Tag Archives: Chicago Booth School of Business

Chicago Booth on Less Traditional MBA Career Paths

Applicants with unconventional or less traditional work/academic experience prior to business school often worry about how admissions committees will assess their record. First off, applicants should know it’s ok to be different, because no MBA …

Applicants with unconventional or less traditional work/academic experience prior to business school often worry about how admissions committees will assess their record. First off, applicants should know it’s ok to be different, because no MBA program wants to fill an entire class solely with folks coming from investment banking or consulting.

With that in mind, Meghan Keedy, Associate Director of Admissions at Chicago Booth School of Business, attempts to clarify matters in the latest post to the Booth Insider blog.

Early career candidates—those with three or fewer years of full-time, post-undergraduate work experience, including college seniors—are encouraged to apply, but should be prepared to clearly answer the question: Why an MBA, and why now? Chicago Booth highly values work experience and evidence of leadership potential, and will look for evidence of readiness and ability to contribute to an engaged community, both inside and outside the classroom, throughout the application.

Military applicants, meanwhile, should focus on illustrating the qualities Chicago Booth is looking for, which would include leadership, a strong work ethic, the ability to work with diverse groups of people, and confidence under pressure, Keedy writes. The school understands that veterans often don’t follow a typical career trajectory, but many of the qualities developed during military service are just those that make up a great business leader.

For entrepreneurs who may not have any traditional work experience, Keedy advises these applicants to connect the dots on how and why you put your ventures together and what you learned from it. Convey to admissions how a business education will help develop your entrepreneurial vision, and Keedy suggests discussing how you could improve in the delivery of future businesses.

To individuals coming from professions where an MBA is not typically a requirement, Keedy notes that the key attributes Chicago Booth is looking for remain the same: show a record of growth in your role, and that you’re a self-starter who has  actively sought out leadership opportunities. Explain why an MBA makes sense in your career progression, and make sure to demonstrate that you will be able to handle the quantitative components of the curriculum through undergraduate coursework, GMAT score, or other supplemental, college-level classes.

Also, MBAs in non-profit, government, media and entertainment or education industries are becoming more and more common, and Keedy advises applicants to probe their  own networks  for other non-typical business school graduates to find out how they framed their transition into something different.

In the end, it comes down to a clear, honest reasoning of why an MBA is the next logical step in your career journey, and why your unique insights and experiences will enrich the learning environment of those around you.

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Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips

Chicago Booth is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. This application is designed to evaluate candidates on their ability to …

Chicago Booth is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. This application is designed to evaluate candidates on their ability to handle the Chicago curriculum, contribute to the community, and grow in their careers. This year Chicago has discarded a longer essay on your career goals in favor of two short essays and the creative powerpoint presentation question.

Academic ability will largely be communicated through your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points, though intellectual curiosity can be demonstrated in essays and the interview. Community focuses on your demonstrated leadership, team building skills and community involvement, as well as your fit with Chicago Booth and the perspective you will share with your classmates. All MBA candidates are ultimately looking for a degree that will enhance their career. Chicago Booth wants to know about your track record of success, expectations for the MBA, and plans for the future.

Chicago Booth’s open-ended creative presentation or essay confounds many candidates. Whether you choose to write an essay or prepare a four slide presentation, take a step back from the unique format and think about the question strategically. The power point format simply gives you the freedom to express that answer in words, images, graphics or some combination. The best presentations will be simple, evocative and expressive. Remember, content is far more important than creativity of presentation. Stacy Blackman Consulting has significant experience coaching applicants through the Chicago creative essay. Contact us to learn more about our strategic approach.

Short Answer Essays
Please respond to the following two essay prompts:
a. My favorite part of my work is… (250 words maximum)

This short answer essay is the only explicit inquiry about your career in this set of essays. It is notable that the essay question focuses on passions, not goals. For a question like that it’s important to distill your career aspirations and feelings about your work into a clear statement. Think about why you go to work everyday and the moments that inspire you at your job and in your career. Ideally your career passions hint at what drives you on a deeper level and fit with your personal and extracurricular pursuits as well.

b. I started to think differently when… (250 words maximum)

Chicago is a school with a tradition of intellectual rigor, and the second short answer essay focuses on how your thinking has evolved over time. This question gives you an opportunity to discuss something that has changed your thinking fundamentally. This could be an experience at work, home, or in an extracurricular activity. It could even be a travel experience or something that you saw someone else go through. For example, perhaps a trip to another country changed fundamentally your ideas about society and economics. Or watching a family member struggle with an illness convinced you that preserving health was a fundamental goal of your own life. Whatever the experience was, make sure you are able to succinctly describe it and the way it changed your thinking.

