Startup Diary: 2018's best NVC ideas

Spring quarter inches closer. First Years are eagerly looking forward to spring break and second years are already feeling nostalgic. A small group of our colleagues however are already working around the clock to launch great new companies as part of NVC. In this article, we review some of the most promising startups – from those looking to disrupt the vertical transportation market to a simply delicious juice stand – in this highly competitive pool.

ElevatorPass: Tired of waiting 10 minutes every morning for your apartment complex’s elevator? Want a little privacy coming back from TNDC? ElevatorPass guarantees you personalized access to the elevators (partnerships announced 10+ leading Loop complexes) when you need it. Because they know you’re your best when you’re on the go (potentially great tagline for a creepy ad). For high demand buildings they’re even providing modular elevator shafts that plug on to the emergency exits during peak traffic.

Market size: A plus
Our verdict: C minus. While a great idea, success will depend on developing both sides (apartments, users) of the platform.

SOMO (‘Stop Only Missing Out’): SOMO targets a very specific set of users – those who feel they’re missing out on a large part of Booth and want to do something. SOMO scans social media for the ‘hip’ events and sends you alerts for whenever the whyBooth hashtag is used. It even provides personalized recommendations on what events are right for you and how to navigate conflicting events.

Market size: C-
Our verdict: F. Eww, borderline creepy.

DailyPickup: DailyPickup is designed for people who never use the Metra, are fairly regular to class and are too gosh-darned lazy to book an Uber, every single time. Simply upload your class schedule and forget about it, DP will book a cab for you to reach just in time. You can even add preferred classmates so that you pool with your friends every day.

Market size: B+
Our verdict: C plus. While DailyPickup’s solution is really compelling, like the ChiBus, their target market is all of 10 people.

MiracleJuice: For those of you who can barely make it out of your apartment after a party, MiracleJuice offers a range of their completely organic, freshly pressed juices with closely guarded proprietary recipes that will pick you up after any party. Test users reported a 173% increase in productivity after using MiracleJuice.

Market size: A-
Our verdict: B. Lip-smacking product, but how do they differentiate themselves in the competitive market of healthy foods targeted specifically to MBA students?

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.


* Used under Creative Commons license. Use not endorsed by Creator

The Resolutions That Weren't

It’s January again. A time when Mother Nature gently reminds us that beneath her sunny summer smiles lies a cold-hearted, ruthless b*****d who would like nothing better than to freeze the marrow out of our bones and laugh callously at every shiver as you trundle despondently across the river after your 9 PM Gleacher class. Yes, coming back to Chicago after break hasn’t been fun, why do you ask?

But it’s also the time when freshly minted New Years’ resolutions sad to say, broken. Today we look at some of the most popular resolutions that were made in moments of weakness (probably three drinks in), and like the last season of How I Met Your Mother, did not die soon enough.

Bringing your unread emails down to 0: You may have been one of those fortunate souls who have their lives and inboxes perfectly ordered, but if you’re like the vast majority of us, you have a snowball’s chance in hell of actually living up to that. Between Canvas, Polsky, Stigler, the University News and so many more it often feels like the Universe in general and the University in particular is actively conspiring against you. Just give in, and let the mound of emails be the metaphor for your growing student debt in tightening monetary policy

Eat healthy: You made a lofty goal of staying on a diet and fit into the suit that you rocked so recently at your internship/last job. But life and Booth had other plans for you. From Kovler finally serving food with mass appeal (or any appeal for that matter) in the form of the new sandwich stall and the natural advantages of many winter layers – it didn’t take that resolution long to fail.

Missing no classes: No one said you had to be one of the folks who see their professors for the first time during the Final, but aiming for a 100% attendance record will probably feature in any Buzzfeed list of the worst decisions ever made. Between TNDC and recruiting (FYs)/travelling (SYs) you were struggling to stay afloat even halfway through Week 1. By the time you started Week 2, everything hit the fan and you just threw up your hands on this one. And rightly so

Spend less time on social media: You were lying to yourself when you thought you could pull this off. Without social media how can you possibly participate in the FOMO Olympics of trips, dinners and other fun activities that is your newsfeed? How will you be able to determine the answer to the Ultimate Question of the life, universe and everything - which is the best section of Micro? Can you really tear yourself away from the gripping drama of all the lost jackets at TNDC? For shame for thinking you could pull this off.

Dear Grumpy

Ardent fans of ChiBus know of our ongoing series to tap into the wisdom of second years and alumni. The star of our column is “Grumpy” Gerald Wockell, financial wiz, raconteur extraordinaire and reluctant second year. This week, we launched an “Ask Grumpy” session for students at Booth to get pressing questions answered anonymously. Here are Grumpy’s responses to some of them:

Dear Grumpy,

I’m a second year and am looking to create a bucket list of all the things I need to do before leaving Booth. I have already prepared a 30 tab Excel of ideas for things to do at Booth, UChicago and the wider city. I’ve also been to every spring break’s information session, have my tickets booked for a bunch of other trips and have a master list of people I need to grab coffee chats with before I leave, but I wanted to be sure to tap every source of information, no matter how disreputable or unreliable. So, do you have any suggestions?


