Category Archives: MIT Sloan Advice
October 28, 2016
Round 1 applicants, get ready for your interviews! Whether you’ve already received an interview invitation or are hoping to get an invite over the next few weeks, you want to make sure you’re prepared to do …
Round 1 applicants, get ready for your interviews! Whether you’ve already received an interview invitation or are hoping to get an invite over the next few weeks, you want to make sure you’re prepared to do your best when the big day arrives.
With that in mind, Jennifer Barba, associate director of admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management, has shared a video with tips and insight regarding MBA interviews at Sloan, which she calls a critical piece of the evaluation process.
Candidates will meet with a professional member of the admissions team, not alumni, and should plan to spend 30-45 minutes discussing both data in their application as well as answering three or four behavioral questions. An example of this type of question is: “Tell me about a situation where you had a difficult interaction with a team member.”
“Interviewing candidates is my favorite part of the evaluation process,” says Barba, and she urges applicants to talk about things that are different than what you shared in the written application. When you ask questions, she adds, make sure they are more thoughtful than what you can find in the FAQs on the website.
Here at SBC, we advise clients to begin their interview prep by learning your application backwards and forwards and crystallize your professional goals and motivations. Then, ask yourself these key questions:
- Can I clearly articulate my career plan and future goals?
- What is my motivation to obtain an MBA?
- How do I plan to use my MBA in my career?
- What do I really want from my MBA experience?
- Why is X business school the right place for me?
- What can I bring to this MBA community?
- Where do I see myself in 5, 10 or 15 years?
You should be prepared to mention school-specific examples of courses, clubs, and other aspects of the curriculum that fit with your career goals. In short, do your homework and refresh your memory of School X’s program before your interview!
Finally, don’t forget to send your interviewer a thank-you note or email no later than the following day.
Our parting advice: be yourself. You want the admissions committee to admit you for who you really are.
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July 5, 2016
MIT Sloan School of Management has streamlined the application considerably this year, removing all but one optional open-ended essay from the application, and reviving the cover letter essay that was a staple of previous admissions cycles. …
MIT Sloan School of Management has streamlined the application considerably this year, removing all but one optional open-ended essay from the application, and reviving the cover letter essay that was a staple of previous admissions cycles.
While the essay formats have changed, MIT Sloan continues to seek MBA candidates with integrity, passion, creativity, intellectual abilities, drive and determination. Consider how to communicate these attributes as you approach both the cover letter and possibly the optional creative essay.
“This year, instead of responding to an essay question, we are asking applicants to submit a cover letter along with their resume. Your cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself, describe your past successes, and explain why MIT Sloan’s MBA Program is the right place for you.”
Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions. (250 words or fewer)
MIT Sloan has asked for a cover letter for many years in past admissions cycles, and now for the Fall 2017 intake application is asking for a cover letter again. The benefit of the cover letter format is that you must think about your application to Sloan as if you are applying for a new job.
Necessarily, that will require you to distill your most relevant and impressive experience and apply it to achieve your goal of a place in the class. With only 250 words to work with, you will need to have two or three concise and focused examples to introduce yourself and make your case.
The best cover letters will work cohesively with your resume. That means you should imagine that the admissions committee is reading the cover letter with your resume right there and repeating content will be redundant. For the cover letter focus on the stories that will illuminate who you are and why you should attend MIT Sloan, not every accomplishment at work.
The Admissions Committee invites you to share additional information about yourself, in any format. If you choose a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us with the URL.
Please keep all videos and media limited to 2:00 minutes total in length.
Please keep all written essays to 500 words or less.
MIT Sloan’s entirely open-ended optional essay invites applicants to respond to the essay in any format desired. This allows you to do anything you need to with this space, including clarifying any concerns or highlighting interesting aspects of your background or profile. The format can be a creative way for you to showcase any technical or design skills you have, but the content should be your primary focus.
As you consider whether to answer this essay question and what content to include, think about how the rest of your application will communicate your background, goals and any unique experience you bring to the class.
You will be submitting a resume, the cover letter and your recommenders will write about you. What information, if any, do you think will fall through the cracks? If there is something additional you need or want to communicate, address it here.
