Full-Time MBA

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Live Chat with Full-Time MBA Program Admissions

Chat with Admissions

August 13, 2008—9:00-10:00 AM CST

Rose: Good morning, and welcome to Chicago GSB's monthly admissions chat. We will get started in about 10 minutes. In the meantime, please feel free to send your questions. Rose

Andrea: Good morning everyone! Thanks for joining us this morning. Looking forward to some great questions!

Rose: Good morning. This morning I am joined by my colleagues, Kurt Ahlm, Andrea Schmoyer and Eddie Pulliam. We're open to any and all questions you have about admissions and the application process.

Kurt: Thanks for joining us this morning hopefully this proves helpful in your search for more information on the GSB.

NikhilKavimandan: Are students encouraged to talk about specifics of their entrepreneurial aspirations in the application essays?

Kurt: Our goal is to learn as much as we can about your goals and how they fit with the MBA expereince at Chicago. I would not spend a lot of time sharing information just for the sake of sharing it. Everything you provide should have a strategic purpose so we can better understand your goals and how you are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities we provide.

ClaudiaV: Good Morning Rose. My name is Claudia Villanueva. I work for United Nations since April and had worked in United Nations Development Programme for three years. I'm interested to make a career transition to Marketing. Can you let me know if you have seen cases of people moving from an international organization to the private sector?

Rose: Absolutely. We have students entering the MBA from all types of backgrounds making career changes. I would encourage you to think through why you think marketing is the career path of choice. Helping us to understand your decision-making process is an important part of the application essays.

G-167017514: Good morning, I am an international applicant, I got a iBT score for 102. Does this mean I have no opportunity to enter GSB beacuse there is a requirement for minimum 104?

Kurt: We do not have cut-offs at Chicago so you would not be prevented from applying with such a score. This is one data point we use to assess language skills we will also rely on your essays and potentially interview to further see what your language proficiency is.

Eddie: Wow! Our first deadline is just around the corner. Got questions? We've got the answers. Let's get started.

Uma: Good morning Rose, thank you for hosting this session. My name is Uma Kaplan. I am preparing to apply in R1 for full-time MBA and Chicago GSB is irrefutably my top choice. I am a McGill University alumna; my GMAT score is 680. I have two questions for you: 1) how does a candidate's intended post-MBA career path impact their candidacy; 2) could you please provide any tips on how to approach the PowerPoint slide question and prepare a compelling presentation? Many thanks in advance.

Rose: I would emphasize that your intended career path is important to us in that we use that to assess the amount of self reflection and planning you have put into your planning process. I'll cover the powerpoint slide recommendations in just a bit.

Joycelyn: Hi Rose, may I know what is the average GMAT for GSB for the year of 2008?

Andrea: Hi Joycelyn. The average GMAT this past year was 713 with the mid 80th percentile ranging from 650 to 760.

G-219939167: I am currently in the process of finalizing my application for GSB. My GMAT is scheduled on the 9th of October. I have two years of experience in advertising but I want to switch to the consulting industry. Do you think I have a chance this year or should I wait for one more year?

Rose: Chicago GSB encourages early career applicants. What is most important for these types of candidates is to be able to clearly articulate why now, and how your path to date links to what you hope to do in the future.

Ajay: Can first year students be part of the Enterprise and Management Labs that GSB has?

Eddie: Yes. You'll be able to bid on it as a class in your first year if you'd like.

Pete: Do you view candidates with a family differently and would you consider the community involvement of the spouse along with that of the applicant?

Rose: The wonderful thing about Chicago is that our community is comprised of folks with all sorts of backgrounds, priorities and interests. About 30% of our students have a spouse, and another 15% have children. The GSB is very supportive of couples and families -- and your spouse will have access to many of the same benefits as you do.

Ehsan: Is it more likely to get accepted in the first round than 3rd? Do you recommend applying in earlier rounds?

Andrea: Hi Ehsan. We do recommend that you aim for the earlier deadlines if you are ready to apply because we are admitting students in each round. Therefore, for round 1 applicants, the class is essentially open. Having said that, the last thing you want to do is rush your application just to meet a deadline. There very little difference between round 1 and round 2, but round 3 can get a little tight. Ultimately, you want to plan ahead and apply when your application is at it's best.

shre1967: Hi, Good Morning. I am an engineering graduate and currently working in an investment bank. I would like to continue the job in the same organisation after my MBA. I also have cleared CFA Level II and FRM exam. Could you please guide me how the whole curriculum is designed for MBA (Finance). Does the curriculum have a strong dose of analytics? Basically, I want to know about the edge of MBA (Fin.) @ Chicago. Thanks a Lot for your time.

Rose: Chicago GSB's flexible curriculum means you can move quickly to pursue deeper courses in your area of interest from day one. When it comes to finance and analytical finance, there will be more courses that you want to take than you will have time.

G-219958194: Rose, if I have been considering pursuing joint MBA/JD program would you recommend applying for both simultaneously or just going to MBA program and then applying for JD once at school?

