Weird Things We Still Do

In this new column, we take a look at things at Booth that are seemingly far beyond the realms of rationality. Today we look at one of the mainstays of industry groups. 

No-show checks:

Consider all the aspiring bankers who have looked desperately at their pants just before a corporate conversation and wondered anxiously if they were too “light”.  The consultants who weighed the pros and cons of taking a bathroom break during a panel talk. The aspiring tech titans who showed up half an hour late for a lunch-and-learn after waking up at 11. Despite the differences in career tracks, there is one thing that keeps us all united – the dreaded no-show check. The subject of so many angry, pleading and minutiae-debating emails and the topic of so many Pulitzer (Pinocchio?) winning accounts of “I got there at 11:44 but the co-chairs had already shut the doors!”.  Estimates show that 26.4% of all students have had at least one no-show check cashed during their time at Booth.

No-show checks: The one aspect of the MBA life you have no difficulty explaining to your grandparents;  Image source:  Afeardv *

No-show checks: The one aspect of the MBA life you have no difficulty explaining to your grandparents; Image source: Afeardv*

But the question arises, why do we still use no-show checks? This is after all, an age when former investors pontificate on Twitter on the “growth of the nouveau riche, the pointlessness of the salary person rat-race and the emergence of a new purpose for humanity”– after making a $200 paper profit on their Bitcoin investments. An age when even the more traditional parts of Booth seem to have woken up to this new reality with “The Fintech Revolution” somehow breaking in to the bastion of efficient markets and traditional finance courses. Most first years visit the bank for the first and last time just to pick up check books.

The answer lies in a complicated mesh of how clubs and student groups are set up, plus the fundamental structure of a potential delayed payment, that this journalist is not paid enough to go into.  

However, Booth not have to live with this status quo forever. “NoShowers”, a startup founded by Booth alumni are aiming to solve this problem through a subscription-based, deep learning enabled, AI-powered solution that uses IoT sensors at event venues and blockchain driven transactions to solve this challenging problem. NoShowers recently won “Most buzzwords in their mission statement” and “Most confusingly named startup” at CES. However, it may be a while before they have a product in the market, so Boothies will have to leave the cocoon that is 5807 Woodlawn and go to the uncharted territory of S. Ellis to visit Citibank for at least one more year.


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