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Chicago Booth MBA Essay Samples
“Booth wants to understand what about Booth’s culture resonates with them, their viewpoints, and their aspirations,” shared a representative of Booth’s MBA program. One of the former Booth Admissions Officers on the Stacy Blackman Consulting team clarified that nuance is important with its applications. “If the why now, why an MBA, and why Booth questions don’t organically come out in the application or interview, the candidate isn’t a strong candidate.”
SBC has former Chicago Booth Admissions Officers and several additional Chicago Booth experts on our team. We know the nuances of applying to Chicago Booth successfully. If you’d like to speak with one of our Principals about your candidacy, please request a free analysis here.
In the meantime, see examples of Chicago Booth essays from our successful admits below.
As the decedent of two generations of Air Force fighter pilots, you could say that adventure and challenge have been core drivers throughout my life. My grandfather was a decorated two-star general praised for his thoughtful leadership and dedication to success. He was on the path to become one of our nation’s top military leaders until a fatal plane crash, and his gifts as a leader were never fully realized. I inherited my grandfather’s driven, adventurous spirit, and this has shaped my decisions as a student, athlete, professional, and member of society.
Beginning in high school, I achieved academic and athletic success that bore many collegiate options. I chose to attend College Z because I desired a challenging academic environment away from the familiarity of home. By my senior year, I earned captainship, chaired charity events with my sorority, and secured a management consulting job.
Treasured childhood memories of camping and hiking through our country’s beautiful National Parks created a lasting influence on me. I moved from City A to City B seeking a cultural change from the east coast and the convenience of outdoor recreation like snow skiing and hiking. The mountains have provided the best avenue to push myself physically and for meeting others who also share an adventurous spirit and love of nature.
During a bold solo trip to Peru, I trekked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Traveling alone enabled deep observation and self-reflection. It encouraged me to connect with other travelers and locals in meaningful ways. One night at camp, I jumped into a soccer-juggling contest with some Peruvian porters. My rusty Spanish and soccer skills were laughable, but we all shared a common love for the sport that created a level of understanding, despite the language and cultural barriers between us.
When considering ways to volunteer within my community, I wanted to focus on women who lack the resources and choices that I had growing up. This past year, I have led experiential workshops at correctional facilities throughout the state. I was overcome with nerves and discomfort my first day at prison. Within minutes of conversing with “offenders,” I realized they, too, have stories, pain, happiness, and regret, which are not too different from my own. Despite my facilitation role, I find myself learning through the different experiences and perspectives shared. They leave with new skills for life post-incarceration, and I leave with a more empathetic understanding of others.
My journey has been built upon taking risks and putting myself in uncomfortable situations. Channeling this mindset, I will enthusiastically contribute to Booth’s community while learning from others’ experiences. The flexible curriculum and choice-rich environment at Booth may be daunting for some, but I view it as a unique opportunity to steer my own development as a thoughtful and inclusive business leader.
The most rewarding part of management consulting is the ability to help companies and clients realize their full potential. However, as each engagement closes, I never feel full ownership of the transformative work I’ve implemented. Consulting does not provide the opportunity of truly owning a profit and loss statement, steering a business unit, or executing a multi-year growth plan. I began exploring other ways to pursue my passion for growing and scaling companies.
That’s when Booth’s pay-it-forward community stepped in.
I connected with a Booth alumna and she enthusiastically recommended me for an internship. Next thing I know, I was identifying acquisition targets, analyzing market risk, valuating companies, and developing growth strategies – all foundational skills necessary to acquire and grow a private small to middle-market enterprise (SME). I was experiencing the value of a Booth MBA, first-hand. Alumni go above and beyond to help one another, and they openly welcome young professionals, like myself, seeking new opportunities. I was both impressed and inspired.
Chicago Booth is the ideal program due to its flexible curriculum and rich resources aligned to these goals. Having no cohort or fixed curriculum is extremely appealing, as I have already gained broad business experience through consulting. With this flexibility, I will focus on courses and labs that will strengthen my financial and entrepreneurial skills – in particular, the New Venture and Small Enterprise Lab and the popular Entrepreneurship through Acquisition class with Professor XXX.
To start my own fund, I need a strong network of investors and advisors. I will seek a leadership position in the Entrepreneurship through Acquisition Club to cultivate resources for capital acquisition, technology innovation, and general enterprise management for myself and other students.
After gaining experience strategically growing a company, I aim to move onto more challenging transformations as each comes to a natural end. Private-sector SMEs offer tremendous untapped opportunity, as they represent close to one third of the United States’ GDP and contribute heavily to job creation and innovation.
