MIT Sloan 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

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

Stata Center at MIT

This year’s MIT MBA application is significantly different from last year’s — and those that preceded it. No cover letter, which was part of MIT’s application for years, and no letter of recommendation from you about you. That was last year’s twist. 

This year’s application has one required essay and another short-answer question that applicants invited to interview will need to address. Both these questions are new. Plus the request for additional written information from those invited to interview is not only new, but unique. To my knowledge, MIT is the only school with this requirement. HBS has its post-interview reflections, but that again is post interview and is not a response to a specific question.

Finally, MIT Sloan for years had only two rounds. The second round deadline last year was January 8. This year MIT is adding a third round which extends its application season to April 11.  There may be many reasons for this change, but one result: it increases total application volume and reduces the acceptance rate while giving MIT Sloan a chance to admit excellent applicants who may just decide to apply late in the application cycle.

My tips are in blue 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 descriptions 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 you as an above average performer on a steep trajectory

We have one required essay at the time of submission:

Tell us about a recent success you had: How did you accomplish this? Who else was involved? What hurdles did you encounter? What type of impact did this have? (500 words or fewer)

The really effective response will tell a story about a success. Yes that means one success.

The story can start with the moment of success or a moment of challenge, maybe even of failure or tension. Then describe your role in turning that situation or challenge into an accomplishment.  To provide context and indicate the magnitude of your accomplishment, as well as fully answer the question, talk about impact. What were the results or benefits of your success? Quantify as much as possible.

If you are lucky enough to have several accomplishments to choose from, review “What We Look For,” and choose an experience that presents what MIT seeks.

A second, short-answer question will be asked only of those invited to interview:

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. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer)

Congrats! If you’re reading this after you applied you’ve been invited to interview at MIT Sloan! Of course now you need to respond to this question. Get ready. Get set. Think!

When have you had an innovative idea that in some small way improved the world?  When have taken your idea and led the implementation of it or persuaded others to go in with you on this project or initiative? You only have 250 words so you can’t write a long story here.  Focus on the elements of your achievement that show you as an innovative leader who has improved the world and has the ability to advance management practice.

Some of you may thing “I already wrote about my best example in the required essay. What am I supposed to do know now?” Choose your second best example. Or choose an impressive example from a different arena of your life, perhaps sports, religion, politics, the arts, community service, or a hobby.

I’m sure you’re not a one-trick pony. Don’t leave them thinking that you have only one achievement that you feel is worthy to share with MIT Sloan’s admissions committee. 

Optional Question

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 a few years ago 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:


I think the key phrase in the video is “We really want to get to know you guys as people.” What else would you like MIT Sloan to know about you? Share it here.

MIT Sloan 2016 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decision Notification
Round 1 September 17, 2015 December 16, 2015
Round 2 January 14, 2016 April 4, 2016
Round 3 April 11, 2016 May 18, 2016

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.

Related Resources:

• School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips
• MIT Sloan B-School Zone 
Is My Personal Statement Too Personal?

  • JamesB

    Linda,

    1) 4 years Coordinator Pharmacy Informatics (Mid-Senior level) leading hospital to CPOE, workflow improvements, and medication cost savings. Planned and worked with a team to open new offsite Emergency Department. 1 year Community Pharmacy Manager
    2) 710
    3) College info: University of Florida, Doctor of Pharmacy 2010 (PharmD). GPA 3.2 Accelerated 2 year undergrad track with 3.8 GPA in 2006.
    4) Medical mission trips to Central America providing medical care to over 300 patients. Sponsored by the hospital and brought large quantities of medical supplies and drugs for donation at the medical clinic.
    5) Licensed Consultant Pharmacist, CPHIMS (Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems)
    6) Hospital CIO, Consultant for Medical Robotics or Software

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

      James B,

      Your work experience and extra-curriculars are strong and your goals make sense. Your GMAT and undergrad GPA are competitive. Your grad GPA is low for MIT Sloan. If there were extenuating circumstances, you should let them know.

      You have a chance at Sloan, but don’t apply only to Sloan. Also consider Duke, Haas, CMUTepper, UCLA, and UNC.

