Chicago 2013 EMBA Application Essay Questions
The Chicago Booth EMBA questions are challenging because they separate your need for the MBA and your interest in the program – the first question asks, among other things, “Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth” and the second question asks “what you hope to gain from the MBA.” One could reasonably see these two questions as being basically the same. While the first question is wide ranging and includes what you’ll contribute to the program, the second question focuses on your goals – it’s the why-MBA part that overlaps. I suggest writing essay 2 first, because the goals discussion will provide context for what you hope to gain specifically from Chicago Booth. Taken together, these two questions allow you to create a well-rounded picture, with sharp focus on career in essay 2, and an opportunity to present selected highlights of your career (and non-work activities as well) in essay 1. A third required essay asks you to “zoom in” on a teamwork experience. It both underscores their emphasis on teamwork and associated skills and expresses a desire to see you in the context of your hands-on work.
Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth and what unique knowledge and experiences do you hope to contribute to the program?
Let’s break this question into two parts. Part 1: why you’re seeking the MBA from Chicago Booth. This section should address the specific education you seek as dictated by your goals, which you will discuss in #2. It can also address other desired benefits, such as the chance to interact with accomplished peers from diverse industries. In answering this part, be specific about Booth’s offerings and add insight or reflection based on your perspective and situation. If you can cite conversations with students or alumni, that’s fantastic; give examples of insights you’ve gained from them.
Part 2: what you hope to contribute. Note the word “unique” – it does not mean that you should dredge up some exotic experience that no other applicant could possibly have done; it does mean particularizing your knowledge and experience to yourself, your perspective, your individual lens. This is a chance to showcase aspects of your career and your personal experience that distinguish and differentiate you. You can discuss work points exclusively or work and non-work. Select a few events or activities that complement each other and provide some depth and detail about each. Also, think strategically about what Chicago Booth values and what the rest of your application doesn’t reveal.
Chicago Booth Career Services delivers innovative educational programming, offers one-on-one coaching, provides numerous networking opportunities, and provides access to job search tools in order to support your own career management. We would like to learn more about your career strategy and objectives. Please outline your career objectives, how you hope to achieve them, and what you hope to gain from the MBA to help you achieve them.
By listing its career resources, the Chicago adcom is showing that the program is invested in your career success. You should demonstrate your worthiness by delivering a thoughtful and detailed portrayal of your career objectives. Discuss not just general aspirations but specifics: industry, likely positions, which companies, possibly where, what you expect to actually do, possibly challenges you anticipate – and, as the question says, how. To transcend mere competence and make the essay compelling, also show how your goals are rooted in your experience, what motivates your goals, and your vision for your goals. Finally, discuss the educational needs these goals create that necessitate an MBA. You may also be interested in The Art of a Gripping MBA Goals Essay, an on-demand webinar.
Please describe the most challenging experience you have had working as part of a team. What made working with that particular team so challenging? What was your role in resolving the challenge and what learning did you take away?
Discuss a relatively recent experience to highlight your current level of responsibility and the level of people you interact with and issues you face. Try to make this essay do “double duty” by strategically portraying qualities, experiences, skills, talents, or other factors that enhance your candidacy. For example, if you work in an unusual industry or one that has unusual demands such as high regulation, use a story that will illustrate that special environment. Or it may be a unique experience, such as integrating a group from an international merger. A simple, natural structure is to start by telling the story. As you do so, elucidate your role at each step and show by detail and anecdote why it was challenging. Then wrap up with the results of your participation and reflection about the learning.
If there is anything else you would like the admissions committee to know about you, please share that information here.
This question invites you to present new material that will enhance your application, as well as to explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment, choice of recommender if not using a direct supervisor, etc.). As far as enhancement points, keep in mind that since you are making the adcom read more, there should be a clear value to the information you’re sharing. Also, such points should avoid material that more appropriately belongs in essay 1 (unique knowledge and experiences).
Early Deadline October 1, 2012; First Deadline December 3, 2012; Second Deadline February 4, 2013; Final Deadline April 1, 2013.
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By Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, "Ace the EMBA."
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