By Chicago Booth September 12, 2011 Leave a Comment

An article that ran last Thursday in the WSJ highlighted some interesting things that MBA admissions offices are doing to better assess fit and overall authenticity from their applicants. It’s a good read and worth checking out, and not just because I’m quoted (shameless plug), but because it highlights an important fact – schools care more about how strategic you are in utilizing the tools provided than how well you can fill in an application.

Before you begin putting together the pieces of your application, it’s important for you to understand your story and determine the messages that you want to communicate to the Admissions Committee. What do you want the Admissions Committee to know about you?

We get a lot of questions about our “Presentation/PPT” essay question and how critical it is to the decision process. Let me be clear about two things:

1) It carries the same weight as anything else in the application
2) It is an exercise in how you think and how you strategize

The “Presentation/PPT” was designed to give you an opportunity to clarify your message, and to tell a more complete story about what makes you a good fit for Booth. We recognize that the application has both fixed and limited real estate and, with that in mind, there must be aspects of what makes you a good candidate for Booth that have yet to be communicated in your application. This space is there for that purpose. So for those of you who have put the time into thinking about your story as it relates to Booth, and then begun to plot out how to reveal that story through your application, you should have a pretty good starting point as to what to include in your “Presentation/PPT”.

The moral of this story and the WSJ article is that schools use these tools not for gimmick but for purpose. Understanding what the purpose is before you answer the questions goes a long way in identifying the most effective approach.

Also, if you’re in DC, Philadelphia, NYC or Boston, I hope to meet you at our admissions receptions in these cities next week.


About Chicago Booth

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Since 1898, Booth has produced ideas and leaders that shape the world of business. Our rigorous, discipline-based approach to business education transforms our students into confident, effective, respected business leaders prepared to face the toughest challenges.

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