1Ys take on CO-LOM-BIA

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Krithika Narayan, Class of 2020

Colombia was a whirlwind of 360 Boothies living their best (or alternatively most hungover) lives. Landing in Bogotá on Friday, (shoutout to the Boothies stuck in Toronto) we had the chance to experience the joys of MPP - aka bumping into Boothies all the time - on a different continent. Many of us realized our high school Spanish would absolutely not be enough to get sim cards and quickly latched onto that one friend who could pave our way to mediocre Colombian 4G and Google Translate. Over the next two days, we took in the sights and sounds of the city, hiking up Monserrate for stunning views and walking around the vibrant neighborhood of La Candelaria with hole-in-the-wall chicha (corn liquor…I think) bars. Modo organized an incredible Saturday night at the Restaurant Andres Carne de Res slightly outside of Bogotá, where they hosted us with great food, great music, and some strangely dressed animal-head figures who sported BDSM paraphernalia and periodically showered us with confetti.

Hammock line at Islas del Rosario. Photo courtesy Jackie Quartner

Hammock line at Islas del Rosario. Photo courtesy Jackie Quartner

Bright and early the next morning, with face glitter everywhere, we packed our bags to head to Medellín. The city is best known for being the home of Pablo Escobar, who even today remains incredibly divisive among locals. Boothies took tours around Plaza Botero, with its oversized statues, and Comuna 13, which was formerly plagued by drug and gang wars. The Comuna continues to transform its violent history into creativity and progress, prompting many to take the graffiti walking tours and see for themselves the revitalization effort. Some of us visited a local coffee farm, where we acted briefly as free labour as we harvested coffee beans, and enjoyed the views of the surrounding hills from the roofs of our Jeeps.  

Day 4 saw all the Boothies climbing the stark El Peñon de Guatapé, a massive stone rising over 650 feet out of the flat ground and boasting stunning views of the surrounding Peñol -Guatapé reservoir. In true B school style, we ended the day with the first of three yacht parties, complete with free-flowing guaro, the signature #modoColombia playlist and 350 of our best friends.

From Medellín, we continued on to Cartagena, the charming beach town with the most colourful, vibrant streets. Rooftop dinners and parties were the order of the day, along with brilliantly fresh seafood, very humid warmth, and cooling sunset drinks. Modo’s Float Fest was a particular highlight.  They organized the entire group onto ~20 boats and took us out to the beautiful Islas Rosarios for a day-long beach party.

We ended the trip with a relatively relaxed day and yacht party #3, embracing the warm night before we headed back to the 30 degree weather of Chicago. The trip was an incredible experience, and the trek leaders and modo travel did a fantastic job of it! (So many unnecessary #FyreFest emojis.) We walked away with the best memories, strengthened and new friendships, and best of all, a great tan to hide under our coats.  #modoColombiaOUT

Connecting Through Boothright

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Joel Rabinowitz, Class of 2019

This spring break, I traveled to Israel on Boothright with 160 fellow Boothies. Eight of our fellow classmates from Israel served as intrepid leaders and successfully guided us throughout the week. From the beginning, it was an incredible experience.

We started the trip touring the Old City of Jerusalem, visiting holy sites and seeing the numerous intersections among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim history in the same physical space. In a winding tour, we visited the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Via Dolorosa, and the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Quarters. As a Jew, visiting the Western Wall, the last remaining structure from the ancient Jewish Temple, was almost surreal, a moving connection with our collective past.

The next day we visited Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum, to gain a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and how that collective memory pervades the Israeli ethos. The museum’s design is particularly powerful, composed of many narrow, winding passageways structured to make visitors physically uncomfortable. We heard testimony from a Holocaust survivor and her experience hiding as a young child on a French farm, assuming the identity of a Christian girl. There were few dry eyes in the room.

A rainbow completes the perfect Boothright photo in front of the Dead Sea

A rainbow completes the perfect Boothright photo in front of the Dead Sea

From there, we traveled to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth with a salinity that makes all bathers float. As a non-floater, I was in ecstasy, pointing out that I was floating to anyone I could find. The Dead Sea mud left our skin feeling smooth, and, before we left, a rainbow appeared in the sky to cap off a meaningful day.


The following morning, we drove to Masada, the ruins of an ancient Jewish fortress overlooking the desert and Dead Sea. Given the arid climate, much of the original fortress was preserved, and we could even see the remains of the ancient Roman siege ramp. We then visited an Israeli Air Force base to learn about the role of army service in Israeli society and to better understand their experiences. We then traveled to the northeast, riding ATVs in the Galilee, particularly fun given the muddy conditions. We also visited a mountain overlooking Lebanon and Syria, giving us a firsthand view of the complexity of the region.

