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Chat with Admissions

September 18, 2007—9:00-10:30AM CDT

Melissa: Hi everyone. The chat has begun. Please feel free to submit your questions. We have Rose Martinelli, others from the Admissions staff and even a current student here to respond.

Sly: Hello, I wanted to find out if there is any student association for African students

Rose: Absolutely. We have our AAMBA student group that is very active. You can contact them directly through our student group lists, or contact the office.

Melissa: To accommodate the delay in beginning today's chat, we will be extending this chat session until 10:30 am CDT.

Alex_2: Has the Gmat a critical importance in the admission process?

Rose: The GMAT is just one component of the application that helps us to understand your academic ability. If the score falls within our 80th percentile range (650-760), then you are fine. One caveat, you should make sure that your score represents your ability. If it does not, I would encourage you to retake the test.

ashwin: To what extent will a person be judged if he/she makes a career change i.e. working for a bit - say 2 years or so - and then applies for a MBA?

Joanne: Hi Ashwin. We see many students who apply after only a few years of work experience, so you're not alone! Again, the point is for you to explain yourself well in your essays--why you need/want the MBA, the timing for you, and your goals. Many of our applicants are career changers.

jonjoe: Once an admission decision is conveyed, what are the timelines that follow?

Rose: It depends upon the round. In Round 1, decisions are released in early January and students do not need to decide until mid-March. In Round 2, decisions are released in late March and students have until May to decide.

Joshi_Sumit: I am most interested in being a socially responsible entrepreneur. How will the full-time MBA at Chicago GSB assist me in being one?

Rose: Chicago GSB has a large Entrpreneurial Program along with the Polsky Center. Social Entrepreneurship is a growing area of faculty research and student interest. Our faculty have done some very interesting projects within the land of Social Entrepreneurship by creating distribution channels for the government's food distribution program for the poor. You can find more information about that through Alumni Magazine.

Sarah: What would you consider the biggest weakness of the program?

Saurabh: Sarah - There isn't a major weakness that I can think of, otherwise I wouldn't be here at the GSB. The only thing that comes closest is that the curriculum flexibility exposes you to different classmates in different classes, which can be a bit unsettling for the first few days. You quickly come up to speed though, and later on start enjoying the fact that this helps you build a broader network very quickly.

Sam_E: Are the power point slides printed in color for the file?

Rose: Yes. We purchased a number of printers just to do this.

Chi_Town: How much importance does GSB place on the undergrad institution that an applicant attended?

Rose: It depends. Each student has different opportunities. How a student leverages those opportunities is most important. We admit students from local schools as well as top tier private institutions.

london1:: Thank you all for your time today. I am a reapplicant. I had applied in 2005 for Fall '06 and was not successful then. I am planning to reapply now for Fall '08. Over the last 2 years, my profile has significantly changed and so has my career goal. I would like to know how a change in the career goal from the previous application will be looked at. During the evaluation, would my previous career goal also be taken into consideration. Can you please let me know.

Rose: Great question. First, we will look at reapplicants just like first time applicants since we have redesigned our application. You might want to use the optional essay to explain that you are a reapplicant and how you have developed in the years since you last applied. But that is not a requirement.

deesj: I had a question on the essay portion of the application. What does the Admissions Committee look for in the essay?

Joanne: Deesj--well, there are three essays, so I'm not sure which you're referring to. If you are referring to Essay #1, we look for many things. Remember this essay asks several questions, such as why the timing is right for an MBA, what your goals are, what is you sense of professional development and fit. Overall the first essay is designed to give us a sense of path and plan.

Imad: What is the significance of a GMAT Score in your eyes Ms. Martinelli?

Rose: I think I answered this earlier, but it's just one of the many components in the application. To me, the education and test requirements are just the initial hurdle that demonstrates your academic ability. It is rarely considered distinctive.

sumit_2: Do you need strong extracurricular activities even if the candidate has strong leadership experiences in work?

Rose: We seek candidates who are well rounded. We also understand that careers may limit the amount of activities you may have time for at this stage in your career. If you have had a history of involvement in the past, you will be fine.

LJC: Could you speak to the opportunities available in the Entrepreneurship concentration at the GSB?

Saurabh: LJC - I'll answer this question, since I have explored the Entrepreneurship concentration quite a bit. The GSB is phenomenal when it comes to entrepreneurship, and some of our courses and faculty members are outstanding in the field. Some professors here have won national pedagogy awards in the entrepreneurship field. Prof. Deutsch comes to the top of the mind. There is an annual business plan competition which has been behind numerous successful companies, ranging from a test prep firm to a chain of ice-cream shops! There is also an entrepreneurial internship program, through which you get to work with a start-up during the summer of your first year

Sam_E: What are you finding to be the most effective approach with the power point slides?

