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In it to win it - Interact with MIT Sloan R1 admit

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In it to win it - Interact with MIT Sloan R1 admit  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jan 2019, 10:21

MIT Sloan R1 Admit Is Here to Answer YOUR Questions!



One of our forum members, arbybee recently got an admit at MIT Sloan in Round 1. He accepted our invitation to interact with the new applicants, share his insights about the application process, and answer the queries of applicants.

If you have any questions about the application process of MIT Sloan now is your chance to get them clarified by posting your questions here in this topic. For follow up communication, we have a live chat with him on Saturday, Jan 12th, 12 PM EST/ 9 AM PST/ 10:30 PM IST in our chat room.


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In it to win it - Interact with MIT Sloan R1 admit  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jan 2019, 02:11
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Transcript from the MIT Sloan R1 admit chat with @arbybee



Hi everyone, I was lucky enough to receive an R1 admit to MIT Sloan. A little about me: I am based on the east coast of the US. I have about 7.5 years of work experience and am currently in the federal public sector where I do a lot of policy and public finance work. Post-MBA, I want to pursue entrepreneurship and social impact. I also love corporate strategy so I may try to incorporate that somehow. I’m happy to try to answer any questions you may have.

Would you mind telling us a little bit about your reasons for choosing Sloan?

Sure. I only applied to three R1 schools, and I was really focused on fit more than anything. I found that among the M7, all of the schools will essentially give you the same toolkit to succeed and that they all offered generally the same recruiting opportunities. For family reasons, I wanted to be in a major city, and on the east coast. MIT Sloan when I visited was the best/most exciting fit for me.

How right it is to say that MIT Sloan MBA is for people interested in tech or from tech background?

I think MIT Sloan is definitely known for its tech, but you need not have been in tech or wanting to enter tech in order to apply. They really focus their admission process on building a well-rounded class and on selecting students who want to be at Sloan, and can clearly demonstrate that they know why/how Sloan is unique. But if tech is your area of interest, they are very well regarded in the industry.

Is there a lower chance of getting into MIT Sloan in R3 if I am an international student? even if I have the required gmat score and an overall strong application?

I don’t know specifics of the admissions process, but in general R3 at every school is very competitive. Because there are simply fewer available seats to fill. Plus, you may not be able to apply R3 if the timing for your visa would not work with matriculating.

I see, but it's not like only 1 or 2 people get admitted right? there are still around 20-30 seats?

I believe you may need longer lead time for that, but I’m a US citizen so that did not factor in.

How long, in general, does the visa process take for international students? or does it vary from country to country?

I do not know specifically, but I have friends in school now and they had to apply. I know they all applied R1-2 for fear of not getting a visa in time.

How does Sloan help its students with entrepreneurial mindsets? Are there specific activities in regular coursework only?

I’d encourage you to take a look at their course offerings and specifics about entrepreneurship on their website; the short answer is that it pervades nearly every aspect of the curriculum.

How do you think about their interview?

I was most nervous about Sloan’s interview! It was stressful to prepare for, but in hindsight, it was one of the most enjoyable interviews I had R1.

What was your GMAT score and what’s the lowest GMAT score in your batch if you do have access to that information now?

I took the GRE because I am debating adding the Harvard Kennedy MPP to my program; I scored a 328 + 6.0 AQ.

I would apply in R2, but I have to give the GMAT again in a few days since I did not get the required GMAT score. My score was below 600.

I’m sure they publish on their website the median score and the 80% range of scores. I believe the median is somewhere around 720-730.

What was your GMAT score? How does Sloan help current students secure full-time jobs?

I did not take the GMAT, I took the GRE (328+6.0); like all M7 programs, MIT Sloan has recruiting cycles both on campus and off-campus; their placement rates for internships and full-time employment are on par with the other top programs.

Could you shed some more light on the interview process and your experience?

Sure, Sloan’s interview is entirely behavioral based and they "deep dive" on past experience. There is nothing in your application that is not a fair game. My interviewer (a Sloan AdCom) asked about a single bullet on my resume and we discussed it for nearly 20 minutes. I would read some about of the good B School blogs that offer insight and interview write-ups about the process specifically, but to prepare I scoured my entire application package (including the video submission) and thought through good anecdotes using the STAR method. Also, Sloan really wants you to be a warm, intellectually curious person, so I made sure I was not too stressed, and that I was friendly and smiled throughout. They’re not trying to scare you.

Did you know for sure where you wanted to end up post the MBA?

