Chicago Booth Essay Topic Analysis 2016-2017
Following up on the release of the University of Chicago Booth MBA essay topics for 2016-2017, we wanted to offer some guidance to applicants as they prepare to tackle this potentially challenging prompt.
Similar to last year, the program presents candidates with images that capture life at Booth; applicants are asked to choose one and explain why it resonates with them. As was the case last season, applicants have the option of writing an essay or developing a PowerPoint and PDF response. And, as was the case last season, there is no word, page, or PPT slide limit listed, meaning that the length of the response is left to the applicant’s judgment (and the 16MB maximum file size). These format options allow both verbally and visually oriented applicants to draw on their strengths in answering the prompt, and offers a bit more breathing room than the program’s original 4-slide PPT-only formulation of the personal expression essay.
2016-2017 U. Chicago Booth Essay Topics:
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, Word, and PowerPoint. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.
- Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing 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.
Booth presents applicants with quite a range of images, depicting everything from a solo walk to social celebration, from community service to watery adventure, from a famous Chicago alumnus to a study abroad scene, from classroom conversation to an entrepreneurial competition. We recommend that candidates begin by reviewing the photos and identifying the 2-4 to which they are most drawn on a gut level. It might also be worth making some notes about why each one resonates with you and seeing whether there’s overlap in the aspects that draw you to each, as these core points of connection could be valuable to incorporate into your response, no matter which of the photographs you ultimately select.
While a sense of automatic resonance is a good starting point, it’s also important to be strategic and to select the photo that will be the best vehicle to discuss your fit with the Booth MBA program and community. For this reason, we recommend that you set your top 2-4 photos aside and reflect on what you most want to convey about your candidacy, career goals, and fit with the Chicago MBA. This might involve completely pausing the process of developing your response while you learn about the school. We therefore recommend that applicants review the program’s website, reach out to students and alumni, digest the Clear Admit Chicago Booth School Guide, and consider attending an information session or visiting the campus before they begin working in earnest on their responses. The admissions committee is looking for students who have really synthesized and internalized the Booth program, and who have a good understanding of their fit with its offerings.
Once you’ve identified the essence of your fit with Booth — in terms of what you would gain, what you would contribute, and how your values are aligned with those of the program — we suggest revisiting your top photo choices with an eye to which one most resonates with your message. You may even choose to review all 10 options again, in case your research on the program has changed your perspective. Attend to what’s happening in the picture, as well as how it makes you feel, as you’re making your selection. While there are no wrong choices, some selections — like a stack of books or a person in a pizza costume — might make for more challenging responses than others.
In addition to choosing which photo will inform their responses, applicants will also need to determine the best medium for conveying the “why” component of the question. For those whose strong suit is writing, a traditional essay is absolutely acceptable here — though we encourage even essay-writing applicants to include a visual touch point or two, in the spirit of the prompt. A selfie on the Booth campus could do wonders to convey your excitement about the program, and a photo of your own travel abroad scene could underscore your fit with the adventurous student spirit depicted in some of the Booth photos.
As for applicants who choose a visual-heavy PowerPoint format, it will still be very important to include some text to accompany any photos you share and to spell out the reasons you feel a fit with Booth based on your chosen photo from the essay prompt. To summarize, we recommend a balance of text and imagery, with an eye to authentic expression of your sincerely felt connection with the Chicago MBA program. In terms of length, meanwhile, we recommend limiting essay responses to 750 words (plus a few photos, perhaps), and PowerPoint responses to as many slides as an admissions reader could comfortably review in 5 minutes.
As a final note on the content of this response, we encourage applicants to show the adcom who they are and to articulate why they’re a fit with the program. For some, this might involve identifying several themes that are reflected in the stimulus photo and developing a few paragraphs or PowerPoint slides around each. For others, it might involve a verbal or visual narrative of their professional journey and the reasons they see their path intersecting with the scene depicted in their chosen picture. And for others still, their response might include a treatment of their most dearly held value, as reflected in the Booth photo and other experiences with the program. What effective responses will have in common, however, is a sincere and thoughtful treatment of their fit with the collaborative Booth community, and a genuine enthusiasm about the Chicago MBA program and their ultimate career goals.
