This 2011 MIT Sloan Fellows Admissions tip post is one of a series of posts providing Executive MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top EMBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at https://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-executive-mba-admissions-tips. My tips for answering the Sloan Fellows essay questions are in blue below.
Statement of Objectives: What are your immediate and ultimate professional objectives for attending the program. Specifically, please indicate how your objectives fit with the purposes of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership and indicate what you would contribute to the Sloan Fellows community. (500 words or less, limited to one page)
Translation: What do you want to do immediately after attending the Sloan Fellows program and farther into the future that requires you to attend the Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership?
Clearly you will need to know about the Sloan Fellows Program’s goals and objectives. Realize that the long name is there for a reason. They reveal the program’s purpose. Do you need to know about “Innovation and Global Leadership”? You should be able to demonstrate that you need those skills to achieve your goals.
For further insight into the MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership, please see my recent interview with Stephen Sacca, Director of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program.
Essay 1: Discuss a defining experience in your development as a leader. How did this experience demonstrate your strengths and weaknesses? (500 words or less, limited to one page)
Choose your crowning leadership example and provide briefly some of the challenges you faced, how you handled them, and the impact of your leadership. Make sure answer the last part of the question. Focus on the strengths, but please show the maturity and self-awareness to honestly reveal a weakness — one that the Sloan Fellows Program may actually help you address.
Essay 2: Discuss a time when you made an unpopular decision. What did you learn from the experience? (500 words or less, limited to one page)
Leadership and innovation frequently the person in charge to take an unpopular position. Advocating change (innovating) is frequently unpopular. When have you done so? What did you learn that will improve your ability to spearhead change even when faced with opposition?
Essay 3: Please describe a time when you came to see something from someone else’s perspective, or when your opinion was changed by listening and learning from others. (500 words or less, limited to one page)
I want to point out that each of the essay questions asks you to discuss one time or to provide one example illustrative of your ability in a specific area. The same is true of this question. What was your opinion before you heard the other perspective? What did the person say or what did you learn that caused you re-evaluate your previous position? What was your new conclusion?
Essay 4: Please give an example of a significant innovation (product or process) that you developed for your organization (500 words or less, limited to one page)
This is a pretty straightforward question and actually gives you a little room to go in a direction of your choosing, as long as you reveal how you innovated for your organization. You could start with the innovation or with the problem that propelled an innovative solution. Discuss some of the challenges you faced, how you resolved them, and ultimately the impact of your innovation.
The deadline to submit the online application, and all other required materials, is November 15, 2010 for non-U.S. citizens and U.S. citizens residing outside of the U.S., and January 17, 2011 for U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents residing in the U.S.