This MIT Sloan 2011 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at http://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-mba-application-tips. My tips for answering Sloan's essay questions are in blue below.
Please prepare a business resume that includes your employment history in reverse chronological order, with titles, dates, and whether you worked part-time or full-time. Your educational record should also be in reverse chronological order and should indicate dates of attendance and degree(s) earned. Other information appropriate to a business resume is welcomed and encouraged. The resume should not be more than one page in length (up to 50 lines).
Go beyond mere job description to highlight achievement. If your title is "consultant." Saying that you "consulted on projects" is uninformative at best. Writing that you "Led a 6-member team working on a biotech outsourcing project to Slovakia with a budget of $X. It came in on time and under budget" conveys infinitely more.
Prepare a cover letter (up to 500 words) seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Describe your accomplishments and include an example of how you had an impact on a group or organization. Your letter should conform to standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Director of MBA Admissions.
Like all cover letters, this is a sales document. Make your case for admission using your accomplishments, specifically those where you "had an impact on a group or organization." How do the talents revealed in these examples demonstrate fit with the Sloan program, its tight-knit community, and its innovative culture?
We are interested in learning more about you and how you work, think, and act. For each essay, please provide a brief overview of the situation followed by a detailed description of your response. Please limit the experiences you discuss to those which have occurred in the past three years.
In each of the essays please describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did.
The devil is in the details, and Sloan wants them for each of these stories. Look for moments that stand out in your mind. You don't have room for anything but those stand-outs.
Essay 1: Please describe a time when you went beyond what was defined, expected, established, or popular. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)
The question on one hand provides direction and is clearly defined. On the other, it provides plenty of latitude for individuality. One of the more interesting and unusual options in this question is "beyond what was ... popular."
You need to write about an experience with an expectation of outcome or performance that you surpassed -- perhaps blew past. In writing your essay you could start with the expectation, i.e. what you went beyond. Or you could start with the achievement. You could start with the moment when you accepted the challenge or when you realized you were going in an unexpected direction.
Don't forget to include analysis in the answer. To what do you ascribe your success? What motivated you? What did you learn from the experience? Say what you felt and thought as well as what you said and did.
Essay 2: Please describe a time when you convinced an individual or group to accept one of your ideas. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)
This is a new questions, but it is closely related to last year's #2, which focused on leadership. However the question really reflects two ideas at the very heart of the Sloan MBA: leadership and innovation. Persuasion is one element in leadership and "your idea" should showcase your problem-solving and innovative thinking.
As in your Essay 1, focus on one event. Make room for analysis. Tell a story, and tell a different tale from the one told in Essay 1. You can use a professional or a non-professional experience for this essay. Sports, community service, or even the arts can provide the context.
Essay 3: Please describe a time when you took responsibility for achieving an objective. (500 words or less, limited to one page)
A different aspect of leadership from that sought in Essay 2 is requested here. Taking responsibility for an outcome before results are certain is a critical element of leadership. As you approach this and the other questions, keep in mind MIT's very practical focus and motto: "mens et manus"or "mind and hand." When you accepted that responsibility, how did you go from concept (the objective) to reality (the outcome)?
Supplemental Information (Optional)
You may use this section to address whatever else you want the Admissions Committee to know. (250 words or fewer, limited to one page)
If there is some facet of your experience, be it professional, academic or personal, that you have not discussed elsewhere and would like the adcom to know about, include it here. Give them another reason to admit you, but don't submit the grand summary, appeal, or closing statement. Keep it focused and cogent. Yes if necessary, you can use this question to address specific circumstances that may have negatively affected your academic performance. Don't leave them wondering or guessing.
If you would like help with your MIT Sloan MBA application, please consider Accepted.com's MBA essay editing and admissions consulting or an MIT Sloan School Package, which includes essay editing, interview coaching, consultation, and a resume edit for the MIT Sloan MBA application.
|Round 1*||Oct 26, 2010||Jan 31, 2011**|
|Round 2||Jan 4, 2011||Apr 4, 2011|
Application must be received by 12 noon pacific time.
* Reapplicants must submit their application by the Round I deadline. LGO reapplicants must submit their reapplication by the LGO deadline.
**Decisions will be released early for some candidates who will be denied admission without an interview.