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.”

The MIT Sloan admissions essays fit into the overall MIT vision and 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.

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. 

The MIT Sloan cover letter is an opportunity to sell yourself as a potential MIT Sloan student and highlight your accomplishments, focusing specifically on “how you had an impact on a group or organization” in your work background. 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.

When choosing examples for the 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. All four MIT Sloan essay questions can be approached topically from any of those three directions, and it will be important to balance your responses appropriately.  In addition, remember to choose examples from the last three years of your life.

We are interested in learning more about you and how you work, think, and act. For each essay, please provide a brief overview of the situation followed by a detailed description of your response. Please limit the experiences you discuss to those which have occurred in the past three years.

In each of the essays please describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did.

All applicants:

MIT Sloan Essay 1: Please tell us about a challenging interaction you had with a person or group. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

This question seeks to understand your interpersonal skills and maturity, and ultimately your leadership style. In choosing a topic, you will want to pick either professional or organizational examples that can demonstrate that you are able to work effectively with people, even when the situation was challenging. Describe your thoughts, feelings and actions as you explain the situation and your response, and be especially aware that the resolution of the story is positive.

MIT Sloan Essay 2: Please tell us about a time when you defended your idea. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

This example lends itself perfectly to work and the interpersonal and political negotiations that happen daily in most organizations. Think about your style and approach when you want to move your agenda forward, and focus on describing your thoughts, feelings and actions as you negotiated effectively within your organization. Demonstrating savvy communication and people skills in this example will be effective.

MIT Sloan Essay 3: Please tell us about a time when you executed a plan. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

MIT Sloan is interested in innovative applicants, and also recognizes the importance of execution of any plan or idea. Analyzing your approach step by step will be effective here, as you want to specifically demonstrate that you are able to translate your ideas into reality. As in all of the essays, the primary focus is your internal narrative and actions as you executed your plan.

MIT Sloan Essay 4: Please tell the Admissions Committee whatever else you would like us to know. (250 words or less, limited to one page)

Because you have the space in the supplemental information section to address any weaknesses in your application, this is a great place to fill in any gaps in your overall strategy you would like to communicate to MIT Sloan. Keep in mind the overall set of essays and stories you have already communicated, and make sure this essay is focused and brief.  This will be the closer to your application, and should be positive, interesting and fit in with your overall MIT Sloan strategy.

MIT Sloan Supplemental Information
You may use this section to address any specific circumstances related to your academic background. (250 words or less, limited to one page)

This is the place to discuss any weaknesses in your academic profile such as low GPA.  Avoid excuses, focus on the facts, and highlight accomplishments since college that demonstrate your skills and intelligence.


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