Chicago Booth 2014 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Chicago Booth

Chicago Booth

Chicago Booth, following this year’s trend in MBA applications, has gotten rid of the required goals essay and retained two short essays, albeit with different prompts and with 50 more words each. The power point presentation that it introduced several years ago has been required or optional, on and off since the initial introduction. This year, as last year, answering the question posed is required; it’s up to you whether you respond with an essay or a 4-slide presentation.

Last year the required essay asked about goals. This year in the Application section of the online app, there are two questions asking about goals. Each allows for 700-character responses. The first asks “What is your short-term post-MBA goal?” The second asks “What is your long-term post-MBA goal.”  Make sure the connection between the two is clear.  Define your short-term goal in terms of the function you want to perform and the industry you want to perform it in. If location is relevant, include that too. Your long-term goal can be fuzzier, but should flow from the short-term one. Realize that two of Booth’s stated criteria are “Sense of personal direction” and “Realistic expectations for the MBA.” This is  great place to show those qualities.

Again, like other programs, Chicago is asking more short answer questions (limits specified in X hundreds of characters). The way you describe your job and activities as well as how you respond to those short answers is going to be increasingly important in the evaluation process because there is less information from essays than there was in the past. Focus on achievement both on the job and off. Quantify as much as possible. Write succinctly and concretely.

Short Answer Essays:

Please respond to the following two essay prompts:

a. My favorite part of my work is… (250 words maximum)

Paint a picture of the favorite part of your work or tell a story that illustrates it. If in so doing you highlight resourcefulness, communications skills, or other qualities that are part of Booth’s criteria, you will be doing a good job of showing fit with the Booth culture as well as demonstrating that you have what Chicago Booth is looking for.

b. I started to think differently when… (250 words maximum)

Before responding to this question, please see The Chicago Booth Culture. Note the focus on challenging assumptions and a willingness to question 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.


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?

Presentation/Essay Guidelines

We have set forth the following guidelines:

1. The content is completely up to you. There is no right, or even preferred, approach to this essay. Feel free to use the software with which you are most comfortable. Acceptable formats for upload in the online application system are PowerPoint, Word, or PDF. However, we suggest converting your file to a PDF to preserve your intended formatting.
2. There is a strict maximum of four pages (presentation) or 600 words (essay), though you can provide fewer if you choose. All content must fit within four pages (presentation) or 600 words (essay).
3. The file size is limited to 16 MB.
4. The document will be viewed electronically, but we cannot support embedded videos, music, hyperlinks, or motion images.
5. The file will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise.

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 and short answers, 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.

There are infinite effective approaches to this question. Here is just one idea: 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.

Reapplicant Question:

Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

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  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Booth application. 

Chicago Booth 2014 MBA Application Deadlines:

Submission Deadline Mid-Decision Notification Final Decision Notification
Round 1 October 3, 2013 Week of October 28, 2013 December 19, 2013
Round 2 January 8, 2014 Week of February 10, 2014 March 27, 2014
Round 3 April 3, 2014 Week of April 21, 2014 May 21, 2014

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of 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.

  • Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for Chicago Booth, please provide the following information:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

    • Piyush Jain

      Where should we send this information for evaluation?

      • Linda Abraham

        You can post it here. You can see how it was done on a tips post from last year at .


        • Piyush Jain

          Linda, thanks for your post. How do you translate UK undergradaute degree to GPA? I got a Upper Second Class Honors from University of Westminster London for Bsc. Hon Biotechnology. Thank you

          • Linda Abraham


            Unless the school requires you to translate it, don’t do so. They have experts on their staff who are know the different grading systems around the world and also know the rigor of the better known programs. They also know how to get that information if they don’t know it.

            If your school asks you to “translate” your grades, they may recommend a service, or you can go to a service like WES or ECE, which will do so for a fee.

            If you are asking for your own information,Upper Second Class is competitive. Obviously the details (what courses did you take and where did you get the best grades) in your transcript count too.


          • Piyush Jain

            Thanks Linda. Will post my profile soon for your evaluation.

    • Piyush Jain

      Dear Linda, I have tried posting my review twice, however to my surprise the post disappears. Is there any other means to reach you with regards to profile evaluation? Thank you

      • Linda Abraham

        That’s surprising! we’ve never had that problem. I wonder if there is a character limit. Please send your info to labraham AT .


    • Risky

      Hi Linda-

      Could you please evaluate my profile based on the following info?

      1) I have been working in the Financial Services (commercial banking) industry since graduation in 2011; I have held various roles in Risk Management and have been assigned a new position and/or promoted 3 times
      2) GMAT: 750; 98% overall; Verbal 97%, Quant 83%
      3) Undergrad: Finance degree from Univ. of Texas; 3.42 GPA
      4) Very involved in several extra-curricular activities throughout college including serving as VP of my sorority, studying abroad, and participating in several volunteer and leadership development orgs; currently part of an international women’s advocacy org that volunteers and promotes the betterment of women
      5) No certifications at this time
      6) To pursue a role in Management Consulting with a focus on Risk Management and Strategy

      Thank you!

      • Linda Abraham


        You have a competitive profile for Booth. I’m optimistic! Please let me know if you would like help with your MBA application.


