Thoughts on MIT Sloan 2014-2015 Essays

Essay 1: 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.  Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities.   (500 words or fewer) This same essay last year caused a lot of confusion among my clients and I saw a few different approaches tried by others. While I'm not sure what happened to the others, I'll tell you what worked for my 3-4 clients who were interviewed and accepted at Sloan last year.

This essay has essentially two parts:

1) Define and describe your goals in the most minimal terms possible while still showing that they fulfill Sloan's mission. In other words, highlight the idealistic aspects and foreseen impacts of your career ambitions.

2) Cite personal and professional examples and achievements that show your potential to succeed in your goals. This part should be the overwhelming majority of the essay, like 90-95%, as more than any other school, MIT Sloan believes that your past is the best predictor of your future.

Essay 2: Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself.  Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: (750 words or fewer)

  • How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  • How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
  • Please give an example of the applicant's impact on a person, group, or organization.
  • Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
  • Which of the applicant's personal or professional characteristics would you change?
  • Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.

Kellogg used to ask a similar question, prompting you, the applicant, to write an admissions report about yourself from the perspective of an adcom member. Similarly, Sloan seems to have adopted this unusual approach to test your self-awareness, objectivity, and even empathy with your most recent supervisor in a way that is also example- and information-rich. With this essay prompt, MIT has also quite cleverly given themselves a potential assessment tool to probe the true authorship of your letters of recommendation, so be careful!