MIT Sloan 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out the rest of our school-specific MBA essay tips!

Stata Center at MIT

For years MIT Sloan asked applicants to create a cover letter as part of its application. MIT dropped that requirement last year, but this year the big news is that MIT is asking you to write your own recommendation. And while many of you write your own reviews at work and some of you may have been asked to write recommendations for your recommender’s signature, which the schools hate, this year it’s from you to MIT Sloan. More on that below.

Resume:

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). We encourage you to use the résumé template provided in the online application. 

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.

Essays:

We are interested in learning more about you. In each of the essays, please describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did. Please draw upon experiences which have occurred in the past three years. 

1: 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.  Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities.  (500 words or fewer)

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. Then tie those examples to future plans. 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: 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.

Quite the curve ball! You can have a little fun with the first bullet, but then get serious. And yes you are supposed to write this as if you are your manager.

First of all think about the questions. Reflect, how do you stand out in a positive way from your peer? If possible focus on leadership and interpersonal skills and give an example of your ability to lead, to diffuse tension, to listen, to be entrusted with responsibility or whatever way you feel you stand out. And of course reveal impact. You need to show that your attributed made a difference and perhaps allowed you to contribute more and progress faster than most.

The bullet that will make many of you squirm is the second to the last one. It is asking for a weakness and before you tie yourself up in nervous knots about dealing with that point, please see “Flaws Make You Real.” You don’t have to make your response to this bullet the longest part of the essay, but do respond honestly and effectively. 

Optional Essay

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.

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.

MIT Sloan has an excellent video with advice on its optional essay. Here it is:

MIT Sloan 2015 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decision Notification
Round 1 September 23, 2014 December 17, 2014
Round 2 January 8, 2015 April 6, 2015

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.

Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

Linda Abraham By , 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.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for MIT Sloan, please provide the following info:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

    • JA

      Hello Linda:
      1) 4 years work experience in retail – Sales Manager. Current position, since November, is as an Associate consultant with a global consulting firm.
      2) 650, 78%
      3) University of Houston, 3.55/4 GPA, graduate Magna Cum Laude, Psychology major.
      Took 4 graduate level classes to bolster my quantitative skills. cumulative GPA from the 4 classes was 3.33.
      4) communications / events coordinator for a youth based volunteer and leadership organization. After a year became the lead coordinator.
      5) none as of yet.
      6) management consultant in the information security sector – specifically password security.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        JA,

        I’m sorry I don’t believe you have a competitive profile for MIT Sloan. Consider BU, Santa Clara, U of Az.

        Best,
        Linda

    • GG

      Hi Linda,

      1) 2.5 years as an internal audit analyst in a major financial services firm. Audited 13 different asset management specific business units during this time.
      2) 720, 94%
      3) Boston University School of Management, 3.68 GPA. Finance and Accounting concentration, 2012
      4) taught 2 semesters of financial literacy to inner city middle school students
      5) Level II CFA candidate,

      6) want to move into strategic corporate finance department
      Thanks,
      GG

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Your grades and GMAT are competitive. Your work experience, is on the low side. I’m also not sure how internal audit is viewed, although it sounds like you learned a ton.

        If you don’t get in, then reapply. Consider getting into something a little less technical.

        Linda

    • AB

      1) 4 years as a business/software analyst in renewable energy and financial services industries. I lead projects and tech development for flagship clients (some of the largest financial institutions in the world). I was recognized as a thought leader in 2014.
      2) 730 (96%)
      3) Top 50 liberal arts college, 3.3/4, BA Communication Studies minor in Business Admin. Also, post-bac CS courses while working full-time (4/4 GPA).
      4) president of non-profit soccer league, board member of non-profit chess foundation, and 2 years of volunteer chess tutoring.
      5) none
      6) Lead product development department, eventually pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities in the financial services market.

      Thanks Linda!

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        AB,

        You have a competitive profile for MIT Sloan. Also consider Haas, UCLA, and Stanford.

        Best,
        Linda

    • HNH

      Hi Linda,

      Please review my profile:
      1) over 8 years in accounting – 6 years in public accounting, 2 years as accounting manager in a publicly-traded REIT
      2) 700 (89%)
      3) Schulich School of Business, York 3.3/4.0, finance/accounting major
      4) board of directors with several non-profit organizations
      5) CA, CFA Level II candidate
      6) investment management, ideally equity research in the REIT sector.

