The MIT Sloan Cover Letter
Many people get thrown off by the MIT Sloan Cover Letter, but if you handle it properly, it could be one of the easiest essays you write during the MBA application process. Hint: understanding what not to include might be more important than understanding what is.
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 examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Assistant Dean of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).
Don’t be distracted or overwhelmed by the long preamble. The most important word in the entire prompt is “examples”. Everything else is decoration. By that I mean you should not waste precious words on flowery introductions or long-winded conclusions. You should not bore the adcom by naming the alumni you’ve met, the classes you want to take, or how the school motto, “mens et manus” (“mind and hand”), really resonates with you. With only 300 words available, you must focus on the one thing MIT Sloan cares about above all else: examples proving you have the qualities they seek.
These examples should express your best, most distinctive achievements, all ideally aligned to provide a clear and strong rationale for your goals, which are fine to mention briefly. Generally speaking, your best achievements will include the traits that MIT Sloan wants, but add context and details if necessary to make the connections clear. Don’t feel obligated to provide an example of each trait mentioned. It’s not a checklist and it's just not possible given the limited space.
On a final note, the MIT Sloan Cover Letter can be a nasty slog if you haven’t already finished several applications. By working on other MBA applications first, you’ll have a more clear vision of your goals and purpose for pursuing an MBA, along with examples that reveal the strengths and characteristics that MIT Sloan cares most about. For my clients who apply with several schools already completed, we can usually finish the cover letter in just two or three drafts. Without, we can easily reach 20 drafts as we try to develop a lot of key MBA application components from scratch, and distill them into the shortest form possible while achieving good balance throughout. If you find yourself struggling, this might explain why.