Once I have built a brand as a mid-market growth leader, I plan to earn the seat of a C-suite leader in a mid-market company where I can continue the rewarding work of helping organizations and people realize their full potential.
Booth’s supportive community has already begun to arm me with the growth-minded skills necessary to lead a profitable business. Attending Booth will allow me to contribute back to this community and ultimately, contribute much more to organizations I lead in the future.
My dream is to invest in and support companies that push the healthcare industry forward and to help them grow and achieve their goals. This is high order work that will require an intimate knowledge of the fundamentals of business and adept problem solving skills. A Booth MBA is the ideal next step in preparing me to accomplish my dream. At Booth, I will gain a formal education in finance, economics, accounting, and other core business proficiencies; areas where my learning thus far has been mostly through experience. Booth offers everything that I am looking for, and has the added benefit of being in Chicago, where I call home.
Initially, I was attracted to Booth because of its strong emphasis on analysis and critical thinking. I consider these skills to be personal strengths, but I want to continue developing them throughout my career. The Booth curriculum, which focuses on analytical problem-solving, has countless opportunities to prepare me for a career in private equity or venture capital. The lab courses are especially exciting for me, since I learn faster and more deeply when I have the chance to apply what I’ve learned in class or on the job. If I were to be accepted to Booth, I would hope to participate at least three lab courses:
• The Private Equity/Venture Capital lab, which would be invaluable in bridging the gap between my experiences. The work experience, skills, and the Booth network would provide a significant jumpstart to my career.
• The Healthcare Analytics Lab, because data, insights, and action are crucial to every business model. This class would continue to develop the skills that I have built, while broadening my understanding of the challenges and opportunities in healthcare analytics.
• The New Venture/Small Enterprise Lab, which would provide exposure as to what goes into building a startup. This is pivotal in becoming an enlightened investor and advisor to startups and small companies.
Also, the curriculum at Booth is taught by world renowned faculty, with professors like ZZZ and XXX. XXXs publication “Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence, and Capital Flows” was part of my early self-education in private equity, and I look forward to continuing that in his class “Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity.”
Beyond the world-class education I would receive at Booth, Chicago is my home; my family is here, and I have already begun to build my career here. The University of Chicago is woven into the fabric of the city, and at Booth I will have the opportunity to study and work with individuals who will be changing the city and the world. That is the kind of network that I want to build.
The extensive alumni network and affiliate organizations provide an immediate connection to thousands of capable people and organizations throughout the city, especially in healthcare through the University of Chicago Hospital system. I plan to be an active member of the University of Chicago network, particularly through the XXX Center. The XXX Center is an incredible hub for entrepreneurship and is a gateway to the Chicago startup industry. It is critical to keep a pulse of the startup scene, and I plan to participate in as many XXX events and programs as possible.
Booth provides a clear stepping stone toward accomplishing my goals. At Booth, I will get a world-class business education and the opportunity to gain hands-on industry experience in venture capital. I will learn from professors who are active leaders in their fields and the extraordinary students around me; students who will be future leaders in their own fields, and will be friends and allies in my mission to help people live healthier lives.
On February 13, 2014, I was nervous for two reasons: I was stuck in the library due to a snowstorm and I was scheduled to talk with the CIO of XXX about analytics. We met through mutual connections as I was pursuing my masters in business analytics. The CIO discussed how analytics was transforming every aspect of XXX’s business from engineering to compliance and how I was entering one of the most in demand job roles for the next decade. After the call, I trudged across campus with excitement and confidence knowing that I wanted a career on the front lines of data science.
In 2016, I was placed on my first analytics project at XXX. My team and I developed predictive models for a commercial aircraft engine manufacturer for their aftermarket leasing business line. Engine failures cost millions of dollars each year due to flight delays, passengers missing connections, and maintenance. We had over 1000 engine sensors available across five flight phases and trained our models using 4 years of data. One of the challenges with this endeavor was missing and incomplete data. We overcame this obstacle by only training on engines with consistent data across multiple months. We also harnessed external data from a NASA satellite that captures concentrations of particles in the atmosphere. As aircraft fly across the globe, we found engines deteriorate faster when flying within one region than others. I led development of the data cleaning and enhancement routines for all the engine parameters and the business documentation once the project ended. These models would likely prolong engine life by 1 additional year and reduce maintenance costs by $1,000,000 per engine.
