Make your Booth experience international

by Klariza Alvaran

Klariza Alvaran, Class of 2018

Klariza Alvaran, Class of 2018

Going to Chicago Booth opens a world of opportunity to students right from its Chicago-based campuses. But let’s not forget that Booth also opens numerous doors for students to add a global experiences to their MBA pursuit, from full-term study abroad to weeklong industry treks.

The following are a few suggestions of how to make your Booth experience a little more global:

Full-term study abroad

Through IBEP (the International Business Exchange Program), Chicago Booth has partnered with a broad array of leading business schools in places like Chile, Israel, South Korea, and Italy (and many more) to offer semester-long study abroad experiences for students.  Although much of your focus will likely be in the classroom, spending three or four months abroad for your studies is a great way to familiarize yourself with business in another country and build contacts abroad—something that is especially valuable if you see international work in your future.

There is also plenty of leisurely fun to be had on the side. If some of the Facebook statuses and GroupMe posts I’ve seen lately are any indication, our E/W weekend peers who have taken Winter 2018 quarter off to study abroad for the quarter are having a great time. Having the ability to take courses at other world-class institutions while also being able to take trips during your free time in cities and countries around your new home (like the Europe-based Boothies whole recently ventured to Portugal together) is a huge bonus for those who have the flexibility to study abroad for a full quarter.

Short-term study abroad

If taking an extended leave of absence from work or quitting your job to pursue longer-term study abroad isn’t for you, IBEP also offers short-term study abroad programs that generally run 10 or 11 days long (a few are closer to three weeks in length) that may more easily fit into your time-off limitations at work. This year’s Spring and Summer quarter offerings span South America, Europe, and Asia, and cover topics like innovation in business and doing business in the program’s home country.

Short-term study abroad offerings for 2018 are still accepting applications through Monday, Feb. 5 at noon Central.

International treks and student-organized trips

This past December, the Middle East and North Africa group at Booth led a five-day trek to Dubai where they visited regional/country offices of the likes of Google and McKinsey, to name a couple, in additional to local businesses such as Dubai-based PE and VC firms. Much like the domestic functional treks many Booth students may already be familiar with, students on international treks have the opportunity to network with contacts and local alumni in the country—not to mention, you also get to bond with fellow current students in both the full-time and part-time programs.

If something more leisurely is up your alley, country- and region-focused student groups at Chicago Booth have historically planned more “touristy” trips abroad to places such as Morocco and Japan.

Evening/Weekend MBA Candidates from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business visit the Bank of China in Hong Kong during an Executive MBA campus visit and city trek.

Evening/Weekend MBA Candidates from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business visit the Bank of China in Hong Kong during an Executive MBA campus visit and city trek.

Executive MBA campus visits

Chicago Booth has executive MBA programs in London and Hong Kong (with a new Hong Kong site currently under construction). In 2016 and 2017, Booth organized formal trips to London and Hong Kong, respectively. The London trip allowed students to earn credit for a 100-unit course and study inside Booth’s Woolgate Exchange facility that resides in London’s financial district. Although course credit wasn’t available to students during the school’s 2017 trip to Booth’s Hong Kong campus, currently situated in Cyberport—a tech-focused business park on the main island’s west side, formal programming was rich with company treks and opportunities to formally engage with Booth alumni in leadership roles within a variety of firms.

Announcements haven’t been made for formal group trips to either campus for 2018, but if you happen to have plans to go to London or Hong Kong this year, you may want to stop by the Evening/Weekend Program Office on the third floor before your next class to see if you schedule an appointment to swing by either executive MBA campus on your own during your travels.

IMBA degree or International Business concentration

Admittedly, these two suggestions don’t necessarily provide a direct path to going to another country (although the IMBA does require a full, quarter-long study abroad experience), but they can assist you in pinpointing specific interests you have that may emerge in the process of furthering your classroom education in doing business globally. Both the IMBA program and the International Business concentration require you to take courses at Booth (and potentially select from the University’s broader course offerings) that provide you with exposure to the idiosyncrasies and nuances of operating a business across country borders. Along the way, you may discover an academic interest that you would like to investigate further—maybe in partnership with a professor at Booth. Or maybe you find insight into a new direction to take your career.

Specifically in regard to the IMBA program, you gain entry into the smaller community of IMBA graduates from Booth, which may be beneficial to you in your introduction message as you reach out to fellow IMBA’s with whom you would like to connect.

Just go

Formal opportunities aside, nothing is stopping you from hitting up your LAUNCH cohort or asking friends from your study group to organize a trip abroad. In addition, Booth has a vast alumni community worldwide, and you may very well be a degree or two away from a warm introduction to someone in your dream job in your dream place to work.

International opportunities are certainly abounds at Booth.