Kurt: I think if you are serious about completing both you should apply to both programs right away. This is beneficial to you in two ways: 1) If you are admitted to both you can immediately begin to plan your curriculum over the next 4 years and determine what years you are enrolled in what programs; 2) If you do not get accepted to one program there is a possibilty you will be accepted to the other, in which case you have the advantage of getting started in the program and going through the same application process in first year. School moves fast and can be distracting so to put your best foot forward for both programs I think applying to both right away gives you some distinct advantages over waiting.

G-219958194: As to letter of rec from employer, I have been with same company since college. Granted I moved up the corporate ladder, but asking any of my supervisors for a letter will jeopardize my job at the company right now. I have numerous vounteer positions as well as consulting for one of them, will that be acceptable?

Rose: This is a very common problem for many of our applicants. You might want to consider a former supervisor or a client that you have worked closely with in the past. If you feel you need to submit an additional professional recommendation to round out that side, then you should. As for your volunteer efforts, those are all great choices too.

AspireF2009: Good morning all. I am aspiring to apply for Fall 2009 and I would like to know what is the average work experience of MBA applicants? Also, what advantages in terms of admission do I have if I have more work experience?

Andrea: Hi AspireF2009. The average work experience is about 5 years. Having more work experience can be an advantage in that you have likely had ample opportunity to gain a good skill set coming into an MBA and may have had time to explore opportunities in your career. Still, with any applicant what we are really concerned with is your unique story and why now makes the most sense for you to pursue an MBA. Communicating this well means much more than a number.

G-219958194: If you don't get called for interview, does it mean you are not getting in? Or is that just an extra step for some applicants?

Andrea: You are correct. Those that are not invited to interview are denied admission for the year.

G-167017514: Dear Rose, I heard that there are few applicants with accounting and financial management background, what do admission officers view these applicants or how do you appreciate accounting backgrounds? Thanks very much.

Eddie: Accounting and financial management backgrounds won't be viewed any differently. We recognize that your quant strength may (or should be) a bit sharper but we have to view the entire application instead of focusing on just your professional background.

Brian_1: What is the median age of entering students?

Eddie: 28 years old.

GSBProsp2011: Is it okay to talk about your career goals and how Chicago fits into that plan as well as your career progress that led you to pursue an MBA in the why MBA now question?

Kurt: There is no right approach or right answer to this question. We are simply trying to understand why you feel now is the right time in your life/career to pursue an MBA. My sense is you would need to address career goals and progress in this section for it to be a compelling.

RGJR: Good morning. What is the latest one can take the GMAT in order to still be able to apply in the first round?

Eddie: We really can't review your application without the GMAT. Your file will remain incomplete until we receive it and you may be pushed into the next round.

kitkat: What is different from this year's application versus last year's? What do you expect from the application changes?

Kurt: The significant difference in this year's application vs. last year is the essay questions. They were developed to get a better sense of people's critical thinking and the processes they go through in making decisions. Our old essays were more narrative and although they revealed good information we felt a lot of the material was somewhat superficial and did not reveal some key elements that we feel are good predictors of success in business school.

G-219994434: What is the minimum work-experience you are looking for while selecting a student?

Eddie: There no real cut-offs but around 4-5 years is pretty typical.

thadani: What is the admission criteria for students from india?

Andrea: Hi thadani. Our admission criteria is universal and does not differ from region to region. We do have some additional requirements for international applicants which can be viewed on our website



chadtap: Thank you again for taking our questions. My question is, typically when (if asked to interview) are the interviews after a first round application?

Eddie: Around 2-3 weeks after the deadline has passed.

Hummer: Hi, I am an international applicant. If I have close to 3 years of work experience upon applying, would it be better for me to use the early career application option or just the application? I plan to apply in Round 1. Thank you.

Rose: Great question. While Chicago GSB encourages early career applicants, we do not have a separate application process. Use our regular application, and just make sure to answer why now.

Deepti: How flexible is the curriculum at GSB? Is it possible to take education related courses from other schools at Univ. of Chicago?

Andrea: Hi Deepti. Our curriculum is incredibly flexible with only one required course, LEAD. Students can take up to 6 courses outside of the GSB at any other college within the University of Chicago.

AColmenares: Good Morning. I am from Colombia and will be applying for entrance next year. When comparing GMAT scores, do you give international students some sort of "handicap" for being non-native english speakers? I am concerned that my GMAT score (660) might be too low.

Rose: While Chicago GSB does not "discount" particular parts of the application, we do evaluate each applicant holistically, taking into account your language abilities, TOEFL & GMAT scores along with the rest of your profile. Please be assured that Chicago GSB does not make decisions based solely on the GMAT score. Our 80th percentile GMAT for the entering class is 650-760.

Brian_1: What are the school's top employers? (Recruit the most students)

Eddie: The diversity of employers who recruit at Chicago is pretty huge. You may want to check out the employment report on our website:



G-219907869: What are your suggestions regarding recommendation letters?

Kurt: Recommendation letters help us to understand how you perform in a professional/organizational context. Therefore we want recommendations to be thorough and provide us with information about both your strengths and weaknesses. For this reason we highly encourage you to choose people who not only know you well but have supervised you in the past. Peer recommendations tend to be one sided because they have not had to delegate and evaluate your work quality so these are typically less effective in providing comprehensive information about your professionalism and attributes.

stephane88: Good morning, thanks for hosting the chat. What is the percentage of applicants that will be interviewed?

