MIT Sloan MBA Application Essays: Analysis 2014-2015

This year MIT’s admissions team decided to be creative and came up with a new, crazy essay – asking candidates to write a recommendation letter for themselves, pretending to be a supervisor.  I guess they realized that many candidates are already writing this kind of letter (whether they want it or not), so why not make a virtue of necessity  and come up with a new question.


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)

Analysis: MBA programs love to ask about their own values and philosophies in their MBA applications; honestly, they guess (correctly) that this is the only time you’re going to read that section of their website (though you’ll probably read it again before your interview). Please, do MIT Sloan (and yourself) a favor and go do some research about MIT Sloan’s curriculum, attitude and approach to leadership.

Notice that this question is about your leadership experience, whether it’s in marketing, finance  or helping kids out of poverty through art. To impress the admissions team up in Boston, you’ll need to go beyond simple bragging about your achievements and connect them to both your career goals and their mission. If you’re already preparing a career-goal essay for Wharton, NYU Stern, or Berkeley, you can leverage some of the content here, but don’t recycle – the focus here is on management practices.

 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)

Analysis: this is the killer question of this year’s MBA application cycle. It is a great way for you to cover a lot of material; however, you want to try and write a letter that is somewhat objective (if that’s possible). You want to show that you’re performing at the top of your peer group, but also discuss areas of continuing development. You can’t say that you’re perfect, or that your weakness is “perfectionism.” You have to talk about strengths and weaknesses. I love it – it will not be an easy essay to write but the process of writing it could be enjoyable, if you are able to relax and enjoy the ride.


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