Published on September 30, 2013

For the newest Chicago Booth Full-Time MBA students, day one of business school began, fittingly, with a little competition. 

In teams of 15, armed with three campus maps, pens, a camera, and a to-do list, they clambered up from the classroom level of Harper Center and out into the 90-plus degree afternoon of September 9 for a fast-paced scavenger hunt. 

Meet “At Least Eight,” a team from the Harper cohort, with members from at least eight countries, speaking 14 languages among them. They set out, confident in their prospects for victory. 

At Least Eight’s first stop was the Nobel Laureate display wall, where other teams stopped to get the first item on the list—a photo with a Nobel Laureate. 

Then, led by Vanessa Douyon, a former recruitment manager in New Orleans, they gathered in front of Robie House, the prairie style Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, for a quick picture before heading south to the Midway. 

“The scavenger hunt was definitely not what I pictured while I was fine-tuning my application,” Douyon said. “But now that I'm here, I couldn't imagine a better way to get to know the campus and the people I'll have the privilege of working with.” 

Robie House, check. Human pyramid, check. Toilet paper–mummified classmates, check. 

And for 10 points, Vanessa, along with Xavi, Martin, Linh, Yosy, Corey, Morgan, Jason, Fernando, Maria, Hagar, Georgi, Siddharth, Cliff, and Caroline contorted their bodies, just so, to spell out B-O-O-T-H. Siddarth Doshi, a former management consultant from India, was the self-sacrificing crossbar for the letter “H.”

Stacey Ergang, associate director of student programs and events, who coordinated the event, said the scavenger hunt was designed to help the first year students learn more about the campus and to get to know their colleagues. “Despite the heat, it was a success and students had a good time with it,” she said. 

The scavenger hunt was designed primarily for fun, but cohort pride and prizes of Booth gear also were at stake. The Walker cohort teams amassed the most points for the overall title. 

First place in the single team category went to “Boo Davis,” of the Davis cohort; second went to “Blue Label,” of the Walker cohort; and third went to “Rain Maker,” of the Harper cohort. 

And if there had been a prize for most creative group name, the “James” team of the Bond cohort would surely have been a contender. 

The “James” team did inspire an impromptu honorable mention award from the judges. They were the only team to take a photo with a Nobel Laureate in person—University of Chicago economics professor Roger Myerson—not just a picture of a recipient. 

“I think we've all heard alumni loud and clear when they’ve told us that the most important part of our experience will be the people we meet along the way,” Douyon said. “Nothing kills first-day-of-school jitters like intense competition, free cupcakes, and mummy-wrapping people you just met.”—Chelsea Vail