This year’s MIT Sloan MBA application, like most MIT applications in the last fifteen years, includes its signature cover letter and resume. It also retains the video component, which was introduced last year.
There are no required essays unless you are invited to interview. If you are so lucky, you will also be asked to answer, in under 250 words, “The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission.”
My tips are in blue below.
MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion.
Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).
This year MIT has helpfully provided more insight into what it’s looking for in the cover letter. Like all cover letters, this one is a marketing document. Make your case for admission using your accomplishments, specifically those where you show the qualities mentioned above. How do the talents revealed in your examples demonstrate fit with the MIT Sloan program, its tight-knit community, and its innovative culture? Your resume should reveal above-average progression on the job and increasing responsibility.
Note: this is not an essay. Make sure your letter is formatted as a professional letter with a date, address, header, salutation, and close.
In making your case and mentioning your accomplishments, highlight your role and the impact on you and the entities you contributed to — those results are “your stamp on the world” so far.
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 your 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 upward trajectory who has the hand-on, problem-solving focus that demonstrates you belong at MIT Sloan.
Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief video statement. (This video will be used for application purposes only and will not be shared.) Videos should be a single take (no editing) lasting no more than one minute and consisting of you speaking directly to the camera. We recommend using an application such as QuickTime or iMovie to record yourself.
Upload the video file according to the detailed instructions within the application. We support the following file formats: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .webm, .wmv
Should you experience difficulties uploading your file, please ensure that you’re using a modern web browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) on the fastest wired Internet connection available. An intermittent or slow Internet connection can cause uploads to timeout.
The video statement was entirely new last year at MIT Sloan. Your goal here: deliver your statement with poise and presence. I suggest you outline a 60-second statement that you would use to introduce yourself to your classmates (not the admissions committee members; they’re just important flies on the wall who happen to be listening in.). Don’t be too casual, but think of your classmates as your future professional network and social group. What would you tell them about yourself? What would show you already are a member of MIT’s community — you just don’t happen to pay tuition yet?
A few tips for the video part of this exercise. Practice in front of a web cam so that you get used to talking to a little lens that has no affect, feedback, or expression. Recording yourself on video is not the same as talking on Skype with another human being. I suggest you put a smiley face behind the webcam to remind you to smile at appropriate points in your statement. Then view your practice videos looking for poise and presence. During some of the practices, maybe have a friend present to encourage you, but also practice without anyone else in the room.
For the real statement, dress in business or business casual attire. If you’re not confident that your attire is appropriate, it probably isn’t; dress more conservatively. Make sure your location is quiet and that pets and children are in a location where they won’t be heard or disturb you. Make sure your background is neutral and not a distraction. Blank walls make a great background.
Please provide any additional information you would like the Admissions Committee to know that may be helpful in evaluating your candidacy (i.e. choice of recommenders, areas of concern in your academic record, other extenuating circumstances, etc.). This information should be provided in a written format (200 words or less).
If there is an issue or concern that may confuse the admissions readers or incorrectly detract from their evaluation of your application, address it succinctly here. For more suggestions on writing the optional, please see Optional Essays: When and How to Write Them .
If you would like professional guidance with your MIT Sloan application, please consider 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.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
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.