Tag Archives: Chicago Booth

Tuesday Tips: Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips

The updated Chicago Booth Essay Questions are posted for this admissions season, along with the deadlines . The admissions committee has provided some tips to make sure you approach the questions as they would prefer. …

The updated Chicago Booth Essay Questions are posted for this admissions season, along with the deadlines . The admissions committee has provided some tips to make sure you approach the questions as they would prefer. The overall goal of this application is to evaluate you on clear criteria around your ability to handle curriculum, contribute to the community, and your career potential. Curriculum refers to your demonstrated academic ability, and 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 famous power point question is back this year, and confounds many candidates. Take a step back from the unique format and think about the question as if it was an essay. 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.

Chicago Booth 2011-2012 essay questions
Essay One: What are your short and long-term goals, and how will a Chicago Booth MBA help you reach them? (600 words)

Re-applicant Essay:
Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words)

As you explain what your goals are and incorporate your background into that discussion, make sure you describe both why you made the choices you did, and think about why you didn’t make other choices. Self-awareness about your career and goals will go far to distinguish you in this essay.

When you address how a Chicago Booth MBA will help you reach your short and long-term goals, think about the specific classes and programs at Chicago Booth that appeal to you. Are you looking for flexible program? International experiences? How will these aspects of the program fit with your future career goals?
If you are reapplying, make sure 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 revised thinking as well as any new accomplishments you can describe. This is your opportunity to show the adcomm why Chicago is a great fit for you and your refined career goals.

Essay Two:
At Chicago Booth, we believe each individual has his or her own leadership style. How has your family, culture, and/or environment influenced you as a leader? (750 words)

This question is the ideal place to describe what sets you apart from every other applicant, and to address the “community” part of the Chicago Booth Criteria. Leadership is often a result of your own personality and background. Think about your early experiences that may have shaped the way you approach leading others. If you have worked or lived across cultures that is always a strong leadership attribute that could be described. If your experiences have been more typical, think about what your family and cultural background has contributed to your approach in key interpersonal situations.

Leadership is very much about self-awareness and your relationship to others. If you can provide one or two examples that clearly show your own leadership style and how it was forged, this essay will be successful.

Slide Presentation
Essay Three:
Considering what you’ve already included in the application, what else should we know about you? In a maximum of four slides, tell us about yourself.

The power point question 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 the aspects of leadership, team work and intellectual curiosity you have already presented in the previous essays, and where the gaps are. If you wrote about your professional leadership in essay 2, consider a personal or community story in essay 3.

To present the content effectively in a power point or pdf slide, refine your story to its key elements. Four slides is limited space to communicate a lot of detail, and you are discouraged from simply pasting an essay into the slides. 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.

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SBC Scoop: Crafting Credibility for a Family Business Applicant

Ahmed was the son of a self-made billionaire who owned a real estate empire in the Middle East. When Ahmed started thinking about business school he decided to work with Stacy Blackman Consulting because he …

Ahmed was the son of a self-made billionaire who owned a real estate empire in the Middle East. When Ahmed started thinking about business school he decided to work with Stacy Blackman Consulting because he saw his experience within the family business, largely working directly for family members, as his largest challenge in the application process.

In reality having work experience and goals that center around a family business can be a huge asset to an MBA application. After all, family business applicants are guaranteed to have a job after graduation, which minimizes any placement stress for the career services office! On a serious note, having a leadership role in your family business can be just as impressive as working for a stranger if you position your experience and recommenders correctly.

Ahmed had strong numbers with a 3.6 GPA from Cornell and a 720 GMAT that was balanced between quant and verbal. He had demonstrated leadership in college, specifically as the President of the International Student Program Board, with a mission to develop international cultural experiences for Cornell students. Ahmed had immediately returned to his family business upon graduation, and he had never worked for any other organization professionally.

