The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is asking applicants to write an admissions essay based on one of 16 photos that depict various aspects of its MBA experience. The new essay question, with no word limit, along with the school’s 2015-2016 MBA application deadlines was released on Wednesday, July 8th.
In a blog post, Kurt Ahlm, associate dean for student recruitment and admissions, said the school adapted the unusual format for this year’s essay “in the spirit of diverse perspectives and challenging the status quo—even our own status quo.”The photos are something you might find on an Instagram feed, ranging from classroom shots to a selfie with Dean Sunil Kumar and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, a Booth alum (see below). There are pictures of MBA students involved in extracurricular activities, social events, and their own graduation. There’s one black-and-white photo of a young Eugene Fama, one of Chicago’s several professors who have won a Nobel Prize. The school then asks applicants to answer how the photo “resonates with your own viewpoint on why the Booth community is the right fit for you.”
BOOTH NOT TRYING TO TAKE ITSELF OVERLY SERIOUSLY
Early reaction from MBA admission consultants appears positive. “At first I thought, ‘huh’? and then after about 10 seconds, I thought, ‘yeah, why not?,’ says Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions. “There are plenty of angles to choose from, and even though the question is open ended, there’s enough focus on fit with Booth to get people started. Glad there’s a sense of fun to it as well. I appreciate that Booth is not trying to take itself overly seriously.”
As it has in the past, Booth is asking applicants to respond to its prompt in a traditional essay, slide presentation, or any format that candidates believe best captures a response. The new essay replaces last year’s prompt:
Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas. This is us. Who are you?
FIRST ROUND DEADLINE IS SEPT. 17
The school said its first round deadline would be Sept. 17, with decisions released on Dec. 10. Booth set a second round deadline of Jan. 5, with a release date of March 24th, and a third and final round deadline of April 5th, with a release date of May 19.
“Creating an MBA application that allows applicants to be authentic and honest is something we strive for at Booth,” said Ahlm. “The essay is where we really get a feel for who someone is, how they think, their distinct viewpoint, and how they can contribute to the community.
“While this is an opportunity for us to learn about you, we also want to share a more complete picture of what our community is all about. We value individuality and diverse experiences because it inspires collaborative thinking and the unique learning environment here at Chicago Booth.”