Joanne: Hi Sam. Because this is a new question for us, we haven't "found" an effective approach yet. Our best advice to you is to be not only creative, but to find a way to allow your personality to come through and to take the opportunity to tell us something about you that we can't find out about elsewhere in the application. We've noticed people use colors, diagrams and pictures, but encourage you to find the approach that works best for you.

ChicagoAppl: Good morning everyone. I've been hearing a lot recently about prospective applicants using MBA coaches/admission consultants to help with the process and the essays. I was wondering how you feel about that and whether it makes the application less personal. Thank you

Rose: This continues to be a "sticky" question. Consultants play an important role for many candidates because they provide the context for the process of self-evaluation. For non-traditional applicants who are unsure of their options, this can be extremely helpful. This is where I think the exchange should end. Your essays should be your own.

amihalceanu: Good morning! I'd like to know what is the Adcom's policy regarding recommendations from former employees of candidates with an entrepreneurial background

Joanne: Good morning! We don't have a specific policy for this type of recommendation. Our guidelines this year are for you to choose one recommender who has supervised you, either currently or in the past, and another from anyone else you wish. I hope that helps!

mbaapp: I'm considering pursuing both an MBA and JD. I'm debating when to apply to each program (i.e. I could apply to both at the same time, I could apply to only one and wait to hear whether I am accepted before applying to the other, or I could even apply to one, start school there and then apply to the other program while a 1st year). Do you have any relevant thoughts? Will it affect my admissions chances to the MBA program if I have already been accepted at the law school, or vice versa? Also, what career path do you typically see dual-degree graduates pursuing?

Rose: Let's just say yes to all options. Whether one option is more preferable is completely up to you. Decisions are made completely separately.

london1: Thank you for your time today. My question is regarding essay#3. Since the application gathers different details in the different sections, is it that you require the powerpoint to sort of summarise who I am. So, is it ok to include some of the details mentioned in the other portions of the applications again. Can you please clarify. Thanks.

Joanne: I think it is better to think of the PPT in more a strategic way. Once you have completed your essays, what is it you feel you did not fully address, or address at all in the application but would have liked to. The powerpoint should give you an opportunity to fill in gaps or highlight particular strengths. Keep in mind relevance, why are the things you chosen to express relevant for being a strong candidate for Chicago GSB.

Alex_2: Has the GMAT the same critical importance for a native or a non native speaker?

Joanne: Hi Alex, yes, the GMAT is just one part of the many factors we use to evaluate applications, and is looked at the same way for each applicant. The GMAT's verbal and AWA sections give us information about everyone's ability to speak and write in English.

Ivor: Typically the optional essay is known to be used to explain an anomaly in an application (eg. poor GMAT score, low GPA etc.). How will it be looked upon if this essay is used to explain a positive aspect of an applicant which didn't quite fit well in the other 3 essays?

Joanne: Hi Ivor. The point of the optional essay is not for you to write another essay, or to expand on answers you already gave in another essay. Its true purpose is to allow you the chance to explain inconsistencies or anomolies in your application. If you truly feel that the optional essay is needed, you can use it, but do so wisely and with good judgment.

RonnyLan: Saurabh - Can you talk about the student clubs that are you involved and how have you enjoyed those clubs?

Saurabh: RonnyLan - There are broadly three types of clubs - recruiting related, student leadership related, and social clubs. I am currently involved with the Management Consulting Club, the EVP (Entrepreneurship, VC & PE), the Dean's Students Admissions Committee, and the South Asian Business Group. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that life without these clubs would have been very difficult - the recruiting clubs are absolutely essential since they manage communication with firms, set up coaching sessions and provide other extremely useful tools to succeed in recruiting. The other clubs have given me an opportunity to lead various efforts of the student community at certain times, and have provided a great social atmosphere at others

Sach: If there's one thing which is unique about Chicago GSB apart from its expertise in Finance, then what is it?

Rose: There are a couple of things that spring from our value proposition. We believe that no two individuals have the same backgrounds or aspirations for the future. Therefore, we provide students with the opportunity to construct their own curriculum. With only one required course (LEAD), students have a menu option of core coursework that can be done at any point during your two years. This provides you with the opportunity to pursue electives from day one, interact with both first and second year students, and engage at the level that is most appropriate for you.

As for other strengths, entrepreneurship is our second largest area -- both for the practitioner and the investor (PE). Marketing, Strategy and Economics are also well known.

TusharBeri: Hailing from India, I have done my graduation from a national level college with English as the medium of instruction. The directions on the admission criteria advise that TOFEL is not needed for such cases. However, after going through a lot of discussion forums, I find a mixed response to this question. Please clarify this one.

Kurt: The TOEFL policy for Chicago GSB is as follows. 1) You have a degree completed from an institution where English is language of instruction (this should be highlighted in the transcripts you provide.) 2) You are from a country where English is recognized as an official language. If you fit into either of these categories you should not have to take the TOEFL. For more clarification I would refer to the policy for international students listed on our website.

TY: In the PPT question, should it contain "the cover page" and/or "agenda page" as usual biz presentation?

