MIT Sloan Deadlines, Essays & Analysis (Class of 2012, Starting Fall 2010)

DEADLINES[table id=11/] * Reapplicants must submit their application by the Round I deadline.


Cover Letter

Prepare a cover letter (up to 500 words) seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Describe your accomplishments and include an example of how you had an impact on a group or organization. Your letter should conform to standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Director of MBA Admissions.

Analysis: The cover letter has been part of the MIT Sloan application for a number of years now, and at least one other top MBA program sees its value (see this year's HBS questions). Since MBA programs serve, in a sense, as a job recruitment gateway, and since they have such a high interest in your future employability, it makes sense to see how well you can present yourself in a standard of Western business practice - the cover letter. They've tweaked the instructions a bit over the past two years (see 2007-08, 2008-09 Sloan questions) but the main challenge remains the same: you need to present a strong, comprehensive and clear statement of both your desire and suitability for MIT Sloan in proper business letter format (header, date, address, salutation, body, closing, etc. - Google it).

While it doesn't explicitly ask for it, you should consider including a brief statement of your goals, especially if they are supported by or related to your "accomplishments" and "impact". In fact, you might want to save the cover letter for last, so you can incorporate the topics from the essays (see below). Doing so will allow for a consistent and integrated view of your candidacy, while also exemplifying the core skills and motivations that have fueled your success. The MIT adcom will notice if you just do a cut-and-paste job, so be sure to put significant original effort into this. If you need the words, I would consider skipping the "Why MIT" part. They don't ask for it, and it's hard to say something unique or meaningful in such a small space. By the way, as far as I can tell, the 500 word limit applies only to the main body of the letter.

We are interested in learning more about you and how you work, think, and act. For each essay, please provide a brief overview of the situation followed by a detailed description of your response. Please limit the experiences you discuss to those which have occurred in the past three years.

In each of the essays please describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did.


Overview: MIT's application went from excruciating to merely difficult this year since they dropped their usual four essays to three. But judging by their questions, MIT is still interested in just one thing: leadership, expressed in different forms. This year's Stanford GSB choice essays are similar in that regard. Your topics can be a balance of personal and professional, but MIT strictly adheres to the within-the-past-three-years rule. And while the essay topics don't say so explicitly, and while I can imagine effective topics that don't, the more clearly your stories end in a "win" the better. Their instructions to include your thoughts, feelings, words and actions are golden advice for any essay, any school.

The MBA Leadership Essay can give you an idea of how to structure and populate all 3 answers. Concentrate on the difficulties you faced, the specific details of how you overcame them, and the results. Don't be surprised if the same story could be used for more than one question. I've tried to isolate the key leadership components in each to help you generate ideas and choose the most fitting topic for each.

All applicants:

Essay 1: Please describe a time when you went beyond what was defined, expected, established, or popular. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Analysis: Good leaders have the audacity to make something new happen.

Essay 2: Please describe a time when you coached, trained, or mentored a person or group. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Analysis: Good leaders devote time, effort and creativity to make others better.

Essay 3: Please describe a time when you took responsibility for achieving an objective. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Analysis: Good leaders step up when no one else does.