As a former admissions officer, I remember the stupor that fell over the whole file-reading process at some point in the admissions season, after I had seen the same kind of essay over and over and over again. No wonder, then, that admissions officers like to shake things up every once in a while.
MBA applicants who are thinking about adding Chicago to the list now have a new "essay" question to tackle: "In four [PowerPoint] slides or less, please provide readers with content that captures who you are."
Not an easy assignment, but I bet it will show a side to applicants that other schools won't necessarily get to see. NYU Stern has been asking this type of question for years now, and it always makes the application process more fun (the list of what not to submit gives a sense of how creative people can get):
Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.
All submissions become part of NYU Stern's permanent records and cannot be returned for any reason. Do not submit anything that must be played or viewed electronically (e.g. CDs, DVDs, mp3s, etc.), that is perishable (e.g. food) or that has been worn (e.g. used clothing). If you submit a written essay, it should be 500 words maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font.
On another note: wouldn't it be lovely if admissions officers at top business schools used correct English grammar? Chicago's question should say: "In four slides or fewer...."