      • JamesB

        I had a rough first year but really showed significant growth by the 3rd year and by the 4th year making Dean’s list. Thank you so much for your insight. What about Wharton and Kellogg?

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

          Same concern. I suggests you also CMU Tepper, Duke, and UC Berkeley.

  • brio

    Hi Linda,
    I’d like your opinion for MIT Sloan, HBS and Kellogg…
    1) 3 years (now) Engineering experience in 2 american semiconductor MNCs (in India), both leader in their fields, with multiple impactful initiatives successfully executed for cost-savings, influencing customer uptake, improving processes, and influencing, mentoring, and coaching senior engineers and chip architects. And interns in 2 other MNCs.
    2) GMAT 99%ile, Verbal 99%ile, Quant 92%ile
    3) Indian Institute of Technology, 8.5/10.0, Electrical Engineering, 2012.
    4) College competitions organization, leading 20+ volunteers with firsts of introducing new competitions, marketing and doubling sponsorship. NGO core team member in education sector (not *my* venture), with impacts in improving learning levels, organizing events with many firsts by leading 50+ volunteers, providing sanitation, computer facilities.
    5) none.
    6) business development in tech companies for business exposure in tech. tech entrepreneurship, in india.

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

      brio,

      You have a competitive profile for your target programs.

  • GG

    Hello Linda,

    I’m from Peru, please review my profile:

    1) 1.5 years in a consulting firm and 3.5 years in a retail bank
    2) Verbal(34/70%), Quantitative(51/97%), Total (710/92%), Analytical Writing (5.0/60%), Integrated Reasoning (7/82%)
    3) National University of Engineering, 14 out of 20 (top fifth), Industrial Engineering, 2010.
    4) Winner of a social entrepreneurship competition (my project is about creating libraries in small villages to promote the reading and improve the reading understanding in children, using the gamification.
    5) none
    6) First, become a manager in the field of analytics and big data, and then start my own entrepreneurial company also related to analytics.

    • GG

      I want to add that my GPA is qualified as “A” in my college. The grading scale is A+ (Excellent), A (Very good), B (Good), C (Passed), D (Unsatisfactory), F (Failed)

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

        Thanks for the grade context.

        What did/do you do at the consulting firm and the bank? Is your work related to analytics?

        • GG

          In both cases, My work has been related to the retail banking and analytycs. My experience in the consulting firm was leading projects to improve the sales and profitability of Latin American banks. My experience in the retail bank started in the risk area and then I moved to the analytics area. I was part of many projects that caused great impact at the bank.

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

            GG.

            Thanks for the additional info. Yes. you have a competitive profile for MIT Sloan. Also consider NYU Stern, CMU Tepper, Booth, and Haas.

          • GG

            Thanks Linda !

  • Syed Muddasar Raza

    Hi Linda,

    I am Muddasar from Pakistan

    1) 5 years work experience in telecom sector. worked in areas like planning, strategy, segment management. i worked on acquisition on 3G services license and currently managing prepaid segment generating revenue of USD 400 mn per annum.
    2) GMAT is 700 (89%)
    3) Undergrad from top university of Pakistan. BBA with majors in finance. CGPA 3.81/4.00 second position in batch
    4) Headed cultural & dramatics society at university. Headed finance portfolio of AIESEC local chapter (student org). part of education initiative for children. Co-founder of Little hands (helping children to develop and sell online art objects)
    5) CFA level I candidate
    6) Investment banking in short run and expansion of social ventures(already involved in two) in the long run

    please suggest me other school as well. thanks

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

      Your GMAT is a little low, but your GPA is excellent. Give it a try. Also consider Yale, Ross, Haas, Duke, UCLA, Cornell Johnson, and Georgetown.

      • Syed Muddasar Raza

        Thank you Linda for the help. I am planning to retake the GMAT by start of next month and i am targeting 740-750 this time. One more thing, what are my chances at NYU Stern?

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

          Syed,

          That higher GMAT would improve your chances at NYU Stern.

  • Anik

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you very much for helping all of us out!

    Could you please evaluate my profile for Sloan as well?

