Centers of Power: Student Groups

It’s a little known fact that Booth has 294 industry, affinity and special interest groups. Some play an important role in keeping our perfect recruitment record and US News rank. Others provide a platform for students with similar interests or common affinities to meet and learn from each other. And there are some that simply have no earthly reason to exist. In this new column, we feature some of these pillars of Booth culture. The Follies falls in the first category of groups with regression models showing Follies membership resulted in a 83.4% higher chance of top-tier consulting/banking internships. Our special reporter, Kyle Veatch (KV), caught up with the Follies Creative Co-Chair Eesan Balakumar (EB) to find out what makes them tick.

KV: How did you get involved in Follies?

EB: Much like everyone else, I was very impressed that Booth Follies was able to predict President Trump's election victory way back in last year’s 2016 show. Joining a student group with that kind of track record seemed like a solid resume-building move for someone like me with no clear career prospects.

KY: Any previous experience putting on an event like this?

EB: I think if 2016 taught us anything, it’s that experience is overrated.

KV: Where are you getting the inspiration for the skits?

EB: Thankfully, we have an incredible writers room made up of some of the funniest First Years and Second Years at Booth. They make the Follies Co-Chairs’ lives so much easier. We rely on them to be inspired by the people and events in their own lives and turn that inspiration into hilarious ideas. Then, we take credit for those ideas.

KV: What has been the hardest part of putting it together?

EB: I have been laughing so hard for the past 3 months that my abs have been uncomfortably sore for pretty much that entire time. I don’t mean to trivialize the real problems the world is facing, but I haven’t been able to sit down or walk without severe pain. I don’t remember what relaxed core muscles feel like. That’s probably the hardest part.

Also, I have to work uncomfortably closely with Second Year Co-Chair, Patrick Burke, which anyone who’s been in a study group with him knows is no cake walk.

KV: What has been the most enjoyable aspect of putting it together?

EB: The daily calls with Saturday Night Live Executive Producer, Lorne Michaels, have been really interesting. To get his thoughts on what works and what doesn’t in sketch comedy is just so valuable. We’re lucky he has had so much free time recently. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the entire Follies team, from the writers to the cast to the crew, has been the best team I’ve ever been a part of, and I know how to evaluate that – I took Managing in Organizations, trust me.

KV: Any teasers for us?

EB:  I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m hopeful that we have sketches and jokes for everyone, no matter what your sense of humor may be. And, we’re really excited about revealing the largest prop in Follies history. Lastly, I can also neither confirm nor deny the rumors that First Years are actually beating the Second Years at something: Follies ticket sales. More like Class of 20-Great-teen.