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Test scores? Check. Application? Check. And now, the slideshow

The world over, PowerPoint-style presentations are often met with yawns.

But the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business will begin requiring prospective students to submit PowerPoint-like slides with their applications this fall.

Microsoft Corp.'s PowerPoint and similar programs have become ubiquitous tools in the business world. But the school says so-called slideware, used correctly, can also let students show a creative side that may not reveal itself in other application materials.

"We wanted to have a freeform space for students to be able to say what they think is important, not always having the school run that dialogue," said Rose Martinelli, associate dean. "To me this is just four pieces of blank paper. You do what you want. It can be a presentation. It can be poetry. It can be anything."

The requirement could be called corporate America's surrender to a technology that often gums up the flow of information up by encouraging bureaucratic jargon.

Nonetheless, PowerPoint has become the lingua franca of business meetings worldwide. Its 500 million copies are used in 30 million presentations per day, Microsoft has estimated.