Insights Of An International Student At MIT Sloan

Read more MBA student interviewsThis 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. And now for a chat with Christian Marek who is in his final year at MIT Sloan.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any other degrees?

Christian: Originally I’m from the scenic Vienna in Austria. There I completed Bachelor’s in Software Engineering and a Master’s in Information Systems Management. Because I wanted to immerse myself even further in the tech industry, I decided to pursue an MBA.

Accepted: Where are you in business school? What year?

Christian: I’m currently a second-year MBA student at MIT Sloan and will be graduating June 2015.

Accepted: Why did you choose MIT Sloan? How is it the best program for you? Which other MBA programs had you considered?

Christian: When I chose my MBA program, the primary factors I considered were quality of the school, entrepreneurial ecosystem of the university, school affinity for technology (and data), class size, and location. This lead me to consider MIT Sloan, Berkeley Haas and UCLA Anderson. All programs were almost equally amazing. However, once I saw the MIT campus I knew this was the place to be for me. The geekiness and culture was impossible to match. Coming from an engineering background this is where I wanted to be.

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to b-school easier? What do you wish you would’ve known when you were just starting out?

Christian: Adjusting to b-school is a great experience but it’s definitely challenging – there are so many variables. Being an international student adds an additional challenge as it takes some time to get used to local communication style and culture. Here are a few things that make the adjustment easier:

Keep reaching out after your acceptance: The MBA years are among the best in your life. Having a rough sense of what you want to get out of the MBA is really helpful. Obviously as an incoming student you do your research online. Additionally, I recommend reaching out to a variety of current MBAs at your school that are doing what you are looking to do. This should be even easier after acceptance. For example if you’re interested in entrepreneurship try to talk to a club VP over the phone. They can tell you if the club a good choice for your, help develop your interest further and intro you the others who might have similar interests.

•  Attend post-admission events: I find that the admission events (weekends, seminars, etc.) I attended really helped me in making my decision. You get to know your potential future classmates. Doing so, let’s you figure out if you’re kind of on the same wavelength and even find roommates. Furthermore the schools will showcase what the programs have too offer in even greater detail.

•  MBA communication classes: These classes are amazingly helpful, especially for international students. As I said communication in the U.S. can seem very different. The communication classes at Sloan taught me a lot about American communication standards in business personal interactions.

Accepted: Are you involved in any clubs on campus? How central to student life is club involvement?

Christian: I’m a co-president of the European Business Club at MIT Sloan and I really enjoy the experience. However, I think club involvement is a personal choice. I know classmates who are members in up to eight clubs and I know classmates who are in zero clubs. Some classmates are VPs and presidents, others just aren’t. Personally, I think clubs can offer a lot of value in terms of making friends, finding classmates with common interests and taking on leadership opportunities. Just like everything in life it helps aligning your decision on the extent of your club involvement to what you want to accomplish. If you want to be an entrepreneur, joining the Entrepreneurship club makes sense. If you want to do something for the overall community, join a culture club. See if you like it and then you can typically still decide whether or not to go for a VP position.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your internship at Google last summer? What role did Sloan play in helping you secure that position? 

Christian: My internship at Google last summer was amazing. The internship program is run by an amazing team at Google that makes the experience at Google unique. On a weekly basis leaders in the organization gave us their inside scoop on leadership and the tech industry. Google offers a variety of MBA internship roles. Over the summer you take responsibility for executing your very own project. Sloan helped in a variety of ways. First, the internal network at Sloan is extremely helpful to learn about a company. As I was in the internship recruiting process, I reached out to former Googlers and former Google MBA interns at Sloan. They were extremely helpful in telling me about their experiences at Google. Second, the various clubs at Sloan help you with the internship process by doing resume reviews among other things. Coming from Europe, I found this particularly helpful because the U.S. job application process is very different. Third, the MIT Sloan Career Development office collaborates closely with Google to host coffee chats and recruiting events. In that way Sloan MBA students can connect directly to Googlers to learn more about the company and the internship.

Accepted: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the MBA admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Christian: For me personally the most challenging part getting connected to the schools. I was the first in my network to pursue an MBA. However, from reading online I got the sense that insights from current students are extremely valuable to the application. Even though the notion of writing cold emails was completely foreign to me, I researched Europeans (particularly Austrians) that were attending my target schools. I was surprised how quickly they responded. Even though arranging these chats and conversations was a lot of work, I do believe building those connections contributed to my admission offers. Talking to current students is irreplaceable and it helps you get a feel for the school.

Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our med school applicant readers, especially for international applicants?

Christian:

1. Connect to your target school: Your future school is probably a couple thousand kilometers away. Still connecting to current students is the best way to learn about your school.

2. Make a well-rounded application package: Show who you are personally and professionally. Ideally you’ll be able to tie this to together and paint your future to the reader. Also, use data points to quantify the impact you had. I think for internationals (or at least Europeans) – this is particularly unusual. Still, you need to get over it and do it.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages. 

You can follow Christian on Twitter and by checking out his blog Producteria.

Thank you Christian for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download your free copy of Navigating the MBA Maze!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Navigate the MBA Maze
MIT Sloan 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
IV With an Overrepresented Minority MIT Sloan Admit!

U.S. News 2016 Best Graduate Business Schools

U.S. News released its graduate school rankings today. Let’s see how our top b-schools fared…

Top 20 U.S. B-Schools – 2016

Visit our b-school zone page for info on the top business schools.1. Stanford GSB (1)
2. Harvard Business School (1)
3. UPenn Wharton (1)
4. Chicago Booth (4)
5. MIT Sloan (5)
6. Northwestern Kellogg (6)
7. UC Berkeley Haas (7)
8. Columbia Business School (8)
9. Dartmouth Tuck (9)
10. UVA Darden (11)
11. NYU Stern (10)
11. Michigan Ross (11)
13. Duke Fuqua (14)
13. Yale SOM (13)
15. UCLA Anderson (16)
16. Cornell Johnson (17)
17. Texas McCombs (15)
18. UNC Kenan-Flagler (19)
19. Washington Olin (22)
20. CMU Tepper (18)

25% of US News rankings is made up of survey responses from business school deans and directors; 15% is based on recruiters’ survey responses. The remaining 60% is based on statistical data reflecting program selectivity and placement success. (For details, read up on U.S. News methodology.)

Here are some highlights from the Poets & Quants article on the rankings:

• Last year’s three-way Stanford/Harvard/Wharton tie was broken this year with each school taking one of the first three spots (Stanford in first, HBS in second, and Wharton in third).

• The P&Q article states that Wharton’s slip to third is due to lower peer assessment and corporate recruiter survey scores.

• Wharton also reported an acceptance rate of 20.7%, up from last year’s 18.7% — this is another metric used by U.S. News in their methodology.

• Another factor contributing to Wharton’s position this year is its position regarding salary and bonus. Last year it took top slot at $141,243, while this year it slipped to fourth place at $142,574 – yes, higher than last year, but this year, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford reported even higher salaries/bonuses (HBS took the cake at $144,936 this year).

• Stanford’s top stats this year: average GMAT – 732; average GPA – 3.74; acceptance rate – 7.1%.

• In the top 20, there weren’t significant changes beyond a given school moving up or down a couple places. But further down in the rankings there were some big shifts. Texas A&M jumped 10 places to 27th place (tied with Carlson); Wake Forest jumped 13 places to 45th place; and Louisville moved up at least 31 places to 71st place – it was previously unranked.

• Big drops include Missouri Trulsake which fell 21 places from 58th to 79th place; Pepperdine Graziadio which fell at least 25 places, from last year’s 76th place to its unranked position this year.

Wondering how much rankings should play a roll in determining where you apply? Watch the video below for Linda Abraham’s answer:

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2015
• What’s an MBA Really Worth?
• PayScale: How Much Can You Earn, and How to Earn It?

IV With an Overrepresented Minority MIT Sloan Admit!

Click here to download "MBA Admissions: A-Z"

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA applicant bloggers, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the MBA application process. And now…introducing our anonymous blogger, “John Thunder”…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your current job?

John: I’m from the midwest and went to an Ivy League to study economics and mathematics. I was a former investment banker and currently work in investment management.

Accepted: Congrats on your recent acceptance! Can you tell us where you applied and where you got accepted/rejected/waitlisted?

John: I got accepted at Sloan. Waitlisted at Wharton and Booth. Rejected at Kellogg/HBS/Stanford GSB.

Accepted: And if you get more acceptances from the waitlists, how will you decide where to go?

John: I’m fortunate to receive an acceptance to one of my preferred schools. If I get off the waitlist at other schools, maybe I will reconsider.

Accepted: Can you share some admissions tips as an “overrepresented minority”? How would you advise others who are trying to stand out from the crowd?

