MIT Sloan dropped its cover letter requirement this year. The cover letter has been a required element in the MIT app since at least 2001, and possibly earlier. But this is the year for shorter apps.
While all MBA applications are “behavioral” — looking at your behavior for insight into how you will act in the future — MIT Sloan is one of the most focused on your actions in the past as predictors of the future.
Please prepare a business resume that includes your employment history in reverse chronological order, with titles, dates, and whether you worked part-time or full-time. Your educational record should also be in reverse chronological order and should indicate dates of attendance and degree(s) earned. Other information appropriate to a business resume is welcomed and encouraged. The resume should not be more than one page in length (up to 50 lines).
Go beyond mere job description to highlight achievement. If your title is “consultant.” Saying that you “consulted on projects” is redundant and uninformative at best. Writing that you “Led a 6-member team working on a biotech outsourcing project to Singapore with a budget of $X; it came in on time and under budget.” conveys infinitely more. Quantify impact as much as possible. You want the reader to come away with a picture of an above average performer on a steep trajectory.
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. For essay 2 only, 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.
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. Please 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)
First identify examples that illustrate you either “developing others into principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice” or practicing your own form of principled leadership. You can choose professional and non-professional examples. Once you’ve jotted down several example , choose between 1-3 that you want to focus on. What should you focus on? The examples that show you transforming an innovative idea into a reality. Remember MIT Sloan’s “commitment to balancing innovative ideas and theories with hands-on, real-world application.”
Show how your leadership and impact in this experience has improved the world in some small way; you don’t need to have cured cancer or ended starvation in Africa. How will you build on that experience at MIT Sloan and beyond. How will you fulfill MIT Sloan’s mission on the job and off?
2: Please describe a time when you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)
The assumption here: “Past behavior predicts future behavior.” The reality is that Sloan wants students who have pushed themselves beyond comfort zones and beyond limits and who will do so again the future.
It’s asking you for one example of such an experience. Start with an anecdotal opening. Perhaps give a sense of the limit or the challenge. Were you afraid? Nervous? Worried? Focused? Determined? A combo? And then provide the details requested in terms of what you said and what you did. I also encourage you to include outcome. Did you achieve your goal? How did that achievement influence you and others? Was there an impact beyond checking something off your to-do list?
The admissions committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format. (7,000 characters)
I discussed this question with someone in MIT Sloan’s admissions office. First of all realize that you can choose an essay or multi-media presentation. The media option is there so you can express yourself in the way you find easiest and most revealing. MIT does not want a recycled essay from another school. The person I spoke to was explicit about that. If you choose the multi-media format, realize it should be something viewable in about a minute — no 20-minute videos or 100-slide expositions or lengthy orations. Keep it short. It’s also fine to link to something you have created for a club, event, or cause that’s important to you.
What’s behind the option? A deep and sincere desire to meet you as a human being. A genuine, animated, real live human being. So don’t regurgitate your resume or spew stuff found in the required elements of your application. Have the confidence to share a special interest or deep commitment. I’m not suggesting Mommy Dearest or True Confessions; use judgment. I am suggesting that you allow the reader to see a good side of you not revealed elsewhere in the application. Let them see what makes you smile, motivates you to jump out of bed with joy, and gives you a feeling of satisfaction when you turn out the light at the end of the day.
If you would like professional guidance with your MIT Sloan MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the MIT Sloan application.
|Application Deadline||Decision Notification|
|Round 1||September 24, 2013||December 20, 2013|
|Round 2||January 7, 2014||April 1, 2014|
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.