How to Answer the “Why Booth?” Interview Question

Tim F., an expert coach and Chicago Booth alumnus, provides actionable tips on how to tailor your interview responses to showcase a genuine connection between your aspirations and Booth's offerings.

Timothy F.

By Timothy F.

Posted March 12, 2024

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In the world of MBA admissions, an interview at the esteemed Chicago Booth School of Business offers a coveted opportunity to not only showcase your qualifications but also to deeply articulate the pivotal question: "Why Booth?" As you step into this interview, it will be paramount to demonstrate your profound understanding of the school's ethos and its unique academic offerings.

To help you prepare, I present to you ten compelling reasons that will not only exhibit your grasp of Chicago Booth's distinct attributes but also affirm your commitment to embarking on an educational journey that aligns perfectly with the institution's unique differentiation. Your ability to weave these reasons into your interview responses will undoubtedly underscore your alignment with Booth's values and highlight the thoughtfulness behind your application.


1. Flexible Curriculum

Booth's flexible curriculum empowers students to chart their academic journey according to their passions, career aspirations, and learning preferences. Unlike a rigid curriculum, Booth's approach allows you to choose courses that align with your individual interests. This personalization fosters a sense of ownership over your education, enhancing motivation and engagement. By selecting courses that resonate with you, you're not just studying; rather, you're immersing yourself in topics that genuinely excite you, resulting in a more enriching and rewarding learning experience.

2. Distinguished Faculty

The faculty at Chicago Booth are not just educators but industry pioneers and thought leaders. Their expertise extends beyond the classroom as they contribute groundbreaking research that shapes business practices worldwide. Learning from such distinguished faculty members gives you access to the latest industry insights and trends, ensuring that your education is relevant and cutting-edge. Engaging with renowned professors also provides networking opportunities that can prove invaluable throughout your career journey.

3. Analytical Rigor

Booth's commitment to analytical rigor equips you with the ability to dissect complex problems, apply quantitative methods, and derive meaningful insights. This analytical prowess is crucial in a data-driven world, where decisions are guided by evidence rather than intuition. The emphasis on quantitative skills prepares you to approach challenges systematically and make informed decisions based on data analysis. This proficiency not only enhances your academic experience but also makes you a sought-after asset in a wide range of industries.

4. Strong Entrepreneurial Focus

Booth's Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation provides a nurturing environment for aspiring entrepreneurs. The center offers mentorship, workshops, and resources to help you transform innovative ideas into successful ventures. This focus on entrepreneurship reflects Booth's commitment to cultivating a culture of innovation and risk-taking. Whether you're launching a startup or contributing to an established company, the entrepreneurial mindset gained at Booth equips you with the agility and creativity needed to thrive in today's competitive business landscape.

5. LEAD Curriculum

Booth's LEAD curriculum sets the stage for transformative leadership development. This program is not just theoretical – it's experiential. Through simulations, role-playing, and feedback, you'll enhance your leadership skills in a practical setting. LEAD helps you understand your leadership style, strengths, and areas for improvement, enabling you to lead with authenticity and impact. This emphasis on leadership prepares you to navigate complex team dynamics, communicate effectively, and drive positive change within organizations.

6. Economic and Data Analysis

Booth's focus on economic and data analysis equips you with a powerful toolkit for decision-making. In a world inundated with information, the ability to extract meaningful insights from data is a game-changer. Booth's emphasis on data-driven decision-making ensures you're prepared to navigate a landscape where quantifiable evidence drives business strategies. This skill set makes you a strategic asset, capable of translating data into actionable insights that guide organizations toward success.

7. Access to Chicago's Business Hub

Located in one of the world's major business hubs, Booth offers unparalleled access to opportunities. Chicago's vibrant business ecosystem spans industries like finance, tech, healthcare, and more. This proximity translates into internships, networking events, and industry partnerships that enhance your learning experience. Whether you're exploring various industries or establishing connections with industry professionals, Booth's location provides a rich tapestry of experiences that amplify your educational journey.

8. Interdisciplinary Approach

Booth's interdisciplinary approach fosters collaboration among students from diverse academic backgrounds. This cross-disciplinary interaction enriches your understanding of business challenges by exposing you to multiple viewpoints. As you collaborate with classmates who bring varied expertise to the table, you develop the ability to approach problems from different angles. This capacity for innovative thinking prepares you to tackle multifaceted challenges that require holistic solutions.

9. Booth's Impact on Finance

Chicago Booth has left an indelible mark on the world of finance through groundbreaking research like the efficient-market hypothesis. Studying finance at Booth means you're connected to a legacy of impactful contributions. This legacy enhances your understanding of financial concepts and strategies, equipping you with insights that are at the forefront of modern finance. The reputation of Booth's finance program opens doors to prestigious roles and positions you as a thought leader in the field.

10. Chicago Approach

Booth's Chicago Approach reflects a commitment to intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and embracing challenges. By encouraging you to question conventional wisdom, this approach fosters a fearless mindset that embraces uncertainty and change. This mindset is essential in a rapidly evolving business landscape, where adaptability and creative problem-solving are prized. The Chicago Approach empowers you to challenge the status quo, innovate, and lead with confidence.

One final piece of advice – the strength of your answer lies not in whether you know how Chicago Booth is different from its peers but in how you weave it into your personal narrative.

At a fundamental level, you can begin by stating the reasons that demonstrate your awareness of Chicago Booth's distinct academic features. For instance, you might express, "I'm interested in Chicago Booth because of the flexible curriculum." This initial step indicates that you recognize one of Booth's key strengths.

Moving to a better response, you can enhance your answer by linking the reason to your own background. For instance, "I'm interested in Chicago Booth because of the flexible curriculum. This would be valuable to me given I already have a strong business foundation from my undergraduate degree." By connecting the flexible curriculum to your existing knowledge, you show your thoughtfulness in how the unique aspect aligns with your educational history.

However, to truly excel in answering the "Why Booth" question, you can elevate your response by not only highlighting the school's uniqueness but also integrating it with your future goals. For instance, you might state, "I'm interested in Chicago Booth because of the flexible curriculum. This would be valuable to me given I already have a strong business foundation from my undergraduate degree. With my strong interest in pivoting from product management into buy-side Investing, this flexible curriculum would allow me to focus my attention on advanced finance courses to help me be more successful in my post-MBA career." This comprehensive approach showcases your understanding of Booth's strengths, connects it with your background, and outlines how these factors contribute to your long-term aspirations.

In the ever-evolving landscape of business education, Chicago Booth stands as an institution of innovative thinking, analytical rigor, and leadership development. As you step into your interview, remember that the "Why Booth" question is your chance to tell your unique story – one that is intertwined with Booth's legacy and aligned with its forward-thinking philosophy. Your ability to artfully craft this narrative will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression, underscoring your fit with the Booth community and solidifying your place in the ranks of future Booth MBA graduates.

Tim F. is a Chicago Booth alumnus and former Booth adcom fellow. He is also an expert coach with a passion for getting YOU into your dream MBA program! Book a FREE intro call with Tim F. today!

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