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?

Business School Gender Balance Improving

Berkeley Haas

UC Berkeley Haas takes the lead with a 43% female student body.

Women now make up 60% of university graduates, but most business schools have lagged behind when it comes to gender balance—impacting not just women’s experience of b-school, but the composition of the workforce afterward. A new report from gender consulting firm 20-first looks at the numbers of women MBA students and faculty at top programs, and finds that while there has been some improvement in the last few years, we still have a ways to go before achieving gender balance.

Lesley Symons, one of the authors of the report, points out that this “balance” is not merely an issue of numbers—currently, the curriculum at most b-schools is defined and driven by male faculty, male-dominated case studies, etc. She suggests that a deeper issue of cultural change is at stake, in order to make business education “gender bilingual” and effectively train the next generation of business leaders.

The report found that gender balance among students at top programs is improving (with several top US programs near or over 40% representation for women), while faculty numbers are slower to budge.

Here are some of the report’s findings regarding female MBA students and faculty:

Check out our b-school zone pages to learn more about these top schools!
Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs and How to Choose the Right One
Leaning in While Pursuing Your MBA: The MBA Mama Story
Forte Helps Women In Business Thrive: Interview with Elissa Sangster

How To Pay For Your MBA: Free Webinar TOMORROW

B-school applicants stressed by future tuition bills…listen up: We’ll be hosting a webinar loaded with tips on how to pay for business school TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 19, at 4pm PT/7pm ET.

Click here to watch the webinar.

Guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you:

• How to understand the full cost of attendance

• How to identify sources of support—scholarships, loans, and more

• The mechanics of lending – the terms and calculations you need to know

• And much more!

The webinar is free but you do need to register.

Reserve your spot before it's too late!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

The Applicants That Stand Out At Columbia Business School

Learn how to get accepted to Columbia Business School!My observation as a former insider at CBS is that Columbia is looking to build a diverse class of high-achieving world citizens who’ve got a bit of grit.

World Citizen 

What do I mean by a world citizen? For a small fraction, it means applicants who are internationally famous due to their own achievements or by association. Let’s say, the guy who won an Olympic medal, or the gal who gets a call from the former president of “X” country and says, “Hi, Dad.”

A world citizen also means someone who will add their own confident, distinct vibe to a cosmopolitan student body. Columbia wants to admit people with strong intellects and big ideas. They want confidence, but not arrogance. They like people who thrive in large group settings and don’t need a lot of handholding. They’re looking for admits with resilience and who exude a joie-de-vivre — kind of like the city itself.

The Greatness of Grit

And what do I mean by grit? That means someone who has achieved extraordinary things in the context of his or her job. It’s someone who has mapped out a plan for his or her future, and has done the hard work of really getting to know Columbia’s program and can prove it’s a good fit.

It can also mean someone who doesn’t have good test scores or a glossy international background.  But that person (usually a New York local) builds a relationship with an adcom member (though is not annoying!), retakes tests and makes efforts to improve at work or have an impact in the community. He or she might have to reapply, but showing that grit can eventually mean an admit.

 The New York Connection 

Finally, Columbia is looking for that New York connection. Why this city? Do you know what it has to offer? Can you thrive in its hyper-competitive business scene? Have you ever lived or worked here? A campus visit can be a huge plus–confirming for the adcom that you’re serious about attending.

New York can break your heart, or fulfill your wildest dreams. It will absolutely affect your experience at Columbia. They want to know you’ve got the right stuff to make the most of it.

Register for the webinar

Michelle Stockman Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.

 

Related Resources:

Columbia Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines
What Not to Include in Your Columbia Business School Application
Columbia Business School Zone

Indian School Of Business 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out ISB's bshool zone pageThe Indian School of Business is an excellent program for those interested in advancing to management roles in a broad spectrum of industries and those seeking positions in the consulting industry (20% of graduates earn consulting placements) and technology field (28% of graduates choose this industry upon graduation). Interestingly, while median salaries for graduates of a top US program like Stanford and Harvard only exceed the US national average by 240%, graduates of ISB can expect to earn 522% of the Indian national average wage upon graduation*.

ISB has overhauled its essay questions this year, only maintaining their standard of 3 required essays and one optional while changing the phrasing of all of the essay prompts and increasing the total word limit by 200 words (ISB is one of the few schools that actually require the strict adherence to its word limits). My comments are in blue.

Essay 1 (400 words maximum)

If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing an (only one) achievement in your personal / professional life that you are most proud of. What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn?

This is a great question because it allows you to shine the spotlight on whatever aspect of your candidacy you feel makes you exceptional. Look at your career and extracurricular activities and identify the area in which you have achieved the greatest impact, ideally reaching a level that few other applicants can match. This is not just about a title or award you earned; the essay needs to highlight the obstacles you navigated and the challenges you overcame to reach that pinnacle. Don’t forget to discuss some of what you learned about yourself, leadership, and management.  

Essay 2 (300 words maximum). Choose one of the following 2 options:

Describe a (only one) defining moment in your personal / professional life when you had to make a risky decision, and explain what you did, why and the outcome.

A risky decision means there was a lot to lose and there was no clear path forward. This essay offers applicants an opportunity to demonstrate their appetite for risk and their decision making process – was it based on data, market research, networking with experienced mentors in the field, gut instinct, or some other technique? A good essay will be able to point to significant results and impact from the risk.

or

Describe a (only one) situation in your personal / professional life when you had to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. How did it affect you and what did you learn?

Similar to option 1 above, this potential topic includes an element of the unknown: when faced with a diverse team, a leader must analyze how the cultural and/or professional backgrounds of the people involved may affect the project and take action to smooth the interactions. This is a great opportunity for applicants with international work experience to share the cultural insight they have gained.

Essay 3 (300 words maximum)

What are your post ISB career plans and how will your past experiences and the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) contribute to taking you there?

This question is similar to last year’s essay prompt about career goals but is much more focused on what you have done (compared with last year’s emphasis on why you chose those paths). This essay demands a clear definition of what field and role you hope to enter upon graduation, the business skills and insight you have gained that will be essential to succeeding in that role, and how ISB will complement that knowledge.

Essay 4 (Optional) (200 words maximum)

Please use this space to explain any career breaks / provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB.
Note: It is not necessary to write this essay. Please use this space only if there is something really significant that you would like us to know.

Use this space to explain any gaps in your career but also take advantage of this opportunity to grant deeper insight into any leadership role or impact you have gained, emphasizing how this experience has prepared you for ISB and your future career.  

ISB Application Deadlines:

Round 1: October 15, 2015 (11:59 pm India Standard time)

Round 2: January 5, 2016 (11:59 pm India Standard time)

Download your free guide: Navigating the MBA Maze

Jennifer Bloom As a consultant with Accepted for nearly 17 years and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Jennifer Bloom has gained great experience in crafting application materials that truly differentiate you from the rest of the driven applicant pool. If you would like help with your ISB application, there are a variety of options for working with her on any budget.

Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays
• 4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future