The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

September 5th, 2017

| Last Updated on February 20, 2019

In this article, I will look at the Chicago Booth MBA program, its application essay, and how you tackle it.


One of the advantages of the Chicago Booth program is that the university that Booth is associated with boasts of six noble laureates since 1982. The program has a very strong finance focus, and to add to it, it is in Chicago, which is a huge hub for the financial sector, in that area. Approximately 40 % of the Booth graduates go back into the financial sector.


Chicago Booth’s website talks about the flexibility they offer in the program, You have professors teaching both the weekend and evening MBA. Hence, you can take the course in the evenings or weekends, apart from your full-time MBA. There is good flexibility in the program, it is good for Finance, and Chicago being the Finance hub make for great points you can put into your essay for “why Chicago Booth?”


2017-2018 Chicago Booth Deadlines


Round 1

Application deadline: September 21, 2017

Decision released: December 7, 2017


Round 2

Application deadline: January 3, 2018

Decision released: March 15, 2018


Round 3

Application deadline: April 3, 2018

Decision released: May 17, 2018


One thing that Chicago Booth has done traditionally has been essays, This time, it’s a set of six pictures; each of these pictures captures what they call a Booth moment. The whole idea is that a B-School can mean different things to different people. The one thing I usually tell my students and applicants is that the reason the B-Schools want to understand why you want to choose a particular school is because they want to understand your goals. Think about this scenario. You’re walking down an orchard and there are food bearing trees on both sides; you can pluck as many fruits as you want provided you know what you’re going to make at the end of the journey. If you want to make a fruit salad, you need to know what fruits you need to pick.


A lot of times people don’t know what they want to do at the end of two years. The B-School experience can be overwhelming because there is so much to do. For example, if you go to the library, every single issue of Harvard Business Review since it started would be available to you. There are so many business plan competitions, There are so many great professors coming and teaching you these great courses that really get you excited; the ones that give you goosebumps and make you think, “Wow! I really want to learn this!”.   However, if you don’t have a goal, you could get lost, so Booth is really trying to see what it is that you hope to get from the Booth MBA experience.


Let’s do it! I will go through all the six visuals, and give you a background of what you could express for each of the visuals.



2016-2017 U. Chicago Booth Essay Topics:




View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tells us why.


Presentation/Essay Guidelines:


Choose the format that works for you. Want to illustrate your response visually? Submit a slide presentation. Like to express yourself with words? Write a traditional essay. Use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference.


Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.


Technical Guidelines:


File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.


Accepted Upload Formats: Acceptable formats are PDF, Word, and PowerPoint. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.


Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.



Six visuals


Visual 1 – Person walking down an art gallery.


The first visual you see here is a person walking down an art gallery. The key is given: one of the nearly 500 conceptually challenging pieces which inspire conversation and push people to think differently.


The whole idea is not about the art but looking at the piece of art from a broader perspective. How do we interpret

Art? We interpret it in different ways. If you are a person who likes to think differently, Chicago Booth gives you an opportunity to think differently. That should be your theme. If this painting resonates with you, you need to talk about something in your background where you were inspired to think differently, and then say what you did in that situation.



Visual 2


Let’s take the second one, two Boothies (that’s what they call the graduates of the Booth School) remain grounded even when standing 1353 feet above the city streets of Chicago. This one is talking about how you essentially are a team player. If you feel that this resonates with you, you could take this topic.


For example, Many of us have gone through the motion where we have succeeded because of someone else. You can probably pick stories that say how you succeeded because of somebody else, or you have been part of someone else’s success, and how sharing the bonhomie is what really makes you tick.



Visual 3


This visual is about a fun-filled Spring Break in Central America, where you see a group of Boothies with sharks. The whole idea is whether you are  a person who does not see an MBA as purely an educational journey but rather a journey to do things that you have perhaps never done before, and perhaps will not get the opportunity to do when you go back to your corporate life after you finish your MBA program.



Visual 4


This visual talks about diversity. It is about a student snapping a photo of friends at a school-wide celebration organized by multiple student groups in recognition of the support and diversity within the Booth community. If you look at it in terms of Indian, or even an Asian perspective, there are a lot of opportunities where people have seen diversity. emember diversity could mean anything: it could be economic diversity, social diversity, or it could be just diversity of thoughts.  Again the whole idea here is you’re looking at MBA as a whole journey to actually explore diversity. When you’re confronted with different thoughts, different viewpoints, is when we are really challenged, and we grow.



Visual 5


This is a visual of a student taking notes during an afternoon class. The unique perspectives and individual insights of each student play a vital role in Booth’s classroom experience.

Let’s be honest, though there is a lot of fun and frolic, one of the reasons you want an MBA is for the in-depth knowledge that they wish to gain.  After working for a few years, you’ve now realized what you don’t know. You now want to learn more. How will the Booth experience help you realize this goal? That is the way this visual resonates with you.



Visual 6


This is an image of the central pulse of Booth, which is the Harper Center, the atrium where “it all” happens. This is the place where lasting friendships form, ideas take place, and Booth comes to life! In other words, you’re talking about the Booth network; what does the brand equity of Chicago Booth mean to you. Is that why you’re pursuing an MBA? To just have access to this enormous network of highly talented and gifted people.


Whatever the case be, there is nothing like one image is better than the other. I have had students come and ask me, “which one do you think is the one that will increase my chances?” It doesn’t work that way. You need to pick one that really resonates with you because not just in the essay but also in the interview, you need to be talking, and you need to have one consistent image of you coming across, and that will happen only when you’re true to yourself.


It doesn’t matter which one you pick. How do you express yourself? Do you want to write an essay? Sure? Do you want to create a slide show? Sure.  If you want to create just a graphic? That is also fine. We had one student, who for something similar to this, created a collage of all his life moments. He used text and arrows to show each of his life moments, and how that defined who he was.


There was another student who created a graph which goes almost like a stock exchange graph, and he had pointed to the high point in his life, and when the arrow went down, he said it represented that he flunked in his fourth year, so his stock price went down.


You need to express yourself freely. You need to be creative but at the same time don’t worry too much. People are worried whether text would work, or whether they should create a presentation. Pick the medium that you’re comfortable with.  Booth also stipulates that your file can be a maximum of  16 MB, so make sure that you convert it into pdf.


If you feel that you need to have a discussion with someone, or if you want to have a brainstorming session on what to write and how to write, we at CrackVerbal would be glad to help you.