A Transformational Year: The MIT Sloan Fellows Program

Listen to the show!What is the solution for a seasoned manager who is too experienced for an MBA, but not so enthusiastic about the idea of a part-time EMBA?

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Stephen Sacca for the low down on an 84 year-old secret that just might change your life: The MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership.

00:02:44 – What is the MIT Sloan Fellows program?

00:04:32 – Experienced candidates only.

00:05:22 – Overview of an intensive year.

00:07:48 – A great idea: The April orientation.

00:11:10 –The MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership: What is in a name?

00:15:56 – Integration with the various MIT Sloan programs.

00:17:59 – The common denominator among Sloan fellows.

00:19:52 – Trips: not just for fun.

00:25:41 – Why career changers need not apply.

00:28:55 – The most common feedback from graduates.

00:32:39 – Advice for applicants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership
MIT Sloan School of Management
• Ace the EMBA
• Top Executive MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right!

Related Shows:

The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
• Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC 

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Chicago Booth 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out more school-specific EMBA application essay tips!

Chicago Booth

The Chicago Booth EMBA questions are challenging because they separate your need for the MBA and your interest in the program – the first question asks, among other things, “Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth” and the second question asks “what you hope to gain from the MBA.” One could reasonably see these two questions as being basically the same. While the first question is wide ranging and includes what you’ll contribute to the program, the second question focuses on your goals – it’s the why-MBA part that overlaps. I suggest writing essay 2 first, because the goals discussion will provide context for what you hope to gain specifically from Chicago Booth. Taken together, these two questions allow you to create a well-rounded picture, with sharp focus on career in essay 2, and an opportunity to present selected highlights of your career (and non-work activities as well) in essay 1.

Essays:

1. Why are you seeking an MBA from Chicago Booth and what unique knowledge and experiences do you hope to contribute to the program? (maximum 2 pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

Let’s break this question into two parts. Part 1: why you’re seeking the MBA from Chicago Booth. This section should address the specific education you seek as dictated by your goals, which you will discuss in #2. It can also address other desired benefits, such as the chance to interact with accomplished peers from diverse industries. In answering this part, be specific about Booth’s offerings and add insight or reflection based on your perspective and situation. If you can cite conversations with students or alumni, that’s fantastic; give examples of insights you’ve gained from them.

Part 2: what you hope to contribute. Note the word “unique” – it does not mean that you should dredge up some exotic experience that no other applicant could possibly have done; it does mean particularizing your knowledge and experience to yourself, your perspective, your individual lens. This is a chance to showcase aspects of your career and your personal experience that distinguish and differentiate you. You can discuss work points exclusively or work and non-work. Select a few events or activities that complement each other and provide some depth and detail about each. Also, think strategically about what Chicago Booth values and what the rest of your application doesn’t reveal.

 2. Chicago Booth Career Services delivers innovative educational programming, offers one-on-one coaching, provides numerous networking opportunities, and provides access to job search tools in order to support your own career management. We would like to learn more about your career strategy and objectives. Please outline your career objectives, how you hope to achieve them, and what you hope to gain from the MBA to help you achieve them.  (maximum 2 pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

By listing its career resources, the Chicago adcom is showing that the program is invested in your career success. You should demonstrate your worthiness by delivering a thoughtful and detailed portrayal of your career objectives. Discuss not just general aspirations but specifics: industry, likely positions, which companies, possibly where, what you expect to actually do, possibly challenges you anticipate – and, as the question says, how. To transcend mere competence and make the essay compelling, also show how your goals are rooted in your experience, what motivates your goals, and your vision for your goals. Finally, discuss the educational needs these goals create that necessitate an MBA. You may also be interested in The Art of a Gripping MBA Goals Essay, an on-demand webinar.

Optional essay: If there is anything else you would like the admissions committee to know about you, please share that information here.  (maximum 2 pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman)

This question invites you to present new material that will enhance your application, as well as to explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment, choice of recommender if not using a direct supervisor, etc.). As far as enhancement points, keep in mind that since you are making the adcom read more, there should be a clear value to the information you’re sharing. Also, such points should avoid material that more appropriately belongs in essay 1 (unique knowledge and experiences).

If you would like professional guidance with your Chicago Booth EMBA application, please consider Accepted’s EMBA essay editing and EMBA admissions consulting or our EMBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Chicago Booth EMBA application

Deadlines:

Round Application Deadline
Early Action October 3, 2014
Round 1 December 1, 2014
Round 2 February 2, 2015
Round 3 April 1, 2015

Download your free copy of Ace the EMBA!

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!

Columbia 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Columbia Business School

Don’t expect to richly portray your personal and/or professional development.