Dinner in Tel Aviv exploring Old Jaffa

Dinner in Tel Aviv exploring Old Jaffa

After all this activity, we spent the rest of the trip in Tel Aviv, exploring old Jaffa and relaxing. Tel Aviv is an incredibly modern city with excellent markets and a gorgeous beach.  Some of our classmates then went to Bethlehem to see the Church of Nativity where Jesus was born.

The food on the trip was delicious, and we ate enough falafel, hummus, shawarma, and shakshuka for months. The intersection of diverse culture in Israel creates a tremendous cuisine. We were almost too full on the trip!

By the end, we were exhausted but satisfied. Over the course of just one week, we had seen most of the country! I want to thank our trip leaders Daniel Gottesmann, Dor Goldman, Roi Kessler, Ido Goren, Yonatan Ohana, Inbar Goodman, Lior Schahaf, and Gal Amran for creating such a meaningful trip. I look forward to visiting Israel again!

21 Boothies conquered Patagonia on a grueling but fulfilling Spring Break

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Shubhda Hirawat, Class of 2020

Typically, when you hear spring break- it sounds like white sandy beaches, sunglasses, lazing with a side of margarita pitchers. That’s exactly what it was not for 21 of the ‘we will take the road less traveled’ Boothies who decided to go to Patagonia to hike in the wilderness for 6 days. To be fair, we spent a day in Santiago with Pablo Neruda’s poetry and glasses of Chilean wine but that sadly (or purposely!) lasted only a few hours.

Last minute cancellations due to visa delays and missed flight connections were only the beginning of the adventures to come. This one was a trip full of hugs, tears, willpower, resilience, and friends who will last a lifetime.

The Booth Wilderness Expedition, as it was called, began with 3 hours of packing everything we needed for ‘survival’ in the wild. And we needed a ton! We packed stoves, sleeping bags and tents, as well as trail mix (our staple for the next week) and hot chocolate for rainy days. Each of us carried 50 pounds on our backs, a weight that literally weighs us down. With a Booth chip on our shoulder, we embarked on what was to be the ‘trip of our lives’.

The Patagonia crew celebrates the end of an exciting Spring Break

The Patagonia crew celebrates the end of an exciting Spring Break

Day 1 involved getting us used to our 50-pound backpacks, with only 200 meters of hiking that took us over 10 minutes. The day introduced us to the most important lesson of the trip – poop-in-the-wild etiquette. The task was codenamed ‘desire’ in the Booth Patagonia community, and if you know when each person on your team is ‘fulfilling’ their desire- you are best friends overnight!

Next morning was about desires, snacks on the go and preparing for hours of hiking. We walked through grasslands, farmlands, forests, and rivers. Falling into the river and breaking trekking poles in the first 10 minutes of hiking was not something we were expecting, but when does the wilderness behave as expected? We hiked in wet boots through the day, drying our feet, socks and boots in the bright sun every break (which were far too often!). Day 2 was a long, arduous yet scenic walk and we thought it couldn’t get much harder (ha!). The end of the day saw us chatting over hot meals and drinks (tea, not margaritas) and bringing the day to a close.

Boothies walk around Santiago Chile before the trek commences

Boothies walk around Santiago Chile before the trek commences

Tuesday, March 26 remains stamped in our memories as the hardest day of the trek. Steep inclines and bushwhacking would be kinder words to describe that day. We hiked on all fours, hanging onto shrubs, taking hours to walk 100-meter distances. The day also saw a bag roll down a hill, a friend slip (and hang onto another hand), torn pants, wounded knees, long hugs and real tears at the end.  We sat watching the stars that night with the unspoken camaraderie, feeling warm, fuzzy and thankful for everything we had achieved that day.

Patagonia was the best decision for Spring Break for each of us. We came back with memories in tents, under stars, over hot drinks and a sense of common goal and achievement. There is only so much that can be said in 500 words, but if asked if I’d go through this again: yes, a 100 times over.

Culture by day, Sake by night

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Anagh Chaudhry, Class of 2020

After a grueling 13-hour flight (even longer for those without a direct routing), our 80-strong group of Boothies landed in Osaka to bright, beautiful skies and temperatures at a pleasant 50°F. We began our tour in Nara Park, where the shika-yose (the blowing of a horn) summoned the deer from the forest. These ‘messengers of god’ were quick to devour the rice crackers we offered them. The evening dinner included unlimited sake and other frosty beverages, the first of many times on the trip that we enjoyed what the Japanese call nomihodai, or all-you-can-drink!