Rose: Typically, we have interviewed about 50% of the applicant pool.

KAnn: Good morning! Could you talk about the relationship between GSB and the various research centers you have? I am interested in pursuing concentrations in economics and finance, and am particularly interested in behavioral economics and finance (hence my great interest in GSB). What are the specific types of opportunities for an MBA student to get more involved in these areas through the Center for Decision Research and the Becker Center?

Rose: The opportunity to interact and participate in activities with our research centers is completely up to the student. You are more than welcome as a student to connect with faculty regarding specific research interests. I am currently taking a course with Richard Thaler (the guru of behavior economics) and he enjoys student interaction.

Hernan: Hello Rose. My question is whether it is a big issue not to be able to get a recommendation letter from your current employer (for example, if your employer has spent resources in training, etc.)?

Andrea: Hi Hernan. We require at least one recommendation from a supervisor, but it does not have to be current. While it is preferred, we do understand that at times applicants are in situations where a recommendation from a current supervisor is not possible. Use your best judgement.

Joycelyn: Hi Rose, also wanna check with you, if my GMAT is only 670, but I scored 99% for Math (52/52), would you recommend me to re-take GMAT so that I can submit a better score?

Rose: Without knowing more about your profile, it's hard to say. If you feel that score does not represent your ability, you should retake the test. If it does, than focus on the other parts of the application.

Brian_1: How many members are part of the school's alumni network?

Andrea: Hi Brian_1. We have over 40,000 alumni in 94 countries.

fiaoyaya: Is Chicago GSB strong in social entrepreneurship?

Rose: Chicago is very strong in entrepreneurship and there is a growing academic program in social entrepreneurship. There are opportunities to develop these interests through our lab courses, student groups (Chicago Global Citizens, Net Impact, etc.), and the opportunity to take courses at the Harris School of Public Policy.

mberkowitz: I understand that Chicago GSB is far more flexible regarding course requirements than other institutions. Please run me through the structure of the 2 year program. Exactly what is required? To what extent are students free to choose their focus? Thanks.

Eddie: It seems like you're very early in your research for our program. I would really encourage you to visit our website -


for detailed information about our flexibility. There's really only one couse all students must take. The rest is up to you along with help from your academic advisors.

Kunal: Good morning Rose. I had a quick question about converting my undergraduate degree percentage score into a GPA. Is there a conversion table I should use?

Andrea: Kunal, do not worry about making the conversion as we assess your performance within the context of that institution's standards.

Brian_1: Are core classes required? How do electives work?

Kurt: Chicago has frameworks which lay a foundation for business training. Some may call it a Core but given they are not specific classes that everyone takes it is not a Core in the traditional sense. Of the 21 courses you need to complete to graduate, 9 fall into frameworks, 11 are electives (6 of which can be taken anywhere at the University of Chicago), and 1 is a required Leadership Development Class. Essentially the GSB maintians flexibility in the curriculum at all levels and we are not prespcriptive in our approach to education.

Jeff: Hi Rose, good morning. Thank you very much for spending time with us today. My question is: comparing to other MBA program with strong finance background as well, e.g., Wharon/Columbia, what are the 2-3 points that make Chicago GSB different? Or even put it more straight forward, what are the 2-3 reasons to convince people join Chicago if he/she also has offers from Wharton and Columbia at the same time? Thank you very much!

Rose: Great questions. This all boils down to our philosophy of education. Since we believe no two students have the same aspirations and backgrounds, we feel ill equipped to require students to take the same courses at the same time. Our philosophy is rooted in flexibility -- where students (and faculty) are free to select the courses at the time and level of difficulty they need in order to be prepared professionally and personally. Yes, you will be required to learn the basic tools of business (accounting, stats, economics), but beyond that, you have the freedom to choose.

AColmenares: Thank you for answering our questions. I am planning on taking the GMAT again. Considering that I have very little time to study before the next exam, what if my second score is lower than my first score? Would you take that into consideration?

Eddie: You're welcome. We take the higher score. We look for progression if you take the test more than once but the highest score is what we'll use when reviewing your file.

Felipe: I scored 99pts in the TOEFL IBT and I'm not sure if it is better to retake the test because the Office of International Affairs could eventually refuse to give me the papers for the student visa. What do you think about this matter?

Rose: I would encourage you to retake the test or take the IELTS. While we do admit students who fall below the university minimum (since the interview is required), it is advisable to shore up these skills before arriving. Remember, studying in English at the pace of a Chicago MBA is not a simple task (even for native speakers).

G-219951197: If there are two applicants, one is first timer and other is reapplicant with same profile, do you give any preference to reapplicant over first timers?

Kurt: No, the only difference in the evaluation process for first timers vs. reapplicants is we have a history with a reapplicant and we would expect to see some growth and perhaps greater focus in a reapplicant given they have been through the process before. If a reapplicant essentially just goes through the motions and does nothing to enhance his previous application than he is not going to be helping his cause in the process.

G-219993206: Good morning. Do you think it makes a difference coming out to visit before versus after the application is due? For example, I am relatively busy at work but after October I will be more available for a full day at Chicago.