    1) 2 years as an R&D Engineer in a reputed Electronic Design Automation company, designing Embedded Memory Intellectual Properties, shipped to Samsung, LG, Intel etc . (Expected promotion in a few months)
    2) GMAT 730
    3) Bachelor’s in Engineering in Electronics and Communication, University of Delhi. Grade – A, 80/100, 5th in Class. (Don’t have an equivalent GPA right now)
    4) Head of the Student organization in School, Managed multiple events in College fests, Multiple excellence awards at work and also mentored 4 new additions to the team.
    5) None.
    6) To be part of the Business Operations and Strategy team, and later on start my own venture.

    Thanks again!

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

      Hi Anik,

      You have a competitive profile for MIT Sloan. Also consider CMU Tepper, Ross, Haas, and Kellogg.

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

      • Anik

        Thank you very much, Linda!
        This is very encouraging, since I thought I did not have a shot at a top MBA school because of not belonging to the finance/consulting industry.
        I would require a financial aid from the school, though, so I will also be applying to slightly lower ranked schools.
        Thanks again!

  • Peach

    Hi Linda,

    I am from Thailand. Would like your view on Sloan, HBS, GSB, Haas, and Kellogg.

    1) 3 years in top-tier management consulting (M/B/B) as an analyst role. Exposure to various industries and functions but majority of them are in marketing (due to my undergrad background) and digital (my own passion). Just got promoted this month, which is 6-month faster than regular window. I am also the active leader in office’s social activities (holding a chair position of social committee) and recruiting.
    2) GMAT 730, 96%
    3) Undergrad from a top local university (international program). The business school there is considered among top 2 of the country. GPA 3.96/4.00 (highest in class). Major in business administration with focus on marketing. Grad year 2013. (Note: I spent my third year as an exchange student at Haas and transferred back the credits)
    4) I don’t have much activities after college unfortunately. Below are college (plus some high school) activities:
    – Led different teams to win 3 marketing plan competitions nationwide. Team size varies from 4 to 10.
    – Designed 2 fonts of my own and allow for free public use; got over 1 million downloads with appearance in several TV ads and book titles.
    – Founder and captain of high school flag football team – the story is a bit old but the experience was really challenging as I founded the team from ground zero and after 3 years we made it to the 2nd place of the national championship.
    5) None
    6) Switch to tech industries or found a tech startup / tech-based social enterprise in my home country

    Look forward to your reply. Thank you so much!

  • anejehci

    1) Korean-American. 2 years in Silicon Valley startup operations (manager positions), then moved abroad to work in for-profit educational consulting in East Asia for nearly 2 years (recently promoted)
    2) 730 96% (Q 74%)
    3) University of Pennsylvania, 3.42/4.0 Cum Laude (final two years = 3.8), History of Art, 2011. Worked several jobs all 4 years to pay for tuition not covered by my significant need-based aid, experienced family trauma right before college which accounts for low GPA.
    4) Editor-in-Chief of college newspaper, Design Editor of another college publication, nonprofit teaching fellow, Board Member of an organization that serves children w/ autism, Co-Founder of thought leadership group on increasing educational access for disadvantaged
    5) None
    6) Management consulting in social/public sector, eventually found educational non-profit

    Thank you!

  • GL

    1) 2 years Big 4 Technology Consulting Analyst – fast promote to consultant this year
    2) 700 76% V, 79%Q, Writing 92%, Overall 89%
    3) Georgia Tech: Scheller College of Business, 3.9, 2013
    4) Founded mental health startup while consulting. Led team through beta and launch. Startup was offered funding, but failed prior to completion of accelerator
    5) None
    6) Entrepreneurship

    Thank you for your thoughts!

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

      GL,

      I think MIT is a stretch. Your work experience and GMAT are on the low side for MIT Sloan. Your GPA is excellent and your startup adds interest and fits with your goals, but I don’t think those elements will be enough to overcome the GMAT and the lack of work experience, especially the latter.