Joanne: TY-no, the PPT question should only use the 4 slides and any notes pages that are needed to further explain the 4 slides that you've provided.

london1:: I have some business ideas and believe to realize them I need some key skills that I hope to gain with a MBA focused on entrepreneurship. Is there a need to talk about the business ideas in the essays and would these business ideas be validated during evaluation

Rose: It's great that you have specific ideas already. Feel free to briefly touch on these ideas in your application. While we may ask about your ideas in the interview process, we will not try to validate your idea in the application evaluation process.

Alex_Diaz: How certain can I be that I will be able to take the courses that I have already mapped as relevant to my career goals?

Saurabh: Alex-Diaz, getting courses you want is usually not a concern, as long as you are flexible with schedules & faculty members. There is ample help provided by the academic services staff to assist you in creating an academic plan. Having said that, there are informal means as well, and I ended up relying more on the help provided by the second year students that I came to know. Also note that some of your preferences and plans will change after joining the GSB, as you learn more about various career options.

Koh: Is it true that Chicago is trying to attract students earlier in their careers (0-3 years)?

Rose: Absolutely. For years, it was thought that if you did not have 5 years of work experience, you should not apply. That is not the case at the GSB. While I believe some full-time experience is helpful in getting the most out of your MBA, many students are ready directly from college or with just a few years of experience. It's completely up to you.

Joshi_Sumit: Mr. Snyder mentioned in a previous chat session that GSB doesn't teach a course on "execution". How does GSB then assist students to transform their ideas into reality?

Rose: While there may not be an "official course" in execution, most of our courses are around applying your academic learnings to real life cases. Our laboratory courses are great examples.

Abhi: What would you think are the most common misconceptions about the application process among applicants?

Joanne: Abhi--common misconceptions? There are many! The top ones I've dealt with are that we have a "cut off" score for the GMAT or GPA for an application to be reviewed (not true; we read every application thoroughly). Another is that you have to have 5 years of work experience to apply (also false; students are welcome to apply with any number of years of work experience, including 0!). That the campus visit helps you in the admissions process (because we have many students who apply from all over the world, making a campus visit impossible, we cannot penalize those students who cannot visit, nor give "extra credit" to those that do; what a campus visit can do is help you with your own essays and application, especially as it relates to your knowledge of the GSB and your fit to our program).

akshat: I have a question regarding early Career applicants with post university work experience between 1-3 years. Since their experience is less than they usual 5 or 7 years experience, what is it that you look for which makes the application as strong

Kurt: The issue to consider here is all applicants regardless of length of work experience need to convey a compelling argument for why they feel now is the best time in their career to pursue an MBA. For earlier career applicants the challenge is why would you forego additional years of work experience to pursue and MBA? Again we focus more on your particular arguments for why you think you would be successful student in an MBA program in light of your years of work expereince. We do not concentrate solely on number of years.

Alex_2: Has a 700 hit by a native the same value as a 700 hit by a non native?

Rose: I assume you're talking about the GMAT score. We take into account lots of information in the evaluation process, including the averages by different countries and functional expertise. Just focus on being the best you can in the application process.

Avishek: GSB is a great place to study Finance and it's becoming a force in marketing. What is it doing to attract applicants interested in Technology Consulting?

Rose: This continues to be a mainstay for Chicago GSB. We've been well known in the Consulting Industry for quite some time, and have developed terrific relationships with many of the high tech firms throughout the world.

TY: Any advice for reapplicant? Especially essay 1. Do I need to write the background again or cut it short?

Joanne: TY-in the past, reapplicants have had to answer a specific reapplicant question. This year, we're asking all students to simply submit an application as if they were applying for the first time. If you choose to address your past application or prior goals, you may, but it's not necessary. The only thing that's different for reapplicants is that they do NOT have to submit an official transcript or test scores if they did so their first time around. We also ask that you submit at least one new letter of recommendation, though we'd prefer to see two new ones, since many of our questions have changed.

Ramy: How involved are the alumni in the recruiting/application process, during a student's 2 years at GSB, and upon/after graduation?

Kurt: Alumni are a very active part of the University Community. Whether it is promoting the GSB (I just got back from a trip to Brazil where 25 alumni came by to talk to prospective students!) or helping students to learn more about an industry, or simply serve as professional contacts. We have 42,000 plus alumni worldwide in over 93 countries. They are all very passionate about the GSB and are eager to help promote your success and the success of the GSB.

Joshi_Sumit: As I have been an entrepreneur since I was 19, I have not had any immediate supervisors. Who then, in my case, should be my choice of recommenders?

Rose: Entrepreneurs always have a more difficult time in finding recommenders. Think about clients, lawyers, bankers, vendors or anyone else you have had a close relationship over a period of time.

Jack_Zhu: Will the adcom read through all the three essays, or when find the first one is nonsense, then the adcom will give up the rest. How is each essay weighed against each other in the process of evaluation?