      Thank you.

      HNH

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        HNH,

        Unless there are serious diversity elements in your profile or some really impressive achievements that you aren’t talking about here, MIT is a stretch for you and an unlikely acceptance.

        Consider Georgetown, UNC, Duke, Rochester Simon, USC, and Rotman.

        Best,
        Linda

        • HNH

          Thanks for your feedback, Linda. How about Cornell and CM Tepper?
          Thanks in advance!

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            You have a competitive profile for CMU Tepper and Cornell.

            Linda

    • Aishwarrya

      Hi Linda,
      I am Aishwarrya and I am from India
      1. I am currently a college senior with 1.5 years of work ex in PR and auditing
      2. My GMAT score is 690 (87%)
      3. By jun 2015 shall hold a degree in bachelors of commerce and a diploma in general management from Jain university, Bangalore – my GPA is 4.0/4.0
      4. I have volunteered for Art Of Living for 2 years and am also a part of the commerce forum in college which organizes and participates in business festival. I have participated in and lead many teams to a win in national level inter college festivals.
      5.Completed the foundation and intermediate course (IPCC) in chartered accountancy (CA)
      6. Post MBA I would want to work in the investment banking space with a specialization in portfolio management or derivatives trading.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Aishwarrya,

        I don’t believe that the profile above is currently competitive for MIT Sloan where the average amount of full-time work experience is 5 years. And yes, they clearly indicate that they will consider those without full-time work experience, but my experience is that those who get accepted without full-time experience had some very impressive summer internships and also apply with a high GMAT. Your GMAT is somewhat below average for MIT Sloan. Your grades are excellent and your extra-curricular activities are impressive, but lack of full-time work experience and a somewhat below average GMAT make me pessimistic.

        You may want to consider CMU Tepper. Or you may want to work for a couple of years and if not accepted now, try again.

        Best,

        Linda

        • Aishwarrya

          Hi Linda
          Thanks. How about USC Marshall, NYU Stern or Chicago Booth. I have worked for a year with Deloitte.

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            These programs tend to prefer higher GMATs and/or more experience. They are stretch programs.

            I suggest you look into either Rochester Simon or Carnegie Mellon. They are more open to early career applicants. Alternatively, consider a Masters in Management at a program like Duke Fuqua or LBS.

            Best,
            Lidna

    • Aishwarrya

      Hi Linda,
      I would also like to mention that during my tenure with one of the companies I worked with, I initiated a CSR campaign which is still run by them and focuses on rural youth development and disaster management

    • AV

      Hello Linda,
      1) 2 years of work experience as Assistant Manager, Logistics for India’s top FMCG Company(by the time I’ll join if accepted, it’ll be 3 years).
      Have also Interned for Sony, in their marketing team.
      2) Graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, with a CGPA of 7.63/10
      3) CGPA in electives specific to Operations research >8/10
      4) Have led a team of 120 people in my college fest, which is a top festival among colleges in India. Have also worked for an NGO for a year (while I was in college), was responsible for the academic and social problems of two students studying in grade 11.
      5) GMAT score: 730.

      I’m looking to get an MBA with a focus on Operations Management. Your advice would be appreciated! :)

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Av,

        Your academic stats are competitive at MIT Sloan, but I think an additional year of work experience would greatly enhance your chances, especially if combined with growth in responsibility.

        Best,
        Linda

  • Tim

    1) I work for a major aerospace company, and in the past 3 years I supported and provided the structural justifications for primary aircraft components for Boeing 787 and Airbus 380.
    2) Gmat: 740, 97 percentile
    3) College info: University of Toronto, Mechanical Engineering. I graduated in 2012 with a GPA of 3.9/4.0.
    4) I collaborated with the Canadian Space Agency to design lunar rover components during my 4th year university study; I work with several friends to fix and prepare a vehicle under 500 dollar market value for racing activities
    5) Professional Engineer designation expected in early 2015
    6) I want to become an engineering manager in an aerospace company to accumulate experience and knowledge and then eventually start my own entrepreneurial company to provide innovative products to the industry.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Tim,

      You have a competitive (and impressive) profile for MIT Sloan.

