University of Chicago's provocative essay questions

Posted by: Alison Damast on July 18, 2008

I wrote a few weeks ago about the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business and their decision to retain its PowerPoint slide essay requirement in this year’s application. The school has stayed true to its word and has included it in the fall 2009 application, according to the school’s admissions Web site. The school has listed its three essay questions there, though the application won’t be available till late July, the school said.

True to form, Chicago is shaking things up a bit with the other essay questions and have included a few new questions in the mix.

The first essay question - which asks applicants to describe why they are pursuing an MBA at this point in their career -has not changed. Things get more interesting with the second essay question, where applicants have two options:

Option 1:
a) Please provide an example of a time when you had to make a choice between two equally important obligations. How did you decide which obligation deserved your attention? b) Did you try and predict other people's reactions to your decision? If so, how accurate were you? Why do you think you were or were not accurate in your prediction? c) Reflecting on this experience, how do you think an MBA from Chicago GSB might have aided in your decision making process?
-or-
Option 2:
a) Have you ever made a decision that caused you to go against popular opinion? Please describe that situation and your rationale for you decision. b) Did you feel at any point that people misperceived your motives? Explain. c) In retrospect, how do you think an MBA from Chicago GSB would have affected your decision?

These are challenging questions, ones that will require applicants to do some serious reflection over the next few weeks. Admissions consultant Clear Admit has some tips on how to answer these questions on their blog.

What are your thoughts on these questions?

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