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?
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.
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:
||Final Decision Notification
||October 3, 2013
||Week of October 28, 2013
||December 19, 2013
||January 8, 2014
||Week of February 10, 2014
||March 27, 2014
||April 3, 2014
||Week of April 21, 2014
||May 21, 2014
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com 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.
Accepted.com's experienced admissions consultants can help you create the most impressive application possible with comprehensive packages, or provide targeted assistance from picking perfect programs to designing a dazzling resume, constructing engaging essays, or preparing for intense interviews…and more! Accepted.com has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top MBA programs since 1994 – we know what works and what doesn't, so contact us to get started now!
This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.