Dear Nostalgic,

I certainly do. Let’s start with courses. No Booth experience is complete without taking the “star” courses. I strongly recommend redoing the foundations with different professors. Yes, you’ve already covered the content before, but imagine the FOMO you’ll have if you don’t take that one Micro section that your batch bid 8000 points for. Moving on to food. You cannot, simply cannot, leave Chicago without fully experiencing one of its finest eateries. I suggest trying out EVERY SINGLE lunch option that Kovler has. This includes the candy, snack and dubious brussel sprouts options, no cheatsies. Yes, you’ll probably put on 15 pounds and lose a ton of money but totes worth it for the memories when you’re in your high paying job cashing that per diem and thinking back fondly to your broke student days. Outside Booth, the Museum of Damaged Mannequins is definitely worth a visit. There’s a two hour wait most days, but what’s that compared to the countless hours of family-friendly fun you can have looking at old damaged mannequins.



Dear Grumpy,

I’m in the throes of recruiting and have taken four heavy courses this quarter so I really don’t have a lot of time for social activities. However, I think it’s having a lasting negative effect on me. I still haven’t made it to a single TNDC, I’m embarrassed to ask what an LPF is and am not a member of a single non-recruiting group.  I met someone from my LEAD squad recently at Harper and they asked me if I was a second year! I’m worried I’m becoming one of the invisible 200. What should I do??


Dear Translucent,

Booth is all about finding the tradeoffs that are right for you. Fall is the hardest time of the year for most career tracks so it’s okay to delay some of the fun for later. Having said that, what do you mean you haven’t been to a single TNDC yet??? Are you sure you don’t go to Kellogg? One night’s fun never harmed anyone and the grades really don’t matter.



Dear Grumpy,

I recently attended a recruiting event and met someone truly special. Our eyes connected when this person was handing me a brochure and we spoke for what seemed like hours on the work that company did and how I could fit in. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on everyday things but I’m worried reaching out would hurt my chances at the company which is one of my top targets. Do you think I should go for it?  


Dear Love-struck,





What's News

School hires stunt professionals for reaction boosting workshop:

After complaints of sign up spots vanishing faster than free food in the student lounge, the school hired Hollywood professionals to conduct a workshop on how to improve their reflexes. Said second year participant Rod Tapper, “I signed up when I realized how slow I was with ski trip sign ups. All my friends got in their applications for 9-member houses in at 20 seconds while I was languishing at 47.5. With a few simple tips I learnt at the workshop, I’ve been able to attend every wine club event since! I’m planning to use this for everything from party signups to advising appointments.”

MBA student tries to make endowment:

‘Tis the season of giving. Inspired by the announcement of large grants made recently to both Booth and the University of Chicago, second year student Jim Cho tried to endow the school with a chair. Literally, a chair. Said Jim, “I’ve snoozed in a lot of chairs in my time, but the ones at Booth have got to be the worst. Booth has done so much for me and I want to give back in my own little way, and pay it forward as so many have in the past.” Confused school staff were still debating what to do with the chair, admittedly a paragon of comfort, at the time of publication, although they flatly refused to allow it to be named “The Barbara and Barry Cho Chair of the last row in C08”.


Study room utilization rises:

For possibly the first time in Booth’s history, study rooms are becoming increasingly difficult to book, even in early November. Lest you think this is a sign of an increased academic focus, fret not! Several theories have surfaced on why this is the case. One puts it down to an unusually enthusiastic bunch of first years looking to get a headstart on interview prep. Another, to an unusually cold winter that is making winter garden less hospitable. Finally, notable conspiracy theory linked the phases of the moon and Dean Rajan’s travel plans in a five factor model to explain this rise.


Reactions to the Nobel

While the world hailed Prof. Thaler’s winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics and economists from all schools of thought have weighed in on his incredible contributions to the field, we at ChiBus were more interested in how people right here felt about this momentous occasion. We spoke with people both at the Press conference and in the wider Chicago area to get their reactions.


Reactions at Booth were primarily, and expectedly, positive. “My job is safe for five years. My job is safe for five years”, a newly appointed leader of the school was overheard singing in the corridors to the tune of a famous Stanford parody video. Others in the administration, however, had different worries - “No, that did NOT happen”, Dean Kole irritably said when asked about last years’ Follies’ depiction of how Prof. Thaler met the Nobel Committee.

Several first years were elated, albeit for mercenary reasons. “The second years are all going to overbid for his courses now and that’ll drive down the prices of everything else”, said one first year grinning happily. Her satisfaction was short-lived however, when we pointed out that bidding for his courses (offered only in Fall) were already over. Some just didn’t care. “What is ‘Nudge’? I just came here for the free champagne.”, said one confused first year the Winter Garden, when we asked him for comments.

Finally, some came just looking to learn. “So I need to be a pain in the neck over the next few years to win a Nobel?”, said one assistant professor who paid very close attention to the entire speech and took copious notes. Students too, had much to learn. “Darn, I wish my class was this enthusiastic when I present to them”, said one LEAD Facil, simultaneously admiringly and despondently as the crowd cheered Prof. Thaler’s jokes.

The other school in Chicago:

While Booth celebrated Prof. Thaler’s Nobel, not everyone was as ecstatic. A pall of disappointment had descended in another famous business school. Senior faculty and administrators were seen huddling together on campus as they considered their response to Booth’s marketing onslaught that was likely to follow. Said one senior staff member “It’s not like we had it easy as it is, what with change at the top. Competing with one Nobel laureate on staff was bad enough, I really don’t know how we’re going to deal with two.”

Students, however, were more positive. One second year full-time MBA student we met on campus opined that this would have little effect on his life. “I never understood this fancy economics jazz” he said, when pulled away briefly from his game of flip cup. “Economics is for geeks. Marketing!”, he yelled, to raucous cheers from his group of 20-odd friends, who could not draw a supply-demand curve between them.

