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Chicago Booth MBA: The Complete Admissions Guide

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Chicago—a city is known for its deep-dish pizza, stunning Lake Michigan vistas, and yes, a world-class business education! Chicago Booth, also just referred to as “Booth,” is a prestigious MBA program at the University of Chicago. The Booth MBA program is currently ranked #3 in best business schools and #1 in part-time MBA programs, so you’ll have to be a very strong candidate to get in. Without further ado, let’s jump in and take a look at what it takes to get a Chicago Booth MBA!


 


 

Chicago Booth MBA: Class Profile

For any school you’re considering applying to, it’s a good idea to check out their most recent class profile. This will give you a sense of who’s getting accepted. As yourself: Who gets accepted? What GPA should I probably have? What GMAT score do I need for Booth? The answer to these questions and more can be found in the class profile.

The most recent class profile for full-time Chicago Booth MBA students is for the class of 2022. Here are the highlights:

Class Profile Admission Statistics
Acceptance Rate 12%
Class Size 620 (out of 5037 applicants)
GMAT (Average) 732
GRE (Average) 163 (Quantitative)
161 (Verbal)
GPA (Average undergraduate) 3.6 (GPA range 2.8-4)
Average Work Experience 5 years
Women Students 42%
International Students 39%
Student Holding Graduate Degrees 16%
Average Age of Full-Time Students 28
Minority Students 44%
Underrepresented Minorities 20%

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University of Chicago Booth MBA building

How to Get Into the Booth MBA Program: Application Process

Okay, so you know you’ll have to be a good, highly disciplined student to get into Chicago Booth. Think you’ve got the chops? Great! Next, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the robust application process before starting your application.

You can read more about applying to Chicago Booth, but below is an application checklist covering the key application components.

Online Application and Application Fee

You’ll need to submit your application over the web. You can register for that online app and access it from theBooth MBA application page.

To submit the application, Booth asks for a $250 processing fee. While a $250 fee is not necessarily expensive for a top-tier grad school, it’s not exactly cheap either. If you’re interested in getting the fee waived, you may be able to do that. Waivers are available to those who have participated in certain kinds of work or study programs. For more info, go to Booth’s admissions FAQ page, and click the question “Am I eligible for a fee waiver?”

Essays for Booth MBA

You will be asked to submit two required essays as part of your Booth application. As far as formal requirements, you may use your judgement about how long. This year’s required essay prompts are as follows:

  • How will a Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (Minimum 250 words, no maximum.)
  • An MBA is as much about personal growth as it is about professional development. In addition to sharing your experience and goals in terms of career, we’d like to learn more about you outside of the office. Use this opportunity to tell us something about who you are… (Minimum 250 words, no maximum.)

Additionally, you may also choose to compose an essay based on the following optional prompt:

  • Is there any unclear information in your application that needs further explanation? (Maximum 300 words.)

What might you feel the need to explain a bit further in this essay? Perhaps your grades dipped, you took off a period of time from work, or you experienced a hardship or extenuating circumstance. Include anything that you feel impacts your application and therefore requires additional elaboration.

Of course, it’s better to skip the question than to over-explain something that doesn’t really relate to your application.

Finally, if you’re re-applying to Booth, you’re required to compose an additional essay in response to the following prompt:

  • Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (Maximum 300 words.)

Booth MBA Test Scores

Does the Booth MBA program require the GMAT? Booth requires either the GMAT or GRE as part of your application. For the class of 2022, 83% of admitted students submitted GMAT scores and 17% of admitted GRE scores.

When you initially apply, Booth accepts self-reported scores on the honor system, meaning you can simply state on your application what scores you received. However, if your scores are self-reported and you then get accepted, this acceptance will be conditional. In other words, you won’t be fully admitted until you submit your official score report. At this time, you can submit your GMAT scores using code H9X-9F-34 or your GRE scores using code 0685. Also, scores are valid for five years.

International students from non-native-English speaking backgrounds may also need to submit TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores. For details, go to Booth’s instructions for international Chicago-Booth applicants.

Transcripts

You’ll need to submit transcripts for any undergraduate or graduate studies you’ve done so far. When you apply, you can send scans of your transcripts electronically. You’ll need to send official transcripts if you’re admitted.

Resume

Of course, in an MBA application, work experience is about as important as your academic track record. This is why Chicago Booth asks you to send them a one-page resume. What does a strong resume look like? I’m glad you asked! Chicago Booth itself offers a detailed list of winning resume tips and tricks for their MBA program.

Letters of Recommendation for Booth MBA Admissions

Booth requires two letters of recommendation as part of your application. Both letters should be from people who know you well and can speak both to your character and your potential to succeed at Booth. Booth even goes so far as to say that you should not choose your recommenders based on reputation and status. Rather, choose them based on their ability to speak to specific strengths and contributions you have made.

The first letter should ideally be written by a current or former supervisor who has worked with you directly in a professional setting. If you work for a family business, please do not select a family member to write this letter, but opt for another professional client.

The second letter should come from another professional connection, for example, a colleague at a particular place of employment or organization where you volunteer.

Your recommenders will also be asked to complete an assessment of you that answers questions about your general work performance and your ability to take and use constructive feedback.

Overall, choose individuals who can speak authentically and emphatically on your suitability for admission into Booth’s MBA program.

Interviews

If you are being strongly considered for admission based on the rest of your application, you will be invited to an admissions interview. The Chicago Booth Admissions page says that interviews take place either on the campus or “in a location convenient for you.” In the current pandemic era, this likely includes remote interviews. If you have more questions about that option, it’s best to email admissions@chicagobooth.edu.