We addressed his recommenders immediately upon starting our work together. Ahmed worked closely with his father, the CEO, yet we advised that an immediate family member would look biased if he wrote the recommendation.

Ahmed’s career path within his father’s real estate empire was impressive by any measure, and I was immediately excited to help craft his story when he recounted his work history. Ahmed started as part of the strategic acquisitions team and learned how to structure deals and operate within a challenging political environment to achieve the company’s business goals in commercial real estate. Ahmed had a vision for expanding the company into temporary housing and hotels to serve a growing expatriate worker population, and pitched the board an idea to develop their first apartment building. When his pitch was approved Ahmed moved from an analyst role to supervising construction, sales and operations of the apartment property. His building was an immediate success, after Ahmed’s team signed corporate relocation deals at a higher profit than the region’s average. Ahmed now wanted to return to school for his MBA with a long term goal to run the residential division of the family business and drive rapid growth. Ultimately Ahmed was positioned to take over the entire business from his father.

While Ahmed’s work history was impressive, he needed the confirmation of unbiased outside observers to give his work experience credibility. We had to delve into Ahmed’s work history within the firm to generate a list of possible recommenders who were not family members. After two brainstorming sessions we finalized the following list:

The firm’s head counsel ”“ he was not part of the family, but did report into Ahmed’s father
An independent business consultant who had worked with Ahmed on several acquisitions ”“ he was not a direct report of Ahmed’s father, but did have a vested interest in working with the company again
The banker who worked with Ahmed’s company to finance big deals ”“ again, not directly related to the company but invested in its success

We determined that these three professionals were the most unbiased of the possibilities, and had the added benefit of being unrelated to Ahmed. In the end he used the consultant and banker as references for Wharton, Chicago and Kellogg, and used all three recommendations for Harvard. For Stanford he asked the banker, consultant and a classmate who had worked with Ahmed as part of the International Student Program Board for a peer recommendation.

In addition to formulating a strong recommender strategy for Ahmed, we showcased his strong results for the business by quantifying the revenue his new division generated for the business. Luckily his numbers were impressive and the combination of strong leadership skills, business acumen, and independent recommendations earned Ahmed an admit to Harvard.

To read more SBC Case Studies, click HERE.

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B-Schools Affected by Budget Deficits, Too

Though the labor protests in Wisconsin have focused our nation’s attention on state budget woes, many other organizations have been adversely affected by budget shortcomings, including top business schools.

Though the labor protests in Wisconsin have focused our nation’s attention on state budget woes, many other organizations have been adversely affected by budget shortcomings, including top business schools.

In the article “Business Schools Get Lean,” BusinessWeek‘s Francesca Di Meglio reported that many b-schools have been forced to reduce spending, due to decreased endowments and state cuts to higher education in the wake of the recent recession. Avoiding layoffs has been a priority for most schools, but could not always be avoided. Here are a few of the cutting-back strategies employed by the b-schools featured in the article:

Tuck School of Business – Reorganized existing tasks, such as centralizing the school’s recycling system, which saved labor hours. Also reduced travel in favor of technologies such as videoconferencing.

Chicago Booth School of Business – While Booth didn’t lay off existing faculty, the school held off on filling openings and has reduced its temporary and contract workers. Like Tuck, Booth has also cut its travel budget and implemented a policy requiring approval from the dean’s office for travel.

Wharton School of Business – One round of layoffs in executive education department. Renegotiated contracts with vendors and cut down on travel and entertainment expenses.

Harvard Business School – Turned off heating and cooling systems during non-business hours. According to Meghan Duggan, assistant director of sustainability and energy management at HBS, this simple action resulted in six-figure savings.

Program cuts aren’t the only concern for potential b-school students. As businesses also struggle with their budgets, many of them are cutting back on tuition assistance programs, another BusinessWeek article reports. In “Tuition Benefits Drying Up,” Erin Zlomek writes, “In 2010, 56 percent of employers offered graduate school assistance, down from 69 percent in 2003, according to annual benefits data collected by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).”

