Chicago Booth MBA Essay Analysis – Essay 1

How did you choose your most recent job/internship and how did this experience influence your future goals? What about the Chicago Booth MBA makes you feel it is the next best step in your career at this time? [750-1000]

[First off, one more shoutout to HBS and Wharton R1-ers. Good luck, y’all.]

K, first of all, 750-1000 is not the same as 1000. Shoot for 800-900. That’ll keep you out of trouble.

Now, I’m gonna list ALL the elements embedded in this sucker:

1) How did you choose your most recent job/internship?

2) How did this experience influence your future goals?

3) What about the Chicago Booth MBA makes you feel it is the next best step in your career at this time?

Cool? Now I’m gonna translate it.

1) Go back in time to the moment you were APPLYING to the job you currently have (most recent job/internship). What other jobs were you offered? What other options did you have? Here’s what they wanna know: No matter what the answer to those questions are, you had options. You could have quit and joined the army. You could have scrapped everything and tried to invent a time machine. You could have taken “the promotion” but you opted to make a lateral move. Etc. etc. GIVEN ALL THE OPTIONS, why did you choose your most recent job?

Treat it separately. Think about it. It’s interesting. Everything has a purpose. They’re not asking about your career progress. They’re not asking about whether or not you’re qualified to do whatever it is you wanna do. There are TWO assumptions here: (1) THAT you have long term goals and (2) THAT you’ve worked somewhere at all. If both are true, you can answer this question. Figure out why you CHOSE to work at Job X, your most recent gig.

2) This job/experience has influenced your future goals somehow. It’s true. Maybe you’ve learned that you HATE consulting and wanna do real estate now. Maybe you’ve learned that your instincts were 100% correct and this job is exactly what you wanna do for the rest of your life. Some way or another, this job has influenced your future goals. Taught you something about the industry you’re in. Taught you something about a NEED that exists that you wanna address. Taught you something about the REALITIES of the industry. (At first you wanted to be President of the U.S. and solve Israel/Palestine, but after your Job as Senator, you realize the situation is slightly more complex, so perhaps your goals have narrowed, say.) Perhaps the job taught you something about what’s BROKEN in your industry, and you’ve figured out that you can fix it. Or that it’s POSSIBLE to fix it, and the answer lies in your getting an MBA.

There are a million ways in which your current or most recent job have taught you something or influenced you. Identify it, and NAIL it.

3) There’s a hidden question in here…. which is “What are your future goals?” — Now, they don’t ask about it specifically, but it’s embedded in the question. It assumes that your goals have come into focus, or been redefined, or changed even—-on account of this recent job experience. Let’s find out not only how those influences worked, but WHAT your goals are to begin with, or rather… NOW that you’re on the precipice of going after them.

4) The final piece breaks down into 2 chunks:

PART A —-> You have a goal. You have some work experience. You’re a smart guy/gal. You COULD…. attack your goal right now. If you were to grade the “smartness” of that decision, let’s say it’s a 82%. You COULD also quit everything and hitch-hike across America, develop a smoking habit and eat a lot of “Seafood Specials” at truck stops along the way. The grade for how much this helps your career goals is probably around 12%. Another option is to go BACK to school and get your MBA. The grade for this option is 100%. Explain WHY.

Everyone is sooooo interested in writing love letters to the schools about what the school offers. And THAT the schools will help them learn all about business stuff. Wonderful, you’ve just told something the school already knows. Instead, tell them what it is about the MBA that is particularly wise for YOU at THIS POINT IN TIME…. given where you are in life.

PART B —-> Congratulations. You’ve just been accepted to Harvard. Stanford. AND… Kellogg. See what I did there? I yanked the Chicago argument from RIGHT out under you. Okay, so you’ve been accepted to ALL THREE illustrious MBA programs. And WALLAH, you’ve JUST been accepted to Booth. Let’s pretend you’re gonna pick Booth.

Now, here’s where I need your full attention. GIVEN YOUR CAREER OBJECTIVES——> WHAT ASPECTS OF BOOTH CONVINCE YOU THAT THE NEXT TWO YEARS THERE represents the BEST option for you—–remember, you CAN go to stanford, or harvard, or kellogg. So DON’T throw some thin, weightless argument about how you’re gonna learn from top-notch faculty. Are you insane? Are you really suggesting that you’re picking Booth over Stanford because Booth’s faculty somehow beats Stanford’s? Nonsense. You will be wasting words on such arguments.

The best–and ONLY–argument to make here is that there are offerings and an overall culture at Booth that somehow will put you in the BEST position to achieve the goals you’ve laid out.

Explain how it’s gonna work. Explain which aspect of Booth will affect a certain aspect of a gap in your skill set, or some thing that’s gonna get filled in, such that you can chase your goals.

Let’s say your goal is to finish a marathon. What foodstuff are you gonna eat?

No-brainer. SPAGHETTI. CARBS. CARBS. ENERGY. FUEL. This choice has nothing to do with ANYTHING other than the way in which it relates to your goal.

Let’s say your goal is to lose weight faaaast. What foodstuff are you gonna eat?

No-brainer. NOT SPAGHETTI. Why not? Because if your goal is to lose fast weight, carbs are probably not the best choice.

Now hoooold on. Same person. Different answers? Sure. Because each answer addresses a different GOAL.

So, let’s circle it back. Booth is carbs. And you’re running a marathon. Explain why Booth is the best choice for you.

Whatever your goals are, find a reason why Booth specifically, is going to be the FUEL that promotes you closer to that long-term goal finish line