      Best,
      Linda

  • AYHAN

    1. I have 5 years of experience in Turkey (Procter&Gamble/2 years, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants/1 year, and now Deloitte Consulting 2 years)
    2. I get fast track promotions in last 2 years at Deloitte and now become a manager. Focus on strategy and analytics) and Deloitte is ready to sponsor my MBA.
    3. Industrial engineering from one of the most reputable universities in Turkey
    4. 710 GMAT (Overall: 91%, Q: 78%, V 34%, AWA:5, IR: 5) I was careless in Quant my first attempt.
    5. I lived in 4 different continents both as student and professional. Finland, USA, Nigeria, Dubai and İstanbul.
    I really want Sloan. Other options are Columbia, Wharton, HBS. What do you think about my chances.
    If ı retake gmat I could get 720 or 730 with a much higher quant. Do you think will it make an important difference to improve my chance.

    thanks a lot.

    • AYHAN

      and my GPA is 3.9/4.0

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

      Could you clarify your verbal score? I’m going to assume that your raw verbal score was a 34, which would imply a 71% verbal.

      You have a competitive profile for MIT sloan, Columbia, and Wharton. If you have a lot of leadership and impact, you also have a competitive chance at HBS.

      • AYHAN

        Thanks Linda. My GMAT is 710 (Q49, 78%, VERBAL: 37/ 84%). What do you think about retaking the GMAT to get 720 or 730? Would it help?

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

          Given your high grades and international work experience, I don’t think another 10-20 points on the GMAT is going to make the difference. Obviously it it could only help, but it will take take. It’s your choice whether you want to use that time in this way.

          If it were me, I would use that time to focus on other elements in the application, research the schools I’m applying to, and maybe add a school or two that to that very tough list of four. Also, let your target schools know that Deloitte will sponsor you. It’s a tremendous vote of confidence in you.

          Also consider Kellogg and NYU Stern.

          • AYHAN

            Many Many Thanks Linda, your comments are very helpful.

  • Robert

    Hello Linda,

    I am interested in Wharton, HBS, MIT Sloan, Columbia, and NYU Stern.

    1) 3 years working for a company that brings Americans on tours of Cuba. For the first two of these years I was stationed in Cuba full-time. Currently I am working for the same company but in the US organizing the tours from start to finish. Before this I worked for a year in Madrid as an English teacher.
    2) GMAT: 720 (94%, Q 79%, V 85%)

    3) Wesleyan University, 3.64/4 GPA, Sociology major class of 2010.
    4) Most of my community service experience is from College. I also did a little volunteer work on campaigns for the NY State Senate.
    5) None.
    6) I want to work in international development. More specifically, I want to use my knowledge of Cuba to take part in its future development.

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

      Robert,

      I think schools will be very excited by your unusual experience at this point in time. Given your good grades and experience, you have a competitive profile for your target schools.

      Be a little more specific about how you would like to play a role in Cuba’s development.

      If you’d like help with your application, please let me know.

  • deviprasad

    Hi Linda,
    I’m Devi from India
    1) 3 years of work experience as Assistant Manager in Production Engineering (experience of planning & leading Engine & T/m new assembly plants’ (completed 3 mega projects till date) including install. & Comm) for India’s No.1 Car Manufacturing Company(by the time I’ll join if accepted, it’ll be 4 years with a promotion as Deputy. Mgr).
    Also currently planning for a new online E-commerce Mobile Application business (with a innovative business idea)
    2) Graduated from National Institute of Technology (one of the Elite colleges from India), with a CGPA of 7.64/10
    3) Additional Accomplishments: Best Employee award in 2013 from Sr.Meo, Production for MX planning (formulated a standardised sheet) and Ergonomics detailed report (RULA Analysis) of new Engine shops
    Won State 1st in Ramanujan talent test on Mathematics during schooling
    4) GMAT score: 740. GRE: 320

    I’m looking passionately for getting an MBA on Business Management.

    Kindly suggest a list of colleges for applying before 1st deadline (with scope for scholarship if any).

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

      Devi,

      What do you want to do after you earn your MBA/ Stay in the auto industry? work in manufacturing?