John: This is the tough question. If I had to re-do my 2-3 year plan for MBA, I would do 1 year of international development in the “motherland” and/or get involved with organizations in those countries. I did not do anything different to standout, except I demonstrated that sure I have similar stats and background to others but coworkers ranked me as the top analyst each year out of the whole class. Instead of thinking about other “Asians,” I saw my application holistically with the applicant group.

Accepted: Do you have any other admissions advice for our applicant readers? 

John: This is a stressful process. I took my GMAT in Fall 2013 to apply for Class of 2017. Get started early and have set goals. If you are targeting HBS/Stanford only, I recommend applying to only one of those round 1 and the other round 2 and go all-out to visit and hustle. I’ve seen success from those who did that.

Accepted: What is your post-MBA plan? 

John: Finance has lost its luster. Please hire me Google.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When and why did you start blogging? What have you gained from the experience? 

John: Kudos to the community created at GMATClub. I used it religiously to study for my GMATs. I just wanted to give back to that community. I was stressed out throughout the whole application process and it was helpful to see other applicants’ experiences. It’s important to pay-it-forward, and that’s what it’s about in business school.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages.

You can read more about John Thunder’s b-school journey by checking out his blog, John Thunder MBA. Thank you for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Navigate the MBA Maze
GMAT 101
Waitlisted! What Now

QS Global TopMBA Rankings 2014

TopMBA’s new 2014/2015 global report ranks business programs according to geographic location based on surveys completed by 5,669 actively-hiring MBA employers and 7,187 academics in the field of business and management. (See more about the methodology here.)

Top 20 B-Schools in North America

Learn how to make the business school rankings work for you, not against you!

Some highlights:

•  The top 10 remained virtually the same this year as last, with two rather large exceptions: Ross and Stern entered the top 10 scene from 12th place to 8th place for Ross and 12th place to 10th place for Stern. Losing top 10 stature this year were Duke Fuqua which fell from 10th to 13th place and Toronto Rotman which fell from 8th to 14th.

•  There were three newcomers to the top 10 this year – NYU Stern (see above), Texas McCombs (29th last year to 19th this year), and BU School of Management (24th to 20th). HEC Montreal fell from the top 20 (16th place last year to 22nd this year), as did York Schulich (13th to 28th) and Queen’s School of Business (18th to 31st).

•  Big jumpers further down in the rankings include USC Marshall (42nd to 23rd), UC Irvine Merage (51st to 33rd), UC Davis (54th to 36th), Michigan State Broad (71st to 38th), UC San Diego Rady (61st to 40th), Ohio State Fisher (60th to 42nd), UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management (83rd to 45th), Washington Olin (83rd to 47th), and Minnesota Carlson (87th to 49th).

•  Big droppers include UVA Darden (28th to 37th), University of Miami School of Business Administration (32nd to 77th), Rutgers Business School (67th to 82nd), and Vanderbilt Owen (37th to 86th).

Top 20 B-Schools in Europe

Learn how to make the rankings work for you and not against you!Some highlights:

•  HEC Paris jumped from 10th place last year to 4th place this year and Cambridge Judge jumped from 13th to 10th place; otherwise, the top 10 in Europe remain pretty much the same. Copenhagen fell from the top 10, from 9th place last year to 12th place this year.

•  New to the top 20 this year are ESSEC (29th place to 16th place), Manchester Bossiness School (27th to 14th place), and European Business School (21st to 19th). Trinity MBA in Dublin fell from the top 20, from 12th place to 21st

•  UK programs dominate the 65 schools on the European list with 26 programs represented. This is followed by France (9), Spain (5), Switzerland (4), Germany (4), the Netherlands (4), Italy (3), Denmark (2), Ireland (2), Greece (2), Finland (1), Portugal (1), Turkey (1), and Belgium (1).

You can download the full report here.

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Businessweek Rankings 2014
• 2014 Economist MBA Rankings
• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?

MIT Sloan 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Click here to download a free copy of "Ace the EMBA"

This set of essay questions shows that MIT seeks applicants who have a vision for the career they are building, who understand the impacts of their actions, and who have the judgment and practical skills to effectively handle the challenges that will come at them like fastballs in a World Series.  The essays are your main means to show that you possess, as MIT’s website states, “strong leadership performance, global perspective, functional expertise, and innovation.”  While the statement of purpose challenges you to succinctly create your portrait as an applicant, the three essay questions, each in its own way, probe how you create value while responding to various types of challenges.

In an overall plan for the essays, the statement of purpose works as a context, a positioner, an opening pitch, a frame.  You will describe specific experiences in each of the three essays, so strategically try to select experiences that are different, to give a comprehensive view.  Also, usually it’s advisable to discuss recent experiences, to allow the adcom to see you working at a high level and showing what you’ll bring to the table.

