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Chicago Booth — MBA Program & Application Overview (2022)

Applying to Chicago Booth School of Business? Read this guide for the most practical strategies and tips curated by the best MBA admissions coaches in the world and Booth alumni.

Posted May 17, 2023

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University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is an institution for risk-takers, people who challenge the status quo, and people who dream big and do big things.

Whether in class, in co-curricular activities, or in your community, the Booth MBA experience opens countless doors and opportunities. It empowers you to turn your bold thinking into action that impacts the real world. After graduating with an MBA from Booth, you will have the knowledge to lead with confidence and put your ideas into action.

Class Profile (2024)

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Class Size: 621
  • Number of Applicants: 4,352
  • Acceptance Rate: 22%
  • Average Work Experience: 5 years
  • Average GMAT: 739
  • Average GRE: 163 Verbal, 164 Quant
  • Average GPA: 3.60
  • Women: 40%
  • International: 37%

"Chicago Booth is the destination for ambitious people from diverse backgrounds who want to learn to lead and make a change in the world. "

Booth Admissions Committee

2023 Application Overview

Booth MBA Deadlines

The deadlines for the 2023-2024 application cycle have not yet been released but will be similar to the those from last year:

Round 1: September 22, 2022

  • Decisions released December 1, 2022

Round 2: January 5, 2023

  • Decisions released March 23, 2023

Round 3: April 11, 2023

  • Decisions released: May 25, 2023

Chicago Booth Scholars (Deferred Program): April 11, 2023

  • Decisions released June 15, 2023

GMAT/GRE

You self-report your GMAT or GRE scores at the time of your application. This means you can submit interim at-home or online proctored test scores made available by GMAC and ETS.

  • Should you decide on at-home testing, your scores are reviewed in the same manner as those who took the exam at a traditional testing center
  • You are required to submit your official test scores once you have been admitted and have accepted your offer of admission

Learn more here: GMAT vs GRE for Business School—Which Should You Take (and How to Ace Both)

Booth Essays

What essay prompts should you prepare for on your application to the Chicago Booth School MBA program?

  • 1st Prompt: How will a Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (minimum 250 words, no maximum)
  • 2nd Prompt: 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)
  • Optional: Is there any unclear information in your application that needs further explanation? (maximum 300 words)
  • Re-applicants: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (maximum 300 words)
  • Learn more here: How to Write a Powerful MBA Essay—With Examples

Recommendations

Booth Recommender Requirements

You will need to submit two letters of recommendation from two individuals who know you well. The best candidates for your letters of recommendation are those individuals who can speak clearly about your performance and contribution to your organization, with highly specific and detailed examples.

  • Do not choose your recommender based solely on title and status. The Booth admissions committee is most concerned with the content and substance of your recommendation, not necessarily with the reputation of your recommender
  • Your first letter of recommendation must come from a supervisor. Booth is looking for informed objectivity in their recommendation letters, and wants to hear from individuals who are intimately familiar with your work product, who can speak knowledgeably about your strengths, weaknesses, and potential as a future leader
  • Your second letter can be from another professional contact or from someone who has worked with you in an organization, club, or on a volunteer project. This letter should offer a different perspective on your skillset than the one offered by your first recommender, to maximize the amount and variety of the information sent about you the admissions committee

Learn more here: How to Get the Perfect MBA Recommendation Letter—With Examples. When preparing your recommenders to submit your letters, we encourage you to use our free, tried and tested Leland Recommender Prep Template.

Booth Interviews

Interviews at Booth are by invitation only. The admissions committee will evaluate your submitted application, after which they’ll contact you by the decision date with instructions on how to schedule your interview.

  • Interviews are held on campus, at a location convenient to you, or via teleconference (Zoom)
  • Interviews are conducted either by a current student, an alumnus, or an admissions staff member
  • All interviews are weighted equally in the evaluation process

Learn more here: How to Ace Your MBA Interview: With Prep Questions & Answers

Other Application Items

Application Fee

  • You’ll pay a $250 application fee when you submit your application to Booth’s traditional MBA program
  • If you’re applying to the Chicago Booth Scholars Program, the deferred MBA program, there is no application fee

Resume

  • You’ll be asked to submit a resume as part of this Booth application. This resume should highlight your professional and volunteer experience, and indicate why you’d be a suitable candidate for Booth’s MBA program
  • Click here to read about How to Craft the Ultimate MBA Resume

