Chicago Booth MBA Application Essays for 2020-21
Essay 1: How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250 word minimum)
Essay 2: 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. (250-word minimum)
Chicago Booth MBA Application Essays for 2019-20
Essay One: How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250 word minimum)
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)
Optional Essay: Is there any unclear information in your application that needs further explanation? (300 word maximum)
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)
Chicago Booth Winning Sample Essay – 1
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.
My short-term goal is to rise to a senior product role in the advertising technology industry, and in order to achieve that I need the marketing, operations and management skills that an MBA has to offer. Also, working together with future leaders at Booth will help me identify my unique style of leadership. The skills and the network I will acquire through an MBA, along with my industry experience, will help me achieve my long-term goal to be an entrepreneur in the digital marketing technology space.
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.
Although I was glad for my friends who were chosen, I was disappointed for myself. I tried to analyze my actions so I could understand the reasons for this negative feedback on my performance. First, I admitted that I wrongly chose a project based on superficial impressions rather than real opportunity. Second, I was a competent young manager, but not a leader who reached beyond the job requirements. Third, I learned that I was naïve for thinking that I don’t need to market myself. I realized that in order to be recognized as a future officer, I had to make sure my commanders were aware of my achievements and potential. Otherwise, why should they choose me to be an officer? As in the business world, a good marketing plan can make the difference between success and failure.
Now that I had the experience to identify opportunities, I asked to be assigned to a different project, where I could make a positive impact on a different department. I also decided to be more pro-active about promoting my opinions and ideas in our work meetings. Three months later, I was nominated for officers’ course.
This early feedback influenced the rest of my professional military career. I learned how important it is to make decisions based on knowledge and analysis. I also learned that my ability to deeply analyze a situation increases with experience. When I was offered my recent promotion to Head of the Technological and Intelligence Research Section, I conducted thorough research to validate my intuition that it was the right move for me. I similarly did my homework before I chose an undergraduate program of study and have been researching MBA programs since 2007.I also learned the importance of getting attention in a big organization. When I was promoted to compound commander, I understood that a major part of my success would be to market the achievements of my compound and my part in them. Ultimately, due to strategic upgrade program I initiated and executed, my compound received additional resources and managerial attention. I was proud to be associated with those achievements and to be promoted to Assistant of the Head of Military Intelligence Corps, as well as to receive a citation from the unit’s commander, a senior officer of the rank of Brigadier General.
This experience taught me that surprising, authentic feedback, taken in the right spirit, can really help me to understand my own weaknesses and to grow by improving them. Surprising feedback is really an opportunity rather than an insult. In this case, I gained a lesson that paid valuable dividends during the rest of my career: Making wise choices and getting the most out of every opportunity is the best way to help the goddess of luck help you. Sometimes, you have to make your own good luck happen.
Chicago Booth Winning Sample Essay – 2
Booth MBA Essay 1: What leadership characteristics do you feel make for the best leaders, and how do you strive to obtain them? And, on the flip side, what are you doing to avoid any potential leadership pitfalls that you observe in yourself or others? (750 word maximum)
In my opinion, a good leader should be able to communicate and collaborate, and in the process, inspire people to work towards the goal. Working closely with others, listening to the issues they are facing, and collaborating with them to work towards a solution creates a bond. Later, when faced with problems they will reach out to their leaders for solutions to deal with the situation.
A few months ago, I was working as Product lead on a critical and time-sensitive project to upgrade one of our key external integrations. The project had a huge operational impact for our clients and had a tight deadline which required the team to put in several extra hours. I worked out a plan with the technical team and stayed back late nights with the technical team though I did not have a role to play. My action boosted the morale of the team who volunteered to work harder to meet the deadline. However, a few days before the deadline, we ran into a serious issue that jeopardized the project. The solution I proposed was deemed risky as it involved significant coordination and required an explicit approval from all of our clients. In 24 hours, I coordinated a mass effort with 10 different account teams to get the needed permissions from 100+ clients.
Finally, the project was delivered on time and in the process has saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. When my group’s VP praised me for my effort, I told him that the real credit should go to the technical team who worked round the clock to make this project a success. Later that day, the technical lead informed me that my VP had appreciated the team’s effort. The technical lead thanked me for my gesture and mentioned that in the past projects the team was not given the due credit.
Another quality of a great leader, I believe, is the ability to identify the right talent in his team, groom their skills and build efficient teams. Earlier this year, our company went through a merger. We welcomed five new team members to our team, and as the lead of the digital product, I was tasked with integrating the team. The members of the team had varying experience and technical backgrounds and were spread across three different time zones. I first identified the strengths of each of the new members and assessed how their qualities and abilities could complement the team. Through discussions, I found out their interests and skill set. I then created several two-people groups and assigned them to work on specific areas so each member would complement the other’s skill-set, pick up new skills in the process and lead to cross training. Every few weeks, the members changed teams and the areas they worked on. Within a few months, this process created a well-knit and skillfully diverse team, which was efficient in handling various tasks. The integrated team was able to handle 30% more workload and improve their average response time for support by 50%. Its huge success motivated two other teams to implement a similar approach.
I think the largest pitfall that I have observed in a leader is being deceitful. Giving false promises and skewing the facts may work in the short term, but will eventually lead to losing peoples’ trust. A leader should be able to communicate factually and set realistic goals to inspire others. If I had not been truthful in communicating to the technical team that they will have to work long days and nights and set real expectations on the end results, the project would have been a Failure.
Another major negative quality of a leader I have noticed is being selfish and putting one’s self interest before that of the team/organization. I keenly notice the contributions of every specific team member and make sure everyone gets their due recognition. If I had taken the credit for the success of the project, the word would have gotten out which might have affected my chances of expecting the same level of cooperation for the next project. I strongly believe that having leadership in thought and vision is not enough to make one a leader. The small personal gestures enhance the perception of a true leader and can motivate others to work towards the ultimate goal. I am excited to further enhance my leadership qualities through the courses and workshops offered through the Lead Exploration and Development program offered by Booth.
Although the risk was real, it was well calculated. When, after all the calculations, you are still left with uncertainty it is time to force your throat to work again, wipe off that cold sweat, and make a decision. It is the added value of good managers. And it gets easier over time.