        • Risky

          Thanks, Linda! Do you think Wharton looks for a similar profile? If not, what areas do you think Wharton puts more focus on?

          • Linda Abraham

            Yes. Wharton does look for a similar profile. However, because of it’s learning team structure, it will also look for more evidence that you work well in teams, specifically through its Team-Based Discussion.

            Ironically, while the schools do seek similar profiles, they do have different cultures and approaches to graduate management education. Both are rigorous and quantitative. Both are tops in finance and will take you where you want to go, but at the same time they are different.

            I guess you can choose which you prefer when you get into both. :-)


          • Risky

            Well, thank you! Your words are encouraging. Hopefully you will be right! :)

          • Linda Abraham


            Please share when you have results!

  • Michelle

    Hi Linda,

    I would be grateful for an evaluation of my chances at the following schools (no particular order):









    1) I’ve had 3 years of full time work experience – Project Manager in ad sales for 1.5 years, and the last 1.5 years Media Associate at media/advertising agency. Neither of these roles have allowed me to directly manage other people, but I have gotten a 360-degree experience in the advertising/media industries. During undergrad, I have 6 different internships relating to entertainment development, production, marketing
    2) 750 GMAT (98%)
    3) College info: USC Marshall, 3.42 GPA. Business Administration with Cinematic Arts. 2010
    4) Women in Film organization, member since beginning of the year; Jewish Graduate Student Initiative member (they have various speaker and networking events); one of the founding members of the Business Cinematic Arts Organization at USC in college
    5) N/A
    6) Marketing or Entertainment Marketing

    Thank you!

    • Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for all the schools on your list, including Chicago and Kellogg. Considering your the entertainment angle of your goal, you may be better off at a school closer to LA or NYC, but Booth and Kellogg are both great programs particularly for marketing. Stanford is a less likely acceptance, but that’s just the numbers.

      The only element I see as a potential weakness is lack of leadership experience. Other than the Business Cinematic Arts Organization at USC, you seem to have been a member, not a leader or initiator.

      If you have that kind of experience too and I just don’t see it above, that’s great.


  • Anna

    Hi Linda, I am hoping you can share your thoughts on my chances for Booth/Kellogg:

    1) 4 years international Marketing experience — 2 years Asia and 2 years here in the US, started right out of college and now an Associate Brand Manager for a Fortune 500 CPG company.
    2) 630 — 49% Quant 84% Verbal.
    3) Did not graduate in the US but equivalent GPA is 3.9, graduated 5th in my class with Cum Laude honors. BS in Business Economics.
    4) Very involved in several undergrad organizations (held leadership positions across all), kept involvement as part of Alumni steering committee.
    5) None at this time.
    6) Aggressively pursue a global marketing career.
    Obviously my GMAT score is my crutch, but at this point I am thinking I do not have the time to retake — it will be a significant opportunity cost in time focusing on the other application requirements. I am juggling work and family and I am hoping that I can talk about the GMAT score (and why its low) in the optional essay in the applications instead.
    Should I focus on improving the other aspects of my application or perhaps maybe explore different school options instead? Is retaking the GMAT imperative.
    Thank you.

    • Linda Abraham


      You’re welcome.

      For Chicago and Kellogg, retaking the GMAT is imperative. Is there a reason (other than retaking the GMAT is a pain) that you don’t want to retake and apply R2?

      That quant score is a red flag at these programs. Obviously applying elsewhere is an option, but everything else is so strong. If you think that quant score is anomalous and that you can raise it, I strongly encourage a retake.

      You might be interested in “Should you Retake the GMAT?” or That GMAT Score Webinar.



  • Chris

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your input on Booth’s FT essay questions.

    Do you think you’ll also provide the same insight for their part-time questions in the future?


    • Chris

      To clarify, I was referring to their Fall 2014 weekend questions. Thanks!

      Essay One (250 words): Imagine yourself at LAUNCH (your three-day orientation) meeting your classmates for the first time. Introduce yourself.

      Essay Two (500 words): How will an MBA from Chicago Booth, from the Weekend MBA Program specifically, at this point in your life help you achieve both your short- and long-term goals?

      Essay Three (500 words): Please complete this statement; I am a valuable member of a team because…

      Reapplicant Essay (250 words): Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or obtaining your MBA changed since the time of your last application and what steps have you taken to strengthen your application since the last time you applied?

      Optional Essay (250 words): If there is any important information relevant to your candidacy you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here.

  • ohiovictor

    hi linda
    with nearly 16 years of military service in india, what r the likely chances of getting into a top 20 regular mba prgme in us/ europe. age 41. gmat to be taken.

    • Linda Abraham

      I don’t really have a lot of information here. Obviously your GMAT will matter as will what you accomplished during your years in the military and what you want to do with the MBA. Many if not most MBA programs like to talk about the 40+ year olds that attended their full-time program, but my gut sense is that it’s harder for the older applicants to get in to full-time programs. However, you military background will be a plus. It should have given your outstanding leadership experience and possibly logistics experience and if you were committed to a career in the military, that would also explain why you didn’t go earlier.

      Depending upon those three items I mentioned initially, you may also want to consider the Sloan Fellows program at MIT or LBS or the Stanford MsX program — which are all full-time, one-year programs for people in middle management aiming to move to senior management. These programs may be a better fit for you.