Chicago Booth has released its 2013 MBA application essays.
1 - Essay: What are your short- and long-term goals, and how will an MBA from Chicago Booth help you reach them? (500 words)
This is a classic, straight-forward MBA goals question. What do you want to do with your MBA (where do you want to go?) and why is Booth the best school to help you achieve your goal (the right route.)
Define your short-term goal in terms of the function you want to perform and the industry you want to work in. You may also want to specify geographic location, if it’s an important part of your goal. You don’t have to specific the company you want to work for, but you can say you want to work for companies like X.
The long-term goal is usually more foggy, but it should be molded by what you learn at Booth and the experience you hope to acquire in the first 5-10 years of working after you earn your MBA.
Finally, how will the Chicago Booth program and approach to business education help you achieve both these goals? Focus on the distinctive aspects of Booth in your response.
For more ideas on responding to this and other MBA goals question, please see MBA Goals: A-Z.
2 - Short Answer Essays:
a. What has been your biggest challenge, and what have you learned from it? (200 words maximum)
The bare facts and nothing but the facts. Give a very brief description of your greatest challenge, how you have dealt with it and what you learned from the experience.
One tip on the lesson part: I see a lot of essays saying, “From this, I learned I could do anything I set my mind to.” Very nice, but it’s not true and it is very glib and terribly common. What else did you learn in a challenging situation? Perhaps something about how to handle challenge or maybe something about human nature or handling difficult people or people under stress or simply how to motivate without authority. There can be a 1001 lessons, but the less grandiose they are, the more real they tend to be.
b. Tell us about something that has fundamentally transformed the way you think. (200 words maximum)
Before responding to this question, please see The Chicago Experience. Note the focus on challenging assumptions and a willingness to question one’s own methods of thought and assumptions. That critical thinking and questioning mind are something Chicago values.
When have you had a belief and changed it based on new evidence or experience? What was the old assumption? What motivated you to change your thinking? Relate that story here. Succinctly .
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?
Question 3 Guidelines :
We have set forth the following guidelines:
- The content is completely up to you. There is no right, or even preferred, approach to this presentation.
- There is a strict maximum of four pages (presentation) or 600 words (essay), though you can provide fewer if you choose.
- Acceptable formats for upload in the online application system are PowerPoint or PDF.
- The document will be viewed electronically, but we cannot support embedded videos, music, or motion images. Additionally, all content MUST be included in the four pages; hyperlinks will not be viewed.
- The file will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation.
If you like choice, you will love this question. You can’t get much more open-ended.
I frequently say that an application is like a jigsaw puzzle in which different pieces come together to present a portrait of you, the applicant. Given your grades, GMAT, job history, and the other essays, what aspect of your background would you like Booth to know about that hasn’t been revealed? That should be the focus of your response to #3.
There are infinite effective approaches to this question. Here is one: If you have a hobby, use the slides to celebrate it. Take pride in it. Share it. Show that you could be a fun contributing member of the Chicago Booth community.
For the Micheners among you, don’t even think of writing a grand finale/summary that you print to PDF. No one wants to read it. Think of the question, “What else would you like us to know?” Don’t rehash or repeat.
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? (300 words)
This is a critical essay for MBA reapplicants. Remember, Chicago (and any school you are reapplying to) wants to see growth. Same ol’, same ‘ol got you a ding last time and probably will again this time. Let this brief essay show a maturation and evolution of your goals and reasons for wanting to attend Chicago Booth. Again, Chicago loves to see critical thinking.
If you would like professional guidance with your Chicago Booth MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our Chicago Booth MBA Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Chicago Booth MBA application.
Round Due Date Notification
Round 1 October 2, 2012 December 19, 2012
Round 2 January 8, 2013 March 28, 2013
Round 3 April 4, 2013 May 16, 2013
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.