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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

January 23, 2009

Chicago Booth Interviews

If you are preparing for a Chicago Booth interview, read this post after you read my general post on interview strategy. If you are looking for my analysis of Booth's essays, you can find it here.

I have reviewed reports of University of Chicago Booth interviews found at accepted.com and clearadmit.com. These reports reveal that there are five key things to consider when preparing for Chicago interviews:

1. You need to know your resume completely as you will likely be asked about content in it. Review it carefully and consider what your interviewer might ask you to explain more thoroughly. If it is on your resume, it is fair game.

2. Prepare to answer routine MBA questions. Most reported interviews simply consist of them. See my previous post on interviewing. Chicago's Full-Time MBA News stated the following:
"To prepare for your 45-minute interview, review your application thoroughly. Know how you will want to convey your story, your career plan and your unique goals. If your goals and motivations are clear, you can expect a lively conversation and lots of good questions by the interviewer. Ask yourself these important questions before your meeting:
Can I clearly articulate my career plan and future goals?

What do I really want from my MBA experience?

What is my motivation to obtain an MBA?
Why is [Booth] the right place for me?
Why am I right for [Booth]?
How do I plan to use my MBA in my career?

What can I bring to the
[Booth] community?
Where do I see myself in 5, 10, 15 years?
You should also know what it is that you want to discover about the [Booth] during your meeting. Have a few questions ready to ask your interviewer about the things that are most important to you and your MBA experience. Getting answers to your questions is an equally important part of any B-school interview." (Adam's note, "GSB" changed to [Booth]")

3. Be ready for unexpected hypothetical and/or critical thinking questions, especially from alum. With such questions, always take a second or two to think before diving in with an answer. That said, most interview reports don't include such questions. 

4. The quality of the interviews really varies. The reports on both sites are with students and alum. Some interviewers are reported to be great and some are not. I think it is important to keep in mind what Chicago says:
Interviews are conducted by admissions staff, students or alumni. They are held on campus or in a location convenient for the prospective student. All interviews, regardless of who conducts them, receive equal weight in the evaluation process.

While that is true, the reality is that if you can choose, take admissions staff. Students and alum can vary in quality and level of fairness, but on balance admissions officers are more likely to treat you fairly and will be professional. That said, if you think you may do better with alumni, act accordingly. From my perspective, some older Chicago alum tend to have an outdated view of the school and this can hurt some interviewees who do not intend to focus on finance.  I have noticed that here in Japan, the interviewers now tend to be more recent graduates.

5. Reported interview length could be from 30 to 60 minutes, with many reported interviews taking about 45.

If you are interested in my interview preparation or other graduate admission consulting services, please click here.

Questions? Write comments, but do not send me emails asking me to advise you on your application strategy unless you are interested in my consulting services. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. Before emailing me questions about your chances for admission or personal profile, please see my recent post on "Why I don't analyze profiles without consulting with the applicant."
-Adam Markus
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