Chicago Booth MBA Essays: 5 Expert Tips

Tips and tricks to help you write the best essays possible for the Booth MBA Application, including essay and application deadlines as well as Booth coach recommendations.

Posted May 9, 2024

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What are the Booth Essay Questions?

Arguably the most important part of any MBA application, essays give applicants the chance to present different personal qualities. Unlike resumes, GPAs, and recommendation letters, the essays are purely in your voice and provide a forum for you to showcase your charisma and reasons for applying to Booth. Here are the two Booth essay questions:

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

Both of the Booth essay questions are relatively open-ended, which can be especially difficult because of the unlimited word count. Regarding the essay guidelines, Booth says that it trusts “that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how best to allocate the space.”

Though each applicant is unique, it’s generally recommended that you keep the essay lengths to about 500 words each. You don’t want to bore or waste the AdCom’s time, and you also want to show that you can get to the point clearly and succinctly.

University of Chicago Booth Application Deadlines 2023-2024

Here are the recently released Booth application deadlines for the 2023-2024 application cycle:

  • Round 1: September 21, 2023
  • Round 2: January 44 2024
  • Round 3: April 4, 2024
  • Booth Scholars (Deferred MBA): April 4, 2024

See more info on the new deadlines and requirements here: Chicago Booth MBA Application Deadlines (2023-2024)

If you’re interested in the deferred enrollment program at Booth, here is another article to get you started on your application: Chicago Booth Scholars Program.

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Tips for Success on the Booth Essays

1. Research Booth

With the first essay prompt, Booth wants to know that you understand the specificities of its MBA program. It also wants to understand why you’d like to attend Booth instead of all the other business schools. Notice that the prompt is not asking how an MBA will help you in your career goals but how a Booth MBA will help them.

As part of this research, we recommend taking an in-person or virtual campus tour, speaking to alumni, watching videos, and/or reading blog posts. Answers to this question may also include specific classes you want to take or professors you want to take them from, or on-campus clubs/groups that you’d like to join.

2. Know Yourself

Pivotal to many parts of the MBA application but especially the essays, Booth wants to understand your dreams and how you’re planning on using an MBA to achieve them. In order to answer this question well, you must have a clear idea of your motivations for pursuing an MBA, and where you see your career going after graduation. Also, reflect on your career journey thus far, including what you have learned in previous roles and what is lacking.

To get started, we recommend that you talk with a peer or mentor to outline this. Have them ask you important questions such as:

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Twenty years?
  • Why do you want to pursue an MBA?
  • How do you plan on using your MBA?
  • How do you plan on making an impact at your current or future workplace?
  • What are your professional and personal goals?

Leland MBA coaches are a great resource to utilize as your brainstorm, outline, and draft your essays.

3. Answer the Question

When the question is so broad, it is difficult to stay on one narrative without straying to irrelevant topics. This difficulty is exacerbated by the lack of a maximum word count. In order to prevent tangential asides, plan the outline of your essay before you begin writing a draft. Having an idea of the overall structure while you write will help you stay on track, improve the structural flow, and remain clear and concise throughout. Before you begin the draft, reread the essay question to make sure that you’ve addressed each part. For example, the first question asks about immediate goals and long-term goals. Have you mentioned both in your outline?

4. Be Unique

The Booth Admissions Committee will read thousands of essays and your job is to make yours stand out. What makes you different from every other MBA applicant? Whatever it is, highlight it. Think about the experiences that have made an impact on you and create a story that leads to Booth. As mentioned earlier, stay on topic. Choose stories that are relevant to the characteristics you’re trying to highlight. You have limited space and you want each part of the essay to build on the last so that the whole thing is fluid and logical.

On its website, Booth says that it wants “ambitious, intellectually curious professionals” and “bold leaders.” While writing your essay, think about how you can show that you possess these traits in the stories. To get started, we recommend answering the following questions:

  • What events/experiences/people have shaped you as a person?
  • What matters most to you?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your values and where did they come from?
  • What has challenged you the most and what did you learn from it?

Once you’ve written your answers to these questions, think about the stories that come with them and look for themes that tie the major events together. This will give you a good start on the outline.

5. Start Early

We recommend that you begin outlining and drafting your essays early to give you ample time to review them and receive feedback. Start brainstorming at least three months before the application deadline. Once you have a draft, leave it for a few days so that when you come back to it, you are reading it with a fresh perspective.

After you’ve made edits, have a peer or mentor review it, ideally a Booth alum or someone with extensive writing experience. Leland coaches are uniquely positioned to help you succeed in this aspect. After you’ve received feedback, rewrite it with edits and then leave it again. If, when you have come back to it, you are confident in its caliber, review it one more time with a coach or mentor before submitting it.

Get Into Booth With the Help of an Expert

Writing the essays is one of the most difficult parts of the MBA application process for many people. For this reason, there are many essay-related articles in the MBA Hub of our Leland Library. Here are some specific ones to get you started:

If you would prefer to work one-on-one with a Booth or essay expert, browse all of our vetted coaches here. Below are some of our highest-rated MBA admissions coaches.

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