MIT Sloan School of Business 2020-2021 MBA Essay Tips and Application Deadlines
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Are you preparing to apply to MIT Sloan? The school has trimmed its application requirements down to two very short pieces, but don’t be fooled – they’ll require a lot of preparation up front if you want to get them right.
The application deadlines for entry in 2021 are:
MIT Sloan prides themselves on their role as an incubator and a breeding ground for new ideas. It’s no surprise, then, that their MBA application process offers a new twist on the traditional approach. Rather than the traditional essay, the school asks applicants to submit a 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, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to the Assistant Deans of Admissions, Rod Garcia and Dawna Levenson (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).”
Of course, while the approach is novel, what the admission committee is asking for boils down to the basics – Why you, and why us?
The “desired criteria” portion of the cover letter request is covered in the school’s guidance about what they’re looking for in a Sloan student:
“MIT Sloan … [is] 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.”
Note that your resume will be included as a separate part of the application package, so you don’t need to – and shouldn’t – waste space repeating the overview of your work history.
Instead, your cover letter should focus on the future. Show the adcom why you are someone who is poised to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by your time at Sloan.
That’s where the specifics come in: additional projects or leadership roles you’ve taken on at work, mentorship relationships you’ve sought out, challenges you’ve tackled in a dynamic way.
A 300-word cover letter doesn’t give you a lot of space, so focus on quality over quantity in your examples. Sloan is looking for candidates who will wow them. What can you share that will ensure you stand out from an extremely talented applicant pool?
Creating the 2020-2021 MIT Sloan MBA Video Application Essay
In lieu of a second written piece, the MIT admissions committee is asking applicants to show who they really are – literally. Their second requirement is a single, unedited 60-second video:
“In your video, you should introduce yourself to your future classmates, tell us about your past experiences, and touch on why MIT Sloan is the best place for you to pursue your degree.”
Where your cover letter should focus on the future, this video is the place to highlight your past.
Let’s be realistic: video essays are HARD. Covering everything you want to say in a single minute, without stumbling over your words or forgetting key details, requires a tight script and a lot of rehearsal time. But you also want to come across as friendly and natural, not a robot running through it’s lines as fast as possible.
It’s a tough balance to get right. That’s why it’s vital that you take the time to truly investigate your personal brand before you get started. What makes you who you are? What makes you Sloan material? And where will you go once you’ve got your degree?
Once you’ve boiled your story down to the basics, the values and experiences that are integral to the person you are today, you’ll be ready to start writing – and rehearsing.
Changes for COVID-19
As with every school in these times, it’s impossible to say exactly what the impact of the novel coronavirus will be on the school year itself.
However, the MIT Sloan admissions committee has made sure to address applicants’ concerns about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives, social lives, and business school applications:
“MIT’s admissions committees and offices for graduate and professional schools will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant.”
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