Tuesday Tips – Chicago Booth Essays

Chicago GSB is now Chicago Booth School of Business due a major alumni gift in November 2008. While the name of the school may have changed, the focus on intellectual curiosity, leadership and community involvement has remained the same.

The transparent view into the admissions process Associate Dean of Admissions Rose Martinelli brought to Wharton Business School has been carried to her position at Chicago Booth. Read the Rose Report for great advice on the application process and details on the Chicago Booth difference.

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 Essay Questions

1. How did you choose your most recent job/internship and how did this experience influence your future goals? What about the Chicago Booth Business School makes you feel it is the next best step in your career at this time? (750-1000 words)

1a. FOR REAPPLICANTS 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? (250 words)

In asking about your current position, Chicago Booth is also asking about the path that led you here. How did you make the choice to go into the industry and function that you did? What led to that most recent choice? 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 implied in the second part of this question. 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 Booth is a great fit for your and your refined career goals.

2. Please choose one of the following (500 – 750 words):

Describe a time when you wish you could have retracted something you said or did. When did you realize your mistake and how did you handle the situation?


Describe a time when you were surprised by feedback that you received. What was the feedback and why were you surprised?

Both of these essay options ask you to reflect upon your interaction with others and to vividly illustrate your inner dialogue about that interaction. The example could involve a team at work or in your extracurricular activities, or a conversation with a supervisor or peer. Whatever setting or example you choose will depend upon your overall application strategy, and should demonstrate a strong dose of emotional intelligence.

Spend a significant amount of time in this essay describing how you felt, what you said, and what you did. The question is seeking to understand how you interact with others, and how your awareness of an awkward situation may influence your reactions. Be truthful and introspective here.

Slide Presentation

In four slides or less please answer the following question: What have you not already shared in your application that you would like your future classmates to know about you?

The power point is back, though the question has changed. This version of the creative essay is similar to NYU Stern’s introduction to your classmates. 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. Special hobbies, accomplishments, background or personality traits are perfect for this essay. While your essay will be focused on you and what you want your future classmates to know, a strong presentation will demonstrate what your contribution to your Chicago Booth class will be. Learning as much as possible about your future classmates would be great preparation for the application in general, and specifically this element. Visit campus. Talk to Alumni. Reading blogs might even spur some creativity.

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.

Optional Essay

If there is any important information that is relevant for your candidacy that you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here.

This essay is optional and should be used for any issues in your application ”“ low GPA, gaps in work experience, or a lack of recommendation from your current employer. Remember to be concise and focus on explanations rather than excuses. For a topic such as a low GPA or academic probation, make sure to also focus on how you have changed since the event and the evidence in your current life that you will be a strong Chicago Booth student.

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

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