Chicago’s Round 2 is done – good luck to you if you’ve submitted!
The 2016 Chicago Booth MBA Application Guide gives you lots and lots of guidance for how to approach the big task of responding to the Booth prompt – and choosing which of the ten photos to use as the basis for your pitch.
Chicago Booth Full-Time MBA Essay Questions – Class of 2019
They’re using a photo prompt again, which is great – and what’s even better is that they completely simplified the actual question you are asked to respond to. Here it is:
View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why.
Choose the format that works for you. Want to illustrate your response visually? Submit a slide presentation. Like to express yourself with words? Write a traditional essay. Use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference.
Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.
File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.
Accepted Upload Formats: Acceptable formats are PDF, PowerPoint, and Word. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.
Multimedia Restrictions: We will view your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.
Yay Booth! They kept the awesome and fixed the awful. This is much simpler than last year – though there’s still ways for your answer to go sideways if you’re not paying close attention to strategy in how you present yourself (and authenticity matters just as much).
This is what they said on their blog when announcing this year’s question :
We encourage you to be genuine, authentic, and not overthink the question. Consider each moment, study the captions, and select the moment with which you feel most connected. Our hope is to learn a little more about why you chose a particular moment and what it means for you in your decision to apply to Booth.
The exercise is about showing us something we cannot learn elsewhere in the application. There is no wrong way to approach this. The question and moments are yours to answer and yours to interpret.
Here’s the fun photos that you get to think about – with a handful of links to the stuff that is referenced (you’re welcome):
Fellow classmates cheer on members of TransparentC as they are announced the winners of the 2016 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge [winner announcements]. Run by @polskycenter [Polsky Center site], #ChicagoNVC [Twitter] is an experiential learning program that helps students turn their ideas into viable businesses. Celebrating its 20th year, NVC [NVC site] is recognized as the top-ranked university accelerator program in the nation [Seed Rankings site], where more than 140 companies got their start. #SeedCon #ChicagoBooth #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: It’s interesting that the first photo of the bunch is one on entrepreneurship!
A group of students travel together through Colombia. Each year, hundreds of Booth classmates have the opportunity to travel around the world, visiting destinations from Argentina to Vietnam. Interantional opportunities like Random Walks [2016 Random Walks site], the International Business Exchange Program [IBEP page], and Industry Treks [Treks page (out of date)] result in lifelong memories and lasting friendships. @BoothRW #WhyBooth #ChicagoBooth #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: Keep in mind as you’re reviewing this one that you don’t go to bschool in order to travel…
A second-year student helps the incoming class develop their individual leadership styles as a part of Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) [LEAD page], the cohorted course every Booth student takes at the beginning of their first year. As LEAD Facilitators, second years have an opportunity to further practice those leadership skills and pay it forward to the next generation of Booth students. #WhyBooth #ChicagoBooth #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: All the schools like to hear about examples of leadership (but we’re not 100% sure about how easy it will be to present one of yours in response to this photo! #tricky).
Walking in front of the Charles M. Harper Center [Harper page], a student is captured during a quiet moment before the beginning of a day on campus. #WhyBooth #HarperCenter #ChicagoBooth #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: Hmmmm…. Talk about open-ended! This one might actually invite some interesting (or completely boring!) responses.
#ChicagoBooth faculty are thought leaders whose ideas influence markets and politics in industries across the globe. Their research delves deep into the foundations of economics and behavioral sciences that underline how markets work, businesses function, and people make decisions. #RichardThaler [Booth faculty page] #LuigiZingales [Booth faculty page] #RaghuramRajan [Booth faculty page] #NicholasEpley [Booth faculty page] #ChicagoBooth #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: Wait! There’s nine books but only four names called out. What’s up with that? Regardless, there seems like lots of possibilities here. (Just please don’t say that you want to be a thought leader when you grow up. Please please please don’t do that.)
#ChicagoBooth students visit a village in India as part of a Global Social Impact Practicum [course description] led by the Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) [SEI site]. The program explores the potential for bamboo-based power and its impact on employment in rural India. #BoothSEI supports similar efforts through #ExperientialLearning opportunities in communities around the globe. #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: There’s more than just social impact here, people!
A team of #ChicagoBooth alumni compete in the 2015 Global MBA Trophy [event website] regatta in Athens, Greece. The sailing race draws accomplished alumni from top business schools around the world. Annual events such as these happen globally, bringing alumni together to connect, collaborate, and share in new moments. #sailing #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: Well you learn something new every day! This was an event that we had never heard of. Very cool! The Booth team even won one year.
