Chicago Booth MBA Admissions Essay Tips: questions behind the questions

Information is subject to change. Please verify all data with the schools.


(22.3% accepted; 60.5% yield)


also known as 


Essay Questions for 2021 starters

All candidates are required to submit responses to the following two questions: 

The following question is optional: 

Reapplicants must answer the following question: 

Response Guidelines: 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.

Format: Submissions must be entered into the text box provided in the application.

Chicago Booth MBA application essays: questions behind the questions 

Essay Questions for 2021 starters

All candidates are required to submit responses to the following two questions:

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

To answer this essay question effectively, you will need to  need to have done your research about Chicago Booth's unique programs and culture. 

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.)

The following question is optional:

Is there any unclear information in your application that needs further explanation? (Maximum 300 words.)


Chicago Booth MBA application essays: questions behind the questions 

My former client shares his insights on working with an admissions counselor, writing your own essays, and getting the most from campus visits. 

Two admitted students (one Chicago and the other Kellogg) compare perspectives on the MBA admissions process. 


Entering Full-Time MBA Students: 550 Students


22.3% accepted  = 15th most selective program*

60.5% yield = 13th highest yield rate* 

4,299 applicants

957 accepted 

579 enrolled 

*among 50 US MBA programs with lowest admit rate

(found at; accessed 2011/08) 


Average GMAT: 715

Median GMAT: 720

Lowest 10 percent: 660 or below

Source: Booth spokesperson

(found at;

accessed 2011/08)

Average Age: 28

Average Work Experience: 55 Months

% Students who are Women: 35%

% Students who are International: 33%


Bloomberg Businessweek: 1

U.S. News & World Report: 5

Financial Times: 12


Average Base Salary: $108,045

Median Base Salary: $102,000

(found at; accessed 2011/07)



The mantra of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is it’s all about the idea. Students focus on generating, analyzing, comparing and refining ideas in order to elevate them to better ideas.

The full-time MBA program consists of 20 classes plus Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD). The flagship of the program is its flexible curriculum. Unlike many other top schools with lockstep first-year MBA programs, Booth pretty much requires MBAs to go through one course together–its leadership exercise in LEAD. Otherwise, students design a program tailored to fit their own career goals. There are still several required courses in the four major components that make up the flexible curriculum: foundation courses that focus on developing analytical tools and knowledge that support the rest of the curriculum, but they are chosen among a menu of options.

In 2009, after a faculty review of the curriculum, the school added a new academic concentration in analytical management. and also require all students in the evening MBA program and weekend MBA program to take a leadership development course similar to one required of full-time students.

In addition to analytic management, the school’s 14th concentration, students can graduate with an academic focus in accounting, econometrics and statistics, economics, entrepreneurship and finance. Other choices are analytic finance, general management, human resource management, international business, managerial and organizational behavior, marketing management, operations management and strategic management.

Graduation requirements for students in the full-time MBA program include nine required courses, 11 electives and a leadership course, though in 2009 more approved substitute classes have been added to satisfy the nine required courses. To meet the 11 elective requirements students can choose from several hundred courses at the business school and other departments of the University.

Some of the new courses added since the curriculum review in the required portion of the program are more rigorous, an adjustment made to account for the more varied group of students entering the mainstream MBA program. The school added a hybrid finance class containing five weeks of corporate finance and five weeks of investments, for example, that is much more difficult than the standard finance or investment courses.

The three foundation areas of accounting, microeconomics and statistics remained the same through the curriculum review. But the requirement to take breadth and general management courses is replaced by selecting classes representing functions (finance, marketing, and operations), management (decisions, people, and organizations), and the environment in which firms operate.


MBA Program Consideration Set:

Stretch Schools: Harvard, Stanford

Match Schools: Wharton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Northwestern’s Kellogg School, MIT Sloan

Safety Schools: Berkeley, Duke, Virginia


(found at; accessed 2011/08)



Application Checklist

Your application will consist of the following items:

 * completed application with required personal background

 * completed essays

 * professional resume

 * two letters of recommendation

 * unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions from which you have earned a degree. Only if you are admitted will you be required to submit official transcripts. Any official transcripts received prior to an offer of admissions will not be added to your file.

 * GMAT score

 * TOEFL or IELTS scores (international applicants only)

Submitting Your Application

Submitting an application and materials can be done online through our online application, which will be ready in early August 2011.  The system includes step-by-step instructions for completing the application online, including the process for submitting transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation. You may make changes and edits to an application at any time prior to submission. Registration and creation of a username and password are required to begin the online application.



Admissions Interview

Interviews will be granted on an invitation-only basis after evaluation of a submitted application. Candidates invited to interview will be contacted by the mid-decision date with instructions on how to schedule an appointment.

A candidate who receives an invitation will have only one interview.

Interviews are conducted by admissions staff, students, or alumni. They are held on campus or in a location convenient for the prospective student. All interviews, regardless of who conducts them, receive equal weight in the evaluation process.