Meanwhile, more thoughtful responses also began to emerge at the school. “We have a lot to talk about too. Our new campus is a big selling point and we retain all our traditional strengths. We just need to figure out how to position ourselves better”, said one hopeful faculty member.

The Summer Recap

After more than three months, numerous incidents of poor life choices, too much work and too little frosty beverages, school year is back! As the second years catch up with each other and first years grapple with the Sisyphean task that is finding a good bidding strategy, here’s a quick round up of the key events from summer.

Second years did work stuff at places: Once more, 580+ Boothies left the cocoon that is Harper/MPP and conquered several hundred organizations as the first step in what are surely stellar careers. We are sure that most of our companies were heartbroken to see us leave at the end of summer after outstanding contributions, while a few are still reeling from the irrevocable damage that we’ve done but they’re all united in the belief that as a class we performed better than Kellogg. Hopefully.  Regardless, it’s great to be on campus and to return to the blissful state of not working.

First years have arrived: Dean Kole has told the second years – repeatedly and in detail – that the Class of 2019 outperforms the Class of 2018 with their snazzy high GMAT and GPA averages. The second years at ChiBus feel a little slighted, so we’re going to be snarky and encourage the first years to focus their not inconsiderable capabilities on more constructive pursuits than those they’ve been up to so far (Yeah, we all know what you did at LOR). Jokes aside, the first years are already leaving a positive impact in everything from LEAD to TNDC and we’re very excited by the new addition to our community.

A new Dean is here: After months of patient waiting, our new Dean is here! In this column, we are most excited because we now have a new (and going by the Stanford videos, hopefully amenable) target for our satire. As a school though, we wish him the best of luck! We are positive that he will continue to build on Booth’s strong legacy and are really excited by the great new ideas and direction that we are sure he’ll bring to the school. Speaking of great new ideas, however, can we just say that a “cricket roll” of a giant die may not make many top 10 lists?

Metra trains every 20 minutes (sometimes): As Queen once sang, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” No more scouring the Winter Garden for randos to fill your Uber if you didn’t sprint out right after the 4:30 class. No more  having to make that Sophie’s choice of cutting short on sleep to make it to the 7:50 AM train or coming in late on the 8:20 AM train (who are we kidding, 8:20 every day). While the demand from Booth alone probably didn’t drive this change, we’d like to think 400-odd people stumping off every Wednesday morning (best day for 8:30 classes) probably had something to do with it.  

Aaaand we’re officially all caught up.  


Booth to Release 560 Students Raised in Captivity Back to Wild

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.

New TNDC co-chair promises continuation of great Booth traditions

As appointments go, this could be the most consequential for the classes of 2018 and 2019, and indeed for all the future classes to come. The New York Times called it a “seminal decision”. Poets and Quants labelled it a “big step forward for Booth”. The ChiBus had nothing to say because its editors were too busy deciding whether nachos were “newspapery” enough to be included in their LPF’s menu. But regardless what you think of him, Raja Rajan’s (no relation to either the Dean or the Professor) elevation as a TNDC co-chair for 2017-18 is bound to shape Booth’s position in an increasingly competitive business school market. ChiBus finally got its act together for an interview with him.

Chicago Business [CB]: Why are you here and not somewhere else?

Raja Rajan [RR]: Every human being is lost without a purpose. The day of my first TNDC, in a badly lit, too small bar with the music blaring, tired after a long day of Orientation+ , I saw something almost magical as I watched the entire Booth slowly come together around me. FYs and SYs, investment bankers and techies, popular kids and invisible 200. I was hooked. Becoming a TNDC co-chair became my life’s ambition, my driving force, my raison d’être. As a first year, I enrolled in a daily resistance building regime that took me from wincing after my first beer to downing fireballs like there was no tomorrow. I’ve also spent the last year preparing a 10 MB spreadsheet on bars in Chicago, with their sizes, distance from MPP and chances of getting cheap drinks.

CB: I’m still a little confused. You clearly loved TNDC, but why not just stay in a practitioner’s role instead of looking for an administrative one?

RR: At LEAD, during the first impressions survey, all of my squadmates rated me incapable of organizing an event for 500 people. Rather than laughing it off as unreliable coming from people I’d met for the first time, I took it as a personal insult. I resolved to do something that would destroy this impression once and for all and heal the massive wounds to my pride. So I decided to become TNDC co-chair and organize a 500-person event every single week.

CB: What role do you see yourself playing at Booth?

RR: Booth was No. 9 on the Financial Times’ list of top MBA programs this year. Nine! Schools like Harvard and Wharton are worthy competitors, but when IE and Judge are ranked higher than us you know something is wrong. Do you know how I found out what Judge is? I had to Google it, I had to Google where it was, and then I had to Google “Why would anyone go to the Judge School of Business?”. A recent study by a top ranking agency showed that the most important thing that prospectives considered when choosing a school are its parties. Chicago’s nice, but compared to NY and SF it isn’t exactly a party city, so TNDC becomes particularly important. As a co-chair, I will enable this drive towards fun, rise in rankings and eventually glory and immortality in Booth history.

CB: Following up on that, what will the biggest focus of your administration?

