Chicago Booth MBA
Rankings | Class Profile | Employment Report | Sample Essays | Interview Questions
The mantra of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is it’s all about the idea. Students focus on generating, analyzing, comparing, and refining ideas in order to elevate them to better ideas.
The full-time MBA program consists of 20 classes plus Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD).
The flagship of the program is its flexible curriculum. Unlike many other top schools with lockstep first-year MBA programs, Booth does not require its MBAs to go through every class together. One key exception is the LEAD course, which all MBAs must take. However, by and large, students design a program tailored to fit their own career goals.
In 2009, after a faculty review of the curriculum, the school added a new academic concentration in analytical management and also required all students in the evening MBA program and weekend MBA program to take a leadership development course similar to the one required of full-time students.
In addition to analytic management, the school’s 14th concentration, students can graduate with an academic focus in accounting, econometrics and statistics, economics, entrepreneurship, and finance. Other choices include analytic finance, general management, human resource management, international business, managerial and organizational behavior, marketing management, operations management, and strategic management.
Graduation requirements for students in the full-time MBA program include nine required courses, 11 electives, and a leadership course; though in 2009, more approved substitute classes have been added to satisfy the nine required courses. To meet the 11 elective requirements students can choose from several hundred courses at the business school and other departments of the university.
Some of the new courses added since the curriculum review in the required portion of the program are more rigorous, an adjustment made to account for the more varied group of students entering the mainstream MBA program. The school added a hybrid finance class containing five weeks of corporate finance and five weeks of investments, for example, that is much more difficult than the standard finance or investment courses.
The three foundation areas of accounting, microeconomics, and statistics remained the same through the curriculum review. But the requirement to take breadth and general management courses was replaced by selecting classes representing functions (finance, marketing, and operations), management (decisions, people, and organizations), and the environment in which firms operate.
Booth MBA Essay 1: How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250 word minimum)
As a teenager, I was fascinated by personal computers which could screen movies, engage me for hours in visually-striking games and find me answers to all my questions. I picked computer science as my major for bachelor’s degree and was drawn to the practical applications that access to real-time data can provide. My curiosity led me to pursue my Masters in computer science at the University of Illinois, where I started my career as a Research Programmer. Noticing my communication, leadership and organizational skills, the IT director soon tasked me with leading a multi-campus team to implement a student portal.
The transition from a non-profit to a startup software company gave me the opportunity to help architect the digital buying system which played a vital role in transforming the company to a market leader. My deep knowledge of the products earned me Product Manager’s role which is more aligned with the core business and provides more opportunities for growth. My experience as a technologist has been invaluable in performing my current role as a product manager, helping me provide commercially viable and technically scalable solutions…Continue Reading Here
Booth MBA Essay 2: Describe a time when you were surprised by feedback that you received. What was the feedback and why were you surprised?
I was recruited to the army after participating in an intelligence program for which only 120 out of over 10,000 candidates were selected. In addition to daily shifts of running the compound’s intelligence operations, my peers and I were given several project options. I elected to train 20 soldiers and improve the work methods of a prestigious department. I discovered it was difficult to find the opportunity to initiate meaningful change in an already efficient department. I did my job of co-managing about 30 intelligence personnel on a daily basis and assumed that would suffice to get my commanders’ attention.
A few months afterward, I was called into my commander’s office and notified I wasn’t selected to be among the first set of officers to go to officers’ course. I was surprised – I thought I was doing my work well enough and assumed that I would be noticed and chosen to be an officer. My commander explained to me that I wasn’t making a significant impact on the base intelligence abilities and that I failed to show leadership potential in the short period of time I served on the base. It was my first real disappointment as a young adult. I was used to achieving whatever I aimed for..Continue Reading Here.
On Campus Interviewed on: Feb 18 2019 Final Decision: Admitted
“Booth is in Hyde Park, which, for those (like me) who are not familiar with Chicago, is not very close to much else in Chicago. The first thing I would note is to give yourself plenty of time to get there! I was staying in Hyde Park, so I was close, but the weather was pretty bad the weekend I went (my flight to Chicago was delayed by 2.5 hours!) so this is something to just keep in mind for logistics.