I know I want to end up in social impact and/or corporate strategy, but I do not currently have specific employers in mind. The interesting thing is that unlike some schools, MIT Sloan does not really ask during your application what you want to do post-MBA. It comes up in the interview, but there’s not much opportunity when submitting your application to include it.

What is an ideal GPA for Sloan, according to your opinion?

I’m sure it’s a range, but in general top programs have undergrad mean GPAs anywhere between 3.6-3.8. Again that’s just the median, so I’m sure there’s a big range.

Are you applying to more schools in R2 considering that you already have an admit?

Good question! I really debated adding more, but it was a time/money calculation, and emotionally I really love Sloan, so the short answer is NO(!) HAHA

Great. So, I guess you have decided on matriculating at Sloan?

still waiting on funding news from another school, but most likely yes.

Which area did you focus on in your personal essay( consultancy, finance, tech,..) and was it the same for other universities you applied to?


Any interview prep consultancy you referred. I wanted to ask this over here as testimonials provided on consultants site are generally fake and made up ones.

I did not use any third party consultants. I just googled the heck out of the interview process. There are a lot of free blog entries, etc. available if you search. IMO, anything paid can be a waste of money. Also, talk to anyone you can who is a current student and can give you firsthand insight into the interview process.

which area did you focus on in your personal essay( consultancy, finance, tech,..) and was it the same for other universities you applied to?

The Sloan essay is unique from other programs in that you don’t talk a lot about professional goals, it is basically a cover letter as if you are applying for a "job" as an MBA student, so it needs to be more dynamic and insightful than the typical essay. I applied to CBS and Yale SOM. I was admitted to CBS.

Also, if you don’t know any current students, search for one of the affinity clubs on campus and cold-email them. I did that when I was interview prepping with the LGBT club (I’m gay), and I was about to connect with a student. We talked on the phone for about 30 minutes and he helped me get more insight into the program, and to better prepare for the interview. So for example, if you are a woman, reach out the female MBA club; if you are Asian, reach out to the Asian club, etc.

Not sure if this is an ideal platform to reveal, but your take on admissions consultants? and any recommendations? Can take this offline if you’re more comfortable discussing there.

No problem. I did not use any, so I can’t speak to it really. I did download the free guides that some sites make available (MBA Mission etc.). But I did not spend any money on additional help; I did pick friend’s brains and talk to current students, but that is all free.. Also, I know MIT Sloan tracks if you attend an online or in-person event (my interviewer asked me about one I joined), so attend as many as you can whether it’s on the web or in your major city, or in Boston.

Events in a sense -- business meetings/conferences .. right?

MIT Sloan at least monthly offers online info sessions, etc. That is what I mean.

I am getting into details-- I hope there isn’t any need to talk/should not be talking about technical skills in any part of the interview process

They won’t ask you to do any math or to "case" you like for a consulting job, for example. Are you prepping to interview?

Not right now. Will do in 2019. These were tiny questions that were there in mymind.

Do you think visiting your target schools and touching upon that aspect creates any sort of a positive impact on your essays?

I cannot stress enough how important I think it is to "get to know" MIT Sloan. If you can’t afford to travel to Boston to visit before the interview, that is ok. But talk to alumni, current students, etc.

"Get to know" MIT Sloan so that you can demonstrate that you know and love the school. The school does not ask you to invest a lot of money in visiting, etc. before you apply, but you can show interest in ways that cost nothing.

For example, in my interview, I was able to incorporate an anecdote that I only got from talking to the first year. I used it to demonstrate the impact the story had on me in answering and honest and enthusiastic "why Sloan?"

Can you tell us which component of your Sloan application you found the most challenging?

Good question! I really stressed over the video component.

It is very open ended and you have a lot of different ways that you can answer it, so I found it to be tricky. BTW, for anyone working on their application for R2, attend this session: https://mitsloan.mit.edu/mba/admissions ... ns-events/ The one on January 14. It really helped me complete my application. There is a lot written online about how to do the video and I think there are multiple ways to get it right.

I introduced myself, talked a little about my personal life, and what I want to bring to the MIT community. I focused on introducing myself to my future classmates. I also shared one funny, fun fact about myself. I viewed it as a good opportunity to add some levity and humor the process, while also demonstrating that I am thoughtful and excited about MIT.

Can you tell us approximately how much time you have spent to complete the application?