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Interviewing for the Chicago Booth MBA Program

In the latest update to the Full-Time MBA Admissions Blog at Chicago Booth School of Business, associate director of admissions Kelley Curtin takes a moment to dispel a few of the many misconceptions regarding the …

In the latest update to the Full-Time MBA Admissions Blog at Chicago Booth School of Business, associate director of admissions Kelley Curtin takes a moment to dispel a few of the many misconceptions regarding the interview process that have cropped up during her recent meetings on the road with prospective students.

Here are some of the key points to remember after hitting submit on your application to Chicago Booth while you await an interview.

  • After submitting your application, Chicago Booth will process it to make sure the application contains all necessary materials.
  • Once complete, admissions will review the material to determine if the applicant should be invited to interview.
  • As a rule of thumb, Chicago Booth invites approximately half of the applicant pool to interview each year.
  • Those invited to interview may do so with alumni in the city they live/work in, or on campus with an Admissions Fellow (second-year students who assist admissions in reviewing/evaluating files).

Curtin stresses that Chicago Booth truly has no preference as to where you interview, as admissions understands that many applicants may live too far away or have work obligations that hinder travel.

“We are fortunate to have an outstanding network of alumni who are willing to conduct admissions interviews,” she says.  “Scheduling an interview with one of our alums is a great way to learn about the Chicago Booth alumni network in your city.”

Opportunities to interview with Chicago Booth abound, whether you choose to do so on or off campus, Curtin assures applicants. She also notes that in the case where the school doesn’t  have adequate alumni representation in a city,  a member of the Admissions team might be sent to that city to conduct interviews.

Whether you’re gearing up to apply in Round 2, or finalizing your essays for the October 13th Round 1 deadline, take a look at our Chicago Booth essay tips for advice on how to demonstrate your strengths in the three core elements on which Chicago evaluates candidates.

Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Chicago Booth MBA Program.
To see our Chicago Booth School of Business Essay Guide for MBA Applications, click here.


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Chicago Booth’s Top Ten Tips for Recommendation Letters

The latest Chicago Booth Admissions Insider newsletter offers the admissions committee’s Top Ten Tips on how to get first-rate recommendation letters…letters that can solidify–or improve–a perspective the reader already has about you. After browsing this …

The latest Chicago Booth Admissions Insider newsletter offers the admissions committee’s Top Ten Tips on how to get first-rate recommendation letters…letters that can solidify–or improve–a perspective the reader already has about you.

After browsing this list, check out yesterday’s Booth Insider post on the biggest mistakes Chicago Booth admissions has seen when it comes to recommendation letters…don’t let these happen to you!

  1. Your first letter should be a professional recommendation from a supervisor. If it’s not feasible to ask your current supervisor to formally write a letter on your behalf, find a professional contact that can speak to your strengths and your weaknesses, such as a past supervisor or client.
  2. The second letter is up to you. The purpose of the second letter is to give us a different perspective of your skill sets and provide you with an opportunity to add a new voice to your application. There is no preference on who supplies your second recommendation; our only guideline is that it should add new and valuable insights to the application.
  3. Choose people who know you well. Make sure your recommenders are close enough to provide specific and relevant examples of your work for Chicago Booth’s admissions.
  4. Meet with your recommenders beforehand. Take this opportunity to refresh their memory on your past projects and goals. Recent connections can make for richer and more powerful letters of recommendation, which is important in making a great impression.
  5. Provide recommender with background information. In addition to meeting with your recommender, you might want to consider providing a packet of materials to help him/her have a better idea of why business school is the next step for you. This could include an updated resume, your application essay question responses, and information about the program you hope to attend.
  6. Don’t rush your recommender. Be mindful of a recommender’s time. You want them to feel they have enough time to write a great letter, not just a good one. We suggest a month notice at minimum if possible. Plus that gives you time to meet with him/her before they write the letter and for a follow up meeting.
  7. Don’t write your own letter. In today’s busy world where everyone is multi-tasking and overscheduled, it’s not uncommon for a recommender to suggest that you write your own letter. But take our advice – please don’t do it!  Since the committee can usually recognize your writing style from other parts of the application, it’s best that the recommender draft the letter.
  8. Submit names of recommenders online. Once you access the online application system, you will be asked to provide the names and email addresses of your recommenders. The system will then send them an email message providing the link to the online form where they should submit their letters. If you have any problems with the online system or questions about this process, contact us at admissions@chicagobooth.edu.
  9. Monitor the progress of your letters.  You can see if your letters have been submitted by logging into the online application.  If the application deadline is approaching and a letter has not been submitted, then you might want to send a friendly reminder to the recommender.
  10. Send a thank you note.  Your recommenders took time to write letters on your behalf so it’s important that you follow-up with a thank you note or card.  They’ll know that you appreciated their help.
Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Chicago Booth Business School.
To see our Chicago Booth School of Business Essay Guide for MBA Applications, click here.


