How To Get Into MIT’s
Sloan School of Management
The essentials of getting into MIT Sloan are to demonstrate a past full of leadership and entrepreneurial qualities while establishing a personal idea for the future. The MBA essays provide a great opportunity to showcase these areas and set yourself apart from other applicants.
If they’re like the navy, then MIT Sloan students are like pirates, with a can-do spirit that at times bends the rules.
At Sloan, it’s about the four-H’s: the Heart to strive, the Head to keep up, the Hands to get things done, and the Home to take risks in a supportive environment. The ideal candidate is looking for the big treasure chest – innovation-driven entrepreneurship, market disruption, and economic transformation. It’s a meritocracy, a place where you can be older, less traditional, and maybe just a little wild in your thinking but accomplished in your doing.
You either get it or you don’t. If you get it – it’s the only place for you: if you don’t, maybe somewhere else is a better match. Apparently, a lot of people think they get it; this past year, applications were up 35%. That means 6000 applicants for 350 slots in the MBA program. If you do the math – and they always do at MIT – this year’s acceptance rate is between 7% and 9%. Yikes!
In real terms, how does this manifest itself – and maybe more importantly for our purposes, how does all this affect your application? Well, it all starts with an application that feels somewhat different: simpler and harder simultaneously:
Please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions. (250 words or fewer)
What this really is asking about is what’ve you done, not what you dream about doing. Sloan’s thinking is if you’ve done it in the past, you can do it in the future. Therefore, the cover letter should focus on past achievements and how all the successes that have come before naturally lead to MIT. Of course, some mention should be made about where the candidate is going, but far more words should be used on the details of past experiences and how they reflect on the candidate’s overall capacity to be successful as a professional going forward.
It is important to note that these experiences and past successes should be highly focused on managerial skills, motivations, team work, leadership, grit, drive, and, of course, entrepreneurship rather than on simple tactical skills. The candidate should not bother laying out their quant skills or that they are really a math person, Sloan will figure this out by their GPA, GMAT score and recommendations. Interestingly, the GPA and GMAT scores at Sloan are lower than expected, likely due to Sloan accepting some older, non-traditional students, who have the pirate-spirit they are seeking.
What may be a quirk to MIT is that not only do they want MIT to be the candidate’s top choice for business school, in some sense they want it to be their only choice. This means the candidate must be very clear about why Sloan and why only Sloan. Sloan takes great pride in the connections it has to the rest of campus, and the broader entrepreneurial community in which it plays an out-sized part (much better than Silicon Valley they claim). A successful applicant stresses being part of the MIT universe and why it’s important to them.
Of course, the process doesn’t quite end there, because there’s the optional essay that’s sort of mandatory.
The Admissions Committee invites you to share additional information about yourself, in any format. If you choose a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us with the URL.
Please keep all videos and media limited to 2:00 minutes total in length.
Please keep all written essays to 500 words or less.
Just another opportunity to “show not tell.” As noted with regard to the first essay/cover letter, there are essentially two levers to push on when applying to MIT. The first is that you have actually done stuff; the second is that MIT is your first and only choice.
Give it to them again: maybe something else entrepreneurial you’ve done, or very specific reasons about why MIT/Sloan/Kendall Square (Sloan’s home).
It is also a good place to explore the nuances that are required for achieving great results. For example, not just talking about the product you created but the internal dynamics of the company (from a team building perspective: What worked, What didn’t? What do you wish you knew when? When leading an organization, how did your own perspective change over time? What do you still need to learn as a manager? Etc.)
One slightly off-topic point but worth mentioning is that Sloan is highly focused on organizational behavior, and the best and most successful essays I have read focus on just this. Its faculty and alumni produce books like “The Fifth Discipline,” “Reengineering the Corporation,” and talk a lot about the “Learning Organization” and organizational theory. An applicant who brings this perspective into their essays will be well-served.
In other words, don’t forget to talk about the heart of the pirate and how esprit de corps matters, more so when you’re pulling together the classic Sloan team for the start-up competition: the 19-year old undergraduate engineer, the French lawyer, the 33-year old African teacher, the Olympic rower and the woman who started the mountaineering business. After all, this is the type of company that is going to change the world.
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Topics: MBA Admissions Insights, MBA Application Tips, School Specific Articles, Your Top Schools | Tags: MIT Sloan School of Management
Now that you have an overview of the kind of candidates who are accepted at MIT Sloan (read our Essay Guide), it is time to do a life audit. We recommend this to all our clients. If you skip this exercise, the chances are that you will cite a ‘not so great’ event that will miss the mark due to perceived non-competitiveness of your role or lack of context, or both. Especially with 300-words and a professionally communicative device like the cover letter, you can’t cite multiple examples from your professional life.
