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Mit Sloan Optional Essay Word Limit Counter

One of the most common questions we get from applicants is, “How strict are schools about word limits in their admissions essays and personal statements?” While the answer itself is rather straightforward, we often encourage applicants to stop focusing on the number, take a step back, and consider what admissions officers are really communicating when they put forward a word limit.

First, we’ll answer the question directly: Schools are not out to reject you for going over a word limit by a small amount. Okay, okay… “What’s a small amount?” you’re asking. One rule of thumb that is frequently tossed around is 10%, although it’s worth noting that admissions consultants tend to promote this rule more than any admissions officer does. However, if you can stay within 10% of the word limit for an essay, you probably are okay.

Having said that, we rarely encounter an essay that we don’t think can get down to the word limit. This is where an extra pair of eyes can be extremely helpful; someone else can look at your essay and give you an objective point of view about which details are truly necessary and which ones can be left on the cutting room floor. But, if the limit is 500 words and you’re at 530, then your time may be better spent on things other than trying to hack another 30 words from your essay.

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s think about what admissions officers are saying when they assign a word limit to an essay. In essence, they’re saying, “After reviewing thousands of applications, we’re very confident that you can thoroughly answer this question in this many words.” Even though you know yourself far better than the admissions officers do, they know the process very well, and they’ve heard it all. They really do want to get to know you well, but they only have so much capacity, so they need their applicants to communicate their stories as efficiently as possible.

As an applicant, if you know this and understand the challenge that admissions officers face, then that’s what will guide your decision. Questions such as “Is 525 words more okay than 535 words?” suddenly seem moot compared to “Is an admissions officer going to feel like I wasted her time when she’s done with my essays?” The former question is the kind of “down in the weeds” issue that the uninformed applicant will focus on; the latter is the kind that a smart, prepared applicant will ask.

It’s sort of like watching a movie… If you don’t like a movie and it’s longer than two hours, you will probably mention the length of the movie when you tell you’re friends not to bother seeing it. “That movie was unrealistic, boring, and… way too long!” But, if it’s a great movie, the length will never come up. You won’t even notice the length; you’ll just know that you enjoyed the story and were glad that you made the journey with the main character. The movie was right-sized for the story it told.

Your admissions essays and personal statements will work in much the same way. You don’t have carte blanche — the word limit that admissions officers provide isn’t an arbitrary one — but the quality of your essay is more important than the actual length. If it does its job well (by answering the question and helping admissions officers) then admissions officers won’t think about the word limit nearly as much as the content. On the other hand, if they’re halfway through your essay and they’re already thinking to themselves, “How much longer will this go on?” then you know that the essay missed the mark.

Again, having excellent content does not allow you to flagrantly disregard word limits. We’re saying that admissions officers, based on their considerable experience, know how long an essay needs to be to be great. A shorter essay can also be great, and so can a longer one, but one that is too long risks boring or annoying tired application readers.

One final note: You would be amazed at how accurately application readers can estimate an essay’s word count just from one glance. Yes, they read enough essays every year that they can tell whether you went over the word limit just by looking at the essay on the page (or, increasingly, on the screen). Around the offices here at Veritas Prep we find that we can usually guess an essay’s word count within about 25 words, just by looking at it. Admissions officers will still read your essay even if it’s long, but know that they may already start to form an opinion about you before they’ve read the first sentence!

If you’re ready to start building your own application for Ross or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Business School, MBA Essays

 

MIT will be issuing interview invites towards the end of February. Good luck if you submitted in Round 2!

 

Based on overall applicant friendliness, MIT Sloan earned EssaySnark’s Radcom of the Year Award in both 2016 and again in 2017! They’re also quite popular with BSers these days: The average GMAT at MIT shot from 716 to now 724 for the Class of 2018 (an all-time high).


 

We do NOT suggest applying to MIT in Round 3 (particularly not this year where we’ve seen so much interest in this school). If you do decide to go for it then may we suggest the MIT Sloan MBA Application guide which discusses all of these important aspects of timing and strategy, and has all the details you need on the cover letter, the new video submission and their ‘mission’ essay too.