Kurt: My advice is visit before you apply. Experiencing the GSB first hand prior to applying can add texture to your application as you have some direct experience with the GSB culture. It can help bring ideas and personal connection with the institution to life in the application. It is not to say you can not do these things without visiting the campus but my experience has been a visit can make the connection with the institution much more palpable on paper once a person has visited.

Jeff: Is there any exchange program available during the 2 year GSB program which enables students to have more exposure to schools within and outside the states? If yes, can you elaborate more on which options are available? Thank you very much!

Andrea: Hi Jeff. Yes, through our International Business Exchange Program (IBEP), students have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our 33 partner institutions all over the world. For more information visit


Hummer: I have read the application questions and I don't understand the question, "In retrospect/reflecting on this experience, how do you think an MBA from Chicago would have affected your decision?" What if my experience could not be simply based on any theory or concept, but purely on my circumstances then? Could you kindly enlighten me on what is required from this question? Thank you.

Rose: Imagine if you had the benefit of additional understanding (technical tools, or negotiation/behavioral tools). How do you think your actions might have changed in light of those new skills? For example, I recently completed a negotiation that did not go as well as I would have hoped. I recently completed a course of managerial decision making with Richard Thaler, and now in hindsight can see much more clearly what I should have done to ensure that it went more smoothly.

Jason: Are the limits on essay lengths strictly enforced? Is there a cutoff if they go past what is allowed?

Andrea: Hi Jason. The limits are there for a reason. We are not going to count words or make a cutoff if the essay is somewhat over the maximum, but we do ask that you do your best to stay within the guidelines provided.

Laurie: If planning a campus visit, do you suggest visiting prior to the Round One application deadline when classes may not yet be in session, or waiting until after classes have begun and I can get a better feel for the campus environment?

Eddie: You can actually visit our campus and sit in on classes before the first deadline. Checking out a class is a good way to see what your "fit" is like. Do you like the professors? How do students respond in class? With each other? What type of support can you experience by seeing what an actual class is like? A campus visit will also let you see our amazing facility and the Hyde Park community.

G-219910996: Hi, nice to join you. My question is: What is the best time to apply for an international student?

Andrea: In order to allow for ample time to secure a visa, we recommend that international students apply for either round 1 or round 2.

G-219971516: Is there any advantage to applying in round 1 versus the later rounds?

Eddie: This is a very popular question. We always say apply when your application is ready. Applying early suggests that you have taken the time to gather your LORs, are pleased with your GMAT score and have worked really hard on your essays. Typically the largest volume of applications arrive in our 2nd round. We expect a serious increase in applications this year. Although we make offers in round 3 there are fewer scholarships, fewer seats and the profile of the class has really started to take shape. Round 3 is very competitive. There is no real special consideration for applicants in round 1.

stephane88: Are all students reviewed in the same pool? Or international students in a separate pool?

Kurt: All applicants are reviewed in the same pool, but as the phases of the decision process pass (mid-decision, interviews) we move more into a shaping phase of the selection process. At that point we do make a conscious effort to think about diversity and who we are selecting so we do not have a completely homogeneous group of admitted students. Diversity of expereince and perspective is the lifeblood of innovative ideas so we are very committed to this in our selection process.

Sue_85: Hi Rose. Thanks for this opportunity to chat. I have a question that is quite specific to my case but I am going to ask anyway. I am working in a top four professional services firm with their internal/corporate communications team. I am interested in an MBA from Chicago GSB so I am wondering if you offer classes related to organizational communications, public relations, etc. If the GSB does not offer these, can I enhance my marketing MBA with courses with other departments in the university that may offer such courses? Secondly, are there applicants with similar backgrounds that apply? Does the school help students get placed in Communication roles within companies or marketing consulting firms or is this too niche a career?

Rose: We have students pursuing MBA's for all types of reasons and from all types of backgrounds. Understanding the organizations and markets we live and work in today will be extremely important in your career in public relations. You will be able to take up to six courses at the graduate level anywhere at the University of Chicago, so there will be plenty of opportunities. In addition, there are lots of extra student workshops in crisis communications and negotiations that happen outside the classroom. As for career services, we have lots of students pursuing fairly niche career paths. You would need to work closely with your counselor and do a lot of the career networking and research yourself. There's lots of support.

irs031: Idealy, how many years of professional experience does a candidate need to have before applying?

Kurt: There is no "right" amount of work experience. The lithmus test is how compelling is an applicant's argument in the application for this being the ideal time for an MBA in their life/career. Applicants who can articulate why they feel they are a good fit given their experience can be compelling in the evaluation process regardless of 1 year of experience or 15.

mnic: Good morning and thank you for this opportunity to chat. How do you expect the economy to affect the number of applicants and the career choices of GSB alumni this year?

Rose: Typically, when the economy sours, applications rise. It's too early to predict if that indeed will be true, but early indicators from GMAC about GMAT test taking data show there seems to be growing interest.

StartupAJ: Hello Rose, Andrea and Eddie. Thank you for setting this up. I've recently joined a technology startup in order to gain more operating exposure to technology companies; however, I fear that getting a letter of recommendation from any of the executives at the startup may not provide as much useful insight about me as perhaps letters of recommendation from any of the executives at the private equity fund where I worked previously. Do you suggest that I obtain letters of recommendation from people who know me best, or is it advisable that I solicit a recommendation from someone at the startup?