Academic Transcripts

  • You’ll need to submit transcripts from all postsecondary educational institutions that you have attended
  • You will only be asked to submit unofficial scans of your transcripts. Make sure to scan both sides of each transcript you submit
  • Once admitted, you will be asked to submit an official transcript from every university, college, or graduate institution you have previously attended
  • All records must include the dates of enrollment, courses taken and their credit units, your grades, and if available, your rank in the total class or group
  • Records you submit should also include the institutional grading scale or other standards of evaluation, including the minimum passing and failing marks and the definition of grades between them
  • If your academic records and diplomas are not written in English, you must submit both the official record and an authorized English translation
  • All degrees must be from an accredited institution recognized by the US’s ministry of education. Chicago Booth reserves the right to review and decide whether the academic credentials presented from a non-US institution qualify for consideration

International Applicant Requirements

Chicago Booth is open to all MBA applicants from all over the world. In Booth’s collaborative community, you will study with students from different countries and connect with alumni worldwide. You will not only graduate with a world-class Chicago Booth MBA, but also a lifelong global network.

When applying as an international student, you’ll follow the same application process as US-based students, with some slight differences:

  • International applicants must present a college or university degree equivalent to a four-year American degree. Because of the Bologna Accord, Chicago Booth also accepts candidates who have three-year international degrees. You’ll still need to submit official or scanned academic transcripts to document your degree
  • If your native language is not English, you will need to submit an English proficiency test. Both the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) are acceptable
    • Most business schools will waive this requirement if you earned your undergraduate or postgraduate degree from an institution in which English is the language of instruction, or if you are a citizen or a permanent resident of a country where the official language is English

Expert MBA Admissions Coaches on Leland

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Booth Program Overview

Educational Philosophy

Booth believes that rigorous inquiry and questioning inspires insight. This is what they call The Chicago Approach.

You’ll learn how to turn any business challenge into an opportunity, think for yourself, challenge the status quo, and make groundbreaking discoveries using data.

MBA Curriculum

Chicago Booth’s MBA curriculum is rooted in the fundamental fields of business: accounting, economics, psychology, sociology, and statistics.

The school believes that by developing a deep knowledge of these important fields, you will obtain an astute, agile, and analytical approach when solving problems and making decisions. You will also see the real-world relevance of what you are studying and its practical application.

LEAD

  • You will start your MBA journey with LEAD
  • This is a hands-on, experiential program that builds skills in negotiation, team building, interpersonal communication, and other key general management areas. This is the only required course in the Chicago Booth curriculum
  • The format of this course varies depending on your chosen program: Full-Time MBA, Evening MBA, Weekend MBA, or Executive MBA
  • Full-time MBA
    • Booth begins the LEAD program with Orientation+ (O+), a two-week orientation to life at Booth organized by second-year student facilitators. LEAD will continue through the first quarter of classes
    • The end goal of LEAD is for you to learn who you are as a leader, what you stand for, and how others perceive you
    • As part of LEAD, you will be asked to develop an individualized plan to guide your leadership journey throughout your time in Booth
  • Evening/Weekend MBA
    • For evening and weekend MBA programs, LEAD provides foundational leadership concepts and frameworks to help you succeed, grow and continue developing as a leader during your time at Booth
  • Executive MBA
    • For Executive MBA students, the LEAD course begins during the Kick-Off week in June, in Chicago, and ends during the first International Week of the Summer Quarter, in London
    • If you are an Executive MBA student, LEAD focuses on increasing self-awareness and key leadership skills
    • Beyond the LEAD course, Booth encourages Executive MBA students to join one-on-one and small group executive coaching sessions, as well as participate in assessments of leadership, professional development workshops, and other events

Foundational Courses

  • Financial Accounting
  • Microeconomics
  • Statistics

Leadership Courses

  • Full-Time MBA, Evening MBA, and Weekend MBA Programs
    • Interpersonal Dynamics
    • Leadership Practicum
    • Leadership Studio
    • Innovation Leadership
    • Leading and Managing Teams
    • Power and Influence in Organizations
  • Executive Program
    • Designing a Good Life
    • Essentials of Effective Leadership
    • Leadership Capital
    • Persuasion: Effective Business Communication
    • Power and Influence in Organizations
    • Social Networks and Strategic Leadership
    • Storytelling and Narratives in Business

