From LBS to Booth: A Journey Across Continents

By James Boyers, LBS Class of 2019, Booth Exchange Student

James Boyers Headshot.jpg

Arriving in Chicago to begin my quarter abroad, I thought about the ups and the down - the ski trips and the broken bones - that have epitomized my MBA career so far. Having spent most of this journey at London Business School (LBS), or traveling around Europe for fun or recruiting, I decided to spend a quarter here at Booth to get a taste of the American MBA experience. This led me to reflect on the past, and how I wound up here and not somewhere else.

My MBA journey sometime in 2015, when I decided that pursuing an MBA would allow me to ascend to the esteemed ranks of the “C-suite”; more immediately, it would also be a two-year break from the travel, late nights, gluttonous food and endless powerpoints attendant in the life of a strategy consultant. While my journey to the C-suite may have just begun, I made sure to capitalize on the latter goal right away. I started at LBS in August 2017, and immediately found the pace of MBA life far more agreeable than even the most chill consulting case.

 LBS MBAs on a ski trip, at the legendary apres ski 360 Bar in Val Thorens, France. From left to right, Mel Faxon, Adam Johnson, Billy Jones, Alex Devan, Harriet Stibbard and James Boyers.

LBS MBAs on a ski trip, at the legendary apres ski 360 Bar in Val Thorens, France. From left to right, Mel Faxon, Adam Johnson, Billy Jones, Alex Devan, Harriet Stibbard and James Boyers.

First year at LBS consists primarily of core classes, which are easy enough with a good study group (a competitive advantage in any MBA program) and an occasional afternoon in the library. The genteel nature of the program, relative to consulting, has also afforded plenty of time for leisure travel - another commonality with a typical American MBA; in the last year I have been to Italy, Germany, France, Greece, Ireland, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Hong Kong, China, and Kent (3 times!). I have been sailed out of Portofino, Athens, and Southampton, broken bones playing rugby in Lisbon and skied across the Three Valleys (Formally, Les Trois Vallées, a huge skiing area in France).  

But the time has not been all play. I spent summer working with Citi in London as a Market Summer Associate. Summer is generally a quieter time for markets, especially European markets; however, the combination of a very stable genius in the White House, the re-election of a similarly unstable Turkish President, and general British dithering about their EU departure provided for a lively holiday period on the trading floor. I am currently considering a full time offer to commence in August 2019.  

The storied reputation of the University of Chicago provided a major pull to apply for an exchange at Booth; after two weeks, I have not been disappointed. Classes move fast, and the readings are voluminous. Between drinking from this firehose, I am hoping to take advantage of the many opportunities Booth offers, from subjects which are not offered at LBS (+1 for Chinese Financial System) to amazing conferences and speakers. As a pleasant surprise, I am also excited by the opportunity to sample the frequently-provided and generally OTT Booth catering.

Amidst the quizzes, midterms, and frequent boxed lunches, I am also hoping to sample some of the (in?)famous Midwest culture, from architecture to beer to sport. I have already signed up to the football club and seem to be a lucky charm for the Bears, who recorded their largest victory in forever during my first attendance as a spectator last week. Inspired by recent Bradyesque efforts of Mitchell Trubisky, I am particularly looking forward to the Booth-Kellogg flag game in two weeks.  

Like many of the 40-something Exchange students, I am loving my first fortnight as a new Boothie, and look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming months.