Chicago Booth Application: Essay Questions 2013-2014

The Admissions experts at Admit1MBA have analyzed the Chicago MBA application, to make your life easier. Here is it….Enjoy!

For the 2013-2014 application cycle, the admissions team at Chicago Booth took a big step – they decided not to include a career goal essay, unlike in previous years.

While this is a trend at multiple business schools, from Harvard to MIT, I’ve found that it makes life difficult for applicants, especially those coming from a competitive pool of candidates (such as finance, consulting or engineering).  True, I have seen applicants who didn’t know what they wanted to do after they finished their MBA (whether it’s from Chicago, Wharton or Berkeley), but the process of defining (and articulating) their career goals for the purpose of the MBA application often helped them prepare for their MBA journey and career search.

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)

Analysis: Chicago had two short-answer essays last year as well, asking applicants to talk about a challenge and something that changed the way they think. Chicago MBA’s questions this time around are more open-ended, and it will be interesting to see what students come up with to answer them. The first question feels almost too simple and basic, and I encourage my clients to avoid (when possible) clichés such as “the teamwork,” “getting something done,” “helping the world.”  Nevertheless, if it’s all about the teamwork for you, find a way to make it interesting and personal.

The second question is a whole new ball game, significantly more complex to handle. A good way to start this story is by thinking about a time when you had to change your way of thinking, and develop it further. This essay could be a small vignette but another interesting option would be to talk about a transformation.

Essay questions: 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?

Analysis: The Chicago Booth application has included the 4-slide presentation for the last couple of years, making it a favorite for some applicants, a nightmare for others. Honestly, I find that writing a creative essay as part of your MBA application is the best thing you can do, even if you don´t consider yourself a creative person. The most important piece of advice I give applicants to the Chicago MBA program is to avoid using this essay as a laundry list of all the great activities they didn´t mention in the previous essay – “less is more,”  even in MBA applications (BTW, did you know that the Harvard MBA application now includes just one essay?). So, for this Chicago four-slide presentation, try to come up with a framework that you can use to highlight significant experiences, aspects of your personality or skills.  You want to budget enough words (and space) for each, so they will be memorable.

Let me edit and structure your Chicago four-slide essay. Email Yael at admit1mba.com to schedule your consultation.

More MBA Application Essays Analysis:

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Chicago MBA Application Essays: 2012-2013

Here is Admit1MBA’s analysis of the Chicago Booth Application Essays for the upcoming admissions cycle. Good luck!

Essay: What are your short- and long-term goals, and how will a Chicago Booth MBA help you reach them? (500 words)

Analysis: This is the standard “why MBA, why now, why Chicago” that you will need to answer for most MBA application. Make sure that you answer all the various elements and connect your past, present and time at Chicago Booth to your career aspiration. While you don’t need to specify the role you will take or the company you will join post graduation, you want to convince the school that you have a clear focus for your career. Before writing this essay, read more about the curriculum and the various activites offered at Chicago Booth and identify how they will support your career. Read more about MBA Career Goals Essay for INSEAD.

2. Short Answer Essays

a. What has been your biggest challenge, and what have you learned from it?(200 words maximum)

Analysis: This is a very difficult essay to write, as you need to address a sensitive issue and resolve it in only 200 words. The key to writing this question it so think about a challenge – a mistake, a failure, and figure out how it changed your perceptive and behavior. There isn’t much room to give a background of the situation, so jump right in. Make sure your learning is not a cliché like “communication is important” or “it’s all about the team effort”.

b. Tell us about something that has fundamentally transformed the way you think.(200 words maximum)

Analysis: To get this essay right, you have to reflect on your life and identify an experience that has significantly impacted you. It’s a short essay – only 200 words – so you have to grab the reader with something memorable, something that will impact the way they perceive you as an individual. This essay requires you to be personal and talk about the important things (and ideas) in your life.

 3. 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 application, what else would you like us to know?

Analysis: The four-slide presentation/essay from Chicago Booth has been one of my favorite BMA application essays, along with NYU’s “Present yourself to your classmates” creative essay.

When you create the slides (or the alternative essay), think about what you have already covered through your application and what is missing. Come up with new stories and content that will support your overall application to Booth MBA program. I strongly believe in creating sided that are focused on non-professional aspects of your work. If you are a visually creative individual, let your qualities shine and impress Booth’s Admission. If you would rather stay away from designing and creating a fancy presentation, think about your message, the themes in your application, and set-up a simple template for your slides – you are not going to be penalized.

More relevant articles to guide you in the Chicago MBA Application:

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