Breakdown of Chicago Booth MBA Admissions Essays


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An MBA admissions expert breaks down each essay in the 2010 Chicago Booth MBA application. Part of the 'Write Like an Expert' Series on

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Breakdown of Chicago Booth MBA Admissions Essays

  1. 2. Chicago Booth 2010 Essay Prompts
  2. 3. Read Flake <ul><li>MBA, Kellogg 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>12 yrs experience evaluating applicants as volunteer member of Kellogg Alumni Admissions Organization </li></ul><ul><li>2 yrs as Veritas Prep Head Consultant ( </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing / e-commerce background in airline industry </li></ul><ul><li>Live / work in the Chicago area </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>1 . The Admissions Committee is interested in learning more about you on both a personal and professional level. Please answer the following (maximum of 300 words for each section): </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>a. Why are you pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life? </li></ul><ul><li>Start with some serious introspection about MBA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NOT just to build resume and make more money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education, challenge, career advancement / transition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Explain how you got to this point. Provide brief work / life experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Why an MBA? Why now? </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>b. Define your short and long term career goals post MBA. </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear and quite decisive for short-term goals (even if you’re not 100% sure). Show that you’ve put some thought into it. Be realistic. </li></ul><ul><li>OK to be more broad and idealistic for long-term goals, but explain steps (A to B to C). Show sincerity and passion. </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>c. What is it about Chicago Booth that is going to help you reach your goals? </li></ul><ul><li>Classic “fit” question. Why are you a good match for Booth’s program? What can you contribute? </li></ul><ul><li>Due diligence—go online, visit campus/classes, talk to professors, students and alumni. </li></ul><ul><li>If you can substitute another school’s name in the finished essay, you haven’t been specific enough. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>d. RE-APPLICANTS ONLY: Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? </li></ul><ul><li>Show additional maturity through work / life experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Be reflective, but be brief. </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>2. Chicago Booth is a place that challenges its students to stretch and take risks that they might not take elsewhere. Tell us about a time when you took a risk and what you learned from that experience (maximum 750 words). </li></ul><ul><li>Think of an actual risk you took that had a significant impact on your career / life. </li></ul><ul><li>Use SAR structure (Situation, Action, Result). </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t answer the “failure” question. Show success, lessons learned and effect on you . </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>At Chicago Booth, we teach you HOW to think rather than what to think. With this in mind, we have provided you with “blank pages” in our application. Knowing that there is not a right or even a preferred answer allows you to demonstrate to the committee your ability to navigate ambiguity and provide information that you believe will support your candidacy for Chicago Booth. </li></ul><ul><li>We have set forth the following guidelines: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The content is completely up to you. Acceptable file formats are PowerPoint or PDF. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a strict maximum of four pages, although you can provide fewer if you choose. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The document will be printed in color and added to your file for review; therefore, flash, hyperlinks, embedded videos, music, etc. will not be viewed by the committee. You are limited to text and static images to convey your points. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The file will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Files need to be less than 9 megabytes in order to upload. If your file is too large you may save your file as a PDF and upload your essay. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>“ Blank Pages” (continued) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t repeat info from other essays / resume. </li></ul><ul><li>Good space for extracurriculars to provide balance to your candidacy. </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to address weaknesses and reinforce strengths. SHOW, don’t tell. </li></ul><ul><li>Use color and graphics strategically. Do not feel obligated to use four pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Above all, don’t be boring! </li></ul>