Chicago Booth Essays, With Insight From Rose Martinelli

The Chicago Booth School of Business has posted the essay questions for the Fall 2011 application. Rose Martinelli, associate dean for student recruitment and admissions, provided her perspective and insight on what Booth is looking for with these questions; namely, what makes the applicant unique and whether she or he is the right fit for Chicago Booth.

Comments from her blog, The Rose Report, follow each essay question.

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 short essays will require you to know yourself.  You will need to understand where you have been and where you are going.  Before you begin drafting the responses to these essays, take some time for self-reflection.  Why do you want to return to school?  Why is the MBA the right degree for you?

We know that many of you will use your MBA experience to help you figure out what kind of job to pursue next.  Even though your future career plans may not be clear at this time, you should still be able to discuss your goals and how they relate to obtaining an MBA.

For our reapplicants, question 1d is where you can tell us what, if anything, has changed since the time of your last application.  What has occurred in your life or career that has either reinforced or changed your goals?  What lessons have you learned or how have you grown since you last applied to Chicago Booth?

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).

You’re probably wondering, “What kind of risk do you want me to discuss?”  To be honest, we’re not looking for one kind of risk in particular.  It can be a risk related to your professional, academic or personal life.  It can be a risk that resulted in either a positive or negative outcome.  We want to hear about a time when you challenged yourself and what you learned from that experience.  How has that experience influenced your future actions?

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.

Essay Question 3 Guidelines

Chicago Booth has set forth the following guidelines:

  • The content is completely up to you. Acceptable file formats are PowerPoint or PDF.
  • There is a strict maximum of four pages, though you can provide fewer if you choose.
  • 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.
  • The file will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation.
  • 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.

Earlier this year, there was some discussion as to whether we would continue using the presentation as part of our evaluation process.  With the presentation proving to be such an important tool in helping us determine who is a good fit for Chicago Booth, we decided it was necessary to include in our 2011 application.  However, this year, we are giving applicants even greater freedom to decide what information they want to convey in the presentation.

Since we’re providing you with “blank pages,” what you decide to address in your presentation is up to you.  Look at the other aspects of your application.  Are there messages or activities that you have not yet been able to communicate to the committee?  If so, then the presentation will be an opportunity for you to provide us with this type of information.  After reviewing your presentation, we want to have a better understanding of who you are and how you think.

Also, please remember that it is the content ”“ not the design ”“ that should be the focus of the presentation.  We understand that not everyone is a design guru.  So, whether it’s through photos, images, graphs, or just words, the goal is to communicate your messages as effectively as possible.

Still have more questions about the application process? Chicago Booth will host a live chat on Thursday, July 22nd, from 11 a.m. until noon, CDT. To find out how to join the chat, follow this link.

Win a copy of our MBA admissions guide, “The MBA Application Roadmap”, by joining our Facebook Treasure Hunt. Be the first to answer questions posted this week on our wall to win. Six books given away this week.  www.facebook.com/StacyBlackmanConsulting



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