Our day trip to Kyoto was jam-packed with activity. Known for its natural beauty, Kyoto’s sights included the Tenryuji Temple with its adjoining bamboo grove, and the Golden Pavilion – Kinkakuji – that housed sacred relics of the Buddha. With our Japanese-style lunch, we had the privilege to watch an exquisite performance by a geiko and maiko (formerly known as geishas). They also played what a game with us called konpira fune fune – as typical B-school students, we were quick to convert it into a drinking game. Our day ended with dressing up in colorful kimonos and visiting the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, with over 1,000 orange torii gates – donated by worshippers in exchange for a granted wish.

A visit to Hiroshima’s Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park the following day took us back to the tragic events of 1945. Going through physical remains from the atomic blast, as well as the audio-visual accounts of the day, was a stark reminder of the destructive power of nuclear bombs. After taking a short ferry, we then reached Miyajima Island to see the spectacular “floating” torii gate of the Itsukushima Shrine.

We left Osaka the next day for Hakone – a mountainous town known for its onsen (hot springs). While many of us were fascinated at the Japanese tradition of taking dips in the springs fully nude, others preferred the privacy of individual rooms. What followed was probably the wildest night of the trip. All of us wore the yukata, a simplified kimono, and were treated to another decadent dinner plus nomihodai. In high spirits, we then ambled over to the karaoke rooms to belt out Booth renditions of ‘Complicated’ and ‘Barbie Girl’. Many of us, especially me, found it difficult to wake up the following morning.

The group in yukata, or simplified kimonos, at a post-onsen dinner with nomihodai

The group in yukata, or simplified kimonos, at a post-onsen dinner with nomihodai

The next few days were spent in Tokyo, where we undertook various activities including:

  1. Shopping in the starry, luxurious streets of Ginza, including the oldest stationery store in the world, Itoya

  2. Drinking at the watering holes of Golden Gai in Shinjuku, where the coziness of each bar is matched only by the sheer number of them (over 250 packed in 5 alleys!)

  3. Maricar - donning Mario suits and taking on the streets of Tokyo in go-karts!

  4. Seeing cherry blossoms by the Meguro River. How lucky are we that we visited Japan the one week of the year when these flowers are in full bloom?

  5. Day trips to Greater Tokyo destinations such as Mt. Takao and Yokohoma

Perhaps the greatest contributors to the success of the Japan trek were our 1Y Japanese trek leaders. Their indomitable spirit in handling logistics, helping us communicate with locals, and providing us more options than we could wrap our head around helped prove that the Japanese are some of the kindest and most efficient people in the world. And who can forget their stirring rendition of Freddie Mercury, complete with vests and fake moustaches!

Overall, us participants were treated to a fantastic week where we explored a bit of everything Japan had to offer: a vast history, varied natural beauty, delicious cuisine, a charming cityscape, and an unlimited choice of nighttime activities. Along the way, we built some everlasting friendships and renewed some old ones. Now that we’re back, can’t wait to test out the Chicago ramen scene!

We left Osaka the next day for Hakone – a mountainous town known for its onsen (hot springs). While many of us were fascinated at the Japanese tradition of taking dips in the springs fully nude, others preferred the privacy of individual rooms. What followed was probably the wildest night of the trip. All of us wore the yukata, a simplified kimono, and were treated to another decadent dinner plus nomihodai. In high spirits, we then ambled over to the karaoke rooms to belt out Booth renditions of ‘Complicated’ and ‘Barbie Girl’. Many of us, especially me, found it difficult to wake up the following morning.

The next few days were spent in Tokyo, where we undertook various activities including:

  1. Shopping in the starry, luxurious streets of Ginza, including the oldest stationery store in the world, Itoya

  2. Drinking at the watering holes of Golden Gai in Shinjuku, where the coziness of each bar is matched only by the sheer number of them (over 250 packed in 5 alleys!)

  3. Maricar - donning Mario suits and taking on the streets of Tokyo in go-karts!

  4. Seeing cherry blossoms by the Meguro River. How lucky are we that we visited Japan the one week of the year when these flowers are in full bloom?

