Posted on July 30, 2019

Chicago Booth Essay Tips and Deadlines- 2019-20


The Chicago Booth Admissions Committee evaluates the candidates based on a holistic criteria consisting of academic preparedness, unique experiences, eagerness to contribute to society, and a sense of personal direction.

Application Deadlines:

The Chicago Booth MBA deadlines for the 2019-20 admissions season are as follows:

Round Application Deadline Decision Released
Round 1 September 26, 2019 December 5, 2019
Round 2 January 7, 2020 March 19, 2020
Round 3 April 2, 2020 May 21, 2020

All applications are due by 11:59 PM CST. Applications submitted after a deadline will automatically be considered in the next round, provided that all required materials are included with the application.

Essay Questions:

There is no change in the essay questions of Booth this year. Like last year, the admission committee requires the applicants to answer two essay questions. Donna Swinford, Interim Executive Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, explains in Booth admissions blog the reason for repeating the same essay prompts: “At Booth, passions and ambitions serve as a compass in navigating our choice-rich environment. Our essay questions get right at those motivations—to the things that inspire you and your post-MBA future. Last year, we introduced two essay questions that directly address your goals and passions. The responses disclosed amazing insights into our applicants’ professional aspirations as well as personal interests. This year, you’ll find that we kept both prompts because the combination established such a comprehensive picture of our applicants, both from a career-related standpoint and outside of their professional selves.”

Instead of a maximum word limit, there is a minimum word limit of 250-word minimum. From the Booth website: “We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be and recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.” The admission committee asks candidates to use their own judgment in determining how long the submission should be. Use your judgment and include only the essentials. I advise my students to use the standard 500 words for both essays.

Apart from these two required essay questions, applicants can also submit an optional essay to elaborate on any aspect which they could not discuss in mandatory essays or address/explain any weaknesses in their profile or of any extenuating circumstances. Re-applicants will also submit an essay explaining areas in which their application has improved this year.

Let’s take a closer look at the essays:

1. How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250-word minimum)

This is a standard goals essay that requires you to carefully deliberate on three aspects:

  • Your immediate post-MBA goal- you should list the type of company/industry you would like to work for, highlighting your role in the company, linking it with your career and personal goals. At times the location is relevant too if so, don’t forget to mention.
  • Your long-term career goals – Progression of short-term goals should lead to your long-term goals which may not be specific in nature.
  • The Chicago Booth program - How strengths and skill set acquired at Booth will help you reach your short-term and long-term goals. Specifically, how Booth experience will help you build on your past knowledge and skills, inching you closer to your goals in the process.

To begin with, you can briefly discuss your career history that defined your goals. Narrate the story around your experience and explain how it is a decisive factor in defining your short- and long-term goals. Make sure that your goals are realistic as well as ambitious. That is, if you aim for a technology or a consulting role, you’ll need to demonstrate that you already possess some skills/experience in that area and are now aiming to enhance those skills. Likewise, if you are a career changer, you should provide evidence as to how your current skill set would facilitate this transition. Now connect your goals to the curriculum, career placement, and strengths of the Booth program, explaining how it can prepare you for the future career. Please note that thorough research of the Booth MBA program and its offerings is key to an effective response to this question.

Chicago Booth admission committee looks for individuals who are aware of the direction their decisions will lead them to and their eagerness and undaunted spirit to make an impact. The intent is to see if you can fit into the ethos of Booth’s community.

2. Chicago Booth immerses you in a choice-rich environment. How have your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions influenced the choices in your life? (250-word minimum)

The purpose of this essay is to show who you are as a person and what motivates you. While the first essay explains your professional accomplishments and goals, this essay provides you an opportunity to reflect on your interests, motivation, and values and how these have influenced your choices in the past. Exceptional response to this essay would be to reflect on times when you had to prioritize and make your decisions. You will have to do some soul searching and share stories from your personal, academic, professional, and community life that showcase your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions. Like the choice-rich environment that Booth provides, you also had many options, so you will need to explain how your goals and interests influenced your choices. Your ability to prioritize and make decisions aligning them with your goals will set you apart.

Having discussed your leadership experiences, passions, and motivation that influenced your decisions, connect them to your potential experiences at the choice rich environment of Booth. Your research of Booth’s resources and offerings will come in handy to address this part of the question. Explain how you see yourself engaging in the clubs and organizations of Booth based on your interest and passion. This will be a great way to demonstrate your ‘fit’ with the program. Please note that self-awareness is imperative for acceptance to the MBA program in Chicago Booth.

Optional Essay:

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

This question, unlike the required questions, does have a word limit. Please respect it. You may use this opportunity to address areas of concern in your application, for instance, low GMAT scores or GPA, employment gap, and difficulty in getting a letter of recommendation from your current employer, etc. This essay should highlight your sincere efforts to overcome your weaknesses and spirit to overcome difficulties.

If you do not have any weakness in your profile or any areas that need justification/explanation, it’s best to skip this question and focus only on the required two essays.

Re-applicant Question:

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)

The answer to this question is vital for the re-applicants since it is asking for your perspective and growth. Instead of asking how your application has improved this time, Booth wants to assess how failure has altered your outlook and how differently you have geared up this time for the MBA admission. Take this opportunity to showcase the change in your stance and your maturity to progress towards the goal. Don’t forget to mention how you have tailored yourself to meet Booth’s admission criteria. Though the question doesn’t ask for improvements, you should definitely mention if there are any improvements in your profile, such as, an improved test score, or a promotion at work, or significant community involvement that has resulted in a changed outlook of your future.

To meet the prescribed word limit, you need to be extremely precise in presenting your case a make every word count.

For more information about applying to Chicago Booth, please visit the

Free Resources:

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples
Essay Analysis of Other Tops Programs- 2019-20
25 Video/ Chat Interviews of Successful MER Students

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

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