Chicago Booth Essay Questions & Tips

by Vantage Point MBA, Aug 31, 2022

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Are you applying to Chicago Booth? If so, read on for the Chicago Booth essay questions and tips to ensure your answers stand out from the pack. We’re also sharing ideas for how to structure your Chicago Booth essay responses based on what we’ve seen be successful in the past.

Our overarching piece of advice for a successful Booth application is to effectively and authentically communicate ‘why Booth’. Booth has a unique culture and seeks students who, while diverse in many ways, share in its ‘defining traits’ – they are intellectually curious, highly independent, and unafraid of bold ideas. Before you begin drafting your essays, give some serious thought to how you embody these characteristics and let this guide the content of your essays.

Chicago Booth Essay Questions

  1. How will a Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (Minimum 250 words, no maximum).
  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… (Minimum 250 words, no maximum).

Chicago Booth Essay Tips

Yikes, a MINIMUM Word Limit, How Long Should My Booth Essays Be?

As we said, Boothies are unafraid of bold ideas, and the word count minimum is characteristically unconventional. So, how long should they be? While there is certainly a range, we find the sweet spot to be 400-500 words. You should be able to get your point across in this amount of space and any longer risks losing the reader (who reads A LOT of applications).

Communicating ‘Why Booth’ Is Done Indirectly as Much as It Is Done Directly

Your first reaction when you read the prompt for Essay One may have been ‘Got it, I need to talk about all the Booth classes I plan to take and clubs I will join. Easy.’ Not so fast. And the reason why goes back to our initial piece of advice about showing how you fit with Booth’s unique culture. It’s a given that you will cite some specific Booth classes, clubs, etc. that will help you achieve your goals. This is the ‘direct’ part and it’s important, but we recommend you do more to really demonstrate that you embody the personality of Boothie.

To the extent possible while remaining authentic, when sharing your goals and the ‘why’ behind them, weave in some details that showcase your bold, independent streak. Maybe your long-term goal is to found a business that fills a need you’ve observed in a certain marketplace – lean into the boldness of your idea as you share these plans. The advice to indirectly demonstrate you embody Booth’s culture extends to the second essay as well. As you consider the facets of your life outside of work that you will share, focus on those that ‘fit’ with the Booth culture. The possibilities are endless, but successful Booth essays begin with a nuanced understanding of what makes the school – and you – unique.

Open-Ended Questions Are Tough, Choose Your Topic Wisely for Essay Two

Speaking of the second essay, you may be wondering what exactly they’re looking for you to discuss in your answer. Open-ended prompts are tough! But they’re also a great opportunity to showcase something awesome about yourself that you haven’t shared elsewhere. And that’s where we recommend you start – take an inventory of the key parts of your ‘personal brand’. Which elements have you weaved into the first essay or are already highlighted sufficiently on your resume? Which elements are not?

The central topic of essay two can be a number of things – you can talk about a passion area, a personal trait, or a defining part of your identity that makes you unique (and impressive to the adcom, of course). Perhaps you have a passion for mentoring females that has informed your past involvements and guides your future plans? Or maybe you are a dedicated marathoner, and this hobby has instilled values that are central to your life? Whatever you discuss, the keys are that it builds upon (doesn’t repeat) the rest of your application and that it is relevant to the qualities Booth seeks in successful applicants. The first essay should highlight what you plan to gain from Booth, the second essay should showcase what you plan to contribute to Booth.

Chicago Booth Essay Structure Ideas

For Essay 1, we recommend a structure somewhat like this:

P1: Introduce your short-term and long-term career goals

P2-3: Briefly share the rationale behind your goals, the past experiences you already have that you will leverage in achievement of these goals as well as the skills you need to gain during your MBA to make these goals possible

P4-5: Provide several concrete reasons why Booth is the ideal program for you, tying them back to specific skills you need to gain to achieve your goals or specific characteristics about yourself that align with Booth’s culture

For Essay 2, we recommend a structure somewhat like this:

P1: Introduce the passion, trait, or other topic you will talk about in the essay and preview how it has influenced you

P2-3: Share a story that exemplifies your central topic, ‘showing not telling’ that it is a defining part of who you are (note that, in some cases, it may be appropriate to tell two brief stories that demonstrate how your topic has transcended various phases of your life)

P4: Reflect on how you will leverage the topic you’ve discussed to contribute while at Booth

If you’d like assistance with your Booth essays or your broader MBA application strategy, click here to schedule an initial consultation!