Joanne: Hi Jack, each member of the Admissions Committee will read each application in its entirety. Our thought is that you have spent a great deal of time on your essays, and they deserve our full attention! The essays are all weighted the same, as are all other aspects of the application. The essays are all so different from one another, and ask for such different information that neither is counted more than another.

agrawal: Hi, I would like to know how many hours (minimum) a person usually spends during full time at GSB? How much does it affect your personal life?

Saurabh: Agrawal - GSB life can be quite demanding on your time and calendar, especially the first year. I remember running around juggling recruiting, academics and the social networking aspect, all at the same time last year. The great thing is that all of your classmates are also going through the same process, so you can leverage each other's strengths. Additionally, the social life is quite open to your family members as well, and that is a huge help. I hate to admit it, but at times my wife has surprised me by being more plugged in with the student life! :)

Saurabh: In terms of the # of hours, your academic commitments can vary between 35 to 55 hours/week. Outside of academics, there is a lot of variation depending upon your social and recruiting interests.

mlb: Rose, continuing on that thought, would you recommend reaching out to groups which interest applicants prior to applying? If so, can we incorporate the discussion into essays?

Rose: If you have specific groups that you would like to reach out to as part of your research on applying, please do. There are links directly from the student group pages for this reason. As for putting it into your application, that's completely up to you whether it is relevant or not.

TusharBeri: Is the powerpoint targetted to be a 4 page summary of our candidature, or for covering what could not be in the two essays?

Joanne: The Powerpoint's content is up to you. We've purposely kept our guidelines vague so that we can allow you true freedom to express yourself however you see fit. I would advise you to not regurgitate information that we can find elsewhere in your application, and focus on telling us something about you that we might not already know from reading other sections of your application.

ERICD: A couple contacts I have made at GSB stated they would like to write a note to the school regarding my candidacy. Do you value reference letters from current students on behalf of applicants or is this something you discourage?

Rose: We welcome unsolicited notes from our alumni and students about candidates. This information will be placed in the file, but will not play a role in the final evaluation process.

Chris: Could you please address the level of flexibility students have when choosing electives in the full-time MBA program?

Saurabh: Chris - The curriculum flexibility is one of the outstanding features of the GSB MBA program. There is only one course that is "required" by the school - you have complete flexibility to tailor all your other courses around your specific background and future plans. For example, I had a business background, and hence skipped most of the basic courses, going directly to some of the more advanced courses and lab programs that helped me a lot during recruiting.

Melissa: Hi, this is just a reminder that we've extended the chat until 10:30 a.m. CDT. Thanks

Mana: GSB is known as a quantitative school. Is that assessment accurate and if so, how does that translate into the academic curriculum as well as culture and environment?

Kurt: I think the GSB is often associated as a quantitative and it absolutely can be, but more to the point Chicago GSB is a tremendous analytical program. The quantitative component in many respects is a tool for being able to dissect problems and reach comprehensive answers. If you are interested in more quantitative work you can concentrate in areas like Finance and Analytical Finance. If you are more interested in the qualitative elements of business you can concentrate in areas like organizational behavior or human resource management. The important thing to note is all of our students become very comfortable dealing with quantitative principles but this skill is not the defining skill of the GSB, it is the ability to think critically across many different boundaries.

nancy: I am looking to switch into consulting for not for profits. What types of resources (classes, clubs, internships) does GSB have in the not for profit space?

Rose: Lots of our students have aspirations in the non-profit sector. The GSB has opportunities both in the classroom (and also at the Harris school of public policy), student groups (like Net Impact), and pro-bono work through the Consulting Club. Check out these student groups on our webpage and reach out to students for more information.

Rehman: Hello. I was wondering if you can speak about any recent trends you have noticed with respect to business school applications? I know application activity can correlate with economic conditions and the labor market. Do you see any changes in the number of applications you will receive this year and next?

Rose: It's a bit early to tell whether applications will be up again this year, but early indications from the number of GMAT test registrations indicates that applications may again be up this year. We'll know more in a couple of weeks.

Balki: How about older applicants (30+). Are you looking for something specific from such applicants?

Joanne: Balki-we do not really look for anything specific from older applicants. However, with more years of work experience than our typical candidate, we will look for evidence of success in your career, including promotions, opportunities to lead or supervise and strong teamwork skills, assuming that you've had more of these opportunities than someone with less experience.

Fedex_wi:: Hello, my current boss doesn't know that I want to pursue an MBA so I was thinking about getting a recomendation from my previous boss. is that going to affect my application process? Thank you

Joanne: No problem, Fedex. Many students find themselves in this position every year, which is partly why we've changed our letters of recommendation guidelines. This year, we're asking for a letter from a current OR past supervisor and another person, and ask for you to explain your choices too. This will allow you to let us know why you didn't choose your current supervisor if you want.