Stacy Blackman Consulting has advised candidates on everything from photo journalism projects to customized multimedia presentations for this type of essay question. We treat the application as a holistic process and would advise you on which aspects of your background to consider revealing in this optional essay.
Stumped by your MIT Sloan MBA application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.
May 27, 2016
Is MIT Sloan School of Management on your short list of target schools for this fall’s MBA application season? It’s a phenomenal, highly academic program that draws on the MIT culture at large to offer …
Is MIT Sloan School of Management on your short list of target schools for this fall’s MBA application season? It’s a phenomenal, highly academic program that draws on the MIT culture at large to offer cutting-edge classes and services, recruit acclaimed faculty, and foster collaborative and educational efforts that involve students, alumni and business partners.
Even among world-class MBA programs, MIT Sloan is in an elite group, with extremely high GMAT scores and GPAs higher than many other top programs. So how can applicants stand out with such a competitive applicant pool?
I recently shared my take with Business Insider readers on the three qualities MIT Sloan looks for in MBA candidates—innovation, global awareness, and analytical abilities—and offer the inside scoop on how you can concretely demonstrate you possess those stellar qualities. Take a look at the original article for my tips.
If you can show that you’d thrive in a program that is international in perspective, highly quantitative, and grounded in innovative approaches, you’ll have a good chance of demonstrating to the admissions team that you’d be an ideal candidate for MIT Sloan’s rigorous — and rewarding — program.
December 18, 2015
The MBA admissions team at MIT Sloan School of Management has prepared a video featuring Sloan students who offer tips and advice to prospective applicants. Each tackles a different aspect of how you can better …
The MBA admissions team at MIT Sloan School of Management has prepared a video featuring Sloan students who offer tips and advice to prospective applicants. Each tackles a different aspect of how you can better prepare for this experience, and we’ve summarized their thoughts here but also encourage you to watch the brief video as well.
Julius Tapper, MBA 2016—Julius says coming to campus will give you more information than you’ll get anywhere else. But if you can’t come, reach out to someone who shares one of your interests through the club pages posted online and get the conversation started.
Chris Mannion, MBA 2016—Chris encourages applicants to start preparing early, after realizing himself how quickly things get backed up when you have to sit for the GMAT, line up your recommenders, prepare your applications, etc.
“It’s a very long process, and you have to give yourself the opportunity to really understand what school is all about before you even start the application process,” he says.
Brian Kirk, MBA 2016—Brian urges applicants to be themselves, and make their application representative of who they are. And when it comes to the optional essay, and he tells them to absolutely do it, and just make it their own.
“I did not do some fancy digital media video, or write a song or something for it,” Brian says. “I figured out my application up to that point had been entirely professional. I exist outside a professional setting, there’s a lot to me that does not come across in my professional accomplishments. So I wrote my third essay to the tune of, ‘this is who I am outside of the classroom, outside of the office’.”
Though she’s not identified by name in the video, the final student’s words are perhaps the golden rule of both MBA admissions and life in general. “Just be true to yourself,” she says. “The rest will come in time.”
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November 5, 2015
Earlier this week, Jennifer Barba, Associate Director of Admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management, posted a video describing what applicants can expect during their MBA interview. As a reminder, the school has introduced a …
Earlier this week, Jennifer Barba, Associate Director of Admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management, posted a video describing what applicants can expect during their MBA interview.
As a reminder, the school has introduced a second short-answer question this year, which is only for students invited to interview and must be completed prior to the interview. The question is:
The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer)
At the interview, which usually lasts 30-45 minutes, Barba says applicants will meet with a professional member of the admissions committee whether they interview on the road or on campus. The conversation will kick off with a few clarifying questions based on data from your application, followed by three or four behavioral questions about your past experiences.
Barba says this type of question could cover something like, “Tell me about a situation where you had a difficult interaction with a team member.” You can then expect several followup questions based on your response, as well as time at the end to ask questions of your own.
To prepare for the interview, Barba suggests applicants come prepared to talk about things they haven’t already shared in their application. Also, come with questions that are different, or more thoughtful, than what you can easily find on the website FAQs. Show that you’ve really done your research on MIT Sloan, because the admissions team is trying to assess your fit and see how much you really want to be there.