Statement of purpose:

Please provide a statement indicating your qualifications, why you are pursuing the MIT Executive MBA Program, and what you will contribute to the program. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

This is your portrait – your candidacy at a glance.  It should convey a vivid, immediate sense of you as a person and as a candidate.  It should go beyond just facts to present a point of view and a message.  Decide your message first, before drafting the essay, and let it guide you in selecting and elaborating the content details.

Beware of a potential pitfall: in discussing qualifications, do not repeat your resume in prose format.  Also, don’t present all your qualifications.  Select carefully, focusing on those that (a) are really distinctive and relevant to the MBA and/or (b) support your goals directly or indirectly and also (c) reflect your message. Make a short, meaningful point about each qualification, such as the insight it lends or its influence on you, supported by a fact or example.

For why you are pursuing the MBA, of course you’ll discuss your professional goals and objectives.  Focus not only on what you want to do, but also on what you want to accomplish for the organization and/or its customers/market.

The contributions you mention should reference your own experience from work or outside work; think of what about you would be most meaningful and interesting to prospective classmates.  This element of your response is an opportunity to show that you understand the program.

Essays:

1. The educational mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to “develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world.” Please discuss how you will contribute toward advancing this mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

In answering this question, clarify what “principled, innovative leader” and “improving the world” mean to you.  These points represent your point of view, your “vision” – they should be short, but without them this essay lacks focus.  The bulk of the essay will focus on action – your examples of past work and activities that make the case for how you have been and will continue to be a principled, innovative leader who improves the world.  They key to making this a gripping, memorable essay is strong experiences and examples combined with your reflection on them pertaining to the essay’s theme.  End by briefly discussing how you will build on these experiences to be such a leader in the future.

2. During your career, what is the hardest challenge that you have had to solve? Consider examples when more than one viable solution was present. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

There are really two points this question asks about: how you define and respond to a major challenge, and your decision-making process in selecting the solution.  Choose your topic accordingly.  With just 500 words, structure the essay simply: narrate the challenge as a brief story, portraying your thought process as you encounter it.  As you approach the solution part of the story, describe the solution options and your determination of which to take.  In writing the essay, clarify why you consider it the “hardest challenge” – is it one that was extraordinarily complex, one that had no desirable solution, one that had huge stakes, etc.? 

3. Tell us about a time within the past three years when you had to give difficult feedback to a peer. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

This question is a straightforward inquiry into your interpersonal skills, judgment, leadership, and (again) decision making.  It’s one thing to give difficult feedback to a subordinate – something you probably do as part of your supervisory role.  It’s another thing altogether to give such feedback to a peer – someone you don’t manage and whose performance you aren’t accountable for.  If possible, make the essay do “double duty” by selecting a story that also portrays you performing at a high level in a significant role.   Think about the topic and how your actions align with and complement the other essays.

Optional Essay.

As part of the MIT Executive MBA curriculum, you will participate in Organizations Lab (O-Lab). This Action Learning course focuses on making a substantive improvement in the performance of your organization, usually by fixing one of its processes.

Identify something, within your organization, upon which to improve. (This does not have to be a large change initiative, small improvements to a process can have a big impact). Please describe the change and why you might choose it? This can be something you have tried to improve in the past and has yet to be realized (whether based on lack of expertise or tools).

Should you do this optional essay? I believe yes. It’s an opportunity to further demonstrate your organizational awareness, possibly highlight important elements of your role, and show your perceptiveness. A key element here will be your perspective on change and its potential impact(s). Select an issue that has an interesting, challenging dimension. Consider the experiences you describe in the other essays and make sure this one isn’t redundant – it should reflect a new facet of your experience. Keep it short – certainly under 500 words. And keep it simple: describe the issue you’d like to improve (and why), and then very briefly reflect on why it’s challenging. You may suggest a possible solution or approaches to solutions, but you don’t have to “solve” it. MIT is interested in your thought process here.

Deadlines:

Application Opens: November 14, 2014

Round 1 Deadline: February 17, 2015 (11:59pm EST)

Round 2 Deadline: June 1, 2015 (11:59pm EDT)

If you would like help with MIT Sloan’s executive MBA essays, please consider Accepted.com’s Executive MBA packages or our hourly consulting/editing services.

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!

Related Resources:

• School-Specific Executive MBA Essay Tips
• Tips for Executive MBA Reapplicants
• The GMAT and EMBA Programs