Sam_E: What tools and assistance does GSB provide to each student in developing each person?s individualized curriculum?

Saurabh: Sam_E - The GSB provides ample help in planning your academic schedule. There are the formal resources: an initial faculty presentation on each course group, academic advisors, and collection of student feedback on each faculty member & course. On the informal side, I found that talking to other 1st years and 2nd years was extremely helpful.

AzharKarachi: What is the financial aid process?

Rose: As an applicant, there is nothing for you to do. Once you are admitted, Chicago GSB is committed to providing financing for all students regardless of citizenship. The financial aid applications are quite simple. In addition, all students are considered for merit-based scholarships at the time of admission.

argo: Hi Rose, thanks for having this exchange - its wonderful. I had a quick question regarding the gpa. How does the GSB gauge the academic potential of a candidate with a gpa below the 80% range? For example, if the candidate has subsequently passed quantitative professional exams (Actuarial and CFA) and has a (720) score on the gmat, can these factors alleviate the adcom concerns regarding a low gpa?

Rose: Absolutely. We take a look at all the factors around your academic ability. If you feel you want to explain why you have a lower GPA and what you have done to address this in the optional essay, that would be helpful.

Ramy: Good morning, what percentage of GSB graduates work in Chicago immediately following graduation and what percentage work abroad?

Joanne: Ramy, for the '06 class, 26% of students stayed in the Chicago area. 17% accepted offers to work abroad.

Andrew_Russakoff: Hello and thank you for hosting this chat to learn more about UChicago. I am looking to use an MBA as a way to break into the Finance Industry (IBanking). I do not have a finance background (engineering). Is Chicago a good place to make this transition?

Kurt: Business school in general is an excellent way to make a career transition and in particular the GSB structure lends itself very well to career switchers. Because of the flexible curriculum and the various management labs we offer, our students can gain a great deal of exposure to new fields early in their academic experience. These opportunities provide a phenomenal compliment to the internship experience, and for many people they can get a great deal of exposure to a new career before they even enter their second year of study. This exposure is incredibly appealing to people looking to try out a new field. In addition our reputation for finance is also a big perk for people looking to transition into this field from something else.

Financeit:: Hi Rose, can you also shed some more light on the Chicago GSB Live event? Will there be any formal events? What's the dress code etc?

Rose: This program is different from the less structured campus visit day. There will be sessions on the application process, student panels, a class visit, ending with participation in our LPF program with the rest of the student body at the end of the day. Casual attire is appropriate.

Dhaarna: How is the academic performance of Indian students evaluated since they do not have a GPA. Does the committe know how to interpret grades in percentages and divisions from Indian universities?

Joanne: The Admissions Committee has evaluated applications from all over the world, including India, and our members have become very familiar with grading systems, including those from India. If you'd like to include an explanation or additional information about your school's grading system, you may do so either on the transcript form or by using Essay #4.

TusharBeri: What are the support systems/engagements available at GSB for spouse/family of the students?

Saurabh: Tushar - The GSB has an active Partners club that hosts various events for partners and families of students. In addition to that, the school has a very spouse friendly culture - partners are welcome and almost always show up at the various social get togethers and even some business conferences. I must say that the relationships that my wife has developed with other partners of GSB students are as strong as some of my own!

Imad: What are the odds for International students? I'm from Pakistan and a Muslim tell me if there is any religious bias on campus?

Rose: The University of Chicago is a very inclusive environment. There are clubs and religious organizations that support our Muslim students (as well as all other religions). Your odds of admission are as good as the effort you put into the process.

Imad: What is the feature that is common in all GSB students?

Rose: Intellectual curiosity and a desire to engage.

Chi_Town: Is there any difference between applying in Round 1 or Round 2? I've heard that the earlier you apply the better and that applying in Round 1 makes it easier to get into GSB.

Joanne: There is no real difference in your chances of being admitted from Round 1 or Round 2. The percentages are about the same due to the large difference in volume from Round 1 to Round 2. Our advice is for you to submit your application when it is the strongest representation of you and your abilities. Better to submit a strong application in Round 2 than a weak one in Round 1!

Sly: Which round is more appropriate for international students?

Joanne: Sly, we suggest international students apply in Round 1 or 2, in large part due to the fact that it may take time for some students to get their visas processed. Appying and being admitted in Round 3 may put that at risk.

Financeit:: Does a high gmat score (750) help in compensating for other weak parts in the application? Thanks

Kurt: A high GMAT is always seen a positive in the application process, but given the competitive nature of business school applications it does not necessarily have the influence you might expect. It certainly helps your competitiveness but the rest of your application also has to be strong to have the greatest chance of being successful in this process. If you have "weak" parts of your applicaiton, a high GMAT is not necessarily going to compensate. A better strategy is to try and strengthen your weaknesses and feel confident that your GMAT is something you will not have to concern yourself with further.

Imad: What is GSB famous for? I mean which area? Finance, Management, Marketing?