RR: Let’s be very clear here. My biggest focus is on stamping out crime. I’m afraid that Chicago … Booth has become a breeding ground for organized crime. Just yesterday a friend showed me a video that had gone viral made by one of these gangsters. From daylight robbery at Kovler to deleting names off coffee chat signups, their infamy knows no bounds. We cannot and we will not hold TNDCs under this pall of fear. All options are on the table - I’m prepared to call in the University’s security forces despite their lack of arms to deal with this menace.

CB: TNDC has had a recent trend of hiring co-chairs from the Applied Econometrics Group. Do you think you need to expand your sourcing net?

RR: As you would know if grades did matter and you had paid an ounce of attention in baby stats, two hires is hardly a “trend”. I recognize comparisons with my predecessor are inevitable, particularly given how much we have in common. And I have a lot of respect for him - and am a big fan of the moustache that the Class of 2016 voted the “most influential in Chicago”. However, each new co-chair brings their own perspectives and vision and that’s what I hope to do this year.

CB: While they still play an important part in the rankings, people have increasingly begun to question the ROI on weekly parties (TNDC equivalents) across MBA schools. What’s your take on this?

RR: Well maybe some of the nerd schools (looking at you H**) might have such newfangled ideas, but I disagree. I believe that TNDC still plays a critical role in the lives of MBA students. Where else do you go to drown your sorrows after seven companies have rejected you in the peak of recruiting? Where else can you see future titans of the industry weave about unsteadily and ask you ‘Wassh up?’? We are Booth’s pressure valve, the mechanism that keeps us all sane, the destroyer of Friday scheduling. These is the mission I hope to further next year.   


Second Year Booth Student Forced to Graduate

Second-year student Blake Graham learned late last week that he was unwittingly being forced to graduate from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, despite his best efforts to avoid the deeply traumatizing event.

“It’s just far too soon,” lamented Graham. “It all went by like I was a goldfish hopped up on Tito’s and Adderall. I literally can’t remember anything. What a blur.”

Upon learning that he would soon accumulate 20 credits of classes and return to the cruel, real world, Graham was reported to have a complete existential breakdown. Friends and relatives say he had not been this visibly shaken since the passing of his childhood pet gerbil, Mr. Pippers, in a tragic drowning accident involving an oversized bowl of potato leek soup.

“He called me about two months ago and all he could say was ‘Why Booth’ over and over again between sobs” said Graham’s mother, Cindy. “It was nice to finally hear from him between international vacations, though.”

Graham spent the following weeks desperately attempting to sabotage his impending graduation. He first tried to fail his Winter exams. But, despite not studying for two of his three exams last quarter, and simply not showing up to the third, Graham was shocked to learn that he had earned a B+ in each course when grades were released in March.

“I actually got an email from one of my professors asking me to be a TA in his class the next quarter,” said a bewildered Graham. “I always wondered how those selections were made.”

Sensing a mistake, Graham made an appointment with Director of Academic Services, Christine Gramhofer, to straighten things out and receive his “Incomplete” marks for the quarter.

“When I sat down and explained the situation, she actually struck my wrist. Now, I thought that a wrist slapping was maybe a little bit too literal, but honestly I was relieved,” recalled Graham. “But then I realized she had actually slapped a brand new Movado watch onto my wrist and then everyone was in her office cheering and congratulating me on graduating! It was surreal.”

Graham’s next attempt to delay the inevitable was to register for Spring Quarter classes that did not fulfill his graduation requirements. But despite not planning his academic path for two years and deliberately attempting to sabotage his degree, Graham ended up with concentrations in economics, finance, international business, strategic management, entrepreneurship, operations management, marketing analytics, and general management.

“I don’t even remember taking an econ class other than baby micro!” said an exasperated Graham. “And I’ve definitely never taken a single entrepreneurship class. Are they just giving these things away?”

Graham’s final appeal was to Dean of the Full-Time MBA Program, Stacey Kole, herself.

“I went in her office and explained my issue,” recalled Graham. “And she just kept winking at me. No words, just winking over and over. So finally I simply said ‘I’m not going to leave’. Well, let’s just say that you don’t want to mess with Stacey’s graduation rate. I’ll be front and center at graduation on June 10th.”

Patrick Burke is a second-year student at Booth with serious thoughts about decelerating. He has not been this visibly shaken since his pet chinchilla perished in a tragic chicken tortilla soup accident.


An Interview with Satan

Last Friday morning, a Chibus reporter caught up with one of the more popular exchange students here at Booth: Satan. Sporting his classic all-nude style, shades and the Chicago Booth scarf, Satan met with us at Harper Center, next to the reception, where those tables designed for non-Booth people are. We decided to stay there and avoid going to the Winter Garden, where we would have been forced to make small talk with people we moderately dislike.

Chicago Business [CB]: What motivated your decision to attend business school and more importantly, what brought you to Chicago Booth?

Satan [S]: Frankly, it’s getting busier down in Hell. When we first designed the place, the Earth’s population consisted of like 500 people. It’s been a struggle through the years to modernize it, and you guys really let loose over the past century. We need more countries to follow Japan’s act and stop having kids due to the enormous stresses of corporate life.

About a year ago, to build my career as the ruler of one of the afterlives, I decided I needed more organizational skills, and better teamwork dynamics, so I applied to a few business schools. After struggling through reams of essays so complex they would make my minions cry tears of joy, I currently go to LBS. Brexit’s been great for me there, I’m meeting a lot of future clients. I then saw what happened with the US elections and decided I needed to come over. As my boi Drake would say: “started from the bottom now we here”. Sooo … why Booth?

