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Expert advice for Sloan (MIT) from Admissions Consultant blogs

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Expert advice for Sloan (MIT) from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 18:20
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ImageMIT Sloan School of Management has maintained both the cover letter essay and personal video statement this year for the MBA application.

The MIT Sloan admissions committee has compiled a set of useful video tips on their YouTube channel, including a “day in the life” of a Sloan student. In watching the videos you can see a bit of what Sloan values. Students are engaged, creative, and thinking outside the typical MBA frameworks. A study group that is profiled includes engineering and design students. The student in the video just returned from a trip to Africa. The video describes vibrant social events and life in Cambridge and Boston.

Experiencing Sloan, perhaps in person, through networking or virtually, will likely show you if you can see yourself as part of the Sloan community. Then your task is to convince the admissions committee that you have the profile they are seeking.

COVER LETTER
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).

The cover letter is a format that MIT has used for many years to select candidates. In some ways this structure reflects the MIT goal to admit candidates with practical (though innovative) ideas and experience. The cover letter is a way to describe your key accomplishments and use them to prove that you embody the criteria for admission outlined in the prompt: independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers.

Take the cover letter idea literally and approach this essay as if you were applying for a demanding new job. What would you highlight in your background to prove you take an innovative approach? What are the stories you can tell about your experience that will show you have integrity and passion?

Specifically, use one or more examples. You could discuss a time when you have approached a business problem and provided a creative solution. Have you innovated a process at work? Perhaps you have suggested a new approach to a customer problem? Think about times when you have been able to provide a fresh perspective at work and describe what you did in those situations to demonstrate problem-solving skills and passion.

While showcasing your skills and talents is crucial, don’t forget to demonstrate your ability to work with others and support them. The hint that MIT Sloan is on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students is important and you want to demonstrate that you will be an asset to the community and will embody a collaborative approach.

VIDEO STATEMENT
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. You will need to use an internet-connected computer, with a webcam and microphone. As part of the application review, the Admission Committee will evaluate your response to see how you express yourself and to assess fit with the MIT Sloan culture. The simple, open-ended question is designed to help us get to know you better.

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.

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.

As the MIT Admissions committee advises in a short video, this is about getting to know you and seeing your presence and personality. Because you will need to record the video in one take, we suggest preparing for this video statement the way you might prepare for an interview. Write down the stories you might tell about yourself, ideally personal, interesting and revealing of who you are.

For example, you might be passionate about travel and experiencing new cultures. You have made several interesting trips in your life, and each has given you new perspective. Maybe you developed a passion for Thai cuisine after a trip there, and have collected Brazilian art from your travels to that country. Think of a few discrete examples and practice those stories and the introduction several times before you open the application link and start recording.

When recording the video essay response, take your time and speak slowly and clearly into the camera. Though it will feel awkward, try to be natural and comfortable as you respond. The most important part is to convey your personality.

OPTIONAL ESSAY
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).

This optional essay provides space for you to add your own context to any areas of concern that should be explained to the admissions committee. For example, if you have a lower than average test score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation or a significant resume gap, you can explain here.

Keep your explanation concise and factual, and focused on context for the issue rather than excuses. If you do not have extenuating circumstances to provide context for, it’s best not to use this optional essay and to make sure that you have covered your accomplishments and personal qualities in the cover letter and video essay.
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Re: Expert advice for Sloan (MIT) from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2019, 07:54
[caption id="attachment_44904" align="alignnone" width="300"]Image
Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash[/caption]

As an admissions consultant, I am often asked, “When do I start preparing for the MBA application?”. My answer remains, “As soon as you know that you will be pursuing an MBA.” MBA admissions – especially at top-ranked institutions- is competitive, and the sooner you begin the preparation process, the better.

There are two stages of preparation for your MBA: pre-MBA profile preparation, and MBA application preparation. In this article, we will mainly address the pre-MBA preparation.

If you are thinking about earning an MBA, you should give yourself a minimum of one (1) year to prepare before applying. You will require a minimum of 3 months to fully prepare for the GMAT/GRE and the remainder of the time should be allotted to developing your experiences, strengthening your profile, and researching schools.
Define Your Future Goals
Having a clear goal is perhaps the most crucial component of the MBA application for two reasons: (i) it will guide the rest of your application, including target school selection, and (ii) a clear vision of the future and an MBA’s role in it will enhance the clarity of your application and demonstrate to the admission committee you are a candidate with both focus and purpose.    Establishing clear post-MBA goals also happens to be the most challenging component for most MBA applicants.  So ask yourself: Do you want to work as a consultant for the big 4? If so, in what sector? And to what end? Or, perhaps your goal is to be an entrepreneur starting a new venture. If so, what industry? How are you prepared to be an entrepreneur? Or maybe, you want to work in strategic management. That’s wonderful! In that case, what sector are you targetting? Can you identify the company you would want to work for?