Andrea: Hi StartupAJ. Ultimately this is something for you to decide but please note that we do not require a recommendation from a current supervisor. For more information on our recommendation requirements visit


nissum_j: Good morning. My first question is whether Chicago GSB has a limit on the number of students admitted in a particular area of interest such as finance?

Rose: Chicago does not use any quota systems in how we craft our classes. In addition, while we recognize that many of you may have fairly clear goals, many of you will change course during your MBA experience. We look for the right "types" of people -- track records of success, self aware, well rounded, passionate, etc.

G-220016250: Good morning, my name is Jeff Ignacio and I am up very early on the West Coast. I recently attended an MBA Admissions Conference at UCLA and met Eddie. I was not considering Chicago until then, can you speak to the culture of Chicago GSB and what type of background you are looking for?

Eddie: Hi Jeff! The culture at Chicago is very supportive. Students, administration and faculty all are anxious to help you succeed at Chicago. We look for applicants who have good communication skills, successful leadership experiences, supportive values when working with others, and the ability to challenge others in a professional manner. We like the perspective that students with diverse backgrounds bring to our community. We really are encouraged by those who want to share their ideas and offer assistance to others in their class.

austin: Good morning, thanks for hosting the chat. How strong was the candidate pool for those who applied last yr for 08 than of those who applied yr before that for 07?

Rose: Let's just say that every year the applicant pool seems to get stronger, by basic metrics. But we rarely make decisions by those metrics, so there are lots of opportunities to be admitted at the GSB.

Rashmi: Hi Rose. I have completed my graduation in India and I'm residing in US. It will be difficult for me to get my transcript from Indian university. Can I submit my marksheets and pass certificate copies instead?

Kurt: Initially you can submit scanned copies or the template supplied in the application. However we will require certified copies of these documents at the point of interview to gain acceptance to the program.

aratnam_and_leena: The first question I have is in relation with my scheduled campus visit on Sep 10 - are class visits done on a 'walk in' basis? Can I schedule an appointment with career services and admissions officers in addition to faculty through a standard process?

Andrea: Since classes will not be in session on Sept. 10th a class visit is not possible, but we do offer daily information sessions at 10:30 a.m. followed by a tour of the building. Once classes are in session we offer a full campus visit program which includes class visits, plenty of interaction with students as well as a tour, and information session with admissions. For more information and to register, visit


RK: How much emphasis do you lay on the undergraduate GPA score?

Eddie: Your GPA is a good indicator of your potential academic performance at the GSB. Classes that have challenged you, taking courses that may not fall under your intended concentration and progression throughout your undergrad experience help us understand how you will apply yourself if admitted.

G-220015442: Good Morning. During the application process, does an applicant need to have many extracurricular activities to be successful in their application?

Kurt: There is no right number of XC's. We are simply trying to understand what your interests are and what your commitment is to community. From our perspective it is about quality of experience rather than the quantity.

G-219991843: What differentiates one candidate from the rest of the applicants?

Rose: Wow! That's very difficult to state in such a small space. But let me try. Our application is really a blank slate -- every choice you make helps us to get to know you better. What's important to you, where you've been, where you're going. Since no two people have exactly the same life experiences, it's important that you share what you feel is relevant from your background for the admissions committee to know. Also, we give you a lot of free space in the slide presentation, so think strategically about what you want the admissions committee to know about you. My one recommendation is that you do not limit your presentation to solely professional aspirations/accomplishments.

aratnam_and_leena: Are there any particular background templates you guys recommend for the presentation? Are there templates that particularly annoy you?

Eddie: We like honesty. We are also encouraged by risks that you have taken and your ability to project that in your interview and essays. Humour is good but if you're not naturally funny...be careful! Creativity and innovation are also a plus for me!!

niaz: What are the financial resources that are available to international students applying to GSB?

Rose: Chicago GSB has a guaranteed loan program for our international student who do not have a U.S. cosigner.

AT: Hi Rose, I will be a reapplicant and now quite clearly see that my first application was not up to par. Is it possible for me to be considered a fresh candidate altogether?

Andrea: Hi AT. With reapplicants, we are mainly concerned with the most recent application. While we have the previous application to reference, it is looked at mainly to gauge growth with the current application.

G-220042097: Hi, I wanted to know if there is any information available on summer internships and if the current market situation has affected the type and number of internship opportunities for MBA students at Chicago?

Rose: While the market has contracted especially in terms of finance on Wall Street, our students fared particularly well in the internship market. If you are flexible and willing to work in international markets, there will be opportunities regardless of the industry you seek.

G-220003187: How long is the MBA/JD Program?

Kurt: The MBA/JD is a four year program. If you did them seperately it would be five but a joint allows you to leverage the electives in each programs to decrease the duration.

G-219994434: If you could divide the importance in the application process between the GMAT score, the different essays and the interview, how much weight would you give to each of these components?

Andrea: The simple answer is that they all have equal weight. The review process is holistic and each piece of the application provides different information about you as a candidate. All are equally important.