      Please let me know if you would like help with your application.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Atrash

    1) I have worked for Jaguar Land Rover for the past two years and half. I have led a team of five in designing composite materials for the body of a concept car
    2) GMAT: 710, 92 percentile
    3) Undergraduate: University of Southampton, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering – First class honours (i.e. CGPA: 4.0)
    Masters: University College London, MSc Mechanical Engineering – CGPA: 3.5
    PhD: Imperial College London, Aeronautics
    4) Interned with Technip (French-based oil & gas services company); played tennis for college at national and international level; spent two months in Brasil with Petrobras under the ‘Engineers without Borders’ programme
    5) Associate member of Institute of Mechanical Engineer and Royal Aeronautical Society
    6) I would like to become a versatile aeronautical/automotive engineering consultant, start up my own firm and provide innovative solutions to the industry

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Atrash,

      You have a competitive profile for MIT Sloan, but also consider Ross, CMU Tepper, Kellogg, and Cornell Johnson’s Accelerated MBA program.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Seth

    1) 1 year high school physics teacher, will have two years at an small aerospace manufacturer as an engineer by 2015 enrollment, multiple technical internships spanning >1 year
    2)GRE: 170 (98%) math 158 (78%) verbal 4.0(56%) writing
    3) top 25 liberal arts and univerity of Minnesota dual degree BA in Physics (2009 gpa 3.39) BME (2012 gpa 3.70)
    4) Captain of college swim team and water polo team, volunteer for lung cancer charities since graduation, volunteered at a hospital based medical device start up, captain of adult basketball and soccer league teams
    5) none
    6) operations management for a top medical device manufacturer

    Note: I am applying to LGO

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Seth,

      You have a competitive profile. Also consider CMU Tepper, Haas, Wharton, Kellogg (maybe MMM), Duke, and Stanford (also has joint MS/MBA).

      Best,
      Linda

  • BB

    1) I’ve worked for a regional institute of the United Nations for 4 years. I’m currently in charge of the institute’s e-learning programme. Before I joined the UN, I worked for an IT company in Shanghai as a technical writer for about 10 months.
    2) 710, 92%
    3) College info: Kyung-hee university (S.Korea), 3.1/4.0 – my low grade is mainly due to extracurricular volunteer activities in/out of country. I have dual bachelor in Computer Engineering/International Management. Graduated in 2010.
    4) a leader of a pianist’s fan club which had around 100 active fans; an assistant teacher of musical treatment for developmental disorder children; nursed hospitalized orphans in China for 1 year
    5) ITIL IT service management certificate
    6) Your post-MBA goal: I want to continue working in the international development field, especially in empowering farmers in developing countries through the use of ICT.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      MIT is a stretch because of your low GPA and slightly below average GMAT, but your work experience and goals are very competitive. Also consider CMU Tepper, Yale, Ross, and UNC.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Orkhan

    Hi Linda,

    I’m from Azerbaijan and here is my profile:

    1) 5 years of experience in finance – 1 year as an accounting manager in a leading local bank, 1 year as a deputy finance director in a local holding company, 2 years as a deputy finance director in a largest bank of Azerbaijan, 1 year as a finance manager in a major international sports management organization (European Games).
    2)680 84%
    3)Bacheor’s from Azerbaijan State Economic University, GPA: 4.94/5, finance and banking, 2008, received full scholarship and Presidential Scholarship and graduated with honors. 1 year non-degree exchange student at DePauw University (IN, USA). Received full scholarship. Master’s from Central European University (Budapest, Hungary), GPA 3.21/4, Economics, 2010, received full scholarship.
    4) Volunteer in Red Crescent Society, volunteer in Indianapolis correctional facility, teaching corporate finance at Azerbaijan University after Master’s, CFA tutor.
    5)CFA Charterholder
    6)Short-term working for top investment management firm for 3 years, long-term starting a private wealth management consulting firm in Azerbaijan.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Orkhan,

      MIT is a stretch because your GMAT is significantly below its average, but if it’s your dream school, it makes sense for you to apply. There aren’t a lot of applicants from Abzerbaijan, your grades are excellent and your work experience shows progression.

      If your score was unbalanced and the verbal was low and the quant high. Take some English classes so that MIT will know you are working on those skills. They don’t want to admit someone who will struggle with the language.