You might want to take some time to implement an active imagination exercise in your routine and play forward how your ideal future unfolds. Where do you see yourself in the next three (3), five (5), and ten (10) years?
Bridge Your Past with Your Future
Of course, having a clear idea of the future is excellent. However, for the dreams of the future to be attainable, the goals must, in one shape or form, be connected to your past experiences.  For example, to be an executive in pharma when all your experience has been in the fashion industry poses  a challenging transition. But if your experience has been in business development and you earned an undergraduate degree in STEM, then a connection can be made to working in Pharma.

While MBA programs will teach management and strategy, they cannot teach fundamentals – there are too many industries and too many interests in an MBA cohort. An MBA program desire enrolling students they will be able to place post MBA – this is especially true for top tier institutions that value metrics.

Take the time to identify the connections between your experiences and your post-MBA goals. Clearly articulating your goals early in the process is invaluable in helping you make the most out of every step that follows in the MBA application process.  Read how to put together Your List of Top-10 B-Schools.
Evaluate the Strength of Your Profile
[caption id="attachment_44911" align="alignnone" width="300"]Image
Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash[/caption]

Now you have identified your future goals and connected them to your past experiences; the next step is to evaluate your profile honestly. Critically evaluate all components of your resume: professional background, academics, community engagement, etc..
How Strong is Your Professional Background?
When it comes to admissions, a lot rides on your professional background. As mentioned earlier, MBA programs want to know you are employable post-MBA. Therefore, evaluate your experiences: Have you received promotions? Have you demonstrated leadership? Have you led a project or a team? Leadership qualities are not dependent on a management title.  Spend time being introspective and identify specific experiences that showcase your leadership potential. If there are areas in your professional development that are weaker, then you want to take time to address those areas – a much more difficult feat with only three (3) months to the application deadline.
What’s Your Scholastic Strength?
Unlike professional development, your strength as a student is “easier” to evaluate, as their numeric scores are based on a scale – 4.0 on the GPA and 800 on GMAT.  I do not mean to imply that your scores concretely identify your strength as a student; but they can help you evaluate where you fall within the standard deviation of the target school’s class profile and address deviations in a qualitative manner.

When it comes to GPA, most b-schools provide a class profile that  can be used to compare. Your GPA should be evaluated with two categories in mind: your GPA and the undergraduate school’s ranking (for international students whose undergraduate universities do not follow a 4.0 scale, look at the institutions ranking and your class ranking, instead). If your GPA is lower than the school’s class average, then you want to: (i) be prepared to address your GPA in your application, and (ii) research programs/graded courses you can enroll in to boost your academic scores. For the latter, of course, you need time. Therefore, it’s imperative to start this process early, as strong programs like HBX CORe, for example, require an application period (about two weeks) and a class-time (either 10-12 (intensive) or 17 weeks (regular)).

Take a similar approach with your GMAT score. Whether you have the score in hand or scheduled to sit  for the exam at a later date, identify the average target score, and work diligently to attain it. Give yourself ample time to retake the GMAT if needed, knowing that you will be strategically managing your application and working full-time.
How Strong is Your Community Engagement?
Top programs seek engaged citizens. Whether that is during your undergraduate or postgraduate career, ask yourself: how involved have you been in your community? Where you engaged in the finance club, fencing club, student council, or any other undergraduate clubs? Did you volunteer, helping the affected in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Irma in Cuba, California wildfires, or the Sierra Leone floods and landslides?  How about building community in the company you work in? Perhaps you’ve organized a book club, or arranged “A Day In the Life” to help local high school students decide on a career.  Identify your engagements, both formal and informal and determine if they can be improved? If the answer is yes, take time to identify areas of participation that strengthen your community engagement. The earlier this happens, the better – it doesn’t look good to be the person that four (4) months before the application deadline decides to volunteer.

The MBA Application is stressful, and the earlier you begin the preparation process, the healthier your work-life balance will be. Not only will the resulting product be stronger, but you are not cramming all the work in one short period. Start early and have a plan in place.  A well planned and meticulously nurtured crop will always yield the best fruit.

 

 

Article first appeared on Thrive Global.
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Re: Expert advice for Sloan (MIT) from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Apr 2019, 15:19
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Are you applying to Columbia Business School (CBS), Kellogg School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management, or Yale School of Management (SOM)? If so, you will not want to miss this chance to learn from the schools’ very own admissions officers! On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, mbaMission’s founder/president, Jeremy Shinewald, will facilitate a one-hour webinar for the final installment of our five-part series: “Maximize Your Potential: 5 Steps to Getting Your Dream MBA.” From 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. EDT, Jeremy will take and share questions from attendees, while admissions officers from these top business school institutions offer invaluable insight and advice.