Is there any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? If so, please address in an optional essay. (300 word maximum)
This response will be an appropriate place to address any elements of one’s application that need further explanation (e.g. recommender choice, low GMAT score, questionable undergraduate performance, expected promotions, etc.). The wording of this essay is fairly open and inviting, and so it may be an appropriate place to share an additional anecdote or highlight an impressive accomplishment. Applicants should aim to demonstrate good judgment in deciding whether to respond to this prompt, and should take care not to introduce information that appears elsewhere in their materials or that could have been covered in response to one of the above essays.
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 words maximum)
This response asks applicants about how their career plans, interest in Booth, and desire to obtain an MBA has evolved since last season’s admissions decision. Applicants should note that this prompt seems to assume that some change and growth has taken place, so it would be prudent to showcase an enhanced appreciation of the merits of the Booth MBA program and its potential to advance the candidate’s progress toward his or her well defined goals.
Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Booth MBA essay topics! As you work on your University of Chicago MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s offerings:
Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis, Essays
Schools: U. Chicago Booth
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. While Chicago has asked a version of a creative, open-ended essay for many years, this one focuses more on personal experiences with your classmates than in the past.
Senior Director of Admissions Donna Swinford says in the Booth Admissions Blog: “Please trust when I say that there is no hidden meaning in the prompt. Rather than spend time worrying about what you think we want to hear, focus instead on telling us why the Booth moment truly resonates with you.”
While Chicago highly values academics, there are many places in your MBA application to feature your academic accomplishments. Academic ability will largely be communicated through your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points, though intellectual curiosity can be demonstrated in the essays and the interview.
Along with academics, Chicago will be looking for demonstrated leadership, team building skills and community involvement, as well as your fit with Chicago Booth and the perspective you will share with your classmates.
If your career goals and work experience does not fit with the essay portion of the application, make sure your resume is shows progression, clearly communicates your experience and highlights core accomplishments.
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, Word, and PowerPoint. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.
• Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing 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.
This Chicago Booth essay question provides a set of photos and text describing and depicting a range of student activities at Booth – from a student taking notes in class to a group scuba diving in Central America– and asks you to choose one that resonates with you.
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. Whatever you are capable of doing to experience the community for yourself before starting your application will be invaluable as you set pen to paper.
Chicago Booth’s open-ended essay format is daunting for most applicants. Whether you choose to write an essay or prepare a presentation, take a step back from the unique format and think about the question strategically. The format’s open-ended setup simply gives you the freedom to express who you are in words, images, graphics or some combination.
Keep in mind what Chicago Booth represents in the image you choose. Booth is a school with a tradition of intellectual rigor, non-conformity, and innovation. When discussing the image that resonates with you about Chicago Booth you can share almost anything from any context, from work to home to extracurricular activities.
It’s also important to explain why your chosen image resonates with you and to bring in important elements of your application strategy. Maybe the image of students celebrating diversity resonates with you because it is one of your core values that you will share with your Booth classmates as a club president. Or the image of a student walking by the modern art collection resonates with a core hobby that you want to share with your classmates.
If you decide to write an essay response, you have enough space to tell a story that describes something new about yourself. If you decide to prepare a PowerPoint in response to this essay question, refine your story to its key elements.
To keep a visual essay interesting and high-impact, consider how you will format. Can you use photos? Drawings? If you use words, keep them clear and focused. Take every point up a level, so you are communicating a vision rather than a thesis.
Is there any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? If so, please address in an optional essay. (300 words maximum)
This optional essay is a flexible question, allowing you to provide the information you need to put forward the best possible application. If you have any areas that need to be explained in your profile, such as academic issues or gaps in work experience, 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 inform the admissions committee about. Anything from an interesting personal background to meaningful extracurricular could be relevant context to add to a successful application.
Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn more about how we can help you approach your Booth application.
This entry was posted in Application Tips, Chicago Booth Advice and tagged application tips, applications, Booth MBA, Chicago Booth MBA, Chicago Booth School of Business, Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, MBA application, MBA Essays.
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