough research. There should be a self-assessment that occurs during the application process. You need to be thinking about why you are pursuing an MBA, why the right time is now, and what you hope to gain from an MBA program. Once you have taken an introspective perspective as to why you are applying, it’s time to do research on the programs that may be a good fit for you. At Booth, we have a very unique and special culture. We put value on applicants who can demonstrate clear understanding of the Booth culture, and how it is a mutual fit.
The third thing I would advise is taking care to answer the essay questions. This sounds very basic, but many people miss the mark on actually answering the question that was asked. We may receive a great essay, but if it is not answering the question, you have missed an opportunity to showcase your skills and talents.
Booth is known for its popularity with finance professionals. What other industries are you actively recruiting students from?
Booth is so much more than a finance school. Entrepreneurship is thriving at Booth. Facilitated by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship, our cutting-edge curriculum takes students beyond the classroom, allowing them to test their entrepreneurial ideas in real-world settings.
Through labs, courses, and competitions, students gain the practical tools they need to start, finance, and manage their own business or begin a career in private equity.
Our customizable experience means that each Booth student plays a major role in determining the best course of study for him or her. We believe that if students take an active role in defining their MBA experience, they’ll challenge themselves and make the most out of their time here at Booth.
Being able to choose your own adventure at Booth is attractive to many recruiters. They like the fact that students do not participate in a “one size fits all” academic experience.
Our students are recruited to work in high-tech, social enterprise, consulting, marketing, start-ups, green initiatives/sustainability, private equity/venture capital, banking, and so much more.
Can you tell us a little about your Career Services?
The Career services at Booth has been recognized in rankings as the best amongst top business schools for the work that they do in insuring students’ career success. We are very proud of this, and we sustain this position through our employer outreach team, our corporate relationships, and via our student partnerships.
We are known among our peers for innovative and comprehensive programming unique to Chicago Booth. In addition, our career management programming is applicable across functions and industries – we work in tandem with career-focused student groups to support and enhance their specific needs, whether that be a targeted ‘Keys to Research for the Hedge Fund’ Group, or a resume review program for the ‘Marketing’ Group.
Additionally, as you should assume, we have extremely strong relationships with the world’s top companies like McKinsey, Barclays and Apple. We also have strong relationships – and continue cultivating those relationships – with middle market, boutique, and regional organizations. It was those relationships that we had cultivated for years that really put Chicago Booth students, in comparison to our peers, in good stead during tougher economies.
All in all, as a student seeking a new company, or a total career change, our employer relations team strives to give students access to as many different types of firms and organizations possible.
More stories about students, alumni and programmes at Chicago Booth here