Rose: All top tier programs are known for their breadth of strengths. Chicago GSB is known for our Finance, Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Strategy programs. Of coures, we're an economics powerhouse too.

Aditi_Shekar: How much emphasis do you place on quantitative skills versus writting or verbal skills?

Rose: We emphasize critical thinking skills or analytical ability (not just quantitative ability). We take all this into consideration.

Financeit: What exactly are you looking for in the powerpoint slides? The idea itself or how well the applicant has mastered the software and used it to its fulest potential? Thanks.

Joanne: Because we have not used this essay question before, we're not looking for anything specific from the powerpoint slides. The point is definitely NOT how well you have mastered powerpoint. Think of the slides as "white space" and fill them however you feel would best represent you. We are more interested in the content, rather than the presentation.

Praveen: Hello. What is the stand-out feature of GSB Chicago that a prospective student planning to specialize in entrepreneurship should be aware of? What are the main reasons why such a student should complete his MBA full-time?

Saurabh: Praveen - I have been extremey impressed by the experential courses offered in the entrepreneurship space. These include the New Venture Challenge, the Entrepreneurial Internship Program, and the PE/VC Lab. The New Venture Challenge provides participants an opportunity to develop the business case at the school, receive guidance from faculty members and other professionals in the field, and make the final pitch to a panel of VCs & other experienced entrepreneurs. The top peformers at the challenge are then provided with cash awards, faculty guidance, and access to various resources available at the school (office space, legal help et.) It is not entirely uncommon for one of the VCs present at the competition to pledge a help to a business plan as well.

TM: I have been interested in the GSB's flexible curriculum and the emphasis on the entreprenurship program. The other schools also state they have strength in the entrepreneurship program. How does the GSB's program differ from the others'? I have a background in accounting. Does that prevent me from being engaged by a Private Equity Firm?

Rose: Our program has two tracks -- Finance (PE/VC) and the Practitioner. In addition, the Polsky Center provides additional programming. There are laboratory courses both in Entrepreneurship and Private Equity. We have incredible relationship within the PE industry due to a number of great faculty who do most of their research in this area.

chnam: What is your mean age for MBA? I am concerned about too many years of working experience

Kurt: The average age of our incoming class is just shy of 28. My advice is to not be concerned with age or years of work experience but rather why you feel now is the right time for you to get an MBA. As an older applicant you might want to think in terms of why have you waited until this point? And why do you feel you cannot accomplish your goals on work experience alone? Many older applicants have been successful in the application process but just as all other applicants they have been successful in convinving us that now is the right time for them to pursue and MBA and that they will be a good fit for the program at Chicago GSB.

sumit_2: How does Chicago help entrepreneurs in funding their ventures?

Saurabh: Sumit - The New Venture Challenge, which is the annual business plan competition at the GSB, is the key resource for budding entrepreneurs at the school. I just mentioned some of the most important features of this program, so I'd request you to refer to my previous response to a similar question.

charlie: Rose, I have a question about prerequisites. I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering; therefore, I am lacking an accounting and economics background. Will this hurt my application? Also, does the GSB offer a summer "crash course" for these topics before the program begins?

Rose: If you have the most basic analytical ability, you will be successful at the GSB. There are some pre-accounting and pre-math classes that are available for students just before core. That should be more than enough to give you the grounding you need.

Ahmad: Hello, my name is Ahmad, I am based in Dubai. How much importance do you place on conducting the interview on campus vs. off campus? When in the application process are we required to do the interview?

Joanne: Ahmad, it makes absolutely no difference where the interview is conducted. Our alumni who conduct off-campus interviews are just as well-trained as our on-campus students and staff, so each interview is viewed with the same weight. In each round, applicants are notified throughout the process about the invitation to interview, up to and including the last day that these invitations will be extended (it's about halfway between the application deadline and the notification date for that round). You'll get more specific information after you apply. You'll have about two weeks to complete the interview if you are invited.

yehmesee: I am a Nigerian but recently became a US permanent resident. Will I be applying as an International Student or what?

Kurt: You will be evaluated as a US Permanent Resident.

Financeit: I went to a tier 2 school in India but ranked first among 500 students. How would you compare that against someone who went to IIT but did fairly ok?

Joanne: We don't compare students from one school to another. We only look at you and your individual accomplishments in the school or program that you attended.

Caroline:: Can you talk about collaborative learning opportunities?

Rose: Most of the work that you will do at Chicago will be in a team environment. From the start of our CORE programming, you will be assigned to a cohort and squad of six people (this group will remain together over your two years). In addition, each of your courses will require team participation, so it's likely that you may be a member of 4-5 teams each quarter.

celeste: Where do students, and their partners and kids, typically live - around the campus? Are there dorms? Or do most people live off-campus in Chicago?

