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The backgrounds from which our students come and they areas they are going into post-MBA are incredibly diverse, and they [the students] embrace an environment that cultivates such diversity.Our students believe that the best ideas generate the greatest impact when different perspectives have been solicited and thoroughly vetted.Recently, we were able to catch up with Kurt Ahlm, the associate dean for student recruitment and admissions at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, who brought us up to speed on some of the exciting happenings at the school and certain changes that were made this year to its application essay prompts.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that image selection results last year were as diverse as our applicants, and we hope to find the same is true this year.
We noted that the number of photos from which candidates could choose dropped from 16 last year to ten, different photos were offered, captions were included, and the associated prompt changed focus a bit.
What kind of information or insight do you feel this prompt generates that the other parts of the application do not?
The visuals really anchor on the individuality of each applicant, how they connect with a specific moment, and why they want to be part of the Booth community.
We want to get a better feel for the unique connection and impact they can bring to Booth, as well as Booth’s impact on their life and future aspirations.
We’ve been really impressed and have seen applicants take a very personal approach with their chosen image, as well as give profound reasons for wanting to be a part of this school and how they want to define their impact going forward.Alumni also connect with each other and the school through recruitment efforts, panel discussions, industry conferences, alumni clubs, executive-in-residence programs, and other engagements both on and off campus.A successful student is one who has a solid understanding of why they want an MBA, why now, and why Booth.Regardless of industry, career aspirations backed by authentic passion that truly mean something to the candidate will come through in their application, and that is sure to catch our attention.With over 50,000 alumni around the world, annual events such as Reconnect and Booth 20/20 provide opportunities for alumni to reunite and reflect, while milestone events such as the celebration of our 20-year presence in Europe and 15-year presence in Asia showcase the strength of the Booth community around the globe.Chicago Booth is more than a finance school—it’s marketing, social impact, entrepreneurship, technology, CPG [consumer packaged goods], consulting.That type of variety naturally attracts people with differing interests, career goals, and passions.We continue to select photos that represent various moments of the Booth experience.From the classroom setting to annual competitions to excursions in locations around the world, each moment is distinctive to Chicago Booth and indicative of the culture that connects every student, faculty member, and alumnus of this school.We’re not doing anything different per se, just doing a better job of articulating what the Booth degree and this community are all about. We ask candidates to tell us their goals to help us understand what motivates them to get an MBA and what they are driven to do in the future, but also to explain why they believe Booth is the best place to pursue that passion.As an applicant, we expect you to have well-thought-out conviction in your goals and to be able to clearly explain what those intentions are, as well as how you plan to achieve them within the construct of Chicago Booth.