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MBA Admissions Q&A: MIT Sloan

MBA admissions interview with MIT Sloan

Situated just across the Charles River from the city of Boston, MIT Sloan has long sought to push the envelope of business education in its MBA program. An emphasis on an innovative and experiential approach to business education in this sense is greatly aided by its links to the wider MIT community and expertise.

“We are part of one of the greatest Institutions in the world and we value the opportunities for collaboration across the institute,” says Jeff Carbone, MIT Sloan’s associate director of admissions. Carbone says that it’s a common misconception that you need a tech or engineering background to study at the school. “We are looking for the best and the brightest from all backgrounds,” he points out, before adding: “Our students are smart, grounded, collaborative and impact-oriented.” If you’re keen to join them, take a closer look at this interview in which Carbone offers some advice about the process of applying to the MIT Sloan MBA:

MIT Sloan’s Jeff CarboneWhat is the typical acceptance rate to the MIT Sloan MBA program?

Our acceptance rate ranges from 9-13%, depending on the year.

What are the most important aspects of the Sloan MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA and current job position?

The MBA Admissions Committee at MIT Sloan uses a holistic evaluation process, meaning we look at all the pieces of an application and use them to better understand the applicant as a person. The committee seeks to enroll a diverse class from around the world who are intelligent and innovative team players, and who are willing to step outside their comfort zones. We use a competency-based model to evaluate all applications and focus on an applicant's leadership attributes, management skills, ability to work in teams and the ability to solve complex problems.  

What is a common mistake you see applicants make?

We want to get to know our applicants better. Applicants should be themselves. Sometimes they feel the need to fit a mold of what they think we are looking for. That is not the case. We are looking for people from a variety of backgrounds and who are pursuing their passions. There is an optional question in our application that allows students to show us who they are and what makes them tick. I encourage people to use this. It is a perfect opportunity for applicants to tell us something that is not already highlighted in their application, emphasize something important to them or to explain any extenuating circumstances. 

What is something you would like to see applicants do more often?

A great way to determine if MIT Sloan is the right fit is to learn more, ask questions and come visit! Applicants can attend an event, explore our website, read blogs written by our admissions director and current students, or watch a video on our YouTube channel to learn more. They can also reach out to admissions or current students to ask questions at any time. MIT Sloan is a special place and I encourage applicants to come to campus if they can. Our Ambassadors Program runs during the academic year and is an opportunity for prospective students to attend a class, meet current students, join an information session and get a sense of what a truly amazing place MIT Sloan is.  

What does the MIT Sloan application process look like?

We offer three application rounds each year. Applications are reviewed by members of the Admission Committee which consists of professional staff, not alumni or students. Information from the initial evaluations is used to determine who receives an invitation to interview. Interviews are required for admission and typically 20-25% of the applicant pool will be interviewed. We do our best to interview all candidates in person to get a true sense of who they are.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

The GMAT is just one aspect of the application and [a lower score] can be offset by a strong performance in academic coursework or by substantial work experience and progression. 

MBA admissions tips

Essay(s): Please answer the questions that we ask. Be sure to describe your specific scenario (what you thought, felt, said and did). I know it’s tempting to try and repurpose an essay from another school, but that doesn’t always work in your favor.

Interview: Be yourself, and come to the interview prepared to talk about a variety of recent experiences from your professional and personal lives.  

Letter(s) of recommendation: Choose wisely, and choose someone to whom you report and who knows you best. It does not have to be an alumnus of the school or the CEO of a company.

CV/résumé: Stick to one page and focus on your accomplishments.

School visit: Introduce yourself! Come visit campus and experience firsthand what MIT Sloan has to offer! If you can’t visit, take advantage of our Sloan on the Road information sessions and online resources to learn more.

Written by Mike Grill

Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for TopMBA.com, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.

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