As an admissions tour guide and lunch host, I get asked many questions from prospective students regarding housing, so I thought that I would dedicate an entry on this topic.
From my own personal estimates, I think probably 80-90% of Kellogg students live in Evanston. It is just more convenient to live near the school since most things happen around here. Some people do choose to live in Chicago though either because they used to live there and have a house, or a significant other who works downtown and wants to cut down the commute or a JD-MBA who also takes classes in the downtown campus. I personally don’t like commuting. Growing up in Los Angeles, I have a big aversion to traffic and taking the train would take at least 40 minutes each way from Downtown Chicago to Evanston. I also came to Kellogg because I wanted and liked the community-oriented aspect of it, so I want to be close to where my fellow classmates are. With that being said, many of us make it out to Chicago at least once a week or every other week, so it is still very accessible.
As far as housing in Evanston goes, there are many options. Most people live in either a “vintage” apartment or a “modern” apartment. Vintage apartments are generally in older buildings with less amenities but relatively cheaper. Modern apartments are in newer buildings usually high rises and have more fringes such as a doorman and in-unit washer and dryer. Many of these vintage and modern apartment buildings are in downtown Evanston near various restaurants and bars. I currently live at the McManus Living and Learning center, which is another option.
The McManus Living and Learning Center is a seven-story apartment complex located only three blocks from the Jacobs Center, where Kellogg full-time classes are held and where faculty members maintain offices. This is an apartment building dedicated solely for Kellogg students and their significant others. Approximately 300 students (1st and 2nd year students as well as PhDs and exchange students) and 50 partners live in McManus. There are various apartment options at McManus. Single students and students with partners and/or children can choose the apartment style — twin studio, single studio, one-bedroom, or family— most comfortable for them. These apartments can come either furnished or unfurnished depending on how much stuff you want to bring with you for the next 2 years. Leases at McManus are for the school term only (June to June for One-Year MBA students and September to June for Two-Year MBA students). For students whose summer internships and post graduate jobs are not in Evanston, this allows for a significant cost savings of up to 3 months rent during each summer. If you rented a vintage or modern apartment, you might have to sublet it to cover the rent when you are not there or just keep paying for it. McManus rent includes heat, air conditioning, electricity, gas, water, basic cable TV, wireless Internet access throughout the building, and high-speed Internet connections in each apartment. All utilities are already established when you move in, saving you the hassle of making arrangements and paying deposits in advance. What appealed to me most about living in McManus is that it came furnished, and I don’t have to pay 3 months of extra rent if my summer internship is elsewhere. I moved almost every single year for the past 8 years, so I absolutely hate packing and unpacking. Not moving furniture over here or dealing with buying them definitely saved me a lot of headache and time.
McManus has its own laundry facilities as well as a gym for resident usage. There is also a big lounge where many clubs or student groups hold mixers or various events. There are also study rooms where any Kellogg student can reserve for group meetings or study groups. Because it is in a centralized location, many people prefer to meet in McManus especially at night or on weekends since it is usually closer than Jacobs Hall.
The only catch is that getting an apartment at McManus is based on a lottery. You can apply for an apartment in the Spring, and you are assigned an apartment based on where you are in the lottery. Because there are limited numbers of apartments, McManus usually cannot accommodate everyone that applies. I still think if you like the pros of McManus, you should still apply, who knows you might be lucky! If you really want McManus, another way to guarantee an apartment is to apply for the student director position. McManus’s Student Directors are full-time Kellogg students who run programming, perform on-call duty, and provide other assistance to the building’s residents. It is a great leadership opportunity, you get to know many of the residents who are your fellow classmates and most importantly you get free rent! Something to consider when looking at housing.