Admissions officers for this panel include:

  • Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean of Admissions at Yale School of Management
  • Amanda Carlson, Assistant Dean of Admissions at Columbia Business School
  • Dawna Levenson, Assistant Dean of Admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Kate Smith, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Kellogg School of Management

We hope you will join us for this special series. Please reserve your spot by signing up here.
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Re: Expert advice for Sloan (MIT) from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jul 2019, 14:08
The MIT Sloan School of Management has made only the mildest of changes to its application essay prompts for this season, so candidates will still need to contend with the school’s interesting “cover letter” essay and its self-introduction video. However, the school has slipped an important qualification into its directions for the video portion that was not there last year—one that asks applicants to include some information about their background and about their fit with the Sloan program. We suspect that many previous candidates had skipped these topics, especially considering the brevity of the video, and the admissions committee wanted to ensure that the next wave of applicants would fill in these important blanks. As we have noted in the past, while unorthodox, the school’s prompts allow candidates to offer the school a balanced view of their professional and personal profiles, with a good amount of leeway for creativity. Read on for our full MBA essay analysis for MIT Sloan. 

Cover Letter: 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 the Assistant Deans of Admissions, Rod Garcia and Dawna Levenson (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

We strongly advise that you avoid starting your letter with a rote opening like “My name is Bob, and I am seeking a place in the MIT Sloan Class of 2022.” Your admissions reader will likely be asleep before they even finish the sentence! Such information is obvious—we can assure you that the admissions reader is well aware of your desire to be admitted to the MIT Sloan program—and is therefore a waste of precious word count, not to mention that it is hardly the kind of gripping opening that will grab and hold someone’s attention.

The broad scope of this essay prompt allows you a great amount of freedom to choose and share the information you believe is most important for your candidacy. The 300-word maximum is equal to roughly three short paragraphs with which you can make an impression. Informal guidance provided by MIT Sloan’s admissions committee after the release of this essay question in 2017 indicated that applicants should focus on sharing their personal experiences, accomplishments, values, viewpoints, and/or skills to demonstrate (1) what they can contribute to the school’s greater community as a result and (2) why Sloan’s MBA program in particular is the best one for them. The school does not ask you to outline your post-MBA goals, but if doing so allows you to better substantiate your need or desire for a Sloan MBA specifically, a (very) brief explanation of your aspirations could be appropriate and useful.

After discussing your accomplishments—being careful not to brag!—along with any other elements of your profile that you feel make you a great fit with the school, strive to relate these achievements and qualities to the MIT Sloan experience. Citing specific courses, experiential opportunities, or other relevant resources can help you make a compelling case for your spot in the next incoming class.

VIDEO STATEMENT: Please take a minute to introduce yourself to your future classmates via video. Include a bit on your past experience and why MIT Sloan is the best place for you to pursue your MBA. 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.

Before you do anything else, stop and take a deep, cleansing breath. We know video essays can be scary, but MIT Sloan is not trying to stress you out. The admissions committee simply wants a more dynamic representation of your personality than a written essay can provide, so your primary goal is simply to be as authentic and natural as possible. This is not a job interview, and you are instructed to consider your fellow students your intended audience, which certainly implies that a less rigid and traditionally “professional” demeanor is okay, though you should never be inappropriate or offensive. Do not concern yourself with trying to say the “right” things in your video. The topic here is one you know very well—you! A good brainstorming tactic is to imagine meeting someone for the first time at a party or other event and to think about the kinds of questions you might ask one another in the process of getting acquainted. What kind of information would you want to know about this person, and what facts about yourself would you be most eager to share, as a way of conveying who you are and making a connection? (You can even Google “icebreaker questions” to find examples of these sorts of questions.) Take some time to delve into your personality in this way.

Keep in mind that even though in the scenario the school presents, you are supposed to be addressing your fellow students, your actual audience will be the admissions committee, so put some thought into what the school will already have learned about you from your cover letter essay and the other portions of your application. Because the admissions committee has added the proviso this year that you include “a bit” about your past and your reasons for choosing MIT Sloan for your MBA, you will naturally need to repeat some of this information, but focus on the overarching and most significant themes to create context and a foundation, rather than going into too much detail. Likewise, avoid pandering to the school or expressing your generic admiration for the program and instead discuss the primary reason(s) MIT Sloan fits your specific needs and personality. You have only one minute in which to make an impression, and even without knowing you personally, we are confident that you have more to your character than can be conveyed in a mere 60 seconds—so do not waste any of them!