Submission Deadline

Your application must be submitted by 5 p.m. (CST/Chicago time) on the day of the deadline in order to be considered for an application round. This includes receipt of all online and mailed-in materials. Applications submitted after a deadline will automatically be considered in the next round, as long as all materials are included with the application.

Applying to Special Programs

The International MBA and all Joint Degree programs require a special application process. Please refer to the relevant program for specific information.

(found at; accessed 2011/07)



Vince note: please read the Chicago Admissions FAQs for useful tips ▸

FAQ highlights



Need help with school research? Please check Vince's Chicago Booth links ▸

Link highlights

Chicago Booth MBA Class of 2010

I chose Vince as my admissions partner for two reasons. First, meeting him for regular face-to-face counseling was a great advantage. Of course it was quite challenging, as I had never lived or studied outside Japan. I had to reflect on my entire life and convince Vince who I am in English. However, as the counseling proceeded, I found that I greatly improved and gained much more confidence, which helped me prepare well for admission interviews. All the more, the stimulating face-to-face dialogue with Vince enabled me to come up with many ideas which I could have never come up with on my own. And, those ideas not only helped me gain admission to business schools, but also gave me new vision for my career and life.

Secondly, I was attracted to his personality. Vince works twice as hard as anyone else to stick to the highest standards. Whenever he was not satisfied with the essay quality, even in the last minute like three hours before the final deadline, he asked me to rewrite. To be honest, I was sometimes upset about the situations and felt myself weakening. But Vince stayed with me and supported me even in the last five minutes, which enabled me to be admitted by Chicago Booth and other schools.

Finally, I would like to mention that the process of working with Vince itself is now one of my best assets to survive and thrive in MBA life. If you are a person who pursues intellectual challenges and wants to sincerely re-examine yourself through one-to-one counseling, I recommend that you choose Vince as your partner.

どうして私がVinceをパートナーとしてのカウンセラーとして選んだか、それには2つの 理由があります。第1の理由は、週2回決まった時間に彼のオフィ スでFace to Faceのセッションを持てることはとても大きなアドバンテージであり、他のカウンセラーと大きな違いです。実際、海外経験のない私にとって、彼との毎回 のカウンセリングそれ自体が大きなチャレンジでした。というのは自分の人生を振り返り、その上でVinceに「私がどういう人間か」ということを英語で説 明してわかってもらわなくてはならないからです。しかし、カウンセリングが進むにつれ、自分がとても上達して自信をつけていることに気が付きましたし、そ れはアドミッション面接のよい準備となりました。またそれ以上に、決して一人で考えているだけでは思いもつかないような、VinceとのFace to Faceの刺激的な対話の中からこそ生まれるような素晴らしいアイディアもたくさんありました。それらはビジネススクールの合格のためというよりも、私に とって今でも将来のキャリア・人生を考える上での指針となっています。

第2の理由は彼の人間性があります。Vinceは、最後まで妥協 しないで高いスタンダードにこだわり続ける人です。そしてそのために彼は人一倍働きます。 Vinceはエッセイのクオリティに納得がいかなければ、たとえエッセイ提出期限の3時間前であろうと、最後の最後まで妥協せず、書き直しを求めてきま す。正直、私自身時々そのような状況に動揺し、弱気になったこともありましたが、彼はエッセイ提出期限の5分前までも最後まで私をサポートし続けてくれま した。だからこそシカゴMBAや他の学校にも合格できたのだと思います。

最後に申し上げたいのは、私にとってVinceとのカウンセリ ングプロセス自体がいまの私の財産になっているということです。もしあなたが知的なチャレン ジを求めていて、カウンセリングプロセスで自分を見つめなおして何かを見出したいと思っているのであれば、私はVinceをパートナーに選ぶことをお勧め します。


Chicago Booth MBA Class of 2011

受験生の皆さんは是非色々 なカウンセラーに会う事をお勧めします


最も印象的なのは、刺さる質問を実にいい タイミングでする、という事です。今思えば、彼とのセッションで受けた質問が、どの面接よりもタフだったと断言で きます。物事の本質を常に見極め、全体を俯瞰しつつ、自分及び自分のキャリアのどの面をどこでアピールすべきかという事について深く掘り下げているからこ そ、質問が鋭いのだと思います。1年前、私には全くそういう感覚がありませんでした。彼の質問に答えながら自分を深く掘り下げるだけでなく、彼の姿勢を学 び意識的に取り入れていく事でApplicationの質はどんどん高くなっていく事を実感しました。

そして、カウンセリングは1対1 の人間同士の交流です。ビンスに面会して彼に決めたのは、彼のスマートさと高い信念を感じただけではなく、すごく面白くて いい奴だったからです。非常に濃い時間を共に過ごしますので、こういう部分も意外に大事だと思っていましたし、実際にその直感は当たっていました。合格の 喜びを彼とShareできて本当によかったと思います。