I can't find it, but there's a guy who graduated from Chicago a couple years ago who...I'll let the thread speak for itself.
In any case, he came back a year later with some advice for people who are in "Chicago-style departments," meaning you're in a department that admits you and then ignores you while you do the PhD yourself. It's the best example of a department with no advising at all. In his post, he actually mentions cold-calling anyone who graduated from Chicago and got a tenure-track job to ask for advice, and also struck up a very good relationship with a few other prominent people (Wuthnow, Wildeman). It sounds like whoever his advisor was, they gave him about as much advice as Wuthnow and Wildeman did.
Occasionally we get Chicago grad students dropping by saying that JLM, Schilt, Clemens, and others have been working to reform the advising/mentoring process. If that's true, the reforms weren't far back enough that it affected the people on the market the last year or two. I think most people would suggest that you not go to Chicago over other top programs until someone can actually confirm that they actually bother advising their students.
I'm actually considering Chicago and I was certainly not impressed with the lackluster placement lately nor rumors of their poor training, but I did not know students had to actually outsource advising. That's unacceptable. Do you have a link to that post or thread?
Wow, I knew things at Chicago were bad, but not this bad. How can a department think it's ok to reduce their students to cold emailing faculty at other departments for help because they are too lazy to do so themselves? Simply ridiculous and embarrassing behavior from faculty at a supposedly top department.
This is disgraceful. Those faculty should be ashamed of themselves. No wonder Small and Monk left.
Yikes! I have never seen a worst case of mentoring (or lack thereof) than this at Chicago. It is utterly embarrassing and unacceptable.
Yeah, it is no wonder they have been placing so badly lately. The decline of that department should be a real wake up call to Berkeley. They already have more students than Wisconsin. Their mentoring is looking more and more like Chicago's. It's not a good model to emulate at all.