The MBA Life: Chicago Booth

  1. Introduction


    Dane Skillrud (middle) is a second-year, full-time MBA student at the Unive rsity of Chicago's Booth School of Business concentrating in managerial and organizational behavior and statistics. He is active in multiple groups on campus, including the DSTAR (Dean's Student Alumni Relationship Committee) and DSAC (Dean's Student Admissions Committee), and he's the lead singer of Audio Booth, a rock band based at the B-school. When he graduates in June, Skillrud will join McKinsey as a management consultant.

    The following slideshow looks at Skillrud's day-to-day life at Booth in his own words.

  2. Chicago


    Chicago is an amazing city full of cultural activities and nightlife. The University of Chicago is five miles south of downtown in Hyde Park. Hyde Park is the main university campus and easily accessible via the Metra (commuter rail), bus, and elevated train (the El).
  3. Hyde Park

    Hyde Park

    My wife and I live in Hyde Park. About 75 percent of Booth students live downtown (in the Loop or River North). The remainder lives in Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, South Loop, or other areas of the city. Hyde Park has a bunch of stores, coffee shops, and restaurants. It also allows me to take full advantage of all the on-campus amenities.
  4. Harper Center

    Harper Center

    The Harper Center is the central hub of Booth. Most of my classes are three hours long and begin at the Harper Center at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 pm. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Winter Garden (shown here) is filled with students catching up and having lunch. The Winter Garden also plays host to Friday "Liquidity Preference" parties that start at 4:30 p.m. and are fully equipped with great food and free beer and wine. The Winter Garden is one of my favorite places on campus. I come to the Harper Center every day even though I have classes only two or three days a week. Harper's study rooms are fantastic, and all recruiting functions and support offices are located there.
  5. Gleacher Center

    Gleacher Center

    The Gleacher Center is Booth's downtown Chicago campus and is home to the evening and weekend courses, so classes are predominantly made up of part-time evening and weekend students. Full-time students can also enroll in these sections, as they are the same classes taught by the same professors as full-time-only sections. Many students who elect to participate in more intensive lab courses and school-year internships elect to take evening classes so they can work during the day. I go to the Gleacher Center each weekend for a study group.
  6. Study Group

    Study Group

    Each class at Booth emphasizes study groups, even those that require individual assignments and tests. Booth emphasizes that students learn by asking questions and challenging others. I have a study group for every class, and these groups meet at least once a week for a few hours. I'd say 75 percent of my study-group meetings include a long debate about the problem definition or solution. These debates pay dividends in the classroom and on the job. You may not be able to tell by the photo, but we are in the midst of a two-hour debate over the appropriate expansion strategy for a boutique European airline.
  7. Admissions Fellows

    Admissions Fellows

    Booth selects a subset of interested and active second-year students to read applications and conduct interviews for MBA applicants. Booth really emphasizes the importance of community and collaboration and insists that current students are extremely involved in shaping future classes. We have training sessions throughout the year (pictured here) and will each read about 100 applications by the end of the year.
  8. DSTAR


    DSTAR is my favorite extracurricular activity. DSTAR reps serve as the student representatives during student-alumni events. I'm pictured here with Eric Shea, the group's adviser from the Office of Alumni Relations. Eric and I worked closely together last year to run the Alumni Angel Awards, a program that awards four alums each year for their outstanding impact on current students. This year Eric and I are working on a strategy to keep recent Booth graduates connected to the school and involved in some of the awesome alumni classes, networking sessions, and social events. I also will host a few "alumni breakfasts" each quarter where we bring in fantastic alums to have breakfast with students and answer any questions they may have.
  9. Recruiting


    I spend a few hours each week helping other students with recruiting for consulting. Peer help is embedded in the culture at Booth. Once the first years arrive on campus, they are beset by second years eager to help. (Photo of Booth interns at the McKinsey summer conference).
  10. Family Man

    Family Man

    I spend 20 to 30 hours each week watching my daughter while my wife works from home. My wife gave birth to our daughter in June 2012. I couldn't believe the outpouring of love from my classmates and Booth faculty. We even received cards from several of my professors! My wife is actively involved in the Partners Group and goes to an average of one Partners event per month.
  11. Exercise


    My favorite exercise activity is squash. I play once a week with one of a large group of friends. We either play at the free on-campus courts or downtown at the University Club.
  12. Chicago Sports

    Chicago Sports

    I try to make it to several Chicago-area sporting events each season. My wife (a Notre Dame alum) and I went to the ND-Miami football game at Soldier Field a couple weeks ago and have tickets to Bulls and Blackhawks games for this season. I actually won a Net Impact charity auction last year to go to a White Sox game with four friends and two MBA deans (pictured here).
  13. Nightlife


    We can't take ourselves too seriously all the time. The Thursday Night Drinking Club meets at a different bar each week, chosen by the co-chairs, who also arrange for drinks specials. Anywhere from 50 to 200 students attend each week, and for those who don't have Friday classes, the evening kicks off the weekend. Many clubs also host parties throughout the year (e.g., booze cruises, cultural dinners, formals). I was the lead singer in a Booth rock band last year, pictured here with my band mates celebrating after a concert we played for 700 students from Booth and Kellogg.