  5. Day trips to Greater Tokyo destinations such as Mt. Takao and Yokohoma

Booth students in all their Maricar finery right before they zoom off in go-karts

Booth students in all their Maricar finery right before they zoom off in go-karts

Perhaps the greatest contributors to the success of the Japan trek were our 1Y Japanese trek leaders. Their indomitable spirit in handling logistics, helping us communicate with locals, and providing us more options than we could wrap our head around helped prove that the Japanese are some of the kindest and most efficient people in the world. And who can forget their stirring rendition of Freddie Mercury, complete with vests and fake moustaches!

Overall, us participants were treated to a fantastic week where we explored a bit of everything Japan had to offer: a vast history, varied natural beauty, delicious cuisine, a charming cityscape, and an unlimited choice of nighttime activities. Along the way, we built some everlasting friendships and renewed some old ones. Now that we’re back, can’t wait to test out the Chicago ramen scene!

Highlights from the Booth Winter Formal

The GBC Signature Events committee is tasked each year with throwing two of the most memorable parties of the year for full time students. Rightfully nicknamed “Booth Prom”, the event is one of the few opportunities Booth students have to put on their formal attire without having to sit down for an interview and instead, enjoy an evening with their friends and let loose on the dance floor.  

Innovation and Design Trek - NYC

Booth's Innovation and Design Club (IDC) hosted its inaugural trek in New York City from February 28th to March 1st. The purpose of the trek was twofold: to offer students a glimpse into the day-to-day of careers that encompass both business and design; and to enable MBA students to build rapport and connections for future opportunities.

A Year in the Life of a Board Fellow

I began my journey in the nonprofit space 6 years ago back in India. At the time, I had spent a year in for profit consulting and had already begun to burn out with the long hours, constant travel and repetitive client meetings. I was looking for a change

Zingales Urges Students to Become Advocates for Business Ethics

By Derek Bekebrede (Class of 2019)

By Derek Bekebrede (Class of 2019)

What if modern corporations pursued ethics at the expense of profits? This was the question posed by Prof. Luigi Zingales to an audience of approximately 30 students Monday at an event hosted by Catholics at Booth and the Lumen Christi Institute. The answer, according to Zingales, is that modern corporations should seek to maximize utility, not profits, and that it is the duty of shareholders today to hold their corporations responsible for ethical violations.

Zingales began his discussion by focusing on the source of what he termed a “Copernican Revolution” in finance and ethics: Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones (or Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system), a new document commissioned by Pope Francis and written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document states that the “vision of man individualistically understood, as primarily a consumer whose worth consists above all in a maximization of his earned income” is inadequate. Instead, the document states that “the human person . . . has a sense for gains and flourishing that are more holistic, not reducible either to a logic of consumption or to the economic aspects of life.” Zingales contrasted the document with Milton Friedman’s conclusion that “the sole social responsibility of a corporation is maximizing profits,” which has effectively become the assumption upon which modern corporations operate. Citing the sparse legal indictments of business leaders in finance following the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent economic crash, Zingales found Pope Francis’s writings to be necessary to build a more ethical economy moving forward.

The bulk of the speech focused on how to turn Pope Francis’s words from theory into reality. According to Zingales, the change must start with shareholders deciding to “invest and engage,” using their votes to force corporations to make decisions that prioritize ethics over profits. As an example, Zingales spoke of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, an investor group run by nuns that has invested in firearm manufacturers and for decades attempted to use those investments to pressure the manufacturers to take steps to reduce gun violence. The group claimed victory following the Parkland school shooting when BlackRock joined them in publicly demanding that firearm manufacturers respond to the tragedy. As current and future financial investors and business leaders, Zingales stated that MBA students have a responsibility to follow in the steps of these activist investors in forcing companies to think about ethics and not just profits. He reminded the audience that “not choosing [to actively invest] is choosing not to choose,” and that attempting to avoid the debate over ethics entirely was a moral choice, endorsing the status quo.

In response, Booth students asked questions regarding obstacles to Zingales’ proposal in the United States. The first challenge involved forcing corporations to be more transparent regarding their business operations. In response, Zingales advocated for better protections and rewards for whistleblowers, as they are the key to making unethical practices known. The second challenge involved tolerance for companies that make controversial ethical decisions. Zingales responded that Americans must learn to be tolerant of competing ethical systems. As an example of the U.S.’s failure to be tolerant in this regard, he referenced the recent Hobby Lobby case before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the Hobby Lobby owners argued that the Obama administration’s insistence that they cover contraceptives in their health care plans violated their desire to run their business according to Christian principles. According to Zingales, Hobby Lobby should be able to run its business according to its own ethical principles. The effort to make businesses consider ethics over profits will never succeed in a pluralistic society, he argued, if Americans are only willing to accept corporations that align with their own ethical and political preferences.