AG: Hello everyone! With the large number of corporate layoffs in the past 12 months, especially in the financial sector, do you feel many of those individuals will turn their attention to higher education? How do you feel the recent economic downturn would affect Admissions at Chicago Booth?

Rose: With the contraction on Wall Street, I imagine that there will be more students considering an MBA this year.

G-219993041: Can an applicant show significant involvement in community service if participation in undergrad was outstanding, but minimal since working full-time?

Kurt: We keep everything in context. Essentially we look for indication that an applicant is committed to other things in life outside of work/academic achievement.

Christine: Good morning Admissions Staff. I am entering my senior year at Rochester Institute of Technolgoy and I was wondering how open your program is to candidates coming directly from their undergrad.

Eddie: Though you may not have the amount of work experience as many of the other applicants, we are encouraged by your academic performance, extra curricular activity (leadership roles)and any entrepreneurial ventures that you may have been a part of. If you do have any work experience we want to see what qualitative experience you brought to the table.

Delia: Hi! Good morning allthough for me is evening....and thank you for this opportunity! May I ask a question please? For many international students financial aid is ..if I can say so..very important..is there ANY chance to have financial aid (except for loans) that may cover tuition?

Rose: Chicago GSB uses merit-based scholarships. About 25% of our students will receive some scholarship/fellowship (these range from $15,000 to full-tuition). Since the MBA is a professional degree, we believe most students need financing help in the short-term. Most of you will be earning significantly higher salaries upon graduation.

G-220042097: Can a student at the GSB take advantage of the several resources available through the Polsky Center even when his/her concentration is not Entrepreneurship or they are not enrolled in any entrepreneurship classes?

Rose: Yes, students can participate with any of our research/study centers. There are regular open houses for students to learn more and to join in on the activities.

Kerri: Hi, is there any type of loan forgiveness or adjustment program for graduates who go to work in the non-profit sector after completing their MBA?

Kurt: Currently there is no formal loan forgiveness program but we are in the process of drafting a proposal for review. My sense is the GSB is not too far away for having such a program in place.

G-167017514: Hi Andrea, can international applicants appoint potential interview in US, and if so, which cities can offer the interview?

Andrea: Those invited to interview can schedule at the location that is most convenient for them provided we have alumni in that particular area. If you want to interview in the US, I would recommend that you interview on campus as it would give you an opportunity to experience the culture first hand. Please note, though, that where you interview does not matter in the review process.

vins: Hi, I'm Vinay. Thanks a lot for having the session. Wanted to find out if the candidate had given toefl before 2 years... will the score be still held as valid. And is it needed for candidates who have graduated from universities with medium of instruction as English.

Eddie: The TOEFL score is only good for 2 years from the date of the test. If English was used to teach the class there is a place in our application where you can petition for a waiver. We accommodated many students with this request last year.

ohaqqi_1: How much extra time do recommenders have to submit their recs before an applicatoin is pushed into the subsequent round?

Andrea: We will accept recommendations up to one week after the deadline provided the rest of the application is complete.

Ran: Hi and good morning my name is Ran. I'm from Israel, I'm 37 years old and I'm a partner in a Small law firm, I have 8 years work experience and would like a change of career. I'm interested in the full time MBA program mainly the general management and strategic management fields. I would be happy to know what is your policy regarding older applicants?

Rose: Chicago GSB offers multiple programs: evening/weekend, executive (London, Chicago, Singapore) and the full-time MBA program. The full-time program is oriented to students with less experience, though we do have students with upwards of 10-15 years of experience on occasion. Each program involves trade-offs. You should think this through carefully before applying.

Jason: You ask for information on our parents in the application. What is the reasoning behind this?

Rose: We want to get a sense of your background. Understanding if your parents worked, or graduated from college gives us a sense of the opportunities you may have had as you grew up.

Andy: While we are on the subject of GMAT's, how heavily do you look at the breakdown between verbal and quantitative? Especially in terms of quantitative is there a % above which you prefer?

Kurt: We predominantly focus on the overall score, but will look at the subsections. If one particular subsection is low we will look for indicators in other parts of the application that might support or refute the score. For example if you have low quant we might look at your academic record to see how you performed in quant courses, or pay particularly close attnetion to your recommenders' comments about your quantative or analytical ability. This should hopefully illustrate that the GMAT is one piece of the application not the driving element.

lkamn: Can you share with us why you focus on decision making in this year's essays questions?

Kurt: Effective decision making is a key attribute to being successful in business school especially at an institution like Chicago where choice is the hallmark of our curriculum and community.

Ash: Rose, I heard that for this year (class entering in 2008), applications were up by 30% and thus made the admissions process much more competitive. Do you expect even more applications for the class entering in 2009? Could you share any numbers with us?

Rose: Applications were up last year, but not by 30%. I expect applications again to rise, but I would definitely focus on how your present yourself than what the competition looks like.

Sue_85: Hi. I have a question about how the GSB counts the years of work experience for admission purposes. Is it counted until the date that you join the school or the date that one applies to the school. There is about 8-9 months of difference between the two.

Eddie: We recognize the amount of work experience that you have at the time of application. Please be aware that we also understand and appreciate the time you'll spend at work before you actually start our program.

irs031: How are US permanent residents considered in the application process - as international students or domestic ones?

