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 Here are MIT Sloan's essays for this year, along with our tips and tricks to help you ace them.

By Ben Feuer

 

Essay 1: The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and 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, limited to one page)

This is a leadership essay, an opportunity to use specific stories from the past (three years) to talk about how you are preparing yourself to be an innovative leader, improving the world and advancing management practice.  It is worth noting that MIT asks for stories, plural, but only offers 500 words to write the essay, so your best bet is to focus on two stories. Remember that you do not have to limit yourself to talking about your job.  Do you have any interesting extracurricular stories to add?  Any personal leadership stories? When you write your essay, try to be specific with names, dates and places for clarity’s sake, and avoid jargon or heavily functional stories (the time I singlehandedly overhauled our backend system for handling orders) – focus on leadership, influencing and motivating people.

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.

All right, so there’s an obvious reason this prompt exists, and let’s get it out of the way right away – Sloan doesn’t want you writing your own recommendations on behalf of your supervisors.  Fair enough.  But you weren’t planning to do that anyway, were you?

As an essay, this is an unusual opportunity to ‘stand in the shoes’ of your current supervisor – literally.  You are supposed to ‘be’ your supervisor to answer this essay, by the way, not just some ‘generic’ supervisor.  Focus on finding specific stories and specific moments that highlight things you did exceptionally well.   If you do it right, this essay can be a fantastic complement to your actual recommendation, going into detail on things your supervisor did not have the space or inclination to highlight, and vice versa.

Optional Question

The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format. If you choose to use a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us the URL.

First of all – this is NOT a conventional optional essay.  Every candidate should answer this question.  This is an ‘open-ended’ essay, a prompt with no particular guidance, like Harvard’s and Booth’s.  Although you are free to write about whatever seems best to you, think carefully about this essay in the context of your overall application.  What is interesting about you, or important to you, that you have not had the chance to write about so far in your application?  Another clue to help you – since multimedia is an option, is there something you do or care about that have a visual component?  Finally, some simple warnings – avoid writing about travel or sports (especially so-called extreme sports like skydiving) because almost everyone applying will have a lot of these stories.  And don’t neglect the personal!  Essays about family experiences are often the most distinctive and revealing.

 

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