2017 MIT Sloan Full-Time MBA Application – Class of 2020

As expected, MIT has retained their cover letter for the 2017 MBA application — and they’ve also added a video component! It has a prescribed question and they’re calling it a “video statement” — you have to record your video and upload it to the app like another essay, as part of the submission. The question is deceivingly simple:

Video Statement

Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief video statement.

This one is going to require some introspection and self-examination in order to answer well! You’ll want to treat this more like a second essay – not to the extent that you’ll literally write out your answer, since that would seriously backfire on you if you were to sit there and read it while you were being filmed. Instead, you’ll outline and prepare your content for both the video statement, and the cover letter, and the optional essay if you need it. Then, you’ll write the cover letter (and write it again – the revision process is critical) and review and adjust your ideas for the video statement. After the cover letter and resume (and optional essay) are all done, when you submit the app, then you’ll also record your video statement too. You need to know how you’re going to handle it before you send it all in! This requires a concentrated approach.

For the cover letter, which is another assignment that Brave Supplicants have found challenging, they’ve thankfully given you BSers a break this year by expanding the max length of that cover letter by 50 words. You may not think that 50 words is very much but believe the ‘Snark, 300 words is WAY more than 250. This is still going to be an exceedingly challenging essay to write (mostly because it’s really not an essay) however you won’t have quite as tough a time as last year’s crop of applicants did.

Here are the full instructions for the written components – these also have been greatly expanded and further explained so you know what you’re getting int. They are helping you significantly here!

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, Senior Director of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

Resume

Please submit a resume that includes your employment history and academic record in reverse chronological order. Other information appropriate to a business resume is welcomed and encouraged. (no more than 1 page in length)

The cover letter at MIT is actually a long-standing tradition that they resuscitated last year, after previously having it as recently as 2012 (when it was but one of a suite of essays).

Well offer you this from Twitter’s Professor Snarky (no relation):

Dear student: A job cover letter needs to say what they'll get out of hiring you, not what you'll get out of being hired.

— Professor Snarky (@ProfSnarky) September 16, 2017


 

Because of the video question, which is pretty open-ended, then the Additional Information submission for MIT has moved back to text only; it can now be up to 200 words, which means you should use it as you would any other school’s optional essay (meaning, only if specifically needed to explain something that you can’t otherwise explain elsewhere in the application, like low GPA, gaps in employment, etc.). Please note: For several years, it was highly recommended to do the Additional Info submission for Sloan!! That has now changed!!!! You will need to evaluate your circumstances very carefully and see what you’re conveying with the cover letter + resume + video statement! Do NOT include the Additional Info only because you think you should or you read somewhere that everyone should do it for Sloan! That advice is now outdated. If you’re researching posts here on the blahg about your app strategy for MIT, please pay careful attention to the date; anything that does not say 2017 is not likely to be accurate with this year’s application instructions.

But wait! There’s more! 🙂

MIT has a unique element to their process: If you get invited to interview then you’ll need to submit a separate essay as part of that process. The essence of this question is that they’re asking for a story where you’ve being successful in some capacity in your career that demonstrates how you’re in sync with their mission (note that as of 7/31/17 we’ve been informed by a sharp-eyed BSer that it’s a change to the actual prompt from what they had before):

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. We believe that a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and well-being is a key component of both principled leadership and sound management practice. In 250 words or less, please describe how you, as a member of the MIT Sloan community, would work to create a campus that is welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse.

This is now in line with many other schools that are not just focusing on their own culture but also on how each applicant will actually contribute to it in a civil way, to foster growth and change productively (in contrast with the polarized politics a lot of people are fostering in the “real world” right now). This is not an easy question! There’s a lot to parse here and you could go in many different directions with it — which is both a grand opportunity and also a very big challenge. Most people don’t do so well in articulating how they feel they’re a fit through this (it is NOT asking you for the standard info of “I want to take this course or be in this club” stuff that so many applicants use in other essays). This one needs to be part of your full strategy. We actually suggest you write it when you write your cover letter. Our essay guide explains why, and how). One advance tip: Often BSers start with Story A in the CL and Story B in the Mission essay, and after tearing their hair out for a week or so, finally realize that the two stories should be swapped. Which is yet another reason why it’s so strategic to work on them together. Be open to totally juggling around your ideas as you go through this.