Saurabh: Celeste - There are three key areas where GSBers usually live. A large part of the first year class lives in the Hyde Park area, close to the school. The remaining student population is split between the downtown Chicago area, and some of the northern areas: Lincoln Park in particular. Most people base their decisions on expense budgets, availability of a vehicle, commute times for spouses, and other family considerations.

AbhishekG: If I use graphics and images created by a third person (after getting permission, of course), is that ok? Or would it be considered negatively to use someone else's work in the slides?

Joanne: As long as you have permission, you may use graphics or images from a third party. Your application will of course not be distributed and stays within the Office of Admissions at the GSB.

Alex_2: Do you accept several attempts for the GMAT?

Kurt: Yes, we always take the highest score GMAT regardless of how many times you have taken it. It is important to note though that the GMAT is one part of the application so if you take it multiple times only to have your score go up a few points it might be in your best interest to focus your attention on strengthening other parts of your application and accept that perhaps your GMAT score is what it is.

Matt_Graham: What's the relationship between the city and the school?

Rose: We have a great relationship with the city. Many of our graduates play important roles within the city government, and the University actively participates in many activities.

Financeit:: I have an unfinished Master's degree, and I plan to explain the reasons behind it in the optional essay. Will that be a red flag right at the outset? thanks

Rose: As long as you explain your reasons for not completing your degree, you should be fine.

Galina: I am afraid that through my limited career experiences so far I haven't had much leadership opportunities and I am not sure how to convey my leadership abilities in my application.

Rose: Most applicants have limited leadership experience, but most people can demonstrate leadership through their co-curricular experiences in college and outside of work. You can also talk about how you have influenced outcomes through your work as well.

Adriana: I just finished my PhD in Biomedical Sciences, but am looking for a career switch. Is this common and how it would affect my application?

Rose: My question for you is why more higher education. If you just finished your PhD, how do you know that you want to switch careers? If you can answer and address these concerns, you should be fine.

AbhishekG: Rose, Good Morning. I wanted to know if the slides will be printed in color because I was hoping to use color to add an extra dimension to the information presented

Joanne: Yes, the powerpoint slides will be printed in color. Hope that helps!

Koh: Hi Saurabh, so far what is your favorite course in Chicago?

Saurabh: Koh - that's a difficult question to answer, because there have been so many great ones! I would mention a few that immediately stand out: the management lab (which is a real life consulting assignment in a small group), the PE/VC lab (which has a part-time internship at a PE/VC firm + guest speakers from the field) and Advanced Microeconomics by Prof. Kevin Murphy (he won the "genius grant" sometime back, and is star professor at the school).

yehmesee: I just finished my undergraduate degree, and only have my internship experience, what do you think my chances are?

Kurt: There have been people who have successfully been admitted to the GSB with only internship experience, but their success has been contigent upon their ability to convince us that forgoing full-time work experience made sense for them. There is no ideal number for years of work experience, it is all about how convincing you are in your argument for an MBA in light of your profile and fewer years for work experience.

Bryan: Are students put into certain groups in which they will take all of the core courses together or is there a different mixture of students from class to class.

Rose: Chicago has a flexible core, which means that each student gets to choose the level and timing of the core coursework he/she wishes to pursue. We only have one required course (LEAD) where students are put into cohorts and squads that will stay together over the two years. Beyond that, you will have different classmates and teams in each of the courses that you take (both first and second years).

Melissa: The chat will be ending in 8 minutes. Please submit your final questions.

feng: I'm a re-submit. I took GMAT on Dec. 16, 2002. Is it still acceptable if I apply for 2nd round?

Kurt: The GMAT is acceptable if you apply to the program within 5 years of the date it was taken. In this case it would not be acceptable for the second round, but we would take it for the first round.

Ann24: How many people from the admissions team review our application?

Joanne: Good question...first, your application is reviewed by a trained second year Graduate Assistant. Then, a member of the professional staff will read it. Together, a decision is made to interview or not interview. If you are not invited to interview, you are denied admission. If you are invited to interview, your interview feedback goes into your rile and the application is reviewed again by a professional staff member. Some files may be reviewed even beyond that. In all cases the Director of Admissions, Rose, will review the final decision. So even for those who are denied an interview, the application is reviewed by at least three members of the Admissions Committee.

yehmesee: Saurabh, what are the challengies you faced during your interview with the admission committee

Saurabh: Yehmesee - My interviewer was a second year student at the GSB and I actually felt quite comfortable during the interview. I found the experience to be more of a conversation between two professionals who have similar interests, and really enjoyed sharing my background and getting to know his take on the GSB. I believe that being well prepared with your career objectives, how the GSB fits in, and knowing your professional experiences inside out helps to ease the process a lot.

Praveen: Good morning everybody. How does the lead program hone negotiation and people-convincing skills?

Rose: LEAD is a peer facilitated learning opportunity. The course is taught through modules that focus on your leadership development skills. Self-awareness is at the core of leadership development. There are modules (as well as coursework) in negotiations and influence (power and influence).

HedgeFundWoman: Does the PhD admission staff different from MBA?

