Category Archives: Chicago

Chicago Booth Application Essays for 2011-2012

Chicago Booth has released its admissions essays and deadlines for the 2011-2012 applications season. Last year the Booth admissions office made a lot of changes to the school’s application. While the change look less dramatic this year, there’s still plenty to dig our teeth into, so let’s begin.

Here ate Chicago Booth’s MBA admissions deadlines and essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Chicago Booth Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: October 12, 2011
Round 2: January 4, 2012
Round 3: April 4, 2012

Chicago Booth Admissions Essays

  1. What are your short- and long-term goals, and how will a Chicago Booth MBA help you reach them? (600 words)

    Booth replaced last year’s three-part question with this one, which is a more traditional “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question. Note that, as important is it is to make a convincing case about your career goals and your reasons for wanting an MBA, you also really need to take the “Why Booth?” part seriously… What about Booth attracts you to the school? This is where you need to show that you’ve done your homework, and convince the school that you’re not only applying because Booth is highly ranked. Chicago Booth looks for a specific kind of applicant — one who’s intellectually curious and is not afraid of rigor. Does that appeal to you? If so, show it here!

  2. 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 question gets at the heart of what MBA admissions officers ask when they see a reapplicant: “What has changed since last time?” While we don’t believe the Booth admissions committee did it deliberately, we do think that the phrasing here can be a bit misleading. The way it’s written, this question may lead some applicants to believe that they didn’t get in before because of something wrong in the way they answered the “Why an MBA? Why Booth?” question, but that may not at all be why they were rejected last time. Imagine you’re an applicant who had all the right reasons for applying to Booth last year, but you had some other big weakness that kept you out, such as a low GMAT score or not enough meaningful work experience. Now you’re back, and you’ve worked hard to plug those holes, and now you need to manufacture a reason why your thinking is now different, although that thinking wasn’t the problem the first time around.

    So, our advice here is to answer the question (ALWAYS answer the question asked!), but keep in mind that this may be a bit of a red herring. If you’re certain that it was something else that kept you out, be sure to work that into this essay, particularly if it’s something that won’t immediately jump out at admissions officers when they review your application data sheets.

  3. At Chicago Booth, we believe each individual has his or her own leadership style. How has your family, culture, and/or environment influenced you as a leader? (750 words)

    This question is also new this year, and it replaces a question that asked about a time when you took a risk. This question is potentially more interesting, although the fact that it’s less specific may invite pompous, rambling responses from some less savvy applicants. We envision a misguided applicant starting with a high-minded quote from a world leader and then providing five paragraphs that leave admissions officers wondering about who the applicant really is. How can you avoid this? Stick with specifics. You have a decent amount of room to work here (750 words), so plan on demonstrating your leadership style through one or two stories, preferably from your work experience (although stories from extracurricular activities are fair game, too). Avoid generalities and keep the focus on you, and you can do well with this essay!

  4. Considering what you’ve already included in the application, what else should we know about you? In a maximum of four slides, tell us about yourself.

    We have set forth the following guidelines:

    * The content is completely up to you. There is no right, or even preferred, approach to this
    * There is a strict maximum of four pages, though you can provide fewer if you
    * Acceptable formats for upload in the online application system are PowerPoint or
    * 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
    * The file will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation.

    Ahh, Chicago Booth’s “PowerPoint question” is back yet again, although it’s been reworded this year. The one noteworthy change is in the very first eight words: “Considering what you’ve already included in the application…” In other words, don’t simply rehash what you’ve already covered elsewhere in your application. You really must ensure that these pages add something new to your application — don’t use it to just show off professional achievements that you already cover elsewhere in your application. Be creative! The reason Booth kept this question is because, while it hasn’t worked perfectly for the school so far, it really is the admissions committee’s best chance to tease some personality out of your application. So, give them some!

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Edward Snyder to Take Over at Yale SOM

Today the Yale School of Management announced that Edward A. Snyder, currently Dean and George Shultz Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has agreed to become the next Dean of the Yale School of Management. Snyder, who last fall announced his decision to step down from the role of Dean at Chicago Booth on June 30, 2010, won’t actually begin his term immediately. He will take a year off, and then step into the Dean’s office at Yale SOM on July 1, 2011. Current Yale SOM Dean Sharon Oster will continue on in her current role until then.

Snyder comes off one of the most successful tenures of any business school dean in recent memory. Under his leadership, Chicago Booth almost doubled its number of endowed professorships and more than tripled its scholarship assistance to its student body. He led the move to the school’s new Hyde Park campus and established a new campus in London. The school is now expanding its presence in Singapore and is playing a significant role in the University’s involvement in China. In 2008, he announced a $300 million gift from Chicago alumnus David Booth and his family, which was the largest donation in the history of the University of Chicago and the largest gift to any business school in the world. In recognition of this gift, the school was renamed in Booth’s honor.

