This post has been marked as OLD. EssaySnark's advice and strategies for winning MBA applications don't change from year to year, but some of the school-specific admissions policies, essay questions, or other information covered in this article may be outdated.
So call us a little slow on the uptake but… It wasn’t until we saw Chicago Booth’s new essay questions, released late on Friday, which are actually at least in part Chicago Booth’s old questions… at least the last one… their Presentation question… that we realized:
Harvard stole Booth’s idea!!
Didn’t even recognize the fact when HBS released their single-essay application this year, that the one essay question they’ve given you is near-identical to what Booth has been asking for years.
The nerve! And HBS says they’re innovative!!
We’ll have to chalk it up to “the most sincere flattery” and all that…
Just for comparison purposes, let’s trot these two ponies out side by side:
Harvard’s single essay question – “new” this year
You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?
Booth’s “presentation” question – identical to last year
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?
Please be careful here, Brave Supplicants. Just because these two questions are so similar, we are skeptical that what will work for one will work for the other. That’s because the schools are so different. And, we think that a presentation can work so much better for Booth. That’s not an option for Harvard.
We go into this in the new SnarkStrategies Guide for Chicago Booth which is now available (how’s that for turnaround time, qs? no need to sweat us for this one!).
Beyond this shocking (belated) discovery that Harvard cribbed its essay from Booth, we had another big moment of drama, namely: Wha’didtheydowiththecareergoals???
When those questions came out on Friday we spent a flurried half hour running around the living room, looking under the couch, peering in the closet, climbing up to check the top shelf (ooph it’s dusty up there!) but NOPE. We couldn’t find ’em.
Those career goals that we expected to see with Booth are just GONE! Missing! Poof!!
And most importantly, what does this mean for you? If you’re applying to Booth, do the career goals not matter now?
Hmmm. Good question. We spent the weekend pondering that, and digging into our research on them, and working hard to unleash our psychic powers to infiltrate the minds of those Booth adcom peeps (we almost said “adcommies” but that would send entirely the wrong message). And we came to terms with these changes, and we have some, what we believe to be, sound advice for how you should handle this situation, which we’ve laid out for you in detail in the strategy guide.
(This is our first-ever full-on Strategy Guide; last year we did a QuickSnark guidelette that just dealt with the essays; this new one covers different dimensions of the school and the app and even the part-time MBA a bit too.)
You have a lot of decisions to make in how you develop your admissions strategy. Despite the fact that all these schools have cut their essay counts – or maybe BECAUSE of it – you’re going to need to create a very different pitch for almost every single one. Gone are the days when you could re-use your work from one to the other. There are very few cases where that will work this time.
If you have questions that we can help with, feel free to post in the comments, or you can start a thread on our GMAT Club forum instead.