Satan makes mandatory shitty Kellogg joke. We all laugh hysterically for 37 minutes. 23 Uber pools are formed and booked. 2 professors pass, looking at us askance

Well, firstly, I LOVE maroon, and I had also heard great things about the gratuitous bidding system that unnecessarily scars people for life – that’s the kind of out-of-box thinking we need down in Hell nowadays, torture methods have really stagnated lately. Plus, I knew The Economist ranked it as the #1 MBA in the world (#rankingislife).

[CB]: Now for a rapid-fire round. Are you ready? Let’s begin!

[CB]: Favorite class at Booth?

[S]: Baby Investments.

[CB]: Favorite art piece at Harper?

[S]: Can’t decide – I commissioned all of them.

[CB]: Favorite Booth Club?

[S]: Christians in Business. They don’t like me, but they respect me.

[CB]: Favorite Harper employee?

[S]: That “no talking or texting in the coffee line” guy at Kovler every morning.


[CB]: Chicago is a vibrant city – what’s it been like to live here – have you branched out into the community?

[S]: Oh, Satan no. I’ve made it a crucial priority to hang out with Booth people exclusively, and essentially replicate my high-school years in my late 20s. I prefer hanging out with 1Ys like me – I found the cultural and generational gaps between 1Ys and 2Ys to be outrageously significant. That said, I disliked the idea of living in MPP – I mean, I know I come from Hell and everything, but like, come on.

So I live in River North, in Fremont – it’s not really a residential building, but I found a room there. I also help them around with stuff in exchange for a discount on rent: I designed their upper level “hole in the middle of the f**king floor”, and I personally select the people who can enter the place during weekend brunches. Other things I enjoy about Chicago: long-walks through the South Side, taking Ubers in lower Wacker Drive (when their GPS stops working), and really, pretty much everything about River North.

[CB]: Any last words for all our readers here in Chicago, and all over the world?

[S]: Yeah, it’s been a great experience. I’m sorry I didn’t get to do a Random Walk, but we are talking with World Strides to perhaps organize The Mystery Trip down to my place soon. It’s either that, or a remix of the popular France bike-tour Random Walk - this time, in Siberia, and with limited food & drinks. It’s still going to cost $3,500 though.

Finally, I would urge fellow-students to keep talking in class, especially if they have nothing to say or simply want to share useless, boring details about their past personal/professional lives that have nothing to do with the subject. That way, I can guarantee we will meet again.

PS: We asked Satan why he had the shades on inside on a Friday morning. He responded by saying: “Sunglasses and Advil, last nite was mad real”.

What's News: 5/1/2017

  • Popular housing complex announces massive upgrade of internet facilities from telegraph-based to dial-up internet. Students report 47% increase in browsing speeds to 3 Kbps

  • Mass panic breaks out on Friday among students fearing that email system is broken when they do not receive their three daily Polsky emails by 1 PM. Calm restored after GBC emails make it through

  • Organizers report that the event “Organizing Flagship Events: A Summit on Summits” was a grand success, with 300 odd Co-Chairs signing up to learn how to better drop promotional material into mail folders. ChiBus GroupMe flooded by over enthusiastic Editor with tips from the summit

  • Announced tuition increase of 2% widely ignored. Rumored hike of Kovler Cafe rates greeted with widespread rumblings of protest

  • So called business school opens new flagship building. Highlights include a several thousand foot outdoor plaza for working and collaborating. Plaza’s utilization expected to be close to 100% in the warm, almost tropical, climate that Chicago experiences throughout the year

  • Crew of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” reboot visits Harper to audition students enrolled in Negotiations. Casting Director Jeremiah Gasbick said “We’ve never seen a cross-section of people so good at theatrical eye-narrowing”

  • Emergency Services called after student gets lost on the 3rd floor. Visibly shaken victim said “I saw 7 different signs that asked me to turn right for the room I wanted. It took me 3 hours to realize I was walking in circles”

  • Scientists observe first-ever rip in space-time continuum as Party in the Sky tickets run out even before sales begin


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.  


Follies Presents: Missed Connections

Over at Follies, we’ve been combing through the Craigslist Missed Connections for the past three quarters. We came across some listings that look suspiciously like they came from Boothies. You be the judge.

Eric for Ariel; m4w 1Y2

I saw you at ski trip with the cute red tail and a stuffed Sebastian under your arm. You were one of the eight Ariels at the party. Drop me a GroupMe because tonight I want to be part of your world. ;)

Beirut vs. Barrios; w4m 2Y1

You were the cute first year studying for a midterm in the MPP study rooms, you sweet naive bae. I was the second year who kicked you out to play the finals of our official Beirut beer pong game. We were just heating up. Let’s get this thing on fire. #Grades_Don’t_Matter #Booth_Bucket_List #Cubs_Ladder

Heartstring Puller; w4w 1Y1

I loved the way you yanked me over the wall at LOR. I could tell we were made for each other because when I told you I was hungover, you took off your sunglasses and said “me too”.

Mutually Mugged

7:00 PM, Woodlawn and 57th, iPhone 6S...I saw you got mugged by the same guy as me on the crime alert. Let’s take this to the next level and let me steal your heart.

Ventra Vomiter

We were riding the 7:48 AM train together Friday morning. You looked dazed; I sat next to you. I tried talking about class. You opened your mouth and vomited. You awkwardly got off at the 57th Street station. Let me know if you want another shot.

