Tuesday Tips – MIT Sloan Essay Tips

MIT Sloan is a place where practical business concerns intersect with vision and inspiration, often of the tech variety. As the website states: “Like MIT itself, MIT Sloan draws its power from a paradox: it is a place for visionary pragmatists, for hands-on thinkers, for people who dream of changing the world and have the plan and the passion to make it happen. True to MIT’s motto of mens et manus (“mind and hand”), MIT Sloan is the world leader in combing theory and practical application to both enhance careers and improve the world.”

Because Sloan does not require the standard “career goals” essay, your work background will be mainly communicated through the required resume and cover letter. The resume should be approached in a similar way to other MBA application resumes. Avoid industry lingo, communicate your measurable achievements, and focus on aspects of your job that involve leadership and teamwork.

When choosing examples for the MIT Sloan essays, it will be especially important to return to your overall application strategy and think about the aspects of your professional, extracurricular and personal life you want to communicate. In addition, remember to choose examples from the last three years of your life for the most relevant and recent examples.

MIT Sloan Cover Letter
Prepare a cover letter (up to 500 words) seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Describe your accomplishments and include an example of how you had an impact on a group or organization. Your letter should conform to standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Director of MBA Admissions

Exactly like a cover letter you would compose for a job application, the MIT Sloan cover letter should make a strong case for your selection into the class of 2012. You will want to introduce yourself and why you are seeking admission. The cover letter is also your opportunity to make the case for your fit with MIT Sloan. Note that the cover letter format will require a recruiting and marketing approach that focuses on key points that will make you a great MIT Sloan student, rather than the narrative style of the typical career goals type of essay. To learn more about the school, there are resources such as student blogs, campus visits and admissions events around the world.

The instructions ask specifically for key accomplishments and your impact on an organization, which should be concise and focused examples that support your reasons for applying and why you should be accepted into the class.

MIT Sloan Essay 1: Please describe a time when you went beyond what was defined, expected, established, or popular. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

This question can be used to describe a situation when you exceeded everyone’s expectations, or one when you pursued a path that was not established or popular. This will demonstrate your ability to motivate yourself and what drives you to accomplish above and beyond your job description or responsibilities.

All of the behavioral questions in the MIT Sloan application require you to describe your past accomplishments and experience on a very pragmatic level. A key part of the MIT Sloan set of essays is the focus on understanding how you work, think and act. This requires being very specific about your thoughts and actions as you respond to each essay question.

MIT Sloan Essay 2: Please describe a time when you coached, trained, or mentored a person or group. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

A work or extracurricular example where you demonstrated strong leadership would be ideal here. You can approach this question from several different directions: leading a person who reports to you, mentoring someone outside of your direct reporting relationship, or leading or coaching a group.

Whatever example you choose, make sure you are specific about the interactions and your approach to the task. What kind of leader are you? How do you help others to reach their potential?

MIT Sloan Essay 3: Please describe a time when you took responsibility for achieving an objective. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

This MIT Sloan essay seeks to understand your methods of setting goals and achieving them. When you accept responsibility for an outcome, you are committing yourself to the endeavor and declaring that you will achieve it. While the question does not require an outcome, the best essay will demonstrate a situation where you took responsibility for an outcome and explain why you did so, what happened, and the result. This example should typify your approach to any achievement, and demonstrate what you might commit yourself to and why.

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