Following the release of MIT’s MBA Deadlines, we’re publishing our guide to the written and video application essays. While there have been no major changes to the app this year, it’s important to note that, just like last year, there is no optional essay.
Instead of the optional section, you are provided with two small spaces within the Academic Information and Employment Information portions to explain away any problems in your profile, such as poor school performance or significant job gaps. It goes without saying that it is in your best interest to use that space, should there be any red flags in your history.
Because of MIT’s hyper-competitive MBA admissions process, your first step in standing out should be learning and connecting with the program: dig deep into the courses, structure, culture, and differentiators at MIT. Interacting with the MBA staff, as well as former and current students, either virtually or in-person, should play a key role in your admissions process 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 professional 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).
One of the most common questions we get about this essay is whether MIT really wants a cover letter. The answer is a resounding sort of. While the format of this essay is that of a generic cover letter, the content has to be oriented to match the unique tone and preferences of MIT.
In terms of substance, there should be two main areas of focus: your experiences and MIT’s MBA. The larger part of your essay should mention specific examples from your life that reflect MIT values. You may wish to concentrate on recent professional experiences and successes, though you can extend your focus as long as you make sure to highlight those qualities that MIT finds invaluable, such as leadership, teamwork, creativity, and communication.
For the second portion of the cover letter, try to connect the experiences you just mentioned to concrete aspects of MIT. It’s best to include only relevant and specific points that you’ve gathered from your prior research and outreach (generality tends to come across as a lack of effort, care, or both). Keep in mind that the purpose of this second part is to show that you fit the type of profile that MIT is searching for.
Finally, while cover letters might at times come across as rather dry, it’s important to show a bit of style and creativity in your approach to writing this particular one. It’s best to avoid generic language when possible, as you try to pique the interest of the reader by employing an engrossing and positive tone.
Potential Additional Essay (Interview Dependent) – 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 response will be included in the interview invitation.
MIT wants to continue developing its strong, supportive network. In order to accomplish that goal, they need to make sure that potential candidates are going to actively participate in the MBA community of Sloan. In order to best answer this question, try to identify where your previous interests and activities align with those available at MIT, especially outside of the classroom. Feel free to be creative with what you can bring to the table. It may help to ask yourself, how can I improve the community or a particular association? And how is that improvement linked with my particular strengths, interests, and former experiences?
Applicants are required to upload a 1 minute (60 second) video as part of their application. 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.
Videos should adhere to the following guidelines:
No more than 1 minute (60 second) in length
Single take (no editing)
You should be speaking directly to the camera
Do not include background music or subtitles
We recommend using applications such as QuickTime or iMovie to record yourself. Upload the video file according to the detailed instructions within the application.
Video recordings make a lot of people nervous, however, this isn’t an INSEAD-type video essay in which you’re asked a series of random questions and need to think on your feet (you can learn more about that sort of requirement here). Actually, you can plan this video out as much as you’d like. The question here is, what should you do with so much control?
Before we get to the shoulds, let’s quickly go over the shouldn’ts. This is not the part of the application where you should be mentioning any subjects that have already been discussed in other parts. Neither is this a question about your future goals nor is it about MIT. This is all about you.
Most applicants would profit from a personal approach here. Take some time to figure out what are the big passions that define your life. There are many questions you could pose to yourself to help identify them. What are the hobbies that take up most of your time? What are the events that have recently caused you to change your mind? What are the principles that guide your daily life?
Once you have a rough idea of what you’d like to present about yourself, you should consider how to present those aspects. Firstly, this isn’t a movie shoot: a camera crew is not necessary (unless you happen to actually work in the film industry). However, there are ways you can bring your passions to life without having the video come across as overworked. For instance, if some of your main interests revolve around flight, shooting your video surrounded by aeronautical materials or even in an airplane hangar could be a simple way to visually connect the viewer with your message. Now, beyond the mise-en-scène, you want to practice your pitch to make sure that your speech comes across in a natural, friendly, and attractive manner, all while remaining professional.
If you’re interested in building a powerful app for Sloan, be sure to reach out to us to be put in touch with the industry’s best MIT MBA experts.