Here’s a talk with Ari Oxman, a second year student at MIT Sloan who just spent his summer interning at McKinsey. Thank you Ari for sharing your insights and experiences with us!
This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself: Where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate and when did you graduate?
Ari: Hello! I am originally from California, but my father is in the US Air Force and I lived in several places growing up (Texas, Colorado, New York, Germany, England, others). I majored in Physics, Philosophy, and Economics at the University of Pittsburgh graduating in December 2005. I joined GE and stayed there for five years before applying to MIT Sloan.
Accepted: Why did you decide to attend MIT?
Ari: I decided to pursue an MBA for career advancement, branding, and personal development.
There were numerous reasons that I was attracted to MIT Sloan specifically, including:
- MIT is focused on practical application rather than ivory-tower style theory (this is reflected in the university’s motto, “Mens et Manus,” meaning “Mind and Hand”). At MIT Sloan, this translated into a unique incorporation of experiential learning opportunities into traditional case-based courses. This appealed to me very much and generated some of my best learning experiences during my first year at MIT Sloan. For example, I had the opportunity to work with a US subsidiary of Rakuten, a leading Japanese internet company (details here).
- MIT Sloan has a well-developed entrepreneurship program integrated with the rest of the university (joint classes with engineers etc.). Practically speaking, this means opportunities to try something and get prototypes out the door within a semester as well as numerous experienced entrepreneurs, VCs, and lawyers available on-campus to assist. The entrepreneurship resources are available for alumni too, not just for current students.
- MIT Sloan has an amazing brand name.
- I liked how the school culture felt when I visited.
Accepted: What are some of your favorite things about MIT Sloan? Is there anything you would have changed about the program?
Ari: I covered academics a bit above, so I’ll focus on other areas of the school here.
My classmates are awesome, both in terms of sharing their experiences and in terms of being loads of fun. Fun things to do at MIT Sloan include weekly sponsored and themed school mixers (C-functions), the unofficial Sloan Survival Club (last year I went to their self-defense class taught by classmates who are ex-Navy Seals and/or MMA types), camping in New Hampshire, international treks; just generally a never-ending stream of fantastic experiences.
I also really like how accessible the faculty is – I’ve seen them help out students via advice and introductions on numerous occasions.
What would I change? That is an interesting question and not one that I have put a lot of thought into. Perhaps I am biased, but nothing immediately springs to mind.
Accepted: MIT is famous for its competitions. Can you tell us about some of the competitions that you have been involved in?
Ari: I participated in four competitions at MIT Sloan during my first year. In the fall, I participated in a team case competition hosted by Deloitte Consulting and in a team exhibition Jeopardy! match against the Watson supercomputer hosted by IBM (we lost badly!). In the spring, I was a member of two startup teams in the MIT $100K business plan competition and also competed in an MIT Sloan poker tournament (as part of a class). Across all of these, my classmates have been mutually supportive rather than overly competitive.
Accepted: I see that you interned at McKinsey. What role did Sloan play in helping you secure that position?
Ari: MIT Sloan helped during the recruiting process in several ways: first, all the major consulting firms actively recruit on campus, which helps with securing an interview; second, the Career Development Office and Management Consulting Club helped me prepare for the applications and interviews via resume reviews and workshops; and third both first year and second year MBAs provided me with mock case interviews. The mock case interviews are coordinated centrally to ensure that all interested students are well-prepared for the interview process. Finally, I was assigned a second-year student who had successfully navigated the interview process as a mentor to assist throughout the fall semester.
Accepted: Do you have any advice for some of our applicants who will be applying to MIT Sloan?
Ari: It’s a bit of a cliché, but visit the school or attend one of the admissions events in other cities if possible to get a feel for the culture.
For one-on-one guidance on the MIT Sloan application, please see our MIT Sloan Essay Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for Sloan see Linda’s MIT Sloan 2013 Essay Questions, Deadlines, and Tips.