Given that this is a video, you will want to pay some extra attention to the clothing you will wear, your tone of voice, your language style, and other such details. In the end, your message is what is most important, so no fancy bells or whistles are needed, but if you are a more creative type, you might consider ways of nonverbally communicating some of your strongest attributes and key aspects of your life to help permeate your submission with as much information as possible. For example, if you are an avid cook, consider filming your video while standing in a kitchen, perhaps wearing an apron (if you typically do so) and surrounded by the ingredients and tools you need to create one of your favorite recipes. If you are a dedicated guitar player, perhaps strum your guitar as you speak. If you are especially confident, you could even sing about yourself! Think about what makes you who you are today, decide what you most want to share with your future classmates, and then let your creativity flow.

On a practical note, be sure to speak clearly. You naturally do not want any part of your message to be lost or misunderstood, and the admissions committee may view your communication skills and style as indicators of how you might interact with your classmates and/or speak in the classroom. Although we recommend spending some time practicing in front of a mirror or a friend, do not over rehearse. You still want to come across as genuine and natural.

For a thorough exploration of the MIT Sloan academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, be sure to download your complimentary copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Those invited to interview will be asked to answer the following question: 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. We believe that a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and well-being is a key component of both principled leadership and sound management practice. In 250 words or less, please describe how you, as a member of the MIT Sloan community, would work to create a campus that is welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse. Details for submitting your essay will be included in the interview invitation.

In business school—as in life in general—you will encounter people who think differently from you, operate according to different values, and react differently to the same stimuli. And success in an endeavor often involves evaluating and incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts. Via this essay, MIT Sloan hopes to learn how you view and approach such differences. Once enrolled in the school’s MBA program, you will be surrounded every day by individuals who are unlike you in a multitude of ways, and you will need to work in tandem with and alongside these individuals when analyzing case studies, completing group projects, and participating in other activities both inside and outside the classroom. Note that the school’s prompt does not ask about simply being part of a “welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse” community but about actually helping to cultivate one. The admissions committee wants to know that you are comfortable within such a dynamic, of course, but in this case, it is especially interested in hearing what skills and mind-set you have that could be beneficial in bringing various people together in a harmonious and productive way.

We assume that you have already researched the school well by now in the process of deciding to apply to MIT Sloan in the first place and also in crafting your application. We therefore hope that along the way, you have been able to identify certain areas and opportunities at the school that speak to or connect with you personally, places where you can bring your enthusiasm or know-how to the table for the benefit of others. We realize you have limited space with which to work for this essay, but you must go beyond simply listing the campus organizations/events/resources through which you would engage and make your contribution and clearly communicate the why and how behind your intentions. For example, perhaps you plan to join the Sloan Jewish Students Organization and have always really enjoyed your family’s annual Seder. You might then state that you aspire to organize and lead the first Passover Seder on the MIT Sloan campus, thereby introducing others to an important element of your religion and creating an opportunity to experience this traditional custom alongside your Jewish classmates. Or, if you expect to join the MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship & Innovation Club, perhaps you would discuss how daunting entrepreneurial lingo can be. Then you could explain how you would establish and run a workshop to help those with limited exposure to the field understand and develop a familiarity with the vernacular, which could serve as an important part of their foundational knowledge base. Of course, these are just examples, and the contributions you make need not be exclusive to clubs but must simply be personal to you.

To add a level of credibility to your claim and increase the admissions committee’s confidence that you will actually follow through on your stated intentions, include a brief reference to a time in the past when you did something similar. You want to assure the school that you are not simply offering a nice-sounding idea but one you truly aim to—and can—fulfill. So, for example, if you were to suggest the campus-wide Seder idea, you might describe the time you invited your entire community-league soccer team to your family’s celebration and how you walked your fellow players through the various stages of the tradition. This kind of reference to a related past situation will illustrate that you have some firsthand understanding of how to facilitate such an endeavor and that you must have seen some benefit from the undertaking, given your interest in revisiting the idea.

Be assured that like all other application essay questions, this one has no “right” answer, so do not try to guess and deliver what you think the school wants to hear. Authenticity and enthusiasm are the keys to your success here.

Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. We therefore offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the MIT Sloan School of Management Interview Primer today.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (OPTIONAL)

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).

Ultimately, this is your opportunity to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your profile—if you feel you need to. We caution you against simply trying to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. And of course, however tempted you might be, this is not the place to reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to use in your other submissions. But if you are inclined to use this essay to emphasize or explain something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, write a very brief piece on this key aspect of your profile. For more guidance, download our free mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your application.
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Re: Expert advice for Sloan (MIT) from Admissions Consultant blogs   [#permalink] 29 Jul 2019, 14:08
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