On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange [NYSE site], cofounder and CEO Matt Maloney, ’10 [Matt Maloney LinkedIn], is joined by food mascots to help ring the opening bell as his company @GrubHub [prolly dint need to link that one when you use it every night] lists its initial public offering in April, 2014. Shares of the company, valued at the time at $2 billion, climbed more than 30% the first day of its IPO. @NYSE [Twitter] #Instafood [Instagram] #ChicagoBooth #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: Another entrepreneurship story??? OK whatevs. (Not throwing shade on GrubHub but all the top schools have similar bragworthy alumni success stories too ya know.) Anyway, what’s with the #Instafood tag? If you can do something (relevant) with that in your PPT, we’ll be impressed!
Students speak with Chairman and Co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors [company website], David Booth, ’71 [Wikipedia], whose unprecedented donation in 2008 led to renaming the school in his honor. The opportunity for business leaders to bring insights from their careers to students is an invaluable complement to Booth’s world-class academics. #ChicagoBooth #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: There aren’t too many alumni out there with wiki pages on them! (Not that we’re suggesting that that’s what you should focus on with this one. It was really just an offhand comment. This one has much more to be explored than that.)
Nearly 100 #ChicagoBooth students put on a massive flash mob to surprise the Class of 2017 admitted students visiting #HarperCenter [Harper page] in February, 2015. The choreographed performance of the hit “Uptown Funk,” [YouTube] was organized by members of the Booth Dance Club [BDC page], one of 80 student groups on campus [Booth clubs page]. #WhyBooth #ChicagoBoothMoments
EssaySnark comment: As with the travel thing, we’ll caution you again, you don’t go to bschool to dance. Just be careful if you choose this one; stay focused on the task at hand, which is to communicate something meaningful of who you are in the context of your application to business school. Also: typo. #eek
If you’d like to see what Booth asked of past years’ applicants (including last year’s version of this assignment) you can review the archive of Booth questions below.
The Booth Application Guide has been updated for 2016 and is excellent resource to help you learn about this school and start to grapple with your assignment of writing your response for this application.
Last year around this time, we threw out a bit ‘o advice on Twitter:
@MBA_Hopeful1908 Remember you can include text in PPT too! We often see people do a much better job sharing depth of who they are thru pics.
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) July 15, 2015
@felipecorcuera Many of our clients are able to communicate more of who they are through slides or other visuals instead of just text 😉
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) July 15, 2015
Chicago Booth MBA recommendations – Class of 2019Chicago is using one of the two sets of standardized recommender questions. Harvard and Columbia are also using these same questions in 2016.
- Two recommendations
- Two questions for them to answer (review them here )
Chicago Booth Useful Links
- Booth Insider MBA Admissions Blog
- Booth Insider on Twitter
- Booth MBA Application Deadlines
Round 1: September 22, 2016They keep moving their date around in September. This is once again later in the month, as it was in 2014. Last year, interview invitations were issued through October 16th, which is when they let go of candidates they aren’t moving forward with. That will probably happen the week of October 24th this year.
- Round 2:
January 4, 2017– another right-after-the-holidays deadline. Ugh. Interview invitations and mid-cycle “release” are likely to be in the first week of February.
From the ‘Snark:
- Making an argument for the Booth essay (January 2017)
- Is a regular text essay OK for Booth? (November 2015)
- The simple way to answer the Booth essay this year (November 2015)
- The main mistake people are making with the Booth essay this year (September 2015)
- Which school had the Best Essay Questions in 2014? (February 2014)
- If you’re doing a PowerPoint for Booth, NYU or MIT (September 2013)
- adcoms that we love: Chicago Booth (November 2012) and “adcoms that we trust” series (October 2010)
- Pros and cons of Booth’s flexible curriculum (April 2011)
- One more Booth plug (April 2011)
The standard career goals advice we’ve offered for schools like Columbia and Harvard (and others) may be helpful for you in tackling the Booth application. In addition, the suggestions about NYU Stern’s essay 3 are very relevant for a Booth PowerPoint presentation.
The SnarkStrategies Guide for Chicago Booth has now been updated for the 2016 application!
For Reference: Booth’s Past-Season Essay QuestionsClick to view last year's question
Brand-new essay requirement from Booth – they mixed things up, yet not really. You still need to do a presentation (ideally, or an essay) to say how you fit with them. You just need to pivot that discussion off one of their Booth-centric images. So it’s less open-ended than before. On Sept 2 we covered the key mistakes that people are making with this year’s Booth essay and in November, we presented the simple way to handle the Booth question this year. You can also see what the Booth adcom says they saw with Round 1 applicants in 2015 .
