Chicago GSB has posted its 2007 MBA Application questions. As usual I am posting the deadlines, questions and my thoughts (in red) on the latter.
Round One: October 18, 2006
Decisions released by January 4, 2007
Round Two: January 10, 2007
Decisions released by March 28, 2007
Round Three: March 14, 2007
Decisions released by May 16, 2007
Chicago introduces its questions with the following statement:
"The essays are a way for us to get to know you better and a way for you to differentiate yourself from a large applicant pool. Responses to all essay questions are required of each applicant.
"Please contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at email@example.com or at 773.702.7369 should you have any questions.
"Consider how you can tell us your ‘story’ through the following essay questions."
First Time Applicants:
Essay 1: Complete all parts below. (1500 word maximum)
Explain the path that has led you to pursue an MBA as the next step in your professional and personal development. Describe your short and long term post-MBA career goals. What or who influenced your choice of schools, and how specifically will Chicago GSB help you succeed?
This is identical to Chicago’s first question last year. It is a classic goals question: "Tell us what happened — or better what you experienced — in the past that contributed to the development of your goals for the future and then tell us how our program will bridge the gap between where you are today and where you want to go tomorrow." The schools want you to connect the dots. And the more you can do so using specifics, examples, and anecdotes balanced with thoughtful, revealing analysis the stronger your essay will be.
Last year when Chicago first posted its questions, it posted a much more directed and lengthy version of this question. It may give you more insight into what the school would like to see.
Essay 2: Choose one of the following questions. (500 word maximum)
- If the admissions committee were to interview one of your closest colleagues, what aspect of your personal development would this person say is especially important for the admissions committee to know?
- You have been asked to write an editorial about the most pressing issue facing humanity. Please identify the issue and justify why you have selected it.
Thes are very different questions from last year and from many MBA application questions. Chicago seems to be returning to its creative essay roots. For years, it was unique in asking one straight-forward goals question and then two short, highly creative questions.
If you choose to answer #1, make sure you also include an example of the quality your "friend" chooses to discuss. Make sure you don’t choose too broad a quality, like "leadership" or "analytical skills." Your friend could choose "a good listener," and then use an example to show how your listening ability contributed to your leadership skills (as well as the ability to be a good friend.)
For #2, if you have a cause you feel passionate about (and have acted on behalf of) , then this could be a good essay topic for you. However, don’t be like the client whom I once interviewed. I asked him if he had an community service interests. He said, "Yes. Child abuse. Child abuse makes me really angry!" "OK," I responded, "Are you involved in any child advocacy groups." "No," he said, "I just listened to a talk show on the way over here and the host was talking to a child abuse victim. And it made me really angry." If you feel passionately about something, and don’t want to sound utterly hollow and silly, you will act on that passion.
Essay 3: Complete each of the following questions. (100 word maximum for each question below)
- What is the one thing that most people do not know about you?
- What book, play, or movie would you recommend to the admissions committee? Why?
- It is your first day of business school and people are selecting study groups. How would you describe the value you will bring to a study group?
Entirely new this year. Question 1 & 2 are clearly an invitation to discuss the non-professional side of you. If Essays 1 & 2 have been professionally focused than #3 should introduce you from a different perspective. On the other hand, if #2 (most likely) referred to a non-professional experience than perhaps #3 above is the way to go.
Keep in mind that as you analyze the questions and decide how to proceed, you want all the essays to present additional information, another perspective, a different slice of your life. This topic is something I touched on in the last MBA BlastOff teleseminar and which we will go into in much greater depth at the live MBA BlastOff seminar September 3-4.
Also note the very tight word limit on these questions. Chicago is basically asking for short, succinct one paragraph responses to #3’s questions.
If you would like help with your Chicago MBA application, please consider Accepted.com’s MBA essay editing and admissions consulting or a Chicago Comprehensive Package, which includes essay editing, interview coaching, consultation, and a resume edit for the Chicago MBA application.