Joanne: Yes, the two staffs are completely different. The PhD program has its own staff to review applications to that program.

Imad: Letters of Recomendation? Do the ones from the Employer weigh more than the ones from the Professors?

Joanne: Letters are viewed equally, regardless of who has written them. Letters present different aspects of your personality, academic experiences and/or work experiences, allowing us to learn as much about you as possible through them.

JC: If an applicant submits in round one, when can he/she expect an interview request?

Kurt: If you submit in round one you can expect to hear from us by no later than November 14th the mid-decision release date. We do start inviting people to interview prior to this date but is difficult to give you a date as to the the earliest you will be contacted.

phuongle59: Hi Rose, I'm Phuong from Vietnam. As Vietnam is totally different from USA from culture, people, behavior... to the way we run the business. Can I find some local relevance from the Chicago GBS MBA?

Rose: Business is very different country by country, but the tools and critical thinking skills to be successful are the same. One of the benefits to studying in a school where there are lots of people from all over the world, is that you get to learn different methods of application from other cultures. You might want to connect with some of our current students from South East Asia for more information about this.

Dave: Hi there! How many students live on campus vs. comute from elswhere in the city? thanks

Saurabh: Dave - I would say that 40-50% students in the first year live in the Hyde Park area, close to the school. The remaining are approximately split half-half between the downtown region and Lincoln Park. By the second year, there are more students in downtown + Lincoln Park, as people get used to the city, buy a vehicle, and have more time to search for an apartment they like in the city.

TM: What is the minimum point of IBT-TOEFL at which we qualify to proceed next step?

Joanne: The minimum iBT score is 104. If you do not have this score by the application deadline, you may still apply, but you will need to retake the exam and score at least a 104 to be considered for admission. We'll be handling these situations on a case by case basis.

Stephanie: I am a consultant. In writing my essays I am struggling to decide whether it is best to highlight a breadth of experience (I will only have 3 years of experience next fall) or the few that directly contribute to my intended career path at this time. Do you have any recommendation?

Rose: Either choice would be fine depending on how you wish to construct your story. If you're trying to build a case for a career switch or industry focus, than you may want to focus on relevant experiences. It all depends as to what story you are trying to communicate.

argo: How does the admissions committee view professional exams (Actuarial and CFA)? Do they add any weight to an applicant's candidacy by demonstrating academic potential?

Rose: Certainly professional exams such as the CFA and Actuarial exams add a level of distinction to an applicants profile. The committee recognizes the difficulty and relevance of such exams but they do not necessarily give any significant advantage to an applicant. They are seen as another point of disctinction for a candidate and can add greater texture to an applicants profile.

Alex_2: What is your vision of a graduate from GSB?

Rose: Confident, humble, respectful, one who possess great critical thinking skills. Oh, and fun to be around.

jec2029: #1. Heard Chicago's program is very technical relative to other full-time MBA programs, is there support available for someone coming in with a liberal arts degree (and thus, potentially less quantitative experience)? 2. Will there be a complete transcript available for download after this session? (having difficulty accessing the full transcript by clicking the button above)

Rose: #2 - Yes, we will have the transcript available tomorrow.

Rose: 1. Chicago GSB is very supportive of liberal arts students. Our flexible program provides each student the opportunity to craft a program at the level and timing that's best for the individual. I'm a liberal arts students and currently doing my executive MBA -- if I can do it -- you certainly can!

Sach: I am looking for a career in general management after doing my MBA. I have a seven year work experience. How can chicago MBA help me in achieving my goal?

Rose: Our breadth of programing and flexible core allow you the opportunity to create a program that best suits your needs, regardless of your career path. Chicago GSB has great relationships with many firms worldwide in their leadership development programs.

B_Halcott: Good morning, what are some examples of media that are allowed for the powerpoint slides?

Joanne: It's easier to answer this question by what is not allowed--video, sounds and animation. You may use pictures, colors, diagrams, etc. The slides must be static, since they will be printed out and added to your file.

Financeit:: I have an engineering background, but I wish to switch to investment management now, and have outlined the reasons for that in my essay. What are the opportunities available at GSB for taking that career path?

Rose: Investment management is one area of strength for the school. We have classes, student groups, and lots of relationships with top investment management first around the world. The GSB is a perfect place for you!

Kurt: The chat has ended. The transcript will be posted online tomorrow. Thanks everyone. This was a fantastic chat. I'm sorry we weren't able to answer all of your questions, but you can post them to the GSB discussion forum and we'll get back to you.

Joanne: Thanks to everyone for participating in the chat! Please stay in touch if you have any questions, and good luck!

Rose: Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We apologize for the technical problems at the beginning, but so glad you stayed with us until it was resolved. Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you. We're here to help you! Warm regards, Rose

Saurabh: Thanks everyone for tuning in. Please feel free to reach out to us through the discussion boards if you have any other questions. Good Luck!