Functions, Leadership & Management, and the Business Environment

  • Functions
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Operations
    • Strategy
  • Leadership and Management
    • Decisions
    • People
  • Business Environment
    • Economy
    • Society
  • Electives
    • Lab courses
    • Other elective courses
  • Culture
    • The principal modes of learning at Chicago Booth are debate and discussion. In class, you will often be called to share your opinion and defend your position

Qualified Work Experience

  • Full-Time MBA students typically seek out a hands-on, professional internship experience between their first and second years to put the skills they’ve learned into action in a work setting

Faculty

  • Faculty members at Booth are passionate professors, in possession of an unwavering commitment to the success of their students in every program, at each of Booth’s three global community campuses
  • Since 1968, when the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences was established, nine Chicago Booth faculty members have been awarded. Currently, three Nobel laureates are teaching at Booth
  • Check Booth’s list of professors here: Faculty Directory

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods at Booth are multifaceted:

  • Collaboration with Classmates
    • Strong teamwork is a must in an increasingly complex business world. To prepare students for this, Booth puts a strong emphasis on group projects. By working with a diverse group of classmates from different backgrounds, you will learn tremendously and learn from your group’s varied expertise
  • Case Method
    • Instead of using cases to teach past challenges, the faculty illustrates fundamental frameworks and theories that are applicable to today’s real-world international business problems
  • Hands-On Learning
    • Full-Time and Part-Time MBA students will approach real-world business challenges during their lab courses. This gives student participants the chance to work directly with client organizations or develop their own business plans. Every year, new lab courses are introduced
    • Example of Lab Courses
      • Lab in Developing New Products and Services
      • Entrepreneurial Discovery
      • Healthcare Analytics Lab
      • Private Equity/Venture Capital Lab
      • Global Social Impact Practicum

Campus

  • Chicago Booth’s campus is officially in Hyde Park, but the school considers the entire city of Chicago as its campus. This is where students live, study, and work
  • Therefore, a Booth MBA is not limited to a single location. At Booth, you’ll get to experience everything from a classroom setting, in the Gleacher Center, to an urban environment, in the neighborhoods and the Loop where you’ll live and explore local restaurants
  • Chicago Booth is the only US business school to have permanent campuses on three continents: North America, Europe, and Asia

Booth MBA Programs

Full-Time MBA

  • Chicago Booth’s Full-Time MBA program lets you work in a collaborative environment of faculty, alumni, and peers that will open doors in your career
  • Typical time to complete: 21 months
  • Average years of work experience: 3 to 7
  • Available concentrations: 13

Evening MBA

  • The Evening MBA program is ideal for professionals in Chicago and the surrounding region. At the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, the Evening MBA program, which is part-time, follows the same curriculum as all the other programs and features the same Booth faculty members
  • Typical time to complete: 2.5 to 3 years
  • Available concentrations: 13

Weekend MBA

  • With a flexible curriculum and a weekend-based schedule, the Weekend MBA program (also part-time) is ideal for curious, high-potential professionals from all corners of the country
  • 77% of Booth Weekend MBA students travel to the downtown campus each weekend from states all over the country.
  • Commuters can look forward to free shuttle service to and from Midway and O’Hare Airports on Saturdays, discounted rates at nearby downtown Chicago hotels, and Saturday access to student events, faculty, the administrative office, academic advisors, and Career Services
  • Typical time to complete: 2.5 to 3 years
  • Available concentrations: 13

Executive MBA

Executive MBA candidates can choose from physical campuses in Chicago, London, or Hong Kong.

Chicago Booth Deferred program

  • Through Booth’s MBA deferred program, Chicago Booth Scholars, you can apply for an MBA in your final year of undergraduate studies. You can defer admission for two to five years, during which you can enter the workforce and gain professional experience that will enrich your time at Booth
  • During the deferment period, admitted students have full access to Booth resources and events, as well as specialized deferred scholar programming and a vast network of business professionals
  • All Booth Scholars need to pay a series of nonrefundable deposits that go towards their tuition during their first, second, third, and fourth year of deferral
  • Find more information about deferred MBA programs here: Top 10 Deferred MBA Programs in the U.S.

Joint Degree Programs

The following joint-degree programs are open to Full-Time MBA students. However, the University of Chicago Obama Foundation Scholars program is open to both students of the Full-Time and Part-Time MBA programs.

If you are a current or future student in the Evening or Weekend MBA program, you can also enroll in the Computer Science Masters program. Please note that the majority of the non-Booth classes take place during the day so the CS Masters program might not fit your schedule.

