Following the release of MIT’s MBA Deadlines, here is our guide to Sloan’s written and video application essays. There have been no major changes to the app this year and, it’s important to note, that there is no optional essay required.
Instead of an optional section, applicants are provided with two spaces within the Academic Information and Employment Information portions to address any problems in their profile, such as poor school performance or significant job gaps. Should there be any red flags in your history, it goes without saying that it is in your best interest to use that space.
Because MIT’s MBA admissions process is hyper-competitive, your first step to standing out should be to learn and connect with the program: dig deep into MIT’s courses, structure, culture, and the things that make MIT different. Interacting with the program’s staff, as well as former and current students, either virtually or in-person, should also 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 about this essay is whether or not MIT actually wants a cover letter. The answer is, sort of. While this essay’s format should follow that of a generic cover letter, its content should be oriented to match MIT’s unique tone and preferences.
In terms of substance, the two main areas of focus should be on your experiences and MIT’s MBA. The larger part of your essay should share examples from your life that reflect MIT values, such as recent professional experiences and successes. You can extend your focus, however, as long as you make sure to highlight the qualities that MIT values, such as leadership, teamwork, creativity, and communication.
For the cover letter’s second portion, try connecting the experiences you just mentioned to concrete aspects of MIT’s program or culture. It’s best to only include relevant points gathered from your prior research and outreach — generality risks coming across as a lack of effort, care, or both. Keep in mind that the purpose of this second part is to show how you fit the profile that MIT is searching for.
Finally, while cover letters can at times come across as dry, it’s important to show a bit of style and creativity while writing this particular one. It’s best to avoid generic language when possible, and try to pique your reader’s interest by employing an engrossing and generally 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 grow its strong, supportive student and alumni network. In order to accomplish that goal, they try to ensure that admitted candidates will actively participate in Sloan’s MBA community. In order to best answer this potential essay, try to identify how your previous interests and activities align with those available at MIT, especially those outside of the classroom. Feel free to be creative. It may help to ask yourself how you can improve a particular MIT community or association, and to ask yourself how that improvement is linked with your 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 understandably make many people nervous. However, this isn’t like INSEAD’s video essay where you’re asked a series of random questions and need to think on your feet (for more about that sort of requirement, read our post here). Instead, for MIT you can plan the video out as much as you’d like. The question then becomes, what should you do with so much control?
Before we get to the shoulds, let’s quickly review the shouldn’ts. This is not a place where you should be mentioning any subjects that have been discussed in other parts of the application. Neither is this a question about your future goals, nor is it about MIT. This video is all about you.
Most applicants benefit from taking a personal approach here. First, take some time to outline the passions that define your life. 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? There are many questions you can ask yourself to help identify them.
Once you have a rough outline of what you’d like to present about yourself, consider how to best present those aspects. First of all, this isn’t a movie shoot: a camera crew is not a must (unless you happen to actually work in the film industry). However, there are many ways to bring your passions to life without having your video come across as overworked. If some of your main interests revolve around flight, for example, why not shoot your video amidst aeronautical materials or even in an airplane hangar – either could be a simple method to visually connect the viewer with your message. Beyond the mise-en-scène, we recommend that you practice your pitch so as 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 application for MIT Sloan, contact us to be put in touch with the industry’s best MIT MBA experts.