Posted on December 3, 2014

Booth Essay Questions Analysis ( Evening Program) – 2014 -15


Chicago Booth Evening MBA Program admits new students four times per year, for the Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarters.

From Booth website:

 Application Deadlines:

Quarter Application Due LAUNCH * Classes Start
Winter 2015 Friday, October 3, 2014 December 11, 12, and 13 January 5
Spring 2015 Friday, January 9, 2015 March 19, 20, and 21 March 30
Summer 2015  Friday, April 3, 2015 June 11, 12, and 13 June 26
Autumn 2015 Wednesday, July 1, 2015 September 10, 11, and 12 September 24

* LAUNCH is a three-day program that kicks off your Booth MBA experience.

Evaluation Criteria:

The Admissions Committee considers a candidate’s potential for success both while in school and beyond. Three broad themes are used to evaluate an applicant:

  • Curriculum  (Academic preparedness, Intellectual curiosity, Communication skills)
  • Community  (Leadership, Team-building skills, Respect for others , Philanthropic tendencies, Fit with Chicago Booth, A unique perspective)
  • Career (A track record of success, Resourcefulness , A sense of personal direction ,Time-management skills ,Realistic expectations for the MBA)

Essay1: Imagine yourself at LAUNCH (your three-day orientation) meeting your classmates for the first time. Introduce yourself. (250 words maximum)

 For this essay, you will need to focus on the qualities/interests/ experiences you want your class mates to know about you.  I would suggest that you achieve a balance between details of your professional and personal life in this essay. You only have 250 words to paint your personality to your class mates. You may approximately use 125 words to focus on your professional self (academic, career history, goals etc.) and 125 words to discuss your personality (i.e. your interests, background, and perspective of life). It is a test of your thinking and writing skills, a test of how concisely you can describe yourself. When discussing your personal interests, you may try to make your introduction interesting with anecdotes. The key to a rewarding introduction is to be yourself . In the end, don’t forget to demonstrate your excitement of working with your class mates at Booth.

 Essay2: How will an MBA from Chicago Booth, from the Evening MBA Program specifically, at this point in your life help you achieve both your short- and long-term goals? (500 words maximum)

 This is a straightforward ‘goals’, ‘why MBA’ and ‘why Booth’ question. You may begin your essay with a story/ event/ life experience that reflects passion for your chosen field (marketing, finance etc.) leading to your academic career. You may also directly start with an account of your academic history (Bachelors and Master’s degree) leading to your career history, explaining how you acquired new skills and progressed along your career path all these years. Specify skills gained at each job position and your rationale behind each career move, your greatest professional hits/accomplishments that earned you promotion ahead of your peers.

Then explain where you stand now, the   skills that   you still   lack and hope to acquire by an   MBA? How an MBA will fill the gaps in your career and bring you closer to the fulfillment of your goals? Explain why you believe that an MBA is the next logical step in your career path NOW?

Then discuss your short term and long term goals.  Be clear and quite decisive for short term goals (even if you are not 100% sure.) Show that you have put some thought into it. For long term goals, it’s ok to be more broad and idealistic. However, you need to make sure there is a logical connection between short term and long term goals. Explain how you foresee yourself progressing from short term to long term goals (A to B to C). Show sincerity and passion in talking about your dreams.

Once you have explained your career aspirations and your need for an MBA, explain how an evening MBA from Booth is your best bet at this time and   how it will help you achieve your goals. All schools expect you to not only have a clear sense of your goals but also of their connection to their offerings. A thorough knowledge of the school’s curriculum, faculty, and special programs will enable you to   explain how they are aligned to your goals. Again, do not forget to answer why you are interested in the evening program instead of full time program. The school wants to know the reason why you want to pursue higher education while continuing with your employment.

In the end, discuss what value you will bring to their program? Even though the prompt doesn't ask you about your contribution, you may throw in a sentence about the value you will add to the program.


 “Booth part-time program will provide me the opportunity to assimilate the teachings and research findings of Booth faculty and apply them at work the very next day. The practical application will help me gain more knowledge from the academic learning. The curriculum also allows me to continue my professional career without interruption and enables me to pursue challenging assignments which can fast-track my career growth. If I continue to perform well, I will most likely be promoted to a product director within the next two years.”

 A Goals Essay connects past, present and future i.e. your past work- experience (past), your goals,(future), and the need of an MBA from a particular school to achieve your goals (present).  The Schools want to see that you have a clear plan/ vision for future and you have the ability to convince them of the same by telling your story in an engaging manner.


