Chicago Booth has released MBA interview invitations for round one candidates, which include a pre-interview video component.
Even if you’re a confident interviewer, your thoughtful preparation is essential to making a persuasive case for your candidacy and demonstrating your fit with Chicago Booth. The more you understand what to expect from Booth – and what Booth expects from you – the better.
As former Associate Dean of Chicago Booth, I can affirm that Booth prides itself on how it approaches business education differently. You’ll want to have a nuanced understanding that distinguishes a Booth MBA – from its philosophy of education to its discipline-based process and flexibility of curriculum – and look for ways to communicate this to your interviewer.
Booth’s pre-interview video component debuted last year, which asks interview candidates to submit a 60-second video supporting their candidacy, and its questions remain the same. While solicited only from those invited to interview, Booth notes that the video is not provided to your interviewer nor related to your interview. (View my related article with tips for Booth’s pre-interview video questions).
What To Expect From the Chicago Booth MBA Interview
Chicago Booth interviews are conducted blind, meaning your interviewer will have only reviewed your resume. The thinking is that this allows for conversation to flow more organically, as you and the interview get to know one another.
Chicago Booth taps its extensive network of current students and alumni to conduct admissions interviews throughout the year. As Fortuna’s Melissa Jones puts it, this is a signal the school values the perspective its community members can bring – both to you as a candidate and to the interview process itself. Although the interview receives equal weight in the overall application, regardless of who is conducting the interview, you should tailor your interview strategy accordingly. (See Melissa’s offers helpful insights & tips for preparing for alumni-led interviews.)
This year, interviews will continue to be conducted virtually due to COVID considerations. From proper lighting to flawless connectivity and excellent sound quality, you’ll want to ensure optimal conditions for conducting your MBA interview on video.
After the interview, the interviewer submits a report and your file goes through another phase of review, with another admissions team member who has not seen the file before. This person will then make a recommendation to admit, deny, or send the file to be reviewed. Final decisions (or close calls) are made by the admissions director.
MBA Interview Format & Style: What Chicago Booth Is Looking For
The interview lasts around 30-45 minutes, during which the interviewer works from a list of questions addressing specific criteria. (That said, I’ve heard of interviews ranging to 90 minutes, but that’s more common in an office or café format versus virtual.) The flow is generally:
- Resume and work-related
- Specific behavioral examples/questions
- Personal fit-related
- Prompt to ask questions of the interviewer
Similar to the Stanford GSB interview, Booth favors behavioral style questions, operating from the conviction that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. With these types of questions, your interviewer will be delving for very specific examples of what you did – along with why, what was going through your mind at the time, the impact on others, and the outcome.
Below is my short strategy session on preparing for the Chicago Booth interview with Fortuna’s head of interview practice, Malvina Miller Complainville.
Example Chicago Booth Interview Questions
Here’s a sampling of behavioral style questions reported by recent Chicago Booth MBA candidates:
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation during which you were unsuccessful. What did you learn from it?
- Tell me about a time when you thought that you should have made decision-X but didn’t.
- Tell me about a time when you worked at X and you tried to counteract the hierarchical structure there (with 2-3 follow-ups drilling down on specifics).
- What would you have done differently?
- Tell me about a time when you failed.
- Tell me about your greatest weakness.
- Tell me about a time you had an unpopular idea.
- Tell me about a situation when you learned something from someone different from you.
- What’s the gender dynamic where you work?
- Tell me about a time when you received feedback that surprised you.
- Tell me about your leadership style.
- What clubs do you want to join?
- Tell me about when you have had a disagreement with someone at work and what the outcome was.
- Two years from now – looking back after you graduate from Booth – what legacy would you have left?
Use the interview to highlight areas of your personal and professional life that are not already represented in your application. “Walk me through your resume” is a common opening question, however, be especially careful in responding; your interviewer has already seen your resume and is looking to glean more depth from you than a professional history timeline. Other common questions include the standard, ‘why Booth / why the MBA / why now?’ You might also be asked about your top three school in the context of ‘why Booth.’ Remember that the purpose of the interview is to establish a connection with the person across the table (or the video channel), and to convince them of why you are a good “fit” with Chicago Booth.
Come Prepared With Thoughtful Questions For Your Interviewer
You’ll also want to be ready with meaningful questions to ask at the end of the interview. “This kind of thoughtful preparation demonstrates your genuine interest in learning more about mutual fit,” says Fortuna’s Malvina Miller Complainville. “If you know your interviewer’s name ahead of time, do your research – look him/her up on LinkedIn for example. Considering your interviewer’s profile will help you tailor your questions accordingly. For alumni, you have a valuable opportunity to learn from their experience and glean insights that can help inform your decision.”
What more advice on Chicago Booth?
View related articles and resources by Fortuna’s expert coaches on Chicago Booth:
- Chicago Booth Video Questions & How to Craft Your Response
- Chicago Booth Essays: Tips & Strategy
- Business School Profile on Chicago Booth
You can also view one of our top resources, the MBA Admissions Masterclass: Kellogg & Chicago Booth, below.
All MBA Admissions Essay Masterclasses in our series, featuring insider advice from 14 former gatekeepers from 14 of the world’s top business schools, are available on Fortuna’s YouTube channel.
Updated Oct. 21, 2021
Bill Kooser is a MBA Admissions consultant and Director at Fortuna Admissions, a Booth alum, and former Booth Associate Dean. With over 30 years of experience, Bill has been responsible for nearly every business school function. For a candid assessment of your chances of admission success at a top MBA program, sign up for a free consultation. If you already know what you want, you can sign up directly for MBA interview prep with a Fortuna expert coach or explore all services.