Chicago Booth has always prided itself on admitting students who can handle ambiguity and lack of structure. And its application reflects that principle. In spades. This year’s Booth application also mirrors Chicago’s pride in its distinctive culture. This essay/presentation question, a modified version of last year’s prompt, is about as open-ended and original as it gets.
The prompt wording has changed and become more succinct, but the intent is the same: Get to know you and see how you think. And how you will fit into Booth’s community. Booth shares more thoughts and advice on its blog.
My tips are in blue below.
View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why.
• Choose the format that works for you. Feel free to submit a traditional essay, slide presentation, or any format that you feel best captures your response. Please use the format you are most comfortable with, the Admissions Committee has no preference.
• Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.
• File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.
• Accepted Upload Formats: Acceptable formats are PDF, Word, and PowerPoint. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.
• Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.
A few thoughts:
Should you write an essay or use a visual presentation? That depends on you. If you are talented visually and love graphics and powerpoint, use a visual medium as long as it will translate to PDF. If you are a “words person” who prefers expressing your thoughts in writing, write the response. Do what will make it easiest for you to express your essence.
Don’t take the lack of a word limit as a license to write the great American novel or your culture’s equivalent of War and Peace. Don’t use more words or take more of their time than necessary. Don’t mistake quantity for quality. This is a great place for you to show judgment — preferably good judgment.
Is there any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? If so, please address in an optional essay. (300 words maximum)
This is an open-ended optional question. You can use it to provide context for a weakness or blemish in your record. Or, you can use it to highlight an experience or aspect of your background that you didn’t have room for elsewhere and that you would like the Booth adcom to know about as they consider your application.
This question, unlike the required question, does have a word limit. Respect it.
Also keep in mind that the optional is not for repeating what’s found elsewhere. It’s for “additional information.” Don’t waste your readers time with repetition or the misplaced grand finale.
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)
The answer to this question is critical for MBA reapplicants, and it’s different from most reapplication essays in that it’s more about your perspective than what you’ve done. Chicago wants to see growth and development. 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. Let it also reveal that you meet Chicago’s criteria better this year than last.
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.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.