Presentation/Essay
The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective. In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the rest of the application, what else would you like us to know?

This creative essay offers you a blank slate to express yourself with any content you choose. When approaching the question focus first on content, and then on delivery.

This is the ideal opportunity to bring in any aspect of your overall story that does not fit in any other essay. Think about any aspects of leadership, teamwork and intellectual curiosity you have already presented in the previous essays, and where the gaps are. If you wrote about your professional experiences in prior essays, the presentation could focus on personal stories. If there wasn’t enough opportunity to outline your core career passions in your resume or other essays this could be a place to illuminate that detail.

If you decide to write an essay response, you have enough space to tell a story that describes something new about yourself. If you decide to prepare a power point in response to this essay question, refine your story to its key elements. Four slides is a limited amount of space to communicate a lot of detail. Can you use photos? Drawings? If you use words, keep them clear and focused. Take every point up a level, so you are communicating a vision rather than a thesis.

Reapplicant Question: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

This reapplication essay question gives you the opportunity to focus on your thinking and development rather than any tangible changes you have made since you last applied. Of course, if you do have new accomplishments like a promotion or higher GMAT score that will be of significant value to your re-application. If you do not have any new hard changes to your profile this essay is an opportunity to show that you have done the work to evaluate your candidacy and have made changes this time around. The word reflection is explicit in the question, and the admissions committee will be looking for your thoughtful consideration of Chicago, your future and your MBA plans.

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Chicago Booth MBA Essays, Application Deadlines

The Chicago Booth School of Business has posted the MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2013-2014 admissions cycle. Deadlines Round One Application Deadline: October 3, 2013 Final Decision: December 19, 2013 Round Two …

The Chicago Booth School of Business has posted the MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2013-2014 admissions cycle.

chicago booth essays

Deadlines

Round One
Application Deadline: October 3, 2013
Final Decision: December 19, 2013

Round Two
Application Deadline: January 8, 2014
Final Decision: March 27, 2014

Round Three
Application Deadline: April 3, 2014
Final Decision: May 21, 2014

Essay Questions

Short Answer Essays
Please respond to the following two essay prompts:

a. My favorite part of my work is… (250 words maximum)
b. I started to think differently when… (250 words maximum)

Presentation/Essay
The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective. In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the rest of the application, what else would you like us to know?

Presentation/Essay Guidelines
We have set forth the following guidelines:

  1. The content is completely up to you. There is no right, or even preferred, approach to this essay. Feel free to use the software with which you are most comfortable. Acceptable formats for upload in the online application system are PowerPoint, Word, or PDF. However, we suggest converting your file to a PDF to preserve your intended formatting.
  2. There is a strict maximum of four pages (presentation) or 600 words (essay), though you can provide fewer if you choose. All content must fit within four pages (presentation) or 600 words (essay).
  3. The file size is limited to 16 MB.
  4. The document will be viewed electronically, but we cannot support embedded videos, music, hyperlinks, or motion images.
  5. The file will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise.

Reapplicant Question: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

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Chicago Booth Celebrates 9th Annual Women’s Week

The Chicago Booth School of Business extended an open invitation to both newly accepted MBA candidates as well as prospective applicants to attend one of the multiple diversity events held around the globe during the …

Women at chicago boothThe Chicago Booth School of Business extended an open invitation to both newly accepted MBA candidates as well as prospective applicants to attend one of the multiple diversity events held around the globe during the school’s 9th annual Women’s Week.

In collaboration with the office of full-time admissions and the Chicago Women in Business Alumnae Network, or CWIBAN, these events are hosted by graduates who open up their homes or host events at local hot spots, explains Joanne Legler, associate director of admissions, on the Booth Insider blog.

Whether large venues or intimate gatherings, the goal of these events is to give prospective and incoming female students a chance to speak to women who have thrived while at Booth, she explains.

“Many women are just starting their MBA research, and what better way to jump start your deep dive into all that Booth has to offer with a small event hosted by those that have already been there/conquered that?” says Legler.