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Tuesday Tips – Chicago Booth Essay Tips

Chicago has published the essay questions for 2010-2011 applications. With the return of the powerpoint question, a new essay, and a longer career goals essay you will need to strategize carefully about how to approach these essays, and these tips are your first step.

The updated Chicago Booth essay questions have been posted with commentary from Admissions. Chicago Booth Business School evaluates candidates on three core elements: Curriculum, Community and Career. Curriculum refers to your demonstrated academic ability, and 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 famous power point question is back this year, and confounds many candidates. Take a step back from the unique format and think about the question as if it was an essay. 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.

Chicago Booth 2010-2011 essay questions
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):
a. Why are you pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life?
b. Define your short and long term career goals post MBA.
c. What is it about Chicago Booth that is going to help you reach your goals?
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?

These three short essays make up your entire career goals essay. As you explain what your goals are and incorporate your background into that discussion, make sure you describe both why you made the choices you did, and think about why you didn’t make other choices. Self-awareness about your career and goals will go far to distinguish you in this essay.
Why Chicago Booth and Why Now are explicitly asked this year. Think about the specific classes and programs at Chicago Booth that appeal to you. Are you looking for flexible program? International experiences? How will these aspects of the program fit with your future career goals?
If you are reapplying, make sure you have done the work to evaluate your candidacy and have made changes this time around. Reflecting upon why you want to go to Chicago Booth and the MBA process will certainly be part of that work. This is your opportunity to show the adcomm why Chicago is a great fit for your and your refined career goals.

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 of 750 words).

This situational essay question is seeking to understand how you think about risk, and what you do in a situation that challenges you. Though the admissions committee says there is endless latitude about the type of risk you describe, it will be useful to you’re your story based on the entire application strategy you have mapped out. What are the personal qualities you want to highlight in this set of essays? Do you have a story from work that can also demonstrate teamwork or leadership, or is this essay an opportunity to showcase your activities outside of work.
While your risk does not have to be something that ultimately paid off, it should be a situation that was defining for you, taught you a valuable lesson or otherwise can reveal a bit about how you think, act and approach life.
Spend a significant amount of time in this essay describing how you felt, what you said, and what you did. Be truthful and introspective here.

Slide Presentation
3. 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.

The power point is back, though the question has changed. This time Chicago Booth offers you “blank pages” that will allow you 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 the aspects of leadership, team work and intellectual curiosity you have already presented in the previous essays, and where the gaps are. If you wrote about a professional situation in essay 2, consider a personal or community story in essay 3.
To present the content effectively in a power point or pdf slide, refine your story to its key elements. Four slides is limited space to communicate a lot of detail, and you are discouraged from simply pasting an essay into the slides. 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.

Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Chicago Booth Business School.
To see our Chicago Booth School of Business Essay Guide for MBA Applications, click here.

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