Tuesday Tips – MIT Sloan MBA Application Essay Tips

If you had to describe the MIT Sloan MBA program in one word, that word would be innovation. 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 is a place for visionary pragmatists and for people with the determination to change the world with the passion to make it happen.”

MIT Sloan recently posted the admissions essays and deadlines for this year’s applicants. Note that reapplicants are expected to apply in Round 1. For admissons essay advice for this set of MIT Sloan MBA essays, read on for this week’s Tuesday Tips.

Because MIT 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, as specifically directed in the instructions, 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 fewer, 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 show 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. The instructions ask you to provide a brief overview of the situation, and then follow the situation with a detailed description of what you did. 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 convinced an individual or group to accept one of your ideas. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)
Essay 2 is the only MIT Sloan MBA essay question that is new for this year’s admissions application. A work or extracurricular example where you demonstrated emotional intelligence would be ideal here. When did you realize you needed to convince someone to accept your ideas? What was your strategy and how did you read group or individual dynamics to successfully sell in your concept? This essay will demonstrate your ability to lead from within a group, or to manage up in situations when you are not in charge.

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.

MIT Sloan Supplemental Information (Optional)
You may use this section to address whatever else you want the Admissions Committee to know. (250 words or fewer, limited to one page)

If there are any areas of concern, this is the correct place to address them. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue. For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the issue demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since.
If you do not have a weakness to address here, it’s an ideal opportunity to provide any information that you were unable to work into the other three essays. If you have an unusual background, hobby or extracurricular experience, this may be an opportunity to provide that information to the adcomm.

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