I’m happy to start with the first actual “one day at MBA” post in this blog. So, without further ado, my name is Sergey Yun and I am a first year MBA student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Before Booth I was living in Moscow where I was an assistant manager at PwC Transaction Services group.
First of all, I would like to say that there is no such thing as a typical day for an MBA student: my schedule is packed with tons of different events (not including actual classes) – corporate presentations, workshops, club activities and, of course, parties. The day I’m going to describe was relatively calm, though, so I actually could remember to take all those pictures. It was Friday, October 28th. On Fridays I have an afternoon class, so I can afford to have some sleep and wake up at 8:30.
From this screenshot you can see that I use two weather widgets: one in Celsius degrees, one in Fahrenheit – to get used to the latter. This particular morning is pretty cold, but there’s no rain, so, by Chicago standards, the weather is good. Also, you can see a snapshot of my calendar and the fact that I went to Clutch and Yelawolf concerts this week (they were both awesome).
Every morning I take a couple of minutes to stare at lake Michigan from my window, even if I’m running late – I just can’t help it, but hopefully you will understand.
Then comes the usual morning ritual: getting a free coffe from the coffee machine on the 2nd floor of our building. 2nd floor is the amenities floor – here we have a gym, a sundeck with swimming pool and barbeques, a dog walking yard, a party room and even a wine cellar. Most of the time I use just the coffee machine.
In the elevator I find out that the building is in heating mode, by the way, which is nice to know given the weather. During autumn, they literally change these notifications every day depending on the temperature outside.
In the US I started eating much more eggs, don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because of bacon. Today, however, I don’t have any bacon so I’m just having fried eggs with toast.
After breakfast I have some time to go over some of the study materials before today’s midterm in accounting class.
The exam today is closed-book but we are allowed to bring one sheet of notes, which I made yesterday during preparation.
Yes, after five years at PwC I’m still studying accounting. The class itself, however, is very interesting – it focuses on the intricacies of US GAAP and the professor makes it as entertaining as an accounting class can possibly be.
This is how my workplace looks, by the way. The dreamcatcher is for the times when I fall asleep at my table studying (which has never happened as of today).
At 11.15 I have to head out, because at 11.45 I have a career session at school. In case I’ll get hungry and will not have time to grab a snack, I take Soylent, a meal replacement drink I use just for these occasions. It’s also much cheaper than grabbing a lunch: 12 bottles of Soylent cost $34, while a lunch at the school’s cafeteria will cost around 8 bucks.
My wife’s heading out 15 minutes before me – she goes to the English speaking club at the University. By the way, she’s the founder of this blog.
I don’t have any corporate events today so I can just put on my cozy hoodie.
We live in a highrise built in the 1960s. Looks pretty modern to me.
To get to the train, I have to cross a bridge with a great view of Chicago downtown, or Loop.
Most of the Booth students live downtown, in either Loop or South Loop (like us). Rent in Chicago is much cheaper than, say, in New York: 1-bedroom apartments in South Loop will cost around $1500-2200, in Loop – from $1800 per month.
To get to the school, which is on the South side, they usually use Metra trains.
My stop is called Museum Campus / 11th Street because of the giant Field Museum of Natural History, one of the largest natural history museums in the world. It’s located in 5-minute walk from my building and I still haven’t been there.
The trains themselves have double-deck carriages (you could see these trains in the movie Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal, they blew one up like 30 times).
It takes around 8 minutes from my stop to the university, or, to be more precise, to the 57th street stop. During these short minutes I try to read the new issue of Wired, edited by the president himself..
When you see someone in a dress shirt around the campus, it is probably a Booth student.
Actually, 57th street is not the stop that most of the Boothies use – the 59th street stop is way more popular, because the walk is 2 minutes shorter. I like 57th though, because from there you get to walk through some nice little streets which are at their best during autumn.
At 11.41 I finally reach my destination, Harper Center.
Heart of the building is the Winter Garden, a large open space with glass ceiling where students like to hang out.
Harper Center hosts a large collection of modern art. One of the most famous pieces is the writing “Why are you here and not somewhere else” on the wall by the east stairs.
At 11.45 I’m at the lunch session with second-year students who interned at Amazon and are willing to share their experiences with us first years. The session is organized by Booth Technology Group – a student group for those who are interested in pursuing a career in tech industry. The group hosts sessions like this for every major tech company who hired Boothies; also they help first year students with resume and interview preparation and do other cool stuff.
Free food is provided, of course. Students get free food at almost every event, be it hosted by the school, a student group or a company.
After the lunch session it’s time to refill my water bottle using one of the filters installed in the Harper Center.
At 1.30 the exam begins.
Each class lasts 3 hours with a break in the middle. After the exam we had another 1 hour of regular class. Exhausted after a quite challenging midterm, I’m glad I took Soylent to refuel (no, this post is not a Soylent promotion, in fact it tastes strange and sometimes makes me a little sick).
At 4.30 students get back downtown. Most of us use Uber at this point, because it recently introduced a reduced fare for Uber Pool during morning and afternoon rush hours – a fixed $2.50 regardless of the distance. Compared to a regular bus fare of $2 and Metra fare of $3.50 this is the most time-cost effective way to get home from the school. Most of the students here are waiting for their Ubers.
I’m no exception. By the way, Uber cars in Chicago are coloured in red and blue these days because GO CUBS.
At home I play Starcraft online with my classmate, which is probably at least as stressful experience as my midterm was. I lose disgracefully.
At 8 I have a dinner with my wife. We are watching The Office, one of my favorite TV series and a great stress reliever.
The rest of my day looks like this.
I’m learning computer science and programming through online courses. What you see on the picture is old school C – I’m taking CS50: Introduction to Computer Science online class by Harvard University, which I can definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in the subject but has no prior experience.
By midnight I’m already in my bed, surfing facebook for a while and then falling asleep.
Although it wasn’t the busiest day I had here at Booth, I hope you enjoyed it with me. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about the school and the city – just leave a comment here!