JD-MBA Program

  • This program gives students the expertise of both legal and business practices. Booth’s JD-MBA Program offers both an accelerated three-year and a traditional four-year JD/MBA structure

MBA/Master of Arts in Eastern European and Russian Eurasian Studies

  • As a complement to their MBA degree, students who enroll in this program will pursue coursework through the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES). This degree is devoted to Eastern European culture, politics, history, and language

MBA/Master of Arts in International Relations

  • This program is ideal for leaders interested in a wide range of careers, including consulting, financial services, international banking, and administration management
  • The MBA/MA in IR is offered by Chicago Booth and the Committee on International Relations (CIR). Students take theoretical and interdisciplinary courses in international relations. Upon completing all coursework, students will write a Master’s thesis tailored to their specific interests and career goals

MBA/Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies

  • Students of this program pursue coursework in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES). They develop a comprehensive understanding of the history, culture, politics, and languages of the region to complement their MBA education

MBA/MD

  • If you are interested in becoming a leader in a healthcare organization — i.e. working in a physician’s practice, a hospital, in insurance, or for a pharmaceutical company — this program is for you. This joint degree offering gives students the necessary knowledge in economics, statistics, and the behavioral sciences to become leaders in their chosen field

MBA/Masters Program in Computer Science (MPCS)

  • This program offers students the opportunity to merge a business education with technical skills in order to effectively lead in the fields of entrepreneurship, fintech, and technology management

MBA/Master of Public Policy (MPP)

  • This program allows students to combine their Chicago Booth MBA with a Master's earned at the Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
  • This core curriculum is founded on a variety of disciplines and fields, including economics, sociology, political science, statistics, econometrics, political economy, organizational theory, and program evaluation. Graduates from this program are ready for leadership roles in business, government, NGOs, and other policy-adjacent and consulting organizations

MBA/Master of Arts in Social Work, Social Policy, and Social Administration from Crown Family School

  • Through this program, you’ll also gain a Master’s degree from the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Once you graduate, you will be equipped as a leader across different fields of business, clinical social work, policy, and social administration practice

Chicago Booth Scholars Program

Booth offers a deferred enrollment program for college seniors without full-time work experience to allow them to secure a spot in a future class and then defer for several years. During this time, they’re expected to explore different opportunities, such as starting a business, trying out a new industry, or joining a non-profit. Because students are accepted before they begin their careers, they have a flexible MBA timeline and can pursue projects that they otherwise wouldn’t.

See our full Chicago deferred enrollment guide here: Chicago Booth Scholars Program

Student Life at Booth

Booth’s Classroom Experience

Meet Booth Admits & Applicants in Leland’s Free Slack Community

If you’re applying to Booth, boost your odds by joining the Leland MBA Applicant Community. It’s a free, private community of MBA applicants, admits, and world-class admissions coaches, all here to answer questions, give feedback, share stories, and help each other through the admissions process.

Membership in the Community is by invitation only. To apply, click below.

Booth FAQs

What are the minimum admissions criteria required to apply to this program?

  • All applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree at an accredited US college or university or its equivalent in another country. (Because of the Bologna Accord, Booth accepts all three-year international degrees)
    • No minimum GPA is required
    • You will need to submit documentation of your education
  • All applicants must submit scores for either the GMAT or GRE
    • Booth has no preference between the two exams
    • There is no minimum score to be considered for admission
  • International students should take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE)
  • Booth does not require a minimum number of years of work experience. However, the school strongly suggests that you have work experience before applying

Am I exempt from any test requirements?

  • International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE if they graduated from a college or university that uses English as the language of instruction, or are citizens of a country whose official language is English
  • Booth does not waive GMAT or GRE tests

Where can I list my internship experience?

  • Your resume is the perfect place to list your internship experience. There will also be space on the application itself to list all internship and professional work experience

Does Chicago Booth accept transfer students or transfer credits?

  • No. Booth does not accept transfer credit credits, and it does not waive any credits required to graduate. All Full-Time Program MBA students are required to complete 2100 units

I am having technical difficulties with my application.

