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Thoughts on Booth's 2014-15 prompt

July 21, 2014


Presentation/Essay: Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas.  This is us.  Who are you?

While HBS has a similar open-ended question that causes many applicants sleepless nights, this question is even harder due to the added dimension of media type. It is even more of a “meta question” since the answer doesn’t need to be in written form.

If this causes you to be “uncertain”, rest assured that the broadness of the approach means there will be few if any common characteristics that make for a successful approach. You’re not missing out by not following what others do, which means you have total freedom in how you choose to approach this. So, take a deep breath and relax.

The first step to using this freedom is to think about what makes you distinctive from your peers. In the military and known for your ability to build relationships? Look for visuals to show your softer side and empathy. In consulting or investment banking? Demonstrate your community service and help to others. This presentation/essay will provide context to the other components of your application (i.e. resume, activities, academic scores), hopefully through deeply personal stories that highlight why Booth would be lucky to have you.

Covering some of the topics below will also help Booth get to know you better:

  1. Future career plans
  2. College experiences and lessons learned
  3. Recent career accomplishments and insights that drive the decision to pursue an MBA
  4. Discussion of recent extracurricular activities for which you had a particular passion
  5. How you will use Booth’s resources to help you

Once you’ve decided what you want to cover, it is important to consider the method you want to use to tell your story.  Passionate about music?  Perhaps structure your story around song lyrics.  A teacher?  Perhaps share “lessons” that you’ve learned along the way. Each person’s story and format are different. We would love to talk with you about your ideas as you look to tell your story.

Most importantly, successful candidates treated the essay as an opportunity for a personal conversation, rather than a formulaic approach. Consider what you would say to the admissions team if you 30-60 seconds to convince them that you have the excellence that they seek.  That will be a great starting point for this presentation.