Study Group; m4w 2Y1

We were in the Turbo study group together. I missed all the group meetings, but you still did all the homework. My demand curve for you is perfectly inelastic. My indifference curves are indifferent no more. Meet me at Ida Noyes if you want your utility function maximized.

The Silent Rock; w4m

I may seem like a member of the silent 200, but I’m actually just a second quarter banker that’s been a slave to the grind of recruiting. I’ve been a slave to Excel for the past three months, but you’re the real model in my life.

Do you like laughing, smiling, or jokes? Check out even more at Follies, Friday, May 5th at Mandel Hall! Tickets now available on Booth Groups.

The author is a second year whose idea of good music is the Lonely Island and Savage Garden.

School reels in the face of evidence against Efficient Market Hypothesis

In a shocking turn of events, new research suggests that the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) is not the bedrock of modern finance it was considered to be. Post-doctoral researcher and youth lacrosse coach, Torvel Gudjhonsen’s paper titled “Inefficiencies in the birthplace of EMH: An analysis of 20 years of Chicago Booth iBid data”, raises several questions on EMH’s validity. In an exclusive interview with ChiBus, Torvel, a reserved but passionate academic, said “My research shows that bid prices and therefore the ‘return’ of a course does not incorporate all available information and I provide several instances of proof between phases, quarters and years.”

While Gudjonsen has quickly received praise from some quarters, others were quick to point out flaws. Jane Washington, notable economist and EMH proponent, said “I don’t even know where to begin! One obvious flaw is the Joint Hypothesis Problem - we don’t know if EMH is flawed or the pricing model being tested.” Gudjhonsen, however, dismissed this criticism “The Grades Are Pointless Model or GAPM has been used to predict returns for decades. Now the economist community decides to question it? Cleary EMH is the problem.”

While economists debate the theory, students at Booth are feeling the human fallout of the factors behind these results. Spring quarter bidding saw a bubble of unprecedented proportions driven by wild and irresponsible speculation by a few wealthy bidders resulting in the life 2 year savings of small investors at Booth being wiped out with few courses to show for it. Director of Academic Services Christine Gramhofer was spotted in the Winter Garden comforting visibly distraught students. “My ‘Why Booth?’ answer across the admissions process and two rounds of recruiting has revolved around Pricing Strategy. Now it’s closed for 26,000 points?? How can I afford that? My entire MBA life is a lie”, said inconsolable second year Terry Mallick. First years are also feeling the pinch. A. Noné Mays, co-chair of “The 30 Percent” an advocacy group for the Invisible 200, seethed “It’s not like we have a lot of extracurricular activities or parties to go to, and now we’re being priced out of academics too?”  Noné was speaking on the sidelines of a protest by The 30 Percent at Harper, which proved sadly ineffectual as everyone mistook them for undergrads until Student Life shut them down for not following section 139 subsection B of the Groups payment policy on their lunch purchases.

Source: “ Inefficiencies in the birthplace of EMH: An analysis of 20 years of Chicago Booth iBid data ”, Gudjhonsen et al., The Chicago Booth Alumni of St. Louis Journal of Economics, Mar 2017

Source: “Inefficiencies in the birthplace of EMH: An analysis of 20 years of Chicago Booth iBid data”, Gudjhonsen et al., The Chicago Booth Alumni of St. Louis Journal of Economics, Mar 2017

However, the latest bubble has proven to be a blessing for some. Less popular courses are seeing a sudden uptick of interest. For instance, the Law School’s “An Analysis of the History of Commercial Law - From Hammurabi to Modern Business Law” has seen its highest ever Booth enrollment of three students.

Do you know someone affected by the bubble? Do you have other stories that you believe we should be covering in this column? Contact one of the editors or email us at

The author is a co-chair of The 30 Percent and at the time of publishing of this article is still looking for a course to add.

Booth Revealed as Enormous Ponzi Scheme

By: Patrick Burke, ‘17

HYDE PARK, CHICAGO - In a shocking revelation, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business was revealed to be an elaborate Ponzi scheme this week. The Federal Bureau of Investigation released an explosive report detailing what seems to be the largest fraud of its kind since the Bernie Madoff scandal.

Underpinning the Ponzi scheme is what investigators have coined as the Booth “Pay it Forward” culture, in which current, paying students are encouraged to attract new students. Each batch of students attracts the next year of students, enabling a massive, perpetual scheme. Agents said each student pays upwards of $200,000 over two years, receiving only a signed piece of paper at the conclusion of the scam.

The use of free labor to attract new victims seems to set this case of abuse apart from previous cases. “It seems they don’t actually use any of their own employees to keep the operation going,” said Agent Darren Kipke. “These poor, poor kids do it all for them. I’m reminded of the Nike factories we busted in Malaysia all those years ago. So sad.”

Interviews with current victims reveal that they are trained to use several techniques to lure in future victims, including informational phone calls, coffee chats, screening interviews, and even personal tours of the Booth campus. So indoctrinated are the current students that they cannot discern this predatory behavior from what they’ve been told is simply “paying it forward.”

Each year Booth attracts over 500 new victims, putting the total value of the scheme into hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. Making matters worse, victims are often encouraged to incur personal debt to pay Booth. Records show that Booth even provided discounts to victims who weren’t able to pay the entire $200,000, with what they called “scholarships”.

The investigation was set off by former Dean Sunil Kumar’s sudden departure. Smelling blood in the water, the top administrator at Booth is rumored to have been scared into an early departure from his preeminent position. So concerned was he for his safety and security that he took a lesser position at a community college in Baltimore, Maryland.