Immediately after my first analytics project, I was asked to work on a project overseas in France with a major commercial aircraft manufacturer. My team and I developed predictive models that forecast critical pneumatic system failures for a commercial aircraft, which control air conditioning and pressurization of passenger cabin. I led development of the data preparation routines, model building, and model evaluation for accuracy and business impact. These models correctly flagged 86% of flights – before failure against a simulation of 50 aircraft, which would save the airline over $2,000,000 a year.
A year later, I was asked to attend a workshop in Abu Dhabi, UAE to discuss my experience on the previous two aircraft projects with one of XXX’s newer airline clients. I was asked to attend by XXX innovation executives who sell and lead XXX’s most innovative and technologically advanced engagements that IBM hopes will generate new revenue streams. I led a data workshop where I developed a data ecosystem diagram of the client’s data infrastructure to understand the availability and location of all the necessary data assets required to conduct analytics. The diagram was presented at the end of the workshop to the airline and XXX executives as outcomes of the workshop.
With XXX, I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients in the Middle East and Europe. The focus of the work is the same, but it’s been rewarding to develop my communication skills and apply my knowledge in different contexts. These experiences have fueled my passion for data science and its impacts globally.
I am generally dissatisfied, and I have been for the majority of my life. At a young age, my grandfather, a single father of three daughters — and a first-generation immigrant to the U.S. — instilled in me the value of challenging the limits of perception. During my childhood visits to my grandfather’s home in New Mexico, we often perused the stalls of a local market for that evening’s dinner ingredients, and my grandfather would press me to haggle with vendors for a lower price. As a young girl, speaking in broken Spanish, I certainly did not always succeed, but my grandfather displayed a satisfied look on his face regardless of the outcome. As I matured, I understood he had been pushing me to test the perception of my naivety, while also readying me to challenge forthcoming apparent limitations. As I have developed both personally and professionally, my grandfather’s preparation has continued to drive my choices.
Personally, I am dissatisfied with limiting my perspective to that of my own culture. In a first attempt to address this after my first year in college, I chose to complete a summer study-abroad program in Spain, during which I lived with a local woman, Selena. This intimate experience showed me that Selena’s daily joys and concerns made us more alike than different and developed my affinity for experiencing culture through food. I also realized immersing myself in foreign cultures and challenging the limits of my own perception energizes me. I am excited to further engage this passion at Booth through leading a Random Walk and leveraging my love of culture to enhance the experience for first-year students.
Professionally, I am dissatisfied with accepting there are limits to my potential impact, particularly those stemming from being a woman in financial services. As an undergraduate at [College], I was surrounded predominantly by men in my finance classes. I was also reminded frequently that securing my dream job in investment banking would be made even more difficult coming from a “non-target” school. Faced with two potentially hindering factors, I decided to set out on my first professional endeavor to address my dissatisfaction, and secured an analyst position at [Company].
Despite this personal success, I continued to be dissatisfied with the opportunity for [College] students on an ongoing basis. Therefore, post-graduation I have chosen to work actively with [College]’s Career Services department to coordinate biannual trips for students to visit financial institutions in New York and connect with alumni. In recognition of my contribution to the program, I was recently honored as the alumni speaker at the annual celebratory dinner for graduating seniors in the undergraduate business school.
As I entered my second year as an analyst, I was dissatisfied to learn many of my female peers were exiting the firm due to lack of internal mentors and career support resources, so I applied to be a member of the firm’s inaugural women’s initiative committee. In monthly meetings I highlighted topics that made sustaining a career in financial services difficult for women. The reports from these sessions were compiled for C-suite management review, and changes did phase in marginally. With Booth’s flexible curriculum, I will continue to prioritize impact and apply to the PE/VC Lab during my first semester. The course will provide me with the opportunity to intern at a Chicago-based PE fund during the semester and apply my classroom learnings “in the field.”
Ultimately dissatisfied with the transactional nature of my investment banking role and the lack of opportunity for profound impact on clients and other constituents, I chose to transition to an investment associate role at [Company]. [Company] is a middle-market, operationally focused private equity fund where I have already been making a difference working directly with the CEO and CFO of a portfolio company to implement operational improvement programs.
SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Kellogg, Booth and every elite business program in the US and Europe. These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.
Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Beth who held the position of Director of Admissions for Kellogg’s Full Time MBA program selecting candidates for the 2-year, 1-year, MMM and JD MBA programs.
Meet Kim, who was an Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Chicago Booth.
Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.
We can improve your MBA profile and boost your candidacy.
Gain insight into the review process and eliminate weaknesses from your MBA application.
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