  • If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application, first, switch your internet browser. Second, try accessing your application using a home network, instead of a work network. If this still does not resolve your issue, please contact admissions@chicagobooth.edu.
  • I see a red X and an "awaiting" notification next to my test scores on my application checklist. Should I worry?
    • The red X does not mean that your application is being stalled from review, as Booth only asks for "Self-Reported Scores" and not "Official Scores" when you initially submit your application

Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

  • You can apply for an application fee waiver if you are a/an:
    • Full-time enrollee in an undergraduate program (non-University of Chicago student)
    • Summer Business Scholar graduate
    • Teach for America participant, instructor, or alumnus who completed service within the past five years
    • AmeriCorps and Peace Corps participant and alumnus who completed service within the past five years
    • Forté MBALaunch Member
    • JumpStart fellow
    • Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship Recipient
    • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) Fellow
    • Posse Member
    • Prospanica Member
    • QuestBridge Member
    • Riordan Member
    • ROMBA Member
    • Service to School Participant
    • Toigo Fellow
    • Civic Scholars Nominee
    • Working in government or nonprofit
    • Active-duty military or military veteran
    • University of Chicago employee
    • University of Chicago student (all degree-granting programs)

What if I miss the application deadline?

  • There are three rounds of application. You should submit your application by 11:59 p.m. CST on the day of the deadline. If you submit after the deadline, you will automatically be considered in the next round, provided that all required materials have been submitted

Can I add new materials or test scores to my submitted application?

  • If you have retaken your GMAT or GRE and want to add a new score, or have received a promotion or any professional development, you can upload the updates on your online status page

When should I expect an update or confirmation that my application materials have been received?

  • Your status portal will update to reflect all materials that you have uploaded. You can check your status portal at any time. Booth will only send notifications if anything is missing from your file. If the department does not contact you, assume that Booth has received all of your materials

Can my candidacy for this program be reviewed prior to applying?

  • Booth does not review applications prior to submission deadlines, and also does not offer post-application feedback

What is Booth’s deferred-admissions policy?

  • Your application should be submitted the year you intend to enroll. Deferrals are handled on a case-to-case basis at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Admissions. However, there are no guarantees that deferral will be granted, regardless of the situation. This does not apply to students applying through the Chicago Booth Scholars Program

How do I apply as a Reapplicant?

  • If you were declined an offer for admission in a previous year, you can reapply in the next academic year. You will be considered a reapplicant if you submitted an application within the past two academic years to Chicago Booth's Full-Time MBA Program. If you applied more than two years ago, you will need to apply as a new applicant

What kind of transcript is needed to apply?

  • At the time of your application, a scanned, unofficial transcript is needed. Both sides should be submitted

What is an unofficial transcript?

  • Any transcript that is not from your registrar (official and sealed) is unofficial. Additionally, a transcript scanned, copied, faxed, emailed, or sent directly to the student, is also unofficial

Do I need to send official transcripts in addition to the scanned copy in my application?

  • No, if you send an official transcript Booth will not keep it. You only need to send official transcripts once admitted

I have transfer credits from another institution and/or study abroad. How should I indicate that in my application?

  • You can list all institutions that you have attended in the Academics section of the application. You should include the transcripts from each of these institutions. If your main transcript already includes these credits, you do not need to submit a different transcript

Should I bring my official transcripts to the interview?

  • No, Booth only requires official transcripts upon admission

I’m in my final year of undergraduate study. How should I report my transcripts?

  • You will need to provide unofficial copies of your transcripts from the start of your studies up to the time of your application. Once admitted, you will need to submit the official transcripts in time for orientation activities

What do I do if my university is outside of the United States and uses a different grading scale?

  • Please send your transcripts as they are. Do not attempt to convert your grades to the GPA system. The Admissions Committee is familiar with grading systems around the world and will review your application in that context

If my international transcripts are all in English and reflect that my degree was awarded, do I still have to submit a degree certificate?

  • Yes, all students who attended a university outside the US must submit a degree certificate

My international school issues official transcripts in English. Does Booth accept these, or do I need to submit these in their original language as well?

  • You will need to submit official transcripts in your official language as well as English translations of those transcripts

What should I take into consideration when selecting my recommenders?

  • Generally, your first recommendation should come from a supervisor. The second can be professional in nature, or from an individual who has worked with you in an organization, club, or volunteer organization

What if I don't want to use my current employer as a reference?

  • Former or other supervisors can be used as references if you are unable to request a letter from your current employer. If you do not use a current employer, you should note the reason in the Additional Information section of your application

How do I change the name or information I submitted about my recommender?

  • Email admissions@chicagobooth.edu, and a coordinator will assist you with the change

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