Here are the questions we ask:

1. Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth and what unique knowledge and experiences do you hope to contribute to the program? (maximum 2 pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

2. Chicago Booth Career Services delivers innovative educational programming, offers one-on-one coaching, provides numerous networking opportunities, and provides access to job search tools in order to support your own active career management. We would like to learn more about your career strategy and objectives. Please outline your career objectives, how you hope to achieve them, and what you hope to gain from the MBA to help you achieve them? (maximum 2 pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

3. If there is anything else you would like the admissions committee to know about you, please share that information here. (maximum 1 page, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

Do - Be genuine.

Don’t - Tell us what you think we want to hear.

We want to get to know you. Be bold. Be confident. If you don’t tell us how great you are we are not going to know.

For me the most important words in essay question #1 are “what unique knowledge and experiences do you hope to contribute to the program.” We can learn something about your accomplishments from your resume but this is your chance to fill in the gaps. Why were you promoted? Why did you change jobs? How do you add value to your organization? How do you hope to add value to the experience of your classmates?

Question #2 is asking a few different things. I would concentrate on “what you want to be when you grow up” and how specifically you think a Chicago Booth MBA can help you get there. This questions not only tells us about your career aspirations but also helps us ensure you understand what exactly you’re getting in to - what exactly a Booth MBA can do for your specific circumstances.

Essay #3 - totally optional and often overlooked. Many people assume this is only to explain away gaps in work history or a semester of poor grades in undergrad. To be clear if you have gaps in your resume or had particularly poor grades please help us understand that - however this is also an opportunity to tell us anything about you that we aren’t going to get someplace else on the application. More details about your hobbies or passions, info about your family maybe. Whatever you think is going to help us get a clear and full picture of who you are.

It’s a lot right? These questions are meant to force some introspectivity (is that a word?). What’s driving you to do this? What kind of a classmate do you want to be? What are you best at? At the end of the day it’s hard to get all of this information into 2 pages, 12 point font Times New Roman. That’s why we have recommendation letters and a interview - to be continued…