Chicago Booth: Five Things You Need to Know Before You Apply

Chicago, The City of Big Shoulders. It’s also City of Big-Time MBAs, many of them coming out of University of Chicago’s Booth program. Booth is a Nobel Prize machine, cranking out more Economics Nobel winners than any other institution. Needless to say, they’ve got high expectations from their MBA graduates (as in having a job right after graduation), and this success draws a highly competitive bunch of applicants from across the globe.

So, how do you get in to such a great Windy City school? MBA guru Yaron Dahan offers his take on what you need to know to open doors at Booth…

  1. Finance People Welcome. Chicago is not known as a powerhouse of economics for nothing. If you are an Investor, an Money Manager, a Banker, a Private Wealth dude (or gal), Chicago is a good choice for you.  Although Chicago has plenty of consultants and General Management people, the large majority of students come from an economics/finance background. So show your finance strengths, show your finance goals, and show how perfect Chicago is at getting you to them.
  2. Show maturity. Chicago’s applicants tend to be a bit older, a bit more serious, and a bit more married than other school’s applicants. This makes for a good counterpoint to Northwestern’s Kellogg school, which is known for being a bit more of a “party” school. So, yes, Booth wants you to be social and involved. But you will fit in better with a few more years under your belt, and can show your maturity in your application.
  3. Diverse range of programs. With the MBA, the part-time MBA, the executive MBA, and the International MBA, Chicago offers a full range of programs to fit you. Whether you are in Europe or Asia, or prefer to take your EMBA classes on weekends, or in the evenings, Booth has a place for you. The key is to figure out which option you fit into, and show HOW you fit into that particular place.
  4. Flexibility. All schools offer a certain amount of flexibility… these days, they have to stay competitive with other programs. Booth, on the other hand, takes this to an extreme. LEAD is the only required course in the program. After that, it’s up to you. You’re free to design your own personalized curriculum, so having a clear and concise vision for your program and post-grad plans is CRUCIAL in the application process.
  5. Think like Warren. The Warren Buffet Group is dedicated to learning value investment like one of the country’s richest men (who students also get to meet… talk about high-profile networking). If Investment is your game, this is a GREAT opportunity to network with other ambitious investors as well as make impressive industry connections. When writing your essays, emphasize the networking aspects of your plans, showing how you plan to reach out and make the most of the alumni network and the contacts you develop during the program.

Now you’re ready to tackle those Booth application essays! Want more helpful hints with your writing? Check out our 2012-2013 Booth Essay Analysis.

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