“We started investigating when we heard Kumar had left,” said Kipke. “It made no sense to us that he would step down from Booth, especially just as it was being recognized across the world as the best business school in most categories.”

But it was accounting mastermind Doug Skinner that resumed the pyramid scheme right where Kumar left off. “You’ve never seen financial statements so masterfully manipulated. We didn’t know where to start,” said Kipke. “I guess in hindsight, there was no reason for Booth to have hundreds of millions of dollars in capitalized leases.”

Despite the Ponzi scheme, Booth graduates are actually among the most sought-after MBA candidates in the world. Investigators attribute the Ponzi scheme’s success to the quality of the social environment that administrators created at the school. Their use of costume parties, free coffee and biscotti, and cleverly named Friday afternoon happy hours were enough to keep the victims blissfully ignorant.

Patrick Burke is a second-year MBA student at Booth. He is grateful for Dean Kole’s sense of humor over the past 18 months and still wants his signed piece of paper in June.

Ask ChiBus: Your Questions Answered

By: Joseph Cherukara, ‘18

As part of our mission of providing information that matters, we ran a Google form on the unofficial Facebook group over the last two weeks to collect questions that you were two embarrassed to ask as 2nd/5th quarter students but desperate to know the answers to. Below is a selection of your questions and our answers.

What is ChiBus? Why are you spamming the Facebook Group?

As the oldest [Citation required] and most respected [LOL] business school newspaper, ChiBus (Chicago Business) has a tradition of publishing the most important news that affects Booth and the student community, or whatever anyone who passes the relevant editor $5 wants. The humor column deserves special mention - while others reported Paul Revere’s historic ride, we got an exclusive with his horse.  While the Washington Post blithered about lapses in hotel security in 1974, we covered the biggest story of the year, and indeed our history. “Beergate” was a massive scandal revolving around the machinations of the political elite to make a change in the Ida Noyes Pub timings and set a benchmark for investigative journalism in the country. In more recent times, our coverage of elections has received much critical acclaim as well as one Pulitzer prize for the 2008 social media quiz “Which Democratic/Republican primary contender are you?”.

Why do we have a historic rivalry with Kellogg?

Why? Why? Why does good hate evil? Why does humanity love freedom? Why did Harry Potter fight Voldemort? Because some villainy is too dark to ignore. Our hatred is driven by innumerable factors. Purple is a cheap knockoff of Maroon. Fluffy feelings can never compare with hard math in an MBA curriculum. A mascot called “Willie the Wildcat” sounds less like a lovable symbol and more like something from the Big Book of Innuendo.

Why is it called the “Winter Garden”?

The Rothman Winter Garden is to Booth what Winterfell is to the Starks -  the seat of our power, a bulwark against the forces of ignorance and a majestic, towering architectural feat. Most importantly, it is a brutal reminder that like the North in GoT, Chicago is basically an icicle that Nature occasionally chooses to dab a little green paint on . As you look up to the mighty arches shielding you from the harsh reality outside, you’ll probably think wistfully at least once about the Haas/Anderson admit you turned down. Stay strong! You may have lost the sun and the sand, but Booth is so much more of a better fit for you than a place where they have to learn what a Barista Jam is and wear lumberjack shirts and glasses so large they look like a meerkat everyday.

We’ve heard of Section X. Is there a Cohort X?

Yes. Little is known about them apart from the fact that they are invite only, laze around in The Geneva Inn sipping drinks with umbrellas in them while everyone else does low ropes during LOR and meet once a month in the Quadrangle Club to perform elaborate rituals before a portrait of John Rockefeller. The mandatory dress code includes a polo T-shirt, white shorts/skirt, a sweater tied around your neck and aviators. You can wear only pink on Wednesdays, jeans only on Fridays and CANNOT wear a tank top on two consecutive days.  

What is where on the classroom floor?

The biggest lie humanity has been told is that we are unique snowflakes that matter and that our lives have meaning. The second biggest lie is the “You are here” dot on the classroom floor maps. Attempting to follow the maps is a lot like playing Russian Roulette in Alice’s Wonderland. You could end up in the wrong room with nothing worse than being part of a behavioral study that offers you a chance at a bottle from Richard Thaler’s wine collection. Or you could be lost forever to that mysterious dimension where everyone’s name tags/ties/heels disappears exactly five minutes before the McKinsey Corporate Conversation.  

How did TNDC begin?

Every great tradition demands an origin myth. Unlike the Ancient Greeks, TNDC’s origins do not begin with heroes slaying monsters or people flying close to the sun. No, it began with the secret source of every MBA’s power, that magical sauce that converts us from engineers, analysts and lawyers to future titans of every industry - Excel’s Goal Seek. Specifically, with the first TNDC co-chairs who realized that with the flexible curriculum, the concept of the “weekend” was an ideal, an aspiration and not a set date. After some heavy number crunching, TGIF was replaced with TNDC as Thursday was the “optimal” day for scheduling parties after accounting for long weekend travel plans, midweek blues and the rare tryhards who insisted on scheduling Monday classes.

How exactly are admission results determined?

