I go to a bunch of alumni events because of the free alcohol. Sometimes to hang out with friends, but mainly I dig the free-flowing juice of life. You can imagine my surprise when I walked into an event last week and I didn’t see a bartender.
“Uhhh,” I looked at the crowd of Chicago Booth alums, “where’s the alcohol?”
“PG&E doesn’t allow alcohol in their building.”
Not only does PG&E, who sponsored the event, prohibit alcohol, they also require the meeting organizer to give the standard safety spiel–where the closest exits are located, what to do in case of an emergency. We got schooled on what to do if an earthquake happened. Turn our chairs around and make sure our heads are protected. Ironically, for all their safety precautions, that didn’t prevent a major pipeline gas explosion that killed eight people. What happened there, PG&E?!
The event, an admissions reception for prospective students, drew a surprisingly large crowd–100 prospects and over 20 alums. The most frequently-asked question was, “Did you like going to Chicago?” My standard response was, “Hell yeah. I learned a lot, but we also partied really hard. I can think of at least 25 classmates who either married someone else in our class or one of the other years. There was a lot more going on than studying, if you know what I mean.”
All the prospects were keeping their options open and told me which other schools they were applying to. One Indian girl, though, reminded me of myself when I applied. “I really really want to go Chicago. I’ve been there. I’ve hung out on campus. It’s so alive. There’s such energy. And your reception had food! The other business schools don’t do that. Plus the alumni’s interesting with different backgrounds. All the other schools, their alumni are all consultants.”
“Oh, I’m so glad you like Chicago. What other schools are you applying to?”
“You don’t understand. I only want to go to Chicago. It’s where I belong. I hope I get in.”
Who says that these days? If more people said in job interviews, “This is exactly where I belong. If you gave me an offer right now, I’d start tomorrow. I want this job.” More people would be employed. After she said that, I gave her my card offering advice, resources, and any help. I was so flattered that she was passionate about my school that I wanted her to get in–more than any of the other people I’d talked to.