Tuesday Tips: MIT Sloan Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips

MIT Sloan application advice

MIT Sloan School of Management has updated their MBA application essays for this year, keeping the cover letter essay and adding a personal video statement. The Sloan MBA program is focused on innovation with a diverse and accomplished group of students. MIT’s motto is “Mens et Manus” or “Mind and Hand”, which MIT interprets as a mission to transform and improve the world through innovation. According to MIT, its alumni entrepreneur’s companies have generated nearly $2 trillion in annual revenue and millions of jobs. Applicants are expected to be exceptional and continue the tradition of practical innovation.

COVER LETTER
MIT Sloan seek students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion. 

Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

The cover letter is an interesting format for an MBA application, and reflects the MIT goal to admit candidates who have practical ideas and experience. The cover letter is a way to describe your key accomplishments and use them to prove that you embody the criteria for admission outlined by the committee.

Approach this essay as if you are applying for a demanding new job. What would you highlight in your background to prove you take an innovative approach? What are the stories you can tell about your experience that will show you have integrity and passion?

Specifically, think about examples of a time when you have approached a business problem and provided a creative solution. Have you innovated a process at work? Perhaps you have suggested a new approach to a customer problem? Think about times when you have been able to provide a fresh perspective at work and describe what you did in those situations to demonstrate problem-solving skills and passion.

As directed, you should have one or more examples to show what kind of student you will be at Sloan. Those examples can focus on two different accomplishments in your background but should demonstrate the qualities Sloan is seeking.

VIDEO STATEMENT
Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief video statement.

You will need to use an internet-connected computer, with a webcam and microphone.  As part of the application review, the Admission Committee will evaluate your response to see how you express yourself and to assess fit with the MIT Sloan culture. The simple, open-ended question is designed to help us get to know you better.

• Once the video statement question is viewed you will have 60 seconds to prepare, and then 60 seconds to record your answer.
• You will only have one attempt to record your response.

This video essay is designed to capture your personality and how you think on your feet. Similar to an interview, you won’t have a lot of time to react and prepare, and you won’t have an opportunity to review your response.

We suggest preparing for this video statement the way you might prepare for an interview. The intent is to introduce yourself to your classmates, so you will want to think of interesting personal stories to tell. Consider writing out several possible examples and stories that you could use. For example, you might be passionate about travel and experiencing new cultures. You have made several interesting trips in your life, and each has given you new perspective. Write down each of them and what you learned from each experience.

Maybe you developed a passion for Thai cuisine after a trip there, and have collected Brazilian art from your travels to that country. Think of a few discrete examples and practice those stories and the introduction several times before you open the application link and start recording.

When recording the video essay response, take your time and speak slowly and clearly into the camera. Think of it as an interview, and try to be natural and comfortable as you respond. The most important part is to convey your personality!

OPTIONAL ESSAY
Please provide any additional information you would like the Admissions Committee to know that may be helpful in evaluating your candidacy (i.e. choice of recommenders, areas of concern in your academic record, other extenuating circumstances, etc.). This information should be provided in a written format (200 words or less).

This optional essay provides space for you to add your own context to any areas of concern that should be explained to the admissions committee. For example, if you have a lower than average test score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation or a significant resume gap, you can explain here.

Keep your explanation concise and factual, and focused on context for the issue rather than excuses. While last year’s version of the optional essay provided flexibility to use the space to add to your overall application, this question is narrower in scope. If you do not have extenuating circumstances to provide context for, it’s best not to use this optional essay.

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

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