Category Archives: MIT Sloan Advice

Targeted Advice for MIT Sloan Applicants

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 …

MIT Sloan application advice

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.

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Application Advice from MIT Sloan MBA Students

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’.”

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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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What to Expect During the MIT Sloan MBA Interview

MIT Sloan Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

 

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What to Expect During the MIT Sloan MBA Interview

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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MIT Sloan Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

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Tuesday Tips: MIT Sloan Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

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.

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Tuesday Tips: MIT Sloan School of Management MBA Essay Tips

On its website, MIT Sloan highlights programs from Entrepreneurship to the Digital Economy. Innovation is key for MIT Sloan and the program seeks interesting students to build a class that can learn from each other …

On its website, MIT Sloan highlights programs from Entrepreneurship to the Digital Economy. Innovation is key for MIT Sloan and the program seeks interesting students to build a class that can learn from each other and continue the tradition of innovation.

When approaching this set of essays, your task is to remain focused on your overall application strategy and choose the key stories that can showcase your achievements at school, work and extracurricular activities while demonstrating that you will contribute to MIT Sloan’s mission.

Essay 1
The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)

The MIT Sloan application relied heavily on “behavioral essays” in the past. This year there is only one essay of this style, that requires you to describe your past accomplishments and experience on a specific level. These questions have typically focused on understanding how you work, think and act in a variety of situations. As you provide examples of past work and activities ideally you are highly specific about your thoughts and actions in the situation.

This question is seeking to understand how you develop and execute on ideas. A work or extracurricular example where you demonstrated the ability to generate strategy and execute upon it would be ideal here. How did you identify your idea? What did you do to develop it? What did you ultimately accomplish? This essay will demonstrate your intellectual capacity and curiosity, which are crucial attributes MIT Sloan is looking for in MBA admits.

Essay 2
Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself. Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: (750 words or fewer)

• How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
• How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
• Please give an example of the applicant’s impact on a person, group, or organization.
• Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
• Which of the applicant’s personal or professional characteristics would you change?
• Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.

MIT Sloan asked candidates to submit a cover letter for their MBA application for several years. This iconic essay challenged candidates every year to encompass career goals, reasons for an MBA and interest in MIT Sloan in a short professional style cover letter.

This year MIT Sloan returns to a typically professional format with a requirement to draft a letter of recommendation for yourself. You are placed in the role of your most recent supervisor and asked a series of questions that MBA programs typically ask of your professional recommenders. The wrinkle to this question is that your most recent supervisor may also be writing an actual letter of recommendation for you. MIT Sloan is one of the few MBA programs without a preference for your current supervisor as a primary recommender, so you could also avoid that scenario. Regardless, this “recommendation letter” should both reflect similar feedback as your actual recommendation letters and provide new information.

The key challenge in answering this question is the tone to take. Ideally you are measured about both your strengths and weaknesses, while showing confidence that you are accomplished and also that you are able to improve when you need to. The ideal tone is mature and logical, without overt bragging. Your actual supervisor may get away with more glowing terms when describing your work, but you will want to keep in mind that self-awareness and interest in improvement are assets to an MBA applicant.

Take note that several elements of this question focus on interpersonal skills. This is your opportunity to showcase leadership and teamwork. Self-awareness about your impact on others will come through here and demonstrates you know yourself and how you come across to your team, managers and peers.

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.

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.

This essay is an ideal opportunity to provide any information that you were unable to work into the other two essays and provide a new angle on your candidacy. 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. The format is far less important than the content, but it’s also true that images or presentations can provide a new perspective on your application.

Stumped by your MIT Sloan MBA application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

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MIT Sloan School of Management MBA Essay Tips

On its website, MIT Sloan states that “MIT Sloan is simply more dedicated to creating effective innovation than any other leading school.” Innovation is key for MIT Sloan and seeks interesting students to build a …

On its website, MIT Sloan states that “MIT Sloan is simply more dedicated to creating effective innovation than any other leading school.” Innovation is key for MIT Sloan and seeks interesting students to build a class that can learn from each other and continue the tradition of innovation.

When approaching this set of essays, your task is to remain focused on your overall application strategy and choose two key stories that can showcase your achievements at school, work and extracurricular activities while demonstrating that you will contribute to MIT Sloan’s mission. This year MIT Sloan has removed the iconic cover letter requirement, and has added an extremely open ended aspect to the optional essay.

Essay 1: The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)

The two 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.

This question is seeking to understand how you develop and execute on ideas. A work or extracurricular example where you demonstrated the ability to generate strategy and execute upon it would be ideal here. How did you identify your idea? What did you do to develop it? What did you ultimately accomplish? This essay will demonstrate your intellectual capacity and curiosity, which are crucial attributes MIT Sloan is looking for in MBA admits.

Essay 2: Describe a time when you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)

This essay is the second behavioral question in the set, consistent with MIT Sloan’s belief that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. This essay gives you an opportunity to choose a personal, work or extracurricular example and to show an interesting side to your personality or background.

If you have had significant international experience this may be an ideal question to showcase how you adapted to a new culture. Or perhaps you pursued a sport or hobby that was difficult for you and were able to prove to yourself that you could master a new skill. Remember that the story is less important than what you thought, felt and did and that this essay is an opportunity to showcase your unique personal qualities.

Optional Question: The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format.

This year MIT Sloan has created an entirely open ended optional essay and invited 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.

This essay is an ideal opportunity to provide any information that you were unable to work into the other two essays and provide a new angle on your candidacy. 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. The format is far less important than the content, but it’s also true that images or presentations can provide a new perspective on your application.

Stumped by your MIT Sloan MBA application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

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