As always, dress professionally and be mindful that the AdCom is paying attention to every interaction you have with the school, from your application to the day of your interview, to the thank-you note you send afterward, and all of it will help Sloan evaluate your fit with the school.
Invitations to interview will continue to be released until next week, at which time all R1 applicants will have received word of their status. Good luck to all MIT Sloan interviewees!
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May 12, 2015
MIT Sloan has just announced the essay questions and deadlines for the class of 2018. This year there is only one required question, a second required short-answer for those invited to interview, and an optional …
MIT Sloan has just announced the essay questions and deadlines for the class of 2018. This year there is only one required question, a second required short-answer for those invited to interview, and an optional open-ended essay.
For many years MIT asked a series of behavioral questions for the admissions essays because past performance was considered to be the best predictor of candidates’ future success. This year the one required essay is a behavioral question again. As you approach topics for the required question consider if you will also answer the optional question. MIT Sloan is looking for people with integrity, passion, creativity, intellectual abilities and drive and determination. Do you have a recent success that will demonstrate some or most of those traits? The success can be professional or outside of work, though should have some relationship to your professional aspirations if possible. If the situation is not one that demonstrates many of the traits MIT Sloan is seeking in candidates, you may also decide to include the optional essay in your application.
We have one required essay at the time of submission: Tell us about a recent success you had: How did you accomplish this? Who else was involved? What hurdles did you encounter? What type of impact did this have? (500 words or fewer).
This essay question is set up to be a behavioral essay question, one that seeks to understand how you think and act in various situations. We often recommend using a framework called STAR to approach questions like this and make sure you are covering all of the required components. STAR stands for: Situation, Task, Action, and Results.
The SITUATION sets the stage and introduces the challenge you faced. It can be a simple sentence like: “My company’s key product was aging and we needed to find an area of growth to maintain revenues.”
Your TASK is a bit more detailed and identifies what solution you decided to implement to address the situation. For example: “I proposed setting up an innovation tournament for our global strategy team to come up with ideas.”
The meat of the essay is the ACTION. Describe in detail what you did to implement the task. Talk about the stakeholders you had to convince, any hurdles to setting up the tournament, how you encouraged buy in among all employees and any other action you personally took to accomplish your goal.
RESULTS can be relatively brief, and ideally quantitative. For example: “the tournament revealed 10 viable new product ideas, 3 of which are currently in development.”
The ACTION part of the essay should be the majority of the response, but setting up the situation clearly and demonstrating results is important and effective to a strong response. As MIT typically asked in the past, make sure to describe: “what you thought, felt, said, and did.” The admissions committee wants to see you developing creative solutions, leading others, and overcoming challenges to “visualize you in action.”
A second short-answer question will be asked of those invited to interview: The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer).
This question focuses on your intellectual skills, leadership and character. When you consider topics for this question the most important aspect will be to demonstrate character. Improving the world doesn’t have to be working for an NGO in a developing country, it could also be improving your company to have more benefit to customers or employees.
For example, perhaps you were part of an employee resource group that helped new employees with their careers, increased diversity, or served the community through volunteering. MIT Sloan also wants to see creative solutions to business problems, so make sure to explain your thinking during the experience you describe.
The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format. If you choose to use a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us the URL. More information on the MIT Sloan website.
MIT Sloan’s entirely open-ended optional essay invites applicants to respond to the essay in any format desired. This allows you to do anything you need to with this space, including clarifying any concerns or highlighting interesting aspects of your background or profile. Because there is only one required written essay this year it may be useful to use this opportunity to show the admissions committee a different angle on your candidacy. The format can be a creative way for you to showcase any technical or design skills you have, but the content should be primary.
Because this essay is highly dependent on who you are and what you wrote in the required essay, consider carefully your overall strategy and refer to the list of traits MIT Sloan is looking for in admitted students. If you have an unusual background, hobby or extracurricular experience, this may be an opportunity to provide that information to the admissions committee.
With similar questions asked by other MBA programs in the past Stacy Blackman Consulting has advised candidates on everything from photo journalism projects to customized multimedia presentations. We treat the application as a holistic process and would advise you on which aspects of your background to consider revealing in this optional essay.
Stumped by your MIT Sloan MBA application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.