Chicago GSB Application Essays for 2008-2009

Although Chicago GSB hasn’t yet released its full 2008-2009 application, the school recently announced its admissions essays for the upcoming year. Our comments are in italics:

Chicago GSB Application Essays

  1. Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? (750 word maximum)
  2. (This is similar to last year’s first question, although the maximim word count has been cut in half vs. last year.)

  3. Please select one of the following two questions to answer. (1000 word maximum)

    Option 1

    a) Please provide an example of a time when you had to make a choice between two equally important obligations. How did you decide which obligation deserved your attention?
    b) Did you try and predict other people’s reactions to your decision? If so, how accurate were you? Why do you think you were or were not accurate in your prediction?
    c) Reflecting on this experience, how do you think an MBA from Chicago GSB might have aided in your decision making process?

    -or-

    Option 2

    a) Have you ever made a decision that caused you to go against popular opinion? Please describe that situation and your rationale for you decision.
    b) Did you feel at any point that people misperceived your motives? Explain.
    c) In retrospect, how do you think an MBA from Chicago GSB would have affected your decision?

(These questions replace last year’s “If you could step into someone else’s shoes for a day” question. We wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t quite getting the information they wanted — i.e., true introspection on the part of applicants — and so they’ve replaced that with questions that are more explicitly about the applicant. We think this was a good change. The takeaway for you is to remember to keep the focus on YOU, how you’ve grown, what tough decisions you’ve made, what setbaks you’ve faced, etc. This is what the admissions committee needs in order to evaluate your candidacy, not a bland statement about being in some world leader’s shoes for a day.)

Chicago GSB PowerPoint Presentation

We have asked for a great deal of information throughout this application and now invite you tell us about yourself. Using four slides or less, please provide readers with content that captures who you are.

We have set forth the following guidelines for you to consider when creating your presentation.

  • The content is completely up to you. There is no right or wrong approach this essay. Feel free to use the software you are most comfortable with. Acceptable formats for upload in the online application system are PowerPoint or PDF.
  • There is a strict maximum of 4 slides, though you can provide fewer than 4 if you choose.
  • Slides will be printed and added to your file for review, therefore, flash, hyperlinks, embedded videos, music, etc. will not be viewed by the committee. You are limited to text and static images to convey your points. Color may be used.
  • (This is a tiny change, but “Color may be used,” is new this year. Don’t go crazy with color, though.)

  • Slides will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on technical expertise or presentation.
  • You are welcome to attach a document containing notes if you feel a deeper explanation of your slides is necessary. However the hope is the slide is able to stand alone and convey your ideas clearly. You will not be penalized for adding notes but you should not construct a slide with the intention of using the notes section as a consistent means of explanation.
  • (Stick with the PowerPoint presentation. Resist the urge to spill your story into a verbose extra essay. The challenge here is to present yourself succinctly. Rise to that challenge!)

Optional Essay

If there is any important information that is relevant for your candidacy that you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here.

For more advice on applying to Chicago, visit the Veritas Prep Chicago GSB information page.

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