Eddie: You would be considered more domestic than international.

vins: Your curriculum seems to be quite flexible. Does it allow the students to take courses from other programs in the university?

Andrea: Yes, students can take up to 6 outside of the GSB anywhere at the University of Chicago.

Yang: Hi guys, can you provide an idea on the experience of early career applicants?

Rose: I would say that early career applicants have a very similar experience to our students with longer experience. The one area that might be slightly different is how you interact with employers. You'll need to be sharp, focused and very well prepared when the recruiting season starts.

AspireF2009: What are the core specializations in Chicago GSB? I am interested in Management Consulting & entrepreneurship. Is GSB a good fit?

Andrea: We have 14 concentrations at the GSB, all of which can be viewed here


. We have a large number of students interested in Management Consulting and a very active Management Consulting Group. Entrepreneurship is actually our second most common concentration. The GSB would definitely suit your interests.

Ehsan: Would it be possible to make the content of monthly chat session available for students who can not attend or fully attend?

Andrea: Hi Ehsan. The transcripts for our chats are always posted on the Chat page of our website and also on our discussion forum.

Applicant: Good morning. In your experience, what are some of the common characteristics of applicants/applications that really stand out (positively) in the admissions process?

Kurt: People who think strategically about the application. Those who take minute to think through the sections and fully leverage each of them to tell the most complete story of why they think they are a good candidate for the GSB are the ones who stand out. Those who simply go through the motions of filling out information or try to use gimmicks absent substance to make an impression usually fall short.

nissum_j: Will there be an information session held in new york before the 1st deadline?

Andrea: Hi nissum_j. Yes, we will actually be in New York several times this fall. For a full list of our upcoming events visit


nissum_j: Can recommenders submit recommendations only after I have submitted my online aplication or will they get email about submitting recommendation as soon as I add their names in the application?

Eddie: Your recommender will receive a message saying that you are requesting him/her to write on your behalf. They still have the opportunity to submit your LOR after you submit. Many times we have had to prompt applicants to get their LOR in after the application has been submitted. It's important to stay on top of your recommender to prevent any freeze on your application w/o it.

G-220003223: Hello - I have a question about the faculty. I come from a research-based school where some of the 'big names' see teaching as a necessary evil to support their research. How accessible are the teachers and are some just research-oriented?

Rose: Research and teaching at the GSB are intertwined. What happens in research is often the content of our courses. Chicago GSB also rotates teaching and research loads, so that faculty can be fully committed to each activity. As for access, our building facilitates much of that access -- you'll see them in the Winter Garden, having lunch in the cafeteria or just walking the halls.

G-219993473: Are applications reviewed as they are received? Or are they only reviewed after each deadline? Is there a difference between submitting an application in early September as opposed to early October?

Eddie: We don't start reviewing applications until after the deadline has passed.

bonbonhu: Hi, what does LEAD mean?

Andrea: Hi bonbonhu. LEAD is an acronymn which stands for Leadership Effectiveness and Development. It's the only required course in the curriculum. For more information visit


melimel: I am a Teach for America Alumna and have decided to take a year off from teaching to focus on the application process. Do you feel this will adversely affect me? Do you have any suggestions for teachers as they apply to GSB?

Rose: First of all, that's great that your TFA alumna. You are eligible for an application fee waiver as a corps member. As for your experience, you really need to relate what you have learned and done in the past to what you hope to do. Include volunteer experiences as well. Taking a year off to prepare your application is fine, but let us know what else you are doing besides preparing for tests.

Rami: Hello Rose, I started an investment company in '98 which primarily invested my own money. Since then I have worked for no one else and had only one hire for when I went on business trips. I also graduated from university in 1995. Who would you recommend I ask for a recommendation?

Kurt: For the professional recommendation I would encourage you to think of using a client or business contact, perhaps someone who invested in your company or loaned you money. Given this might be a challenge I would encourage you to find someone in the social/community space to write your second one. The nice thing is we only require one professional rec. so this should at least limit some of the pressure.

KAnn: Good morning. If I choose to use a former supervisor instead of my current one as a recommender, what kind of accompanying explanation are you looking for? In other words, can I choose a former supervisor simply because I feel he has a better understanding of my career aspirations and personality? Alternatively, how would the admissions committee view a recommendation from my current supervisor's supervisor (assuming this person can speak equally well to my day-to-day performance)? Thank you.

Eddie: This is a perfect time to use the optional essay. If you are unable to approach your current supervisor for a letter we would like to know why. In many cases because of the time you may have spent with your current supervisor (a few months) it may be best to use a previous supervisor/manager.

Mircea: I was wondering - how can we find more detailed information about the conditions for loans without a cosigner - international applicants. The website information is limited.

Rose: The terms and conditions for our loan programs are only available to students who are admitted, since these terms change annually.

Christine: Does GSB consider co-ops, internships, and research assistantships as work experience?

Rose: We consider all experience as valid work experience. ust be clear about what it was, what your responsibilities were, etc.

aratnam_and_leena: This is Aravind. Does the iMBA's 4 extra courses mean that I have to stay on campus for one extra semester?

Kurt: No, the IMBA takes the same amount of time to complete as a standard MBA. The additional 5 courses just drive the electives that you will take. So instead of having 11 pure electives you would have 6.