      Also consider Yale, Georgetown, Duke, Booth, Cornell, and UCLA.

      Best,
      Linda Abraham

      • Orkhan

        Thanks for the insight. It is my dream school and indeed my verbal score was low. I will consider those universities.
        Thanks!

  • D

    Hi Linda,
    Interested in getting your opinion! (would appreciate enjoy your thoughts on GSB, HBS, Wharton, Haas, Kellogg)
    1) Former professional baseball player (played minor league baseball for 4 years). Most recently, college baseball coach for one year in the SEC.
    2) Q 49 (79%), V 38 (85%). T 710 (92%)
    3) Pomona College, 3.5 gpa Politics, Philosophy, & Economics (Comprehensive/Combined) Major – Econ focus, 2009
    4) Won national championship as part of coaching staff. Also operated small private business giving lessons to young athletes. Two-time All-American in College, National “Player of the Year”
    5) N/A
    6) Return to professional baseball in management role. Front office/operations, etc.

    Thanks!!
    -D

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      D,

      You have a competitive profile for your target schools, given the distinctive nature of your work experience and your competitive GPA at Pomona.

      You may also want to consider UCLA and Duke.

      Best,
      Linda

      • D

        Thanks for the feedback Linda. I appreciate it!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          you’re welcome!

  • Sumanta Banerjee

    Hello Linda,

    1) 6 years of experience in construction project management in water related infrastructure development as Manager (Construction) in a Tata Group Company (Turnover of $80M). Led and successfully completed projects worth $10M in the last 5 years.
    Promoted as Sr.Manager(Projects) of a department, and presently in charge of projects worth $10M.
    Played pivotal role in business development of $15M in the domain of waste management and water recycling.
    Led value engineering endeavors of the project team
    Effected major cost savings(20-30%) in multiple projects
    2) GMAT -Total – 710(92%), Quants(79%), Verbal(85%), AWA – 6.0(92%)
    3)
    College info: Bengal Engineering & Science University, Shibpur, India
    Oldest Civil Engineering College in India – %Marks – 77, Approx conversion to GPA, 3.66/4.0
    4) Led a 8 member team on 7000km road trip over 23 days from the eastern part of India to the northernmost points. Completed the entire journey on a motorcycle and covered the 3 highest mountain passes in the world.
    Web Editor of an adventure travel website
    Presented a paper in an international conference of Value Engineering
    Some other minor efforts
    5) Certified internal auditor for ISO 9001:2008
    6) Seek a position in a reputed management consulting firm .
    Long term goal is to set up a management consulting company dealing specializing in waste management and the infrastructure sector

    I am applying to Sloan (Dream School), Kelley, Kenan Flagler and Olin.

    Thanks

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Sumanta,

      Sloan is a stretch. You have a competitive profile for Kelley, Kenan Flagler, and Olin.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Sumanta Banerjee

        Thanks a lot Linda!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          you’re welcome.

  • KD

    Hi Linda,

    I will appreciate your feedback on my profile.

    – Eight years of work experience in one of the largest oil and gas firms. I have worked for multiple years in USA, India and Singapore in both design and operations. I have delivered more than $ 500 million worth value to the company, worked on some of the most challenging and defining projects, shaped an R&D program, shaped operations of more than 30 locations across the globe, along with numerous other consultancy/design/improvement projects.

    – My GMAT score 710 (92 percentile) with quant 50, verbal 34 ( :-( ), IR 8 and AW 6.

    – I am a chemical engineer by background from an IIT in India. My grade point was 8.3/10 (with 3rd rank in a class of 64).

    – I was extensively involved in theater in my college and won numerous awards. I was the secretary of theater club and lead several successful initiatives. In my company I have acted as D&I focal point for my group, editor of departmental news letter along with teaching engineers (some of them my seniors) in numerous classes.

    – My post MBA goal is to work in energy sector in lead significant improvement in operational performance especially in struggling and emerging economies.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You certainly have a chance at MIT given your work experience and grades. However, given your slightly below average (for MIT and Indian engineers) GMAT, I would say MIT Sloan is a stretch. Apply, but also consider CMU Tepper, Duke, Ross, and UT Austin.

      Best,
      Linda