When you are shortlisting the most impactful events for MIT Sloan, follow the three-structure format
Achievement Overview-> Achievement Specifics -> Impact of your team’s success
Our team earned the honor of the fastest growing department in China Telecom contributing a yearly revenue of $500 million, allowing the company to invest the surplus cash in 5G technology.
<Achievement Overview> Our team earned the honor of the fastest growing department in China Telecom
<Achievement Specifics>contributing a yearly revenue of over $500 million
<Impact of your team’s success>allowing the company to invest the surplus cash in 5G technology
Once you have the achievement list with the impact mentioned clearly, create the achievement and the corresponding impact in a Tabular format. Also, translate the achievement to dollar value.
How to Create IMPACT Table - Included in MIT Sloan MBA Essay Guide
There are two metrics that you have to map – the revenue/profit/dollar value with respect to the size of the company, which is measured by the Project Revenue to the Total Revenue ratio, and second the impact of the project on the company’s future. This can be anything ranging from acquiring a new customer to improving market share by 15%. The more specific the impact, the better you will be at articulating your success.
Hurdles that you should mention in the Cover Letter: What your team achieved would mean nothing if you don’t mention one of the five hurdles. With essays, you had the chance to expand on the hurdles, but with cover letter, a single line hinting the hurdle is sufficient.
5 Hurdles that you should mention in MIT Sloan Cover Letter - Included in MIT Sloan Essay Guide
MIT Sloan Profile Example: Let us look at the first example “Our team earned the honor of the fastest growing department in China Telecom contributing yearly revenue of $500 million, allowing the company to invest the surplus cash in 5G technology”
Now let us look at the personality traits of the applicant that allowed the team to be the fastest growing department in China Telecom.
1) Impact Oriented
2) Analytical + Creative
Impact worth mentioning in MIT Sloan Cover Letter: As an applicant, citing the example of navigating the complex egos and delicate censorship issues might seem counterproductive for MIT, but he chose to highlight impact as a value that he shared with Sloan. In 2010, the candidate saw an opportunity to expand the telecom giant’s service to small and medium scale businesses by formulating a strategic partnership with the German software giant SAP.
MIT Sloan MBA Cover Letter Checklist
The standard cover letters for jobs are 500-word long that gives the opportunity to add more than one motivation. Here is a checklist that you should adhere while creating the cover letter:
1) Focus on two aspects of you education
2) Focus on at least ..
3) Cite at least one ..
4) One quality ..
5) Focus on one theme/value that ..
6) Go to the specifics of ..
7) Conclude with how ..
Complete Checklist included in MIT Sloan MBA Essay Guide.
Download the guide herefor Sample Cover Letter, Curriculum Analysis you can use in the Cover letter, Cover Letter Checklist and 200+ Pages of Writing Tips.
Sample Cover Letter
August 07, 2016
Mr. Jon Chui
Dear Mr. Rod Garcia,
I am writing to express my interest in joining the MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2020. With a Bachelor in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, I had the chance to work with the Search Engine giant, Baidu, before pursuing my interest in telecom infrastructure with China Telcom - the largest State Owned Enterprise. Working with a nimble culture in Baidu and a bureaucratic hierarchy in the government, gave me the experiences of both the worlds.
With a GPA of 3.7 from one of China’s top
The above Post is an excerpt from MIT Sloan MBA Essay Guide
MIT Sloan MBA Essay Guide - Testimonials
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"An excellent job of showing what to write for the cover letter. The approach is straightforward. I think the writing tips are an excellent addition that can be used in any MBA application. " - Verified Purchase
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"Written from the perspective of an applicant, the Essay Guide reveals how the mind of the admission team works as they decide whether to accept the applicant. By adhering to the process in the book, one should be able to avoid mentioning achievements that are not relevant and include experience that has a chance to get noticed. This was a great book and essential if you're applying to MIT Sloan on your own or want to go with an admission consultant. You need to read this book. " - Verified Purchase
"The author, an editor and MBA Admissions Consultant, approaches the subject of writing a cover letter as a recipe with clear steps on how to break down the writing process - a different perspective from what I have seen other consultants do. He proceeds to give explanations on how to break down your profile into seven differentiators - education, employment, hurdle, MIT Sloan quality, theme, MIT Sloan curriculum and the value of the program. Very practical and easy to apply " - Verified Purchase
Download the MIT Sloan MBA Essay Guide for Sample Cover Letter, Curriculum Analysis you can use in the Cover letter, Cover Letter Checklist and 200+ Pages of Writing Tips