Posted on December 20, 2015

Booth Essay Questions Analysis (Evening Program) – 2015 -16


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

 Application Deadlines:

 Quarter      Application Due LAUNCH *    Classes Start
Winter 2016 Friday, October 9, 2015 December 10, 11, and 12 January 4
Spring 2016 Friday, January 8, 2016 March 17, 18, and 19 March 28
Summer 2016 Friday, April 8, 2016 June 9, 10, and 11 June 20
Autumn 2016 Friday, July 1, 2016 September 8, 9, and 10 September 22


For more information on the application process, click here:

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)

Essay Questions for Winter 2016, Spring 2016, and Autumn 2016:

Essay One: We often have a short window of time to make an impression. Introduce yourself to your classmates. (250 words maximum)

For this essay, you will need to focus on the qualities/interests/ experiences you want your classmates to know about you.  I would suggest that you achieve a balance between the details of your professional and personal life in this essay. You only have 250 words to paint your personality to your classmates. 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 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 about working with your classmates at Booth.

Essay Two: Chicago Booth offers four ways to earn an MBA. Why is the Evening MBA the best fit for your short- and long-term career goals? Why are you the best fit for the program? (500 words maximum)

This is a straightforward Goals Essay, ‘why MBA,’ and ‘why Booth’ question. You may begin your essay with a story/ event/ life experience that reflects a 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 will an MBA 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 for 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 their connection to their offerings. Thorough knowledge of the school’s curriculum, faculty, and special programs will enable you to explain how they are aligned with your goals. Again, do not forget to answer why you are interested in the evening program instead of the 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? To demonstrate your 'fit' with the program, you also need to explain in what ways you will contribute to the program


"After attending the information sessions, meeting with students and alumni, and going for the class-visits at Booth, I am convinced that the evening MBA program at Booth will be a great fit for me.The rigor and discipline designed in the Booth MBA program resonate well with my learning style, and the option to take additional courses after completing the program fits my vision of establishing a long term relationship with the school. I am convinced that Booth will be a perfect enabler to my transformation into a  leader."

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

Note: For sample 'Goals Essay’, click here

Essay Three:  Developing leadership skills is an important component of an MBA program. What qualities do you value in a leader? How will an MBA from Booth help develop your leadership skills? (500 words maximum)

From the Booth website: “A significant part of the Booth experience is helping each student define and strengthen their personal leadership style.” That is why they require applicants to answer the leadership question by slightly tweaking it every year. The goal of this essay is to better understand your perspective about leadership and how you will leverage your leadership skills through the Booth MBA program.

How to organize your essay Think about traits that, in your opinion, make good leaders explain how you plan to achieve them, what leadership skills you already possess. Please illustrate your observations/ viewpoints with examples. Please note that blanket statements without examples will not help the Ad Com understand your views on leadership. (Approximately 250 words)

In the second part of the essay, discuss in what ways a Booth MBA can help you develop your leadership skills. You should have a thorough knowledge of Booth resources to be able to explain which particular resources/ offerings at Chicago Booth you plan to take advantage of to hone your leadership qualities. (Approximately 250 words)


"Thus, I strongly believe that having leadership in thought and vision is not enough to make one a leader. The small personal gestures enhance the perception of a true leader who can motivate others to work towards the ultimate goal.  I am excited to further enhance my leadership qualities through the courses and workshops offered through the Lead Exploration and Development  program offered by Booth."

Note: To get more ideas for this essay, please go through my blog post on Leadership Essay.


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? (500 words)        

Through this question, Booth wants its re-applicants to enlighten them in 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 the 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 the clarity of the message. Based on the feedback, I have made conscious efforts to improve my application in the above-mentioned areas..............”

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. (500 words) 

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 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.          

Example: "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."

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Do you have questions about your application? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.

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