These essay questions focus mostly on the present and future. There’s a little room to discuss relevant past experiences, but not much, so don’t expect to richly portray your personal and/or professional development. Moreover, if the Columbia EMBA adcom wanted this information, they would ask for it. Rather, go with the flow, and give them what they do ask for, in aggregate: a vivid sense of engagement

•  with your career

• with the resources of Manhattan

• with the program itself.

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (100 characters maximum)

Give the basic facts – position, company, or a specific industry, and a word about responsibilities and desired impacts. Don’t repeat the question (it wastes space). 

Essays:

1: Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time?  (Maximum 500 words)

The initial phrase invites you to present your goals and your MBA plans in the context of your past experience.  Yet, with only 500 words overall, you can’t give a comprehensive, detailed delineation of your life or career to date.  I suggest a simple basic structure, which you can adapt:

1. Start with the key point or two from your past that really animates your goals. Make it straightforward and vivid; ideally including an anecdote.

2. Your career vision fleshed out – some practical discussion of how you’ll achieve it and what “success” will look like in terms of desired impact.

3. Why these factors make now the right time to pursue the EMBA. Also include the main reasons Columbia is the right program for you.    

2: Columbia Business School is located in the heart of the world’s business capital- Manhattan. How do you anticipate that New York City will impact your experience at Columbia? (Maximum 250 words)

Please view the videos below:

New York City – limitless possibilities

New York City – fast paced and adaptable

Your experience at Columbia will have numerous dimensions: academic, professional, social, cultural.  Try to address each of these dimensions in the proportion relevant to you.  Do not just do a travelogue of Manhattan (I’ve already seen this in a draft or two). Rather discuss how the resources of Manhattan relevant to you will inform your time at Columbia – say you have a passion for jazz.  Of course you can hear great jazz all over town, but will you also look to share this passion with classmates?  Start an informal jazz appreciation group?  Audit music courses at Columbia or nearby Manhattan School of Music?

3: What will the people in your cluster be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)

The key to answering this short essay effectively is to understand the phrase “pleasantly surprised.”  Let’s break it down:

• First, don’t repeat a resume point – “surprised” means something not obvious from the available information.

• “Pleasantly” means something that will generate positive interest.  It doesn’t have to be directly applicable or “useful” to your cluster mates.

It can be something from work or outside work.  If it’s far in the past, it should be something of continuing relevance.  DON’T present a boring explanation.  DO root your response in actual experience.

Most important: DO select a topic that will add something to your profile, something that lets the adcom know you better as a person.

If your answer puts a smile on the reader’s face, or even better elicits a happy, surprised laugh, high five!

Optional Essay

An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

This question invites you to present new material that will enhance your application, as well as to explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment, choice of recommender if not using a direct supervisor, etc.). As far as non-necessary points, since you are making the adcom read more than is required, there should be a clear value to the information you’re sharing. Finally, keep it short.

Columbia EMBA 2015 Application Deadlines:

EMBA-Americas: January 2015 Entry

Regular Decision: October 29, 2014

EMBA-NY Saturday: May 2015 Entry

Early Decision: January 15, 2015

Regular Decision: March 2, 2015

EMBA-NY Friday/Saturday: August 2015 Entry

Early Decision: March 18, 2015

Regular Decision: June 3, 2015

Download your free copy of Ace the EMBA!

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too! 

The GMAT and EMBA Programs

Need GMAT Advice?

There is no substitute for real world experience.

With fulltime MBA programs, it is fairly obvious why the GMAT is such an important component to one’s application – with less work experience, admissions committees need to find other measurements to gauge potential success in a program. Academic preparedness can clearly be evidenced with a strong undergraduate GPA coupled with a strong GMAT score. With Executive MBA programs, a GMAT score’s relation to the rest of one’s application is less obvious, since other factors seem to be of more importance.

Criteria for admission to an Executive MBA program (often in this order) include work experience and the type of insight an applicant can bring to the classroom, future potential, and academic preparedness. During my time at Cornell, I would often say we were looking for students who could teach just as much to their fellow classmates as the faculty who taught in the program. There is no substitute for real world experience to ingrain concepts presented in the classroom.

Once the box is checked for work experience, it is necessary to ensure an applicant can handle the rigorous work in a program. Admissions committees evaluate this in a variety of ways, primarily through undergraduate performance. Not all Executive MBA programs require the GMAT, but for those that do, the GMAT score also is an indicator of potential academic success while in a program. There is less emphasis placed on it than in full-time MBA admissions, however, since an applicant is typically much further removed from standardized testing than a full-time applicant.

If an applicant has strong work experience and a strong undergraduate record, but a weak GMAT score, the undergraduate record usually “trumps” the GMAT score. If an applicant has strong work experience and a strong GMAT score, but a weak undergraduate record, there will probably be further investigation on the part of an admissions committee to see if there were any mitigating circumstances leading to a low GPA. If not, it’s possible an admissions committee might ask for some additional evidence to indicate academic preparedness – for example, suggesting an additional quant course either online or from a local college. Bottom line, an EMBA admissions committee wants to admit individuals who are fully prepared to hit the ground running when a program starts, and the GMAT is one indication of an applicant’s ability to do just that.

