Interview Advice from MIT Sloan Admissions

MIT Sloan interview adviceWe’re on the cusp of MBA interview season at MIT Sloan School of Management. Dawna Levenson, assistant dean of admissions, has some tips to help nervous applicants prepare for the MIT Sloan MBA interview.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all Round 1 interviews will take place virtually weekdays during business hours in Eastern Standard Time. These virtual interviews over Zoom or Skype will last approximately 30 minutes.

In previous years, Levenson has noted that the MIT Sloan adcomm interviews around 20–25% of the Round 1 applicant pool. This season, those who receive an invitation will need to answer two additional short-answer questions before the interview. MIT Sloan emails interview invitations on a rolling basis up until the decision deadlines. For R1, that is December 16, 2020.

In this video, Levenson explains that she thinks of the interview as having three components. In the first portion, your interviewer will clarify any remaining questions about your application. This could mean gaps in employment history, gaps in education, or anything else that needs further explanation.

The next part of the interview will focus on behavioral questions. Here, they will ask you to reflect on how you handled particular situations in the past. For example, “Tell me about a time when you were part of a team working on a project, and the project started not to do so well. How did you recognize that, and how did you turn it around?”

You can check out our latest B-Schooled podcast episode, which goes in-depth on how to answer behavioral interview questions. Also, applicants should be prepared to answer these questions: “Why an MBA” and “Why MIT Sloan is the best match for you” during their interview.

Finally—and Levenson called this perhaps the most important part of the interview—comes the opportunity for you to ask questions of your interviewer.  These questions should be personal to you. Levenson stresses that you should avoid asking anything you can easily find answered by browsing the school website.

Who conducts the MIT Sloan MBA interview?

Many other business schools have a blind interview process. Not MIT Sloan. All interviewers are members of the admissions committee—not alumni or students—and therefore will have reviewed your application before meeting you. Levenson advises candidates to come armed with stories and experiences not already touched upon in the application or essays.

Applicants should have a well-rounded suite of examples ready to deliver as answers. They should also have a level of detail and depth for each of their examples that will satisfy a more inquisitive admissions interviewer.

Besides focusing on the quality of an applicant’s answers, the admissions committee is also evaluating your potential fit. Here, you need to combine your research and a clear understanding of your profile strengths to deliver nuanced and impactful answers.

It should go without saying, but you still need to dress professionally for a virtual interview. Also, be mindful that the adcomm pays 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, all of it will help Sloan evaluate your fit with the school.

This previously published post has been updated for the 2020-2021 admissions season.
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