Booth gives you the option to do a whole day of programming, but if you visited campus previously, it will be the same programming (tour, going to class, info session). I did an official visit when I visited Booth a few months ago, so I opted to only go to campus for my interview. You will likely hang around a little bit in the admissions room, where you’ll get to know some current students and other interviewees. I really enjoyed this part, actually! It helps put you in a relaxed state of mind.
My interview was with a current second-year student. She had a list of questions she was asking and they were all pretty typical questions.
– Why MBA? Why now?
– What are your post MBA plans?
– How did you become interested in XYZ?
– Tell me about a professional success
– Tell me about a professional failure
– What do you like to do outside of work?
– Why Booth?
My interview was 45 minutes long and there were a few minutes at the end to ask questions…Continue Reading Here
Chicago Booth MBA Application Essay Tips
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business ranks as a top choice school for many MBA students. Chicago Booth has a tradition of intellectual inquiry, non-conformity, and innovation. Along with strong academics, Chicago will be looking for leadership and team building skills, and community involvement. The Chicago MBA program has kept the same essay questions from last year.
Chicago is setting a word minimum for the required essay responses, while most schools set a maximum. This suggests that Chicago is asking for you to be thoughtful and thorough in your response.
Your first step is to do as much school research as possible on Chicago. Visit campus. Attend events. Speak to alumni. Read the admissions blog. Do what you can to experience the community for yourself before starting your application. This research will be invaluable as you set pen to paper.
The Chicago MBA admissions committee can see your academic skills from your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points. Also, focus on showing intellectual curiosity in the essays and the interview. In addition, personal qualities, leadership, and career goals can be covered in these essays.
Booth MBA Essay One: How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250 word minimum)
This career goals essay is the ideal way to describe your track record of success. You can also show that you have realistic expectations for your Booth MBA. For example, while career goals should be aspirational, they should also be achievable with your career skills and a Booth education. Think about what you have done so far in your career. What have you learned? How can you use your past experience to inform your future goals?
This question asks for both short and long-term goals. Also, the essay asks why Booth is the right place for you to pursue your MBA. Thorough research into your career path and the options for its development at Booth will allow you to answer this question fully and with conviction.
Booth MBA Essay Two: Chicago Booth immerses you in a choice-rich environment. How have your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions influenced the choices in your life? (250 word minimum)
Chicago Booth is looking for self-aware leaders with a sense of purpose. If you are immersed in an environment that offers many choices, how do you find your own sense of direction? This is an opportunity to provide context for the choices that you have made and to tell the admissions committee about your leadership experiences.
This essay should communicate who you are and what motivates you. Also, provide concrete stories about your interests, leadership experiences and other passions. And describe why those experiences impacted your life choices.
This essay is an opportunity to describe personal and extracurricular examples as well as work accomplishments to present a full picture of who you are. Perhaps you chose your career path out of intellectual curiosity for the field, but you chose to work outside your home country because of a passion for travel and new experiences.
Describing both the personal and professional thought process and decision making structure will add more detail to give the admissions committee a holistic sense of you and your potential.
Optional Essay: Is there any unclear information in your application that needs further explanation? (300 word maximum)
This optional essay is flexible, allowing you to provide as much information as you need. Consider this essay if you have any areas that need to be explained in your profile. For example, some areas that may need to be explained are academic issues or gaps in work experience. If you have areas of concern like that, this is the ideal place to add more detail.
Because the essay is open-ended you can also use it to add any additional information you wanted to add to your application. Perhaps you have an interesting personal story that didn’t fit in the other essays. If it adds to your application and helps the admissions committee understand you, it may be worth telling. Also, you might have a strong leadership story or a meaningful extracurricular to add context to your MBA application.
Re-applicant Question: 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 word maximum)
This is an interesting re-applicant question, because instead of asking how your candidacy has improved, Booth asks how your perspective has changed. This is more of a focus on your inner thoughts than your achievements. Improvements like better test scores, a promotion or a new job would still be useful information to communicate. However, the focus is to reflect on yourself and your goals since the last time you applied to Booth.
Consider how you have learned more about your career path, formed new relationships, or changed your future direction. This is an ideal essay to demonstrate self-awareness and leadership qualities. Another important angle is to communicate a realistic sense of how the Booth MBA fits into your future plans