Snyder has had an impressive career in both the public sector and in academia. He received both his M.A. in public policy, in 1978, and Ph.D. in economics, in 1984, from Chicago. He first started his professional career Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served for four years. He then moved on to academia at the business school of the University of Michigan, where he also served as Senior Associate Dean and founding director of the school’s Davidson Institute, which focuses on emerging markets.

Before taking over at Chicago in 2001, Snyder served as dean at UVA’s Darden School of Business from 1998 to 2001. There he directed an expansion of the school’s MBA program, worked to improve the diversity of the student body, significantly increased the school’s executive education offerings, and led highly successful fundraising efforts, including a record gift from a single donor.

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Chicago Booth’s Rose Martinelli on Leadership

Earlier this week Rose Martinelli, Chicago Booth’s Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions, weighed in with a blog post about how an applicant can demonstrate leadership even if he or she doesn’t manage people on the job. She had this to say:

First, leadership encompasses much more than managing people. The vast majority of applicants will not likely have had the opportunity to officially manage people yet, but have had opportunities to “lead” ideas, sports teams, student groups, and, of course, make life decisions.Think about how you’ve impacted an organization or decision recently. It’s likely you did not have hierarchical authority, but you were successful because of your influence, effective communication skills, and your ability to motivate people toward a shared goal.

So think broadly about the topic of leadership recognizing that each person has their own unique style. Make sure that you explore your leadership style as you prepare for your MBA experience. It’s one of the biggest developmental challenges you will face throughout your career.

This is very consistent with what we discuss in Your MBA Game Plan — leadership is not merely a title or position that you hold. It’s a set of traits and behaviors that allow you to consistently make a positive impact on those around you, even if you’re not officially their boss. This is also consistent with what Veritas Prep discussed recently in an MBA admissions video on how MBA applicants can demonstrate leadership.

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Advice for Reapplicants from Chicago Booth

Last week Chicago Booth’s Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions, Rose Martinelli, wrote a followup to her first blog post about how reapplicants can approach the MBA admissions process. While the first post mostly gave very general information that our readers have seen multiple times, Rose’s second post contains some more concrete info that provides a good insight into how Chicago Booth reads reapplicants’ applications.

About your data forms, Rose writes, “Do not rely on last year’s application to provide us with that information since the forms change a little bit each year. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself -– why is this information important for the admissions committee to know about me?” While each school has its own approach for how much of your old application will make it into your new file, Chicago Booth includes your entire old application with your new submission. However, Rose stresses that your new application must present your candidacy fully.

About your resume, Rose says, “Your resume should be one that you would use for any job search, highlighting your role and accomplishments. ” While she doesn’t say it here, we would add that, although your resume should be complete and assume that the reader has no prior knowledge of your candidacy, you should put extra care into emphasizing what’s new in the last year — job promotions, a big achievement on a project, etc.

About your letters of recommendation, Rose has this to say: “While we know you may choose to use the same recommenders as in your prior application, ask your recommenders to update the information with your progression. It might also be helpful for you to take the time to meet with them to review your progress during this period and to highlight areas they might use as examples within the recommendation.” This is important advice — don’t assume that your recommendation writers know how to write you a great recommendation, no matter how smart they are or how strongly they support you.

Regarding your MBA admissions essays, Rose says, “Avoid regurgitating information you used last year -– whether essays or elements of your presentation. Be bold and start from scratch.” One question is specifically meant for reapplicants: Essay question 1B asks what has changed since you last applied. Rose says, “This could be anything from work experience, new goals or a greater self awareness. Here’s your chance to help us understand your growth from last year.”

This is consistent with what we always tell our clients: You are absolutely welcome to reapply to any top business school, but you really need to highlight what’s new since last year. While we appreciate Rose’s comment about greater self awareness, ideally you will have concrete achievements that you can point to as new and different since the last time you applied. Our reapplicant clients are most successful when they’re able to do just that.

For more advice on applying to Chicago Booth, visit Veritas Prep’s Chicago Booth information page. And, be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!

Chicago Booth Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2009-2010

The Chicago Booth School of Business recently published its admissions deadlines and application essays for the coming year. These will help you start planning your Chicago Booth application. Our comments follow in italics:

Chicago Booth Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 14, 2009
Round 2: January 6, 2010
Round 3: March 10, 2010

(These deadlines haven’t changed much vs. last year’s. Note that, like other top MBA programs, Booth is is pushing to get all of its Round 1 decisions out before the holiday season. If Booth is your top choice, this will give you a chance to know your status with the school before you decide whether or not you need to work on Round 2 applications at your backup schools.)

Chicago Booth Application Deadlines

  1. How did you choose your most recent job/internship and how did this experience influence your future goals? What about the Chicago Booth MBA makes you feel it is the next best step in your career at this time? (750-1000 words)

    (This is a new question for Booth his year, although, at its core, it’s still the same “Why an MBA? Why now?” question that every business schools asks. What’s interesting is how much emphasis this question places on your most recent job. This suggests that Booth wants to know more about your career choices to date, rather than just your future goals. If your experiences don’t all line up into a perfectly neat, well-thought-out career trajectory, that’s okay. But be prepared to show some introspection and communicate credible reasons why a Booth MBA is a logical next step.)

