This year’s MIT Sloan MBA application is significantly different from last year’s and has restored MIT Sloan’s signature cover letter and resume. In fact that’s all that’s required. The cover letter was required for years and either last year or the year before MIT Sloan experimented with a letter of recommendation from you and for you. They must like the cover letter better and have returned to that.
There are no required essays.
My tips are in blue below.
Cover Letter and Resume:
Cover Letter: Please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions. (250 words or fewer)
Like all cover letters, this is a marketing document. Make your case for admission using your accomplishments, specifically those where you had impact, showed leadership, and above-average progression and responsibility. How do the talents revealed in these examples demonstrate fit with the MIT Sloan program, its tight-knit community, and its innovative culture?
Note this is not an essay. Make sure your letter is a professional letter with a date, a header, a salutation, a close, and formatted as a letter.
In making your case and mentioning your accomplishments, make sure to highlight your role and the impact or results on you and the entity you helped. Quantify results when possible to make them more concrete.
Resume: Please submit a resume that includes your employment history and academic record in reverse chronological order. Other information appropriate to a business resume is welcomed and encouraged. (no more than 1 page in length)
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.
The Admissions Committee invites you to share additional information about yourself, in any format. If you choose a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us with the URL.
Please keep all videos and media limited to 2:00 minutes total in length.
Please keep all written essays to 500 words or less.
If hosting your submission on a website, please ensure you provide an unprotected link (no password required).
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, there is a two-minute maximum — 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.
If you would like professional guidance with your MIT Sloan MBA application, check out 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.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.