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Chicago Booth Debunks Top Ten Application Myths

The R2 deadline at the Chicago Booth School of Business may have passed yesterday, but the Admissions Committee faces a bevy of misconceptions from prospective students year-round.

Here, Booth addresses the Top Ten MBA application myths. And take heart; this myth-busting holds true for most every program to which you may be applying.

Myth 1: The GMAT is the most important part of the application.
There is no one admissions requirement that is more important than the other. While the results of your GMAT exam are important, they are by no means the only tool used to make an admissions decision. The Admissions Committee attempts to learn all about you in order to determine a fit between you and Chicago that goes above and beyond your GMAT score.

Myth 2: A campus visit is a must if you expect to be admitted.
We do strongly encourage applicants to visit campus at some point, but not visiting won't negatively impact your application.

Myth 3: It's impossible to be admitted during Round 3.
Booth does in fact accept students in Round 3. Round 2 sees the greatest number of applications and since we fill spots in the program as we progress through the Rounds, there will naturally be fewer spots left for Round 3 applicants.

The best advice is to apply when you believe that you can turn in the application that you're most proud of that best reflects your strengths and talents. However, we do encourage our international students to consider applying by Round 2 in an attempt to avoid potential hassles in obtaining a student visa prior to the start of classes.

Myth 4: You must have a minimum GPA or GMAT score and have 5 years of work experience to be considered for admission.
This is an easy one; there are no minimums for these factors! Anyone who has or will obtain a bachelor's degree and can report a GMAT score is eligible to apply for admission to Chicago.

Myth 5: An interview with a staff member will increase your chances of admission more than an interview with a student or alum.
Regardless of who your interviewer may be, the feedback is valuable and is weighed equally in each and every case. Each year, we rely heavily on our alumni to conduct interviews with applicants all over the world. The same holds true for students here at the Harper Center and those who may be studying abroad.

Myth 6: The earlier you submit your application before the deadline, the earlier your interview invitation will come.
The interview invitation process lasts a few weeks for each round as our staff and Admissions Fellows read and review thousands of applications. The process of inviting applicants to interview is entirely random, and the point at which you hear from us is not a reflection on the strength of your application or the timeframe in which you submitted it.

And we really do extend interview invitations all the way up until 9:00 am on the mid-decision date!

Myth 7: If you were not a Business major, you are at a great disadvantage in the admissions process.
Students who apply to and enroll at Chicago Booth come from a variety of backgrounds with respect to their undergraduate studies. In fact, 29% of the class of 2012 has a liberal arts background. We are always excited by the unique experiences that each student's education brings to the community at Chicago.

Myth 8: Chicago Booth prefers applicants from finance and consulting backgrounds.
We value diversity in all its forms, including career industry. Many of our applicants come from finance or consulting backgrounds; but many more have work experience in other industries, including military service, marketing, education, retail, and non-profit work, just to name a few. It's not what you do that matters - it's how you do it and the experience you'll bring to the classroom and study groups.

Myth 9: The Admissions Committee members only read the first essay in the application - they disregard the rest.
Our staff, including our Admissions Fellows, reads each and every essay, recommendation letter and transcript that crosses our desks. This makes for a great deal of work but we're committed to putting together the best possible class and to do so, we feel we need to get to know each applicant well. This process is a part of what makes Chicago Booth a unique place. You've worked hard to submit your application, and we appreciate that effort.

Myth 10: A letter of recommendation from the CEO of my company/a Booth alum I met once/the Governor/the President of the United States is better than getting one from a supervisor or colleague who knows me well.
Choose your recommenders carefully! Letters of recommendation are a crucial part of the admissions process and while you may be tempted to impress the Admissions Committee with the connections you've made, you'll want to work with someone who knows you and your accomplishments, talents and skills well.

Your current or former supervisor and a colleague or client who can speak at length about your value to your company or organization is a much better choice than someone who may have an impressive title, but little insight into you as a person or future Chicago Booth student.


About the author: Stacy Blackman
Stacy Blackman

Stacy Blackman, has been consulting on the Master of Business Administration degree application process since 2001. She has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stacy has worked with the admissions committees at both schools, conducting alumni interviews and evaluating applicants.

Visit: stacyblackman.com/blog

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