For recent admits, she adds that this is the perfect opportunity to meet your future Booth network, as well as share your wisdom with applicants who are right where you were just a few short months ago.

Women’s Week 2013 will be held May 4th through 22nd in cities around the world, including Chicago, London, New York, and Singapore, among others. RSVP for an event near you today.

 

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Chicago Booth Offers 4 Ways to While Away the Wait

The waiting game at the end of round 3 is a nail-biter for MBA applicants, whether you’re hoping for an interview invitation or enduring a stretch on a waitlist. Joanna Zisis from the admissions team …

The waiting game at the end of round 3 is a nail-biter for MBA applicants, whether you’re hoping for an interview invitation or enduring a stretch on a waitlist. Joanna Zisis from the admissions team at Chicago Booth School of Business recently shared her tips to help nervous b-school candidates find some serenity during this time of great uncertainty.

1. What’s done is done.

“Don’t dwell on what you could have done better, how you should have included that alternate essay, second guess other offers you may have rejected, or agonize over getting into ”˜the one’,” says Zisis. Keep your eyes on what matters most – choosing a school where you will  have a great experience (even if it wasn’t your first choice) and jump-start your future career, she adds. The goal is to focus on what you want your career and life to look like, not just for the next two years, but for the next ten years and beyond, she says.

2. Take care of business.

“Start thinking about how you will break the news to your employer and what strategies you will employ to do that gracefully,” Zisis counsels. She also recommends applicants begin researching the cities where their top business schools are located, and suggests applicants start putting away funds for those expenses. “Most importantly, analyze what you need to take care of at home before your transition begins,” she advises.

3. Cultivate your network.

“You’ve probably met a lot of people while on this MBA journey and that’s a good thing,” Zisis says. “No matter where you and your new acquaintances end up, this is the start of a network filled with like-minded people. Having access to people you met in the MBA search process will yield great friends, partners to exchange ideas with, or potential business colleagues for your entire career.”

4. Dream on.

“No matter what happens, life will go on ”“ and so should you. Keep doing the things you love to do, whether it’s running on the track or developing mobile apps.  Start planning your summer as you would normally and make sure to allow time for travel, friends and family,” Zisis urges. “After all, preparing for business school is almost like a second job ”“ you deserve a break!”

Time will soon tell whether the future for R3 applicants will include b-school in the fall, or another year in the workforce. The key now is to try to find satisfaction in having managed the application process and all it entails, and focus on the many opportunities to get to know yourself better that this journey has provided.

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Round Three Advice from Chicago Booth

With just about four weeks to go until the April 4th round three deadline, Kurt Ahlm, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions at Chicago Booth School of Business, took to the Booth Insider Blog …

Chicago Booth round three adviceWith just about four weeks to go until the April 4th round three deadline, Kurt Ahlm, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions at Chicago Booth School of Business, took to the Booth Insider Blog Thursday to address some common questions—and concerns—that late-round applicants have.

While Round Three is more competitive due to fewer slots available, Ahlm notes they are still continuing to shape their class and are looking for applicants who would be vibrant additions to the Booth community.  If you’re wondering whether it’s better to apply now or wait until next year, remember the advice of all programs: it’s better to apply when you can submit the best possible application.

The key is to submit an application that best represents who you are, and clearly communicates your goals for pursuing an MBA. The Admissions Committee can tell when an application has been rushed, says Ahlm, so take your time and make sure you have an application strategy in place that leverages each aspect of your application to tell your story.

“Don’t use the opportunity to reapply a few months later as a back-up plan,” Ahlm cautions.

Chicago Booth also calms concerns of international students in this post, explaining that there will be ample time to process visas for Round Three applicants. Applying earlier makes life easier, but since round three decisions are released in mid-May and orientation doesn’t begin until the first week of September, international students will have enough time to process their visas throughout the summer.

If Chicago Booth is one of your top choices, and you’ve put together a strong, thoughtful, and engaging application, then go for it, says Ahlm. “We are continually seeking those who exhibit a strong fit with Booth and who we believe will be active members within our community ”“ and those applicants apply in every round.”

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If you’re looking for clear examples of how to address the essay questions, check out our Chicago Booth MBA essay tips post for guidance on how to successfully convey your professional and personal stories. And for insight into the interview process, read this recent post with advice from Chicago Booth interviewers.

 

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