For more information on ‘Goals Essay’ click here:

For sample 'Goals Essay’, click here

 Essay3: Please complete this statement: I am a valuable member of a team because... (500 words maximum) -

This essay prompt expects you to showcase your team working skills that make you a valuable team member. Complete the statement in the essay prompt by listing about three distinct team working attributes that define you and make you a valuable team member. ( eg. ability to resolve conflict, individual responsibility and accountability, communication skills, flexibility, adaptability etc.).Explain how these qualities have contributed to your team throughout your professional career. Then go ahead and provide examples /anecdotes to illustrate each of these 3 or 4 qualities in 3 or 4 different paragraphs, each paragraph showcasing one trait with a story. Pick examples from your projects where you demonstrated your team working skills and yielded good results.

How to organize this essay:

  • Ø Complete the statement in the essay prompt by listing 3 or 4 distinct team working attributes that define you and make you a valuable team member. Explain how these qualities have contributed to your team all these years of your professional career
  • Ø Then pick the first attribute and illustrate it with example.
  • Ø In the next para, discuss another attribute and illustrate it with an example/story. Likewise for the next para. All these examples will evidence that you will be value addition in your team.
  • Ø In the end, conclude your story and explain how you will leverage these qualities at Booth.

Example of a Lead:

“I am a valuable member of a team because of my ability to motivate others, my potential to communicate effectively, and my willingness to take initiatives. “

Re-applicant Essay: Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or obtaining your MBA changed since the time of your last application and what steps have you taken to strengthen your application since the last time you applied? (250 words maximum)

Through this question, Booth wants its re-applicants to enlighten them on three areas: their future, Chicago Booth and earning their MBA. Let’s take them one by one. Your future is your goals, so in this one year you may likely have realized that your previous goal was not realistic, so you might have changed your short- and/or long-term goals from last year. Don’t worry about that, just be sure to show that your new goals are realistic, doable and match your skills. Next, you should explain   how and what you have learned about Chicago Booth since your previous application. The school only wants to know that your need of Booth is as strong as it was last time, so you should demonstrate your continued interest in Booth by mentioning any meetings you have had with alumni or professors, any campus visits you made,  any classes you attended, or any information session you have attended.

Booth wants its applicants to tell them if their thinking about MBA has changed since their last application. You may answer this by focusing on the areas you have improved upon since you applied last. Whether you have taken extra classes, received a promotion, led a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on a personal challenge, the key here is to demonstrate that you are now a better and stronger candidate. Your conscious efforts to strengthen your profile and to work on your weak areas will prove how determined you are about your MBA.

Lastly, and most importantly, you should use the  feedback you received from the school on your previous application and focus specifically on those areas e.g. clarity of goals, extra courses taken to make up for your low GMAT, improved essays with clarity of message.


“My application for Booth evening MBA program was rejected last winter. According to the feedback I received, I needed to either retake the GMAT or take a course. Also, I was advised to improve my essays for clarity of message.

.Based on the feedback, I have made conscious efforts to improve my application in the above mentioned areas..............”

4. (Optional Essay) If there is any important information relevant to your candidacy you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here. (250 words maximum)

An optional essay provides you with an excellent opportunity to tell the Ad Com what you could not tell because you were bound by the specifications of the essay questions. This question is also meant to shine a spotlight on an experience or side of your personality that has not been revealed in the other parts of your application: essays, recommendation letters and resume. This is an opportunity Ad Com is offering you to cite another reason to admit you.  While someone might want to talk about his/her experiences in community service, someone else might want to share something about his/her accomplishments in extracurricular activities e.g. sports, music, or painting etc. You can also choose examples from your work (if you have an outstanding professional accomplishment that you could not share in essays), community service, education, travels, or any other hobby/interest. You may also share a life -experience that has greatly influenced your personality and life. The idea is to bring to light that aspect of your personality that truly makes you unique. Then you should try to demonstrate how you can leverage this skill or quality to enhance your MBA experience or your future career.

You may also use this essay question to address a weakness in your profile, such as employment gap or low GPA or low GMAT. Your weakness may  bring out a positive aspect of your personality.

Please refer to the following example of a candidate whose grades dropped because of his military service.


Although my leadership experiences in the military taught me many valuable lessons in teamwork, perseverance, and management, through all my responsibilities, it impacted my grades.    Thus, I do not view my undergraduate performance as an accurate representation of my academic abilities. However, I hope the above reasons will assist you in understanding my particular situation.   I grew from this experience and took a dedicated approach to professional education.  I would respectfully ask the admission committee to consider this when reviewing my application.


Click here for article on Optional Essay

Click here for Sample Optional  Essay


If you want some help in telling your memorable stories in only 250 words, read my article: Business School Application Essays- ‘Less is More ’

For questions, email me at