As MBA candidates for University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business prepare for their interviews, we’re taking the opportunity to round up useful advice from the Clear Admit Interview Archive, as passed on by interviewed candidates themselves.
Before we dig into the key takeaways from prior lucky invitees, here are a few basics about the structure of the interviews at Booth. MBA candidates who interview with Booth may interview on-campus with a second-year student, or off-campus with an admissions officer or alum. On-campus interviews generally run from 30 to 45 minutes with time at the end of the interview for questions. Alumni interviews can be more varied, in terms of time. Either way, it’s important to prepare thoughtful questions for your interviewer.
All interviews are blind, meaning that your interviewer may have access to your resume, but you should still make sure you bring copies to your interview. Booth interviews are generally considered to be very straightforward, in a reasonably relaxing atmosphere, as the following excerpts from interview reports attest.
This candidate thinks there might be an advantage to schedule your interview early in the day, if you are interviewing on-campus:
“The organization of the interviews was excellent. I would recommend to schedule your interviews for an earlier spot — my interviewer, while attentive, was already a little worn off.”
This candidate noted the advantage of doing the campus visit, before the interview:
“I did the class visit and lunch with current students on the day before my interview. I recommend doing that. It gets you familiar with the campus and the general vibe and helps calm nerves. I reached the admissions office and checked in a half hour prior to the interview. They almost always have a second-year student sitting in the waiting room – to diffuse the nervousness in the room and to offer answers to questions about student life, etc. – which is really nice of Booth!”
On-campus, interviews are generally with second-year students:
“My interview at Booth was blind and done by a second-year student. While you wait at the lounge area in the admissions office, the first-year student will sit down with you and casually chat in order to make you feel relaxed. The interviewer dressed formally as did all candidates. The interview ran for 45 minutes.”
Make sure you know where you are going, and leave plenty of time to arrive on time:
“Booth is in Hyde Park, which, for those (like me) who are not familiar with Chicago, is not very close to much else in Chicago. The first thing I would note is to give yourself plenty of time to get there! I was staying in Hyde Park, so I was close, but the weather was pretty bad the weekend I went (my flight to Chicago was delayed by 2.5 hours!) so this is something to just keep in mind for logistics.”
The candidate then went on to the actual experience of waiting for the interview:
“You will likely hang around a little bit in the admissions room, where you’ll get to know some current students and other interviewees. I really enjoyed this part, actually! It helps put you in a relaxed state of mind.”
Notes on Alumnus Interviewers
A candidate who scheduled an interview with an alumnus had this to say:
“I heard from Booth on the first day of the week when interview invites were supposed to be out. After submitting answers to the short answer questions Booth asks, I got the name of my interviewer in around 4 days. Mailed him to set up a time, and interviewed on the last day of the interview window. We met at his office.”
This candidate interviewed in a relatively informal location, with an alumnus:
“Interview took place at a coffee shop. Alumnus just graduated three months ago and told me he interviewed more than 30 candidates as second year and alum. Interview was pretty informal and conversational – it felt like a two way conversation as he wanted me to know more about the school and his experience as well.”
There was a universal consensus, from the interview reports we received for Booth last season, that the interview experience was a positive experience in a positive atmosphere. Here are a few excerpts:
“Like others have said previously, the Booth interviews are very relaxed with behavioral questions. Mine was no different, and the interview turned out to be very conversational. There weren’t any surprises and the interviewer wasn’t trying to ‘get me.’”
From a candidate who flew in from overseas for the interview:
“Overall, the interview was very conversational and stretched from professional stuff to personal aspects.”
This candidate noted the positive experience both before and during the interview:
“It was a very positive experience and lasted about 40 minutes. Booth even had first-year students wandering the halls in the waiting area looking to engage prospective students in conversation to ease any anxiety.”
Along the way, Booth is really interested in your “fit” for their program:
“Overall, not a stressful experience – this interview is really about getting to know you and about fit – no tricky questions here!”
Some questions you receive might be a little surprising, but they generally flow naturally from the conversation:
“Overall, it was a very nice experience. The market and hypothetical questions were a bit surprising. Not sure if the interviewer was really interested in what I was saying and these questions were a genuine follow-ups, or meant to test me on the spot (or both…). The interviewer was taking copious notes.”
A few commented on the general friendliness of their interviewer:
“[The interviewer] was very friendly and put me at ease. It was a very conversational interview and he even chimed in from time to time to affirm / comment on my responses. Was very focused on Booth and what I hope to gain and less on my career goals. I think the interview was indicative of Booth’s easy going, collaborative culture – it was fairly low-stress and actually enjoyable.”
“It was testing and challenging, but was also pleasant overall.”
Best of luck to those facing an admissions interview at Booth! Be sure to download the Clear Admit Interview Guide to gain an extra edge.