      • deviprasad

        Thanks for your prompt reply!!!!
        After getting my MBA, I wish to work closely with a Top class MNC for few years and then to enter into entrepreneur segment by starting small businesses….

  • anejehcii

    Could you please comment on Sloan, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, and Tuck?

    1) Korean-American. 2 years in Silicon Valley startup operations
    (manager positions), then moved abroad to work in for-profit educational
    consulting in East Asia for nearly 2 years (recently promoted)
    2) 730 96% (Q 74%)
    3) University of Pennsylvania, 3.42/4.0 Cum Laude (final two years = 3.8),
    History of Art, 2011. Worked several jobs all 4 years to pay for
    tuition not covered by my significant need-based aid, experienced family
    trauma right before college which accounts for initially low GPA.
    4) Editor-in-Chief of college newspaper, Design Editor of another college
    publication, nonprofit teaching fellow, Board Member of an organization
    that serves children w/ autism, Co-Founder of thought leadership group
    on increasing educational access for disadvantaged
    5) None
    6) Management consulting in social/public sector, eventually found educational non-profit

    Thank you!

  • AA

    Hello Linda,

    I am from India and have work experience in US, India and Malaysia. I am interested in applying to MIT, Booth, Kellogg, Wharton and Ross

    1) 8 years of work experience at the world’s largest office furniture manufacturer. Started at Manufacturing Engineer in US, then moved to India to start manufacturing operation for same company. After running operations for 2 years as plant manager, moved to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to run procurement group for Asia in Director position, again for same company. Handling purchase of $90 mm worth of direct and indirect materials. Responsible for awarding multimillion dollar contracts. Direct reports in 3 different countries.
    2) GMAT 760 (99 percentile), verbal 90 percentile, Quant 99 percentile
    3) Indian Institute of Technology, GPA 7.9/10
    4) Mediocre extra curricular activities.
    5) CFA level 2 candidate
    6) Post MBA goals to come back to same company to run global operations in long term

    Graduate degree from University of Michigan, 3.9/4.0 GPA, learned mandarin due to need to working frequently with China suppliers.

    If my company sponsors my MBA, will that increase my chances of getting in ?

    Thanks,
    AA

  • PP

    Hello Linda,

    1.- 3.5 years of experience as a analyst and consultant in a global firm. 3.5 years of experience in airline industry, first as a senior analyst and then I was promoted to a lead department.
    2.- 80%
    3.- USM, a top five university of Chile based on its quality. I’d studied business administration.
    4.-during the college I was, one year, President and representative of all students. Operational coordinator of national business administration congress, basketball player in “national business administration Olympic Games”. Academic assistant in several courses, HR, leadership, entreprenurial spirit. Actually I’m a Teacher in to universities of chile. I Made classes for graduates student in a specialist program about total reward.
    5.- none
    6.- pursuit entreprenurial opportunities in apps industry and develop my own company

    Thanks Linda

    PP

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

    You have an almost competitive profile for your target programs and in terms of your goals have chosen them well. You may also want to consider Yale, Darden, and Georgetown.

    Regarding the initially low GPA it shouldn’t stop you. Let them know what was happened before you started school and that you worked throughout and point to the 3.8 as evidence of what you can do, not to mention your GMAT. While it would be nicer if the Q was a bit higher, given that you were an Art History major, it’s not too shabby. (However, if you don’t get in, retake or looks seriously at the programs I suggested.)

    Best,
    Linda

  • anejehcii

    Thank you. I am retaking my GMAT next week in hopes of getting a Q 78%+. If I don’t, would it significantly help to take an online math for management course at UC Berkeley? Just worried it wouldn’t be time-efficient since I’m applying R1.

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

    It would help. I don’t know how significantly. If you are wait listed or end up applying to some programs R2, it could make a difference.

    Best,
    Linda

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

    AA,

    Yes. Having company sponsorship is a very real vote of confidence on the part of your employer. It means you won’t need financing and you won’t need placement so you will place less of a burden on school resources. If you are sponsored, let your target programs know.

    You have a competitive profile for your target schools and have chosen them well. You may also want to consider CMU Tepper and Darden.

    If you’d like help with your application, please let me know.