Goli: For International applicants, do you just look at the overall TOEFL score, or do you have specific requirements in each subsection?

Andrea: We do not have specific subscore requirements but we will look at them. In terms of minimums, that refers to the overall score.

ClaudiaV: Can one submit more than 2 letters of recommendation?

Eddie: Yes. We only ask for 2 but we have received add'l ones. Be careful. Sometimes they are very repetitive and don't give us a better perspective than what the previous letters have stated. I really wouldn't go beyond 3...

MBAbound: Good Morning. I am currently serving in the military, but fully intend to leave in 2 years. Do you evaluate our applications with the general pool of appilcants or do you review our applications with only prior military applicants? Also, are there certain prerequisites that you are looking for from military officers?

Rose: We review applicants within the entire pool, but understand the differences in each of the career paths/tracks. For students applying from the military, it will be important for you to help us understand where you've been and where you hope to head professionally. Also, be specific about your roles and responsibilities within the military.

sid: Hi, I am planning to take my GMAT in the first week of October. Although I can report my GMAT scores in the application I am not sure that Chicago will recieve the official grades from GMAC. Is it okay that you recieve the official scores after the deadline?

Andrea: Hi Sid. Official scores are not required at the time of application, but are required after an invitation to interview has been extended. When you apply self reported scores are sufficient.

Felipe: Is it allowed to take two concentrations at the same time, lets say Finance and Entrepreneurship?

Kurt: Yes, most people have a minimum of two concentrations completed at the time of graduation. In fact most people complete three, with some people completing as many a 5.

Gsblitz: What percentage of applicants are usually admitted?

Rose: It varies by year and round.

Pat: Hi Rose. Do you recommend any alternatives to GSB live? I'm unable to make the current dates and I'd like to make the most out of a trip to Chicago. Also, in reference to an earlier question, is the GSB admissions committee familiar with the CFA charter? Thanks.

Rose: Yes, we are familiar with most of the professional certifications. As for visiting, we have a campus visit program that runs most days throughout the year. You can register for a visit through our website.

aratnam_and_leena: This is Aravind - will I be able to take interview calls over the telephone if I'm at an inaccessible location (like Tibet)?

Andrea: Hi Aravind. We do our best to help applicants schedule face to face interviews but at times phone interviews are allowed for applicants in extremely remote locations.

G-219993206: The optional essay seems rather open-ended. Are we limited to addressing weaknesses or anomolies, or can we discuss an obscure hobby we may have? Would the latter be outside the scope of the optional essay?

Kurt: The directions are pretty straightforward, the optional essay is there only for providing clarity on issues in the application. This is not to be used as an opportunity to reveal new information, and add creativity or depth to existing content.

G-219951197: Rose, can we get feedback for our applications so that we can improve next time?

Andrea: Unfortunately we are not able to offer feedback on applications.

Saral: Hi Eddie! I got two questions. I plan to apply for Fall 2010 after working for 3 years. Will it hurt my chances if I've worked at two different places in sted of one? And is vegetarian food a problem on campus?

Eddie: Hi Saral. It won't hurt you by having worked at more than 2 places in a short period but you must be prepared to explain why you left if granted an interview. We would be looking to see if you took a job that offered more responsibility, a higher level or the value taking this job has to do with your term goals. There are plenty of vegetarians at the GSB. Many restaurants in Hyde Park cater to vegetarians. Our cafe in the Harper Center also offers several vegetarian options.

Applicant: Good morning, thank you for hosting the chat. How much importance is placed on the interviews?

Kurt: Interviews are certianly important. They are the only part of the applicaiton that allows you to put your immediate personal stamp on the application. Unlike the rest of the application which you can review, edit, rewrite this is a one time opportunity to convey your ideas and sense of fit with a member of the GSB community.

Aero-John: Hi Rose. I have 4 years of aerospace engineering experience and 1 year of hotel development experience. Since I obtained my Master's degree, I have taken business courses at several different universities as I moved to different jobs. Do you require a transcript from every one of these schools? How do I make sure that the admissions committe does not think that I went to all of these other schools and dropped out, when I was just attending to gain additional knowledge by taking a few business classes?

Eddie: You should send us a transcript from every school where you received a "letter" grade. If all courses taken outside of your undergraduate institution appear on your final transcript only that one is needed.

Sara: How important is a campus visit to a student's application?

Andrea: Whether a student has visited campus or not is not factored into the decision process, but we do feel that it is an important way for applicants to determine their own fit with the culture.

Kurt: Thanks for the questions and best of luck in the admissions process.

Andrea: Thanks for the great questions today! Best of luck with the application process this year!

Rose: Thank you so much for joining us today. Feel free to join us on our discussion forum to get answers to other questions we did not have a chance to answer. I look forward to meeting many of you on the road this fall. Good luck!

Rose prakash: I am on H1b Visa and I want to study full time MBA in GSB. What is the process for f1 visa?

Eddie: You can work with our Office of Internatioanl Affairs. hey work closely with us in securing the appropriate visa status for our incoming students.

Eddie: Thanks for the drill folks! It prepares us for all of our events this year. We hope you'll join us. I hope to see you in Chicago soon!