For more tips and tricks on the interview process, check out interview tips from Chicago Booth admissions.

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Chicago Booth MBA Curriculum

Chicago Booth offers four different MBA programs (full-time, evening and weekend MBA program, and EMBA) and they’re detailed below:

Program Overview Typical Time to Complete Years of Work Experience (mid 80%) Age of Students (mid 80%)
Full Time MBA A highly multidisciplinary, flexible full-time MBA program that includes an internship halfway through the program. 21 months 3-7 26-31
Evening MBA A program designed for professionals working full-time during the day. Evening classes are held downtown Chicago. 2.5-3 years 2-9 25-33
Weekend MBA An MBA program held on Saturdays. Students can take in-person classes downtown Chicago or take classes virtually from anywhere in the United States. 2.5-3 years 3-10 26-34
Executive MBA A unique MBA program intended to help students build upon existing professional skills. This program is held in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong. 21 months 8-20 31-44

Now, let’s take a closer look at the Booth MBA curriculum.

Regardless of which program you take, Booth’s curriculum centers around what they consider the fundamentals of business: accounting, economics, psychology, sociology, and statistics.

Beyond that core, Booth’s curriculum is highly adaptable and customizable to your own areas of interest. In other words, you’ll have a great deal of freedom in designing your own curriculum. That said, below are some key curricular components of the full-time MBA program. Note that the curriculum is very similar to the Executive MBA, with slightly different formatting. (Booth’s EMBA stands out from other executive MBA programs in how well it’s integrated with the regular full-time MBA.)

LEAD

LEAD is a leadership workshop that will happen at the very beginning of your Booth studies. And I do mean at the very beginning. LEAD transcends typical classroom instruction; it begins before the academic year has even properly started. The coursework starts during orientation week before the actual academic semester begins. But then it continues into that first term. Another distinguishing feature of LEAD is that it’s facilitated by classmates (second-year students) rather than by instructors. For more information about this unique component of the Booth MBA, read the MBA Leadership Development page for the program.

Qualified Work Experience

Like most other top MBA programs, Chicago Booth includes direct work experience with firms as part of the degree paths. The qualified work experience component of the Booth MBA consists of internships that Chicago facilitates. You can read all about it on the .

Foundations

For the “Foundations” coursework, students need to take one class in financial accounting, one in microeconomics, and one in statistics. Within those categories, though, there’s a lot of flexibility! Accounting and microeconomics both have five different possible courses to choose from, and stats offers an impressive array of 9 courses.

Functions, Leadership & Management, and the Business Environment

Like Foundations, this component of the curriculum gives categories to choose courses from. In this case, however, the categories are functions, leadership & management, and business environment. Here though, you do have somewhat less flexibility in which courses you can choose. There are eight classes between the three categories, and you’ll need to choose 7 of those classes and take them. So it may be more helpful to think of this in terms of choosing one class to eliminate, and then taking all of the other classes.

Electives

This is where your range of choice becomes truly broad. MBA candidates at Chicago Booth may choose ten electives… from a group of hundreds! Chicago Booth alone offers roughly 200 MBA electives, ranging from essential topics (such as supply chain strategy, financial instruments, venture capital, and investment banking) to intriguing theoretical and ethical topics learned in classes with names like Crony Capitalism and Storytelling and Narratives in Business. And you can also take electives from other graduate programs at the University of Chicago, including ones outside of their business school!

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What makes the Booth MBA program unique?

In addition to the leadership training and flexibility described in the curriculum, there are two other things that really stand out about the University of Chicago Booth School of Business: its international academics and its research initiatives. What is Booth MBA famous for, in these two respects? Read on to learn more!

In addition to its main campus in North America, Booth has three permanent campuses abroad, in both Asia and Europe (Hong Kong, London, and Barcelona). And this school offers four international studies grad degrees: three MBA/MA double majors that focus on different parts of the world, and a Masters in International Business. You can go to their study abroad programs page for details.

In terms of research, Booth has numerous research centers and initiatives and a robust faculty research program that’s very open to student participation. Perhaps best of all, the results of Booth’s research and case studies are widely publicized for public benefit on the Booth Review website. (Also note that research opportunities are open to current students, Booth alumni, and even people from outside of the Booth community who will otherwise not attend the Booth MBA!)

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Booth MBA Employment Outcomes

The table below summarizes the current employment outcomes for Chicago Booth graduates:

Employment Report (Chicago Booth MBA, Class of 2020)

Category Employment Outcome
Job offered (by graduation) 88%
Job accepted (by graduation) 84%
Job offered (3 mo. after graduation) 92%
Job accepted (3 mo. after graduation) 91%
Median salary $150,000
Salary range $55,000 to $255,000

Obviously, there’s some extra nuance not captured in that table. To see details on salary by region, background, and work experience, as well as other helpful stats, you can go to Booth’s own website for a full report.

Ultimately though, these are respectable numbers. A 90+% rate for both job offers and employment in the first quarter after graduation is very respectable, even among high-ranked MBA programs like Chicago Booth. The same goes for that median pay of $150k.

Return on investment is, in practical terms, the most tangible, measurable factor in whether an MBA program is a good investment. You can look into the data above and info from other years at Booth’s main employment report hub page. Hopefully the employment data, stacked against current tuition rates, really helps you pull your decision together as you consider Chicago Booth!

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