Full app requirements available at the MIT website and a full explanation of your best approach to those is in our MIT MBA app guide for 2017!

 
 

Dang, lots of changes again this year, Sloan! The recommenders’ requirements also have been changed! And they shifted their Round 1 deadline out till later in September, which takes the pressure off when you’re scrambling to get other top schools done earlier in the month. And – yes there’s more! – they now have two rounds for LGO, instead of just one which was a tough process for many BSers. These are all awesome improvements; they’re streamlining, clarifying, and otherwise changing for the better. Yet Sloan is still Sloan! You will not be able to reuse anything you’ve done for any other school (except for the parts that capture YOU; those parts won’t need to be changed!). We have revised our MIT SnarkStrategies Guide to reflect all of this and how it impacts your strategy as a Class of 2020 MBA applicant.

There’s also been a number of posts on the EssaySnark blahg about the MIT Sloan cover letter and resume this year – see the Snark Info on Sloan section below for some highlights.

We also definitely recommend getting up to Boston to experience Sloan for yourself, and if not, then be sure to get in front of the adcom in one of their traveling sessions if at all possible. This really will help you quite a bit.

 
 

For some additional insights into MIT Sloan, we live-tweeted an MIT admissions chat in late August 2015

From @MITSloanAdcom: "Common mistake is people who don't follow instructions-seems like common sense but happens more often then you think."

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

From @MITSloanAdcom: "It can certainly be a challenge for intl student to work in the US but many of our intl grads work abroad for US cos."

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

Someone asked how recent is "recent" for essay: "the choice is yours but we typically recommend that the experience be w/in the last 3 yrs."

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

Here's a good Q: "Do you expect managerial experience from candidates or will demonstrated leadership experience in other roles suffice ?"

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

The @MITSloanAdcom's answer: "Leadership in other roles is perfectly fine. The average work experience is typically 5 years."

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

At least they're still consistent on this! "We would prefer a one page resume." All schools do BTW.

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

From @MITSloanAdcom: "The only advice I have for interview is to print your application and think of new examples to talk about!"

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

Confirming what we've been saying for years now: From @MITSloanAdcom: "I always encourage people to apply in round 1 if possible."

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

Pick up the 2017 MIT essay guide to learn how to approach the app! It’s been completely revised for this year’s requirements.



 

Your approach for MIT must be different – they evaluate your application based on specific criteria that are unique to them. If you want to understand how this works, please pick up the SnarkStrategies Guide for MIT – it will help you grasp what’s so very unique about this school’s admissions criteria, compared to other top MBA programs.

 
 

MIT 2017 FULL-TIME MBA Dates and Deadlines

  • Regular MBA and LGO Round 1: – More applicant-friendliness from MIT this year! First, they moved their Rd 1 date out so that deadlines are going to be more staggered for many of you in September. Big win! Second, they’re now letting you apply to LGO in Round 1, too! Used to be, LGO apps were due in December and there was only one deadline, and it was definitely not optimized if you were trying for other schools in Round 1. This is way better

    Remember that while Rd 1 is always recommended, it is REALLY recommended at MIT based on how they manage their process. Rd 1 interview invitations will start going out on October 5th and then come on every Thursday until November 2nd, when applicants they won’t be moving forward with will be released. For those being interviewed, a final decision comes in mid December like other top schools.

  • LGO Round 2: – if you’re interested in LGO then this can work too but for most of you, Round 1 will be better due to timing of decisions with other schools. (LGO is a joint degree with MIT Engineering, you can find out more here .)
  • Regular MBA Round 2: yay thank you also MIT for keeping your Round 2 date later!!!!!! OMG jumping up and down you make the ‘Snark happy on behalf of all future BSers everywhere. Round 2 interview invitations will go out in a first wave on February 22, then on March 1 there will be a second (final) wave and “release” for those not moving forward. Interviews will be conducted by the adcom in international locations throughout March.