  2. For reapplicants 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? (250 words)
  3. (Ahh, “reflection.” Notice a theme here? Again, Booth looks for true introspection in its admissions essays this year. What makes this different than many other schools’ reapplicant questions is that it asks what’s changed about your thinking, not what new jobs you have taken on or achievements you have earned. A strong answer to this question will still highlight these things, but the school also again wants to see evidence that you’re really digging deep to understand why a Booth MBA is right for you.)

  4. Please choose one of the following (500 – 750 words):

    Describe a time when you wish you could have retracted something you said or did. When did you realize your mistake and how did you handle the situation?

    or

    Describe a time when you were surprised by feedback that you received. What was the feedback and why were you surprised?

    (Both of these options are new this year. Usually, when a school replaces or changes its essay questions, it’s because the old ones weren’t giving the school what it needed in terms of really getting to know applicants and distinguishing one from the next. Both of these questions are a little different than the norm, and we even consider the first one a bit risky. However, that’s a good thing — don’t shy away from discussing a serious mistake you made and what you learned from it, because such an experiecne can make for a terrific essay. The key, as always, will be to not only discuss the mistake, but also write about what you learned from it.)

Slide Presentation

In four slides or less please answer the following question: What have you not already shared in your application that you would like your future classmates to know about you?

We have set forth the following guidelines for you to consider when creating your presentation.

  • The content is completely up to you. There is no right or wrong approach to this essay.
  • Feel free to use the software you are most comfortable with. Acceptable formats for upload in the online application system are PowerPoint or PDF.
  • There is a strict maximum of four slides, though you can provide fewer than four if you choose.
  • Slides will be printed and added to your file for review, therefore, flash, hyperlinks, embedded videos, music, etc. will not be viewed by the committee. You are limited to text and static images to convey your points. Color may be used.
  • Slides will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation.
  • You are welcome to attach a document containing notes if you feel a deeper explanation of your slides is necessary. However the hope is the slide is able to stand alone and convey your ideas clearly. You will not be penalized for adding notes but you should not construct a slide with the intention of using the notes section as a consistent means of explanation.

(Here Chicago Booth asks you to present yourself creatively and succinctly. Almost nothing is out of bounds, but you really must ensure that these slides add something new to your application. Be creative, and show some personality!!)

For more help with your applications, take a look at the dozens of free sample MBA essays that MBA Game Plan offers. And, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Chicago Booth Announces New Loan Program for International Applicants

Last week the University of Chicago Booth School of Business announced a new loan program for international students. Launched in partnership with JPMorgan Chase, the new program will give these students access to private educational loans without requiring a co-signer. The new program will provide loans to international students who are not eligible for federal assistance in the U.S. and cannot qualify for standard private loans because they do not have a U.S.-based co-signer.

Under the terms of the new deal, JPMorgan Chase will provide financing to qualified international students for amounts up to the total cost of attendance, minus any financial aid received. Exact terms will be announced later this spring, when students will receive more information on the program.

“Almost 20 percent of our students are from abroad, and they add a great deal of intellectual vibrancy and cultural richness throughout the University and our community,” said Kimberly Goff-Crews, Vice-President for Campus Life and Dean of Students, in a release on U. of Chicago’s web site. “We have focused our attention on finding loan programs that will meet the needs of this important segment of our student body.”

For more information on applying to Chicago Booth, visit the Veritas Prep Chicago Booth information page, or follow us on Twitter!

Chicago GSB Announces Curriculum Changes

Yesterday the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business announced changes to the school’s curriculum to increase the program’s flexibility and to add a leadership development component to the evening program’s requirements.

The school’s graduation full-time MBA requirements remain unchanged: It still includes nine required courses, 11 electives and a leadership course. The important change is that more approved substitute classes have been added to satisfy the nine required courses. Chicago GSB continues to offer several hundred courses (across the GSB and the rest of the U. of Chicago) to satisfy the other 11 elective courses.

Dean Edward Snyder attributed the changes in part to the increasing quality of the students entering the class. “We have added a hybrid finance class containing five weeks of corporate finance and five weeks of investments that will allow all the standard corporate and investment classes to be taken up a notch in difficulty,” said Dean Snyder in a release on the school’s web site.

As for the evening students, the new leadership development course requirement means those students will take 21 courses, the same as the school’s full-time students. The faculty cited the importance of giving all Chicago GSB students tools for self assessment and opportunities to improve their interpersonal skills — no matter what Chicago GSB program they attend — as the reason for the change.

If you are considering applying to Chicago, visit the Veritas Prep Chicago GSB information page.