Got GMAT Questions? Visit GMAT 101 for advice.

Jennifer Weld worked as an admissions consultant and Former Asst. Dir. of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program (4 years) prior to joining Accepted.com. She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing.

Wharton 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Click here for more school-specific EMBA essay tips!

Wharton

The Wharton EMBA adcom, through its three required questions, expresses its values and its interest in a relationship with students who share those values. Each of the questions highlights a different facet of this relationship. Respecting, recognizing, and responding to that vision through your essays will be the key to a successful application.

 • Essay question 1 focuses on your goals and Wharton’s role in helping you achieve them.

 • Essay question 2 invites you to share your understanding of qualities that Wharton values.

 • Essay question 3 seeks confirmation that you understand in practical terms what a commitment to attending the program involves.

My tips for answering Wharton’s EMBA essay questions are in blue below.

Essays:

1. What is your career objective and how will the Wharton MBA Program for Executives contribute to your attainment of these objectives? (750 word limit)

You may want to start by discussing your current career situation to set the context, and clarify how the MBA education will enable you to achieve your immediate goals in your current role.  You can then naturally move on to your future goals.  In describing your goals at any given point, indicate why you are taking that step or pursuing that role. Put more detail on the roles you plan immediately post-MBA and the several years following; longer-term goals need less detail, but they still should present a clear direction.

In discussing how the program will benefit you, be specific: describe what skills and knowledge you need, and how the program meets those needs.  Also refer to the structure and special features of the program, detailing how they will support you and your goals.

2. In his book, Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times, Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. (W’59), writes: “A crisis creates the opportunity to dip deep into the reservoirs of our very being, to rise to levels of confidence, strength, and resolve that otherwise we didn’t think we possessed.” Describe a time when you were faced with a challenge and how you responded. (500 word limit)

This question clearly expresses certain qualities that Wharton seeks: ethics, resolve, fortitude, courage, self-awareness, clear-sightedness, ability to grow.  Showing through an appropriate experience that you possess some of these qualities (one to three will suffice; trying to address all of them would just create a blur) will convey fit with the program.  Given the gravity of the words in the quote, discuss a true crisis, not a mere problem or disappointment.  Since you cover work in essay 1, you can select a topic for this essay either from or outside work.

I suggest a relatively recent experience if possible – if it’s beyond a few years in the past, it must be a truly life-changing experience to work for this essay.  Hopefully you haven’t had so many recent crises that you have a hard time choosing among them, but if there are some different options, choose one that strategically works to your advantage by showcasing something desirable and/or interesting and/or impressive about your background or work life.

In writing the essay, keep it simple.  Tell the story, then briefly reflect on it considering the factors mentioned in the question.

3. Given your already demanding job and the desire to remain committed to important family and personal obligations, how do you plan to handle this additional demand on your time once you enroll? (500 word limit)

This straightforward question deserves a straightforward answer. Discuss the accommodations you will make at work, such as delegating more, adjusting travel schedules, etc.  You don’t have to tell them every single thing you can think of – focus on the most significant two or three adjustments.

Also address your personal responsibilities and how you will meet them with this additional significant demand on your time and energy; even acknowledging that you’ll have less time at the playground with your toddler or mentioning the support of your significant other will show that you’re facing this issue squarely.  If you’ve already successfully balanced school and working full time, by all means mention it.

Optional Essay:

Please explain any extenuating circumstances you feel the Admissions Committee should be aware of (e.g., unexplained gaps in your work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent academic performance).  You may also take this opportunity to share other aspects of your life that you feel have shaped you that the Admissions Committee would not otherwise have learned from your application or resume. (500 word limit)

You can use the optional essay not just to explain a problem (low GMAT, employment gap) but also to present new material that you think will enhance your application.  However, if you are making the adcom read more than is required, there had better be a darn good reason — not just that something is nice to know. First, succinctly explain any points that need explaining.  Then, if there is something you feel is important that you haven’t had a chance to discuss elsewhere, write about it, noting why it’s important for the adcom to know.

Wharton 2015 Application Deadlines:

Round 1: December 2, 2014; decision release date if application is complete by December 2 – January 16, 2015

Round 2: February 10, 2015; decision release date if application is complete by March 31 – March 31, 2015

If you would like professional guidance with your Wharton EMBA application, please consider Accepted’s EMBA essay editing and EMBA admissions consulting or our EMBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Wharton EMBA application.  

Download our free special report

Cindy Tokumitsu By co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, “Ace the EMBA.” Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!