Like all business schools, Booth follows a complicated subjective system that evaluates each candidate independently and understands that everyone is unique with their own strengths and weaknesses. LOL, we’re just kidding. 10% GMAT score, 20% written application, 20% interview performance and 50% on whether a dart that admissions fellows throws at random hits your application

ChiBus Presents: How to Succeed in Group Settings

By: Thomas Funk, ‘18

Rumor has it that years ago, back when it was still called Chicago GSB, the school was given feedback from employers that recent graduates were plenty smart but didn’t play well with others. If you were ever wondering why group projects are breaking out like measles at Disneyland, there’s your answer. Some, like myself, came from solitary jobs and are a bit rusty on the touchy-feely stuff. Whether you’re new to this or an old pro, a quick refresher can’t hurt. Here are some group work best practices gleaned from my own experiences and those shared with me thus far.

Be a manager. They say a good leader is a good follower. If that’s true, how is your group ever going to learn to lead with no one to follow? You’re concentrating in general management. Who better to manage the generalities of the project? Don’t sully yourself with the execution. While everyone else keeps their nose to the grindstone, you keep your gaze to the future.  Your team will thrive under your careful tutelage and bask in the glow of your managerial expertise.

Be a starter. Finding a topic can be arduous. Luckily your team has you. You complete just enough to get the ball rolling. It would be ungrateful of them to start over after you put in all this time.  Lay the foundation and then disappear into the night. You’ve done your part and it wouldn’t be fair to the others if you did more. Everyone deserves the opportunity to pitch in and you are giving them just that. For the rest of the quarter.

Be a finisher. It’s the tiny details that can transform a good project into a great one. By removing yourself from the bulk of the work you can swoop in at the end with a fresh set of eyes and save the day. When everyone else is exhausted and is ready to settle, you can point out all the glaring flaws. The best projects are worked on for weeks and then have everything changed at the last minute before hastily emailed seconds before they’re due.

Be flexible. Your groupmates will appreciate having someone who doesn’t get caught up in the minutia. You help the team by encouraging everyone equally. If anything comes down to a vote, don’t take sides. Your team will respect your openness. Their eyes may plead for you to just help move things along but their hearts are thanking you for not stepping on anyone’s toes.

Be resolute. The University of Chicago celebrates opposing views. Sure, some things are inconsequential but if they matter to you why not defend them? Sometimes the best path to progress is grinding to a halt while debating between 11.5 point Tahoma and 12 point Trebuchet… for the appendix… of the presentation notes that won’t be turned in.

Last but not least, be sensitive. If you have conflicts with your group members it is always important to remember their feelings. When talking through issues avoid accusatory language. Focus on the positive and lightly hint at the negative. This can make your aggression come off as more passive. Also consider alternatives to direct conversation like writing a carefully worded email or publishing a list of the team’s flaws in the school paper.

Obviously there is no single best way to work in a group. Just be yourself and focus on the task at hand. If you have follow-up questions or more helpful tips, come find me at the next weekly meetup to determine the best time to have a powwow to schedule a sit down to talk about team building.

2Y Struggles to Schedule Drinks with Every Acquaintance at Booth

By: Patrick Burke, Class of 2017

With time ticking down in her final year of business school, second year student Sara Lampkin is slowly realizing that time is running short for her to make good on several dozen half-hearted commitments made over the past five quarters and schedule several hundred more. Panged with a consuming sense of guilt and obligation, Lampkin has begun the process of scheduling dozens of happy hours, girls nights, TNDC pre-games, wine and movie nights, and lunch dates.

“It’s crucial that I spend one-on-one time with every person I’ve ever met at Booth,” contended Lampkin. “I’m really trying to cement each fleeting acquaintance into a deep and lasting friendship in the next few weeks.”

Close friends say they worry about ever seeing Lampkin again before graduation at the cost of her hectic social schedule. Experts say it’s physically impossible to schedule that many happy hours and not develop substance abuse problems.

With a new class of first years in the mix, many expect her list of happy hours to only grow. Friend and Commercializing Innovation teammate Gary Jobson recently witnessed her promising a Gilmore Girls binge night to her first year Random Walk group in the Winter Garden.

“Just don’t expect her to make good on that,” he warned sternly. “I’m still waiting on our final project celebration from last Winter. You’ll be watching Rory and Lorelai alone.”

Lampkin conceded she has a full calendar. “I’ve probably got between 60 and 80 verbal commitments from people to grab a drink at any given time. I usually schedule with the people I see on the Metra or in the MPP elevator lobby. Or anytime I see someone whose name I remember.”

“But how else will I figure out how everyone’s classes are going this quarter?” Lampkin lamented. “And what classes they’re taking next quarter? And where they’re going for Spring Break? Or if they’re taking time to travel after school!?!”

“She’s been handing out invitations like they’re condoms at an undergraduate wellness clinic,” said cohort squadmate and close friend Candice Bullard. “I just heard her the other day at LPF asking a complete stranger to grab a glass of wine soon. While they were both holding glasses of wine! For Christ’s sake I’ve been waiting for over 14 months for our happy hour at Ida Noyes!”

But pressed on whether or not they actually want to catch up with Lampkin, her friends all responded similarly.

“Well… I guess not. All we’re going to talk about is my classes this quarter and what I’m taking next quarter. Or where I’m traveling for spring break and the summer. We’ll probably end up making small talk for a few more minutes, trash talking the first years a little bit, and then we’ll both pretend like we have some ‘homework’ to do,” said Bullard.

“You know, in the end, I really don’t even really like the girl,” she admitted. They are tentatively scheduled to grab a drink at Howells and Hood in two weeks.

Patrick Burke is a second year MBA student at Chicago Booth, scraping the bottom of the barrel for topics to satirize. He has plans to catch up with Sara Lampkin next quarter.