I think you should give yourself 2 weeks to get your application together in earnest. Spend some time reading strategy, thinking about how to want to craft your cover letter, etc and then start writing, editing, and iterating. That’s the way I work at least.

I need to get it down on paper and then have something to edit/work with. Also, I drafted bullets for the video recording but I did not read off of a sheet of paper. I committed to a few key items I wanted to convey, and then just recorded it a few times and used my favorite. Their application is not rocket science, but because the written materials are slim, you need to be strategic and conveying your message. And you should view all of the pieces as connecting to a single story; they should complement each other.

What kind of background checks MIT does for students during the admission process and after admitting them?

I do not think they do any during the process (although if you claim something that is not supported by a recommendation or during your interview, they will be able to tell), after you have been admitted they use a 3rd party review service which includes official transcripts, a background check, etc. My advice would be to always be truthful in all of your applications, but make sure you present yourself in an honest, constructive way.

If you have failures or flaws or have received negative feedback, mention it as appropriate, but talk about what you’ve done since then. My interviewer asked me what single piece of professional feedback that I’ve received has been most difficult to hear.

The rationale behind my question was that there are certain things good/bad which we do in our career but could not decide to mention them or not or to what extent. For instance, I was RJ for a while ( part-time ) in a radio station but do not have any experience proof, apart from the offer letter...so still confused whether to mention it or not.

Oh, I see. I would include it. I do not expect they would hunt down your former part-time employer for something like that. And if they do, you can support it.

I guess you have visited the campus for your interviews. Can you tell us about your campus visit experience? Did you drop into any classes?

Sure. Yes, I did not visit MIT Sloan until my interview day actually. It was jam-packed with activities. It started with coffee with current students, then I attended an operations strategy class (part of the core curriculum), then I had coffee with the LGBT student who I spoke to on the phone, then I had lunch with current students, and then I spent about an hour prepping for my interview, but it finally happened in the afternoon.

All of the experiences were helpful to get me mentally ready for the interview. I really wanted to attend the LGBTQ+ Visit Day which was held on campus a few weeks earlier but my work schedule prevented me from it but the experiences during that visiting day were helpful again with being able to incorporate anecdotes/understanding into my interview.

What types of questions did you ask your interviewer at the end of the interview?

Good question - always come with a few prepared, but then mentally add some throughout your visit (and during the interview itself). You want them to be specific and personal, and not anything that you could find simply by searching their website. I asked my interviewer about their perspective on new initiatives/opportunities for growth at the school over the next few years, etc.

TBH, I forget many of the others by now! The interviewer will leave 10-15 min for your questions, so be prepared. The interview really is more of a discussion, so I know I asked some questions throughout. I tried to keep it as a dialogue more than a formal Q&A.

Who did you choose to write your recommendations?

I had my current supervisor, and also the director of my office who I have worked very closely with. Sloan would much rather that you have people who have worked with you closely and can write a good recommendation as opposed to people with fancy titles.

So for example, choose someone one tier above you who knows you very well as opposed to the CEO of your company who may hardly know you.

Did you work with them on your recommendations or they themselves took care of writing it?

I sat down with both of them individually over lunch and explained my desire to pursue an MBA, and why. And then I provided them with "packets" that had my resume, a bulleted list of what I viewed as my duties and accomplishments and I gave them a cheat-sheet about why each of the different schools, in case they were not familiar with the programs so that they could target their recommendations to each school.

It was maybe 4-5 PDF pages in total. They did as a courtesy provide their recommendations to me after I’d been invited to interview so that I could know what they said but I had no part in the actual drafting/submitting of the letter.

Can you please share the cheatsheet about schools you have mentioned?

I think I had my resume, my most recent work performance evaluation, a list of submission deadlines, a list of my proudest accomplishments, etc. and also a list of why I liked each school.

I believe there are blog entries online about what to include; basically, I wanted to make it easy for them to write it as opposed to having them do it cold. Google around and I’m sure you’ll find some info about it.

Thanks, arbybee for your time and all the wonderful information. There were a lot of tips that will help the applicants tremendously.

Happy to help. As a reminder, I HIGHLY encourage everyone thinking of applying to attend the January 14 virtual session here: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/mba/admissions/ ... ns-events/ I found it extremely helpful.

Thank you so much arbybee, . You were highly methodical in your application and provided me with some great tips.

Folks can also DM me if they have questions specific to them that they don’t want to ask here.
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In it to win it - Interact with MIT Sloan R1 admit   [#permalink] 14 Jan 2019, 02:11
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