The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is set to release over 500 students raised in captivity for the past two years into the wild on June 10th. The so-called “MBA Program” has been carefully preparing the students to happily live out the rest of their years in their natural habitat. Experts have cautiously predicted that they have excellent chances of survival.
The catch-and-release program, started in 1898, has steadily grown from just a handful of individuals to now accommodate over 500 lost, underdeveloped, or otherwise at-risk subjects. Individuals are flown in from a variety of countries and environments to develop at Booth. These subjects are thought to be among the hardiest individuals on the planet, with the highest propensity for success in the wild. Researchers have heralded the high survival rate in recent years, with nearly 100% of students making it past the first 12 months.
To prepare candidates for their natural environment, researchers began to slowly introduce elements of their new surroundings. Noting that this particular breed of young professional rarely sees the light of day, careful preparations are made to place the students in windowless, underground rooms for hours at a time.
Another crucial component of preparation is introducing the students to their natural-occurring apparel. Researchers say tying a half-windsor knot and learning to walk on heels are among the hardest, yet most rewarding, lessons for students. The researchers also had to slowly reintroduce the concepts of money, accountability, and sobriety over the two years. Preparations are on-going.
Perhaps the most important part of the Booth program is the exposure students are given to their natural habitat while still in captivity. Students are allowed limited, carefully controlled interactions in the wild once a week on Thursday nights. To ease these interactions, students are given heavy doses of sedatives. Experts have questioned the efficacy of these forays into the wild, citing evidence that most students don’t actually remember them the next day.
In another sign of a healthy batch of candidates this year, researchers noted that physical activity has been robust. In a variety of athletic games meant to simulate real-life competition, the Booth subjects have bested all neighboring research facilities this year. And despite most students not yet having developed past their adolescent stage, some have even begun mating in captivity. Scientists say that most should begin to contribute to a healthy gene pool in the coming 3 to 5 years.
To cope with some of the slower developing candidates, Booth began a remedial path that takes an additional four years to complete. This “PhD Program” sees much smaller numbers than the normal program. Administrators say that these candidates typically need additional time to develop the social skills required to survive in the wild. Still, some never gain the skills required to make it outside of an artificial environment. These unlucky few live out their days, sheltered in the Booth facilities, teaching classes and completing research.
Patrick Burke is a second-year MBA candidate at Booth with exceptionally low chances of survival in the wild.