They preserved their one main app requirement – the traditional Booth PPT, or you can make it a written essay – but you need to approach things differently from how past years’ Brave Supplicants have.
Chicago Booth values individuality because of what we can learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of others. This mutual respect creates an open-minded community that supports curiosity, inspires us to think more broadly, take risks, and challenge assumptions. At Booth, community is about collaborative thinking and tapping into each other’s different viewpoints to cultivate new ideas and realize breakthrough moments every day.
Using one of the photos (here’s the PDF to download them all together), tell us how it resonates with your own viewpoint on why the Booth community is the right fit for you.
Here’s the 16 choices – most of which we recognize as images that Booth has been using on its website for awhile. You will pick just one to talk about in your response.
Wow! Talk about taking the question of “school fit” to the next level!
They’re still asking you to produce a PowerPoint or a Word file (or, you could build it in something else as long as you can save it as PDF). So to that extent, it’s the same as they have had before. And again, there are no limits – though it’s helpful to recognize that in prior years when the PPT was one of several essays, then it was limited to 4 slides total. That’s a pretty good ballpark place to start when thinking about how long you might want to go.
Audio/video/etc are still not allowed, which is a bummer (especially when they do allow videos to be submitted by waitlisted candidates).
You can review the entirety of the instructions as posted on their website on 7/8/15.
The main benefit of this new question is in Booth’s favor: You will not be able to reuse anything you build out for another school. You need to create it organic to Booth. Pretty clever on their part. And, having 16 different images to choose from means that applicants will feel like they’re empowered (provided they don’t feel overwhelmed by too many options) plus it ensures that the adcom won’t get bored by seeing the same thing over and over again. It should invite more diversity in responses.
There is also an optional essay (only use it if you need to literally explain something that you cannot otherwise cover), and there’s a separate 300-word reapplicant essay if you’re trying again. And, lest you think that they don’t care about goals, they do; as with the prior year, they ask about them in the app.
We participated in a Twitter chat where things were discussed:
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) July 15, 2015
Oh yeah – that last photo? #16?
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) July 15, 2015
— Chicago Booth (@BoothFullTime) July 15, 2015
You’re welcome. 😉
[end discussion of last year’s question.]
Click to view 2014 questions
They had just one main app requirement – the traditional Booth PPT, or you could make it a written essay.
- Presentation/Essay: Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas. This is us. Who are you?
This was remarkably similar to the HBS question… which we have to point out, was worded quite closely to Booth’s original version of this prompt from several years back.
For Booth last year, you could write a traditional essay (no word limit mentioned) or do a PowerPoint (again, no limit; in past years when the PPT was one of several essays then it was up to 4 slides total). We’re betting they stick with something similar this coming season, too.
They recommended converting to PDF before uploading. Audio/video/etc were not allowed however this is another change they make this year – why not video submissions this year, Booth Insider? You allow them in the waitlist process. Seems ideal to front-load that opportunity for your candidates.
You can review the entirety of the instructions as posted on their website on 7/17/14.
There was also an optional essay, which they’re likely to preserve, and there’s a separate 300-word reapplicant essay if you’re trying again. And, lest you think that they don’t care about goals, they do; as with the prior year they asked about them in the app.
[end discussion of 2013 questions.]
Click to view 2013 questions
2013 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis
This is what we said when the two-years-ago essays came out:
Here’s the new Booth essay questions – no career goals! Interesting.
Two short-answer questions and the classic Booth presentation:
- My favorite part of my work is… (250 words)
- I started to think differently when… (250 words)
- 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? [that phrase “the rest of” is the only change from last year]
Those two short-answer questions make us feel like we work at Apple.
The Booth online application does in fact ask about career goals – here’s some of the questions:
- Please select the industry that best represents the majority of your work experience to date (dropdown)
- Proposed industry post-MBA (dropdown)
- Proposed job function post-MBA (dropdown)
- What is your short-term post-MBA goal? (700 characters)
- What is your long-term post-MBA goal? (700 characters)
[end discussion of 2013 questions.]
Click to view 2012 questions
2012 questions – these are REALLY OLD
- What are your short- and long-term goals, and how will a Chicago Booth MBA help you reach them? (
We’re betting they keep this question again this year.but they didn’t!!)
- a. What has been your biggest challenge, and what have you learned from it?
b. Tell us about something that has fundamentally transformed the way you think.
- The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective… [The same 4-slide presentation or 600-word essay as we got in 2013 except that they added the phrase “the rest of the application” to the actual prompt.]
[end discussion of 2012 questions.]