Booth Makes PowerPoint Optional

by John A. Byrne on

Kurt Ahlm, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions, announced the changes

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business made its PowerPoint application requirement optional today (July 10). The school disclosed the change in announcing its new 2012-2013 application deadlines and essay questions.

In previous years, Booth was one of the very few business schools requiring prospective students to submit a four-slide presentation as part of their MBA application. The idea for the PowerPoint had come from Kurt Ahlm before he was named associate dean of student recruitment and admissions. This year, with Ahlm in the top job for a year, the school said that applicants could forgo the unusual requirement in favor of an additional essay with a 600-word limit.

The school also dropped one question–”How has your family, culture and/or environment influenced you as a leader?”–and added two short-answer ones requiring no more than 200 words each: “What has been your biggest challenge, and what have you learned from it?” and “Tell us about something that has fundamentally transformed the way you think.”

Booth set its round one application deadline for Oct. 2, while round two is Jan. 8th, and the final and third round April 4th. The changes were announced via a short post by Ahlm on the Booth Insider blog.

Chicago’s announcement now leaves Duke University’s Fuqua School as the only top-ten business school that has yet to announce both its 2012-2013 deadlines and its essay questions. Kellogg, which has posted its new deadlines, has yet to unveil its essay lineup. Harvard Business School opened the new admissions season seven weeks ago on May 22 by announcing major changes to the way it will assess MBA applicants this year.

2012-2013 Essay Questions

1) Essay: 
What are your short- and long-term goals, and how will an MBA from Chicago Booth help you reach them? (500 words maximum)

2) Short Answer Essays: 
a. What has been your biggest challenge, and what have you learned from it?  (200 words maximum)
b. Tell us about something that has fundamentally transformed the way you think. (200 words maximum)

3) Presentation/Essay: 
The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective.  In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the application, what else would you like us to know?

4) Re-applicant Essay: 
Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words) 
Only those applicants who applied for entrance in Fall 2011 or 2012 are required to complete this essay. 

The school said its full application will be available onlne in early August.

DON’T MISS: 2012-2013 APPLICATION DEADLINES FOR TOP BUSINESS SCHOOLS or BEHIND HARVARD’S BIG ADMISSION CHANGES

  • Paul Bodine

    Kudos to Booth for adding some flexibility to the PowerPoint option. This enables applicants who have a must-tell story that doesn’t lend itself to visuals to tell the story. However, if done well (creatively, personally), the PowerPoint can be a big asset to applicants. So applicants should lean toward finding an effective way to leverage the PowerPoint’s visual potential versus slotting in a standard-issue accomplishment essay they wrote for some other school. 
    Paul Bodine, http://www.paulsbodine.com, Great Applications for Business School

  • Boof

    I am disappointed with the decision to drop the ppt requirement. The powerpoint was a means of standing out in the abyss – and for those strong writers out there, it simply forced them to get creative about the medium. I know of more than one matriculating Boothie who turned the blank pages into a magazine article – showcasing the candidates creativity and their writing skills while giving them a new story-telling medium. I think this will just make it that much harder for people to standout.

  • JohnAByrne

    Boot,

    It wasn’t entirely scrapped as the article notes. It was made optional. So you can either do it or opt for the essay approach.

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