Please note that MIT had only two rounds for admission up through the 2015-2016 application cycle, so it’s very possible that you could read posts from the ‘Snarchives that are outdated in how they talk about timing of an application strategy for this school. Always check to see that the information you’re consuming here and elsewhere is current and applicable to the current year!

We REALLY do not recommend a Round 3 application to this school. It will be MUCH HARDER to figure out your reapplicant strategy for Round 1 in Fall 2018 if you don’t make it in the first time, and there are very low chances that you will make it in at this stage of the admissions cycle at this school especially. If you opt for it anyway, then you should definitely pick up our MIT application guide to assist (and we’d also suggest the full Essay Decimator too).

 

There are a lot of changes with the MIT admissions requirements! The 2017 MIT Application Guide is now available, with a full discussion of what to do and how to maximize your chances in light of the new application.

Recommendations

1For 2017, MIT has moved to standardized recommender questions – which is a big win since they used to have a total one-off requirement that was unlike other schools.

 


 

For Reference: MIT’s Past-Season Questions

Included in case anyone wants to see what Sloan asked before.
Click to view last year's questions


2016 MIT Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis

They are officially going retro! MIT has restored their classic “cover letter” question, which was the very first form of an “introduce yourself” type essay that any school ever instituted. Good news: We’ve got lots of experience in helping successful applicants work through this important deliverable!

Cover Letter and Resume

Cover Letter: Please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions. (250 words or fewer for the body of the letter)

Resume: Please submit a resume that includes your employment history and academic record in reverse chronological order. Other information appropriate to a business resume is welcomed and encouraged. (no more than 1 page in length)

Thankfully they’ve clarified now that the 250 words is the body of the cover letter only!

On each of these EssaySnark school essay question and info pages, we always retain our commentary from past seasons’ app requirements at the bottom – and in the case of MIT Sloan, we’re going to recommend you actually go through and read all of that. The info on last year’s app can give some context into the changes that the adcom has been making. Also, to fill you in, the cover letter requirement was a staple of the MIT app through 2012 when it was but one of a suite of essays. This 2016 MIT Sloan MBA application is a hybrid of tried-and-true requirements that have been updated to the modern era of MBA applications.

As an example of the modern era, they’ve again kept their “Additional Information” optional submission, which we actually say is not optional – this is one of the very few schools where you really do want to submit something for this:

Optional Question: The Admissions Committee invites you to share additional information about yourself, in any format. If you choose a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us with the URL.

Suggested guidelines:
Please keep all videos and media limited to 2:00 minutes total in length.
Please keep all written essays to 500 words or less.
If hosting your submission on a website, please ensure you provide an unprotected link (no password required).

Instead of this being a traditional “optional essay” which we typically suggest you DON’T submit unless you have to in order to explain something, in this case, for MIT, we suggest you DO come up with something to include here – particularly this year when there’s only the single essay for the app. Our MIT essay guide goes into all the strategy behind this suggestion.

We have revised our comprehensive MIT SnarkStrategies Guide to reflect all of this and how it impacts your strategy as a Class of 2019 MBA applicant. We do NOT recommend buying any previous season version of this school’s guide; it will NOT help you with the core application and the details involved with this year’s strategy.

They’ve also kept their post-interview-invite essay where they want you to tell a story about being successful in the context of their mission – a classic “culture” type question:

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. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer).

Only those who are lucky enough to get invited to the interview stage will need to do this additional essay (we actually suggest you write it when you write your cover letter though! our essay guide explains why, and how).

Recommendations

MIT has their own recommendation requirements – not standardized recommender questions
  • 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?
  • If you are an academic/technical recommender, please tell us how well the applicant mastered the subject you taught or supervised and in what ways did the applicant demonstrate this mastery. (LGO only?)
  • Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.

Our Recommender’s Instruction Sets can be especially useful for this school!

[end discussion of MIT’s last-year questions]



Click to view 2015 questions

2015 MIT Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis

Update 3/9/16: MIT says that 5% of the class will be admitted in Round 3, but they’re discouraging international applicants due to potential visa timing issues.

MIT WAS PICKY IN ROUND 1!!! They’re clearly going for an improvement to their rankings based on a strengthening of the class profile. We expect average GMAT score to go up even further at MIT for the Class of 2018, based on the outcomes we’re seeing from them so far this season. (We did predict that, back in May…)

In the “it’s ever more competitive” department: Average GMAT score at MIT is now 716 (up from 713). Wow.

Thankfully (!!!) MIT has modified its application this year. Their essay questions the past two cycles were straight-up awful for BSers to deal with. This year they’ve gone down to ONE main question – which normally we’d be rather unhappy about, except that they’re also introducing a system sort of similar to HBS, where you submit a second essay if you’re invited to interview. (Harvard’s Post-Interview Reflection is not the same, but it’s the same idea: get another submission from the applicant at the interview stage.) AND while on first glance it appeared that MIT retained the worst of the worst of its essay prompts from last year (see below), actually they changed that too! All around positives.

The other big change? They’re EXPANDING their admissions cycle to three rounds. For a very long time, MIT has had just two rounds – yet for several years running, we’ve heard that they accepted “late” applications after their January Round 2 date was past. So they sort of kind of let you apply after their final deadline anyway. They’re now standardizing to do what every other top school does. Three Rounds. September, January, April. Cool.

We’ve written about our impressions on this change on the blahg: “Three rounds at MIT: Does it matter?” (May 11, 2015)

The main application essay question is what we’re most pleased about. Here it is:

Tell us about a recent success you had: How did you accomplish this? Who else was involved? What hurdles did you encounter? What type of impact did this have? (500 words or fewer).

This is such a classic “significant achievement” question that we’re practically rejoicing here in Snarkville. Such questions let applicants communicate in ways that are revealing – at least, provided the applicant does a good job with the question! The question itself is absolutely awesome: It has subparts that guide you on what to focus on, it’s a reasonable length to convey what’s needed, and it’s unambiguous. Thank you, Sloan!

We have a category for posts here on the blahg called “essay types – ‘achievement’ essays” which you may want to investigate if you’re researching how to approach this. Our – wait for it – Accomplishments & Achievements App Accelerator may also be useful in hashing through your possible topics and figuring out which “recent success” is going to be most effective for you to present.

What other goodness is coming from the MIT announcement?

Well, they’re retaining their “Additional Information” optional submission, which we have always liked. Here’s the wording for that:

Optional Question: The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format.

Good stuff already coming @MITSloanAdcom chat: "It is highly recommended you also submit optional essay" (tho it's schoolspecific advice!)

— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 26, 2015

They’re also introducing a post-interview-invite essay requirement which looks remarkably similar to what they asked as a main essay prompt for the past two years, except that they fixed the awkwardness of it and now they’re just asking you to tell another story about being successful somehow:

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. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer).

MIT had a near-identical question as its Essay 1 for two years and almost entirely because of that, had been recognized here in Snarkville as having the worst essay questions. This new version of the prompt is much better – though 250 words is very short. If you are in the lucky position of being invited to interview at MIT, you definitely will want to avail yourself of the benefits in our Sloan essay strategy guide — though hopefully you will get the guide right away so that you can benefit from the entire strategy we lay forth!

To get this new app info straight from the horse’s mouth: Here’s the early May 2015 blog post from MIT Admissions announcing these changes .

As of that early May 2015 announcement of the new essay questions, their app requirements page had NOT been fully edited and updated (once again, MIT exhibits sloppiness – as of this writing on 5/10/15, they have the new essay questions listed at the top but then the discussion of Letters of Recommendation talks about an “essay #2” which is a leftover comment from last year’s app). We’re not saying that we never have errors on our site – but on a school’s app requirements page? Proofread, Sloan Adcom, proofread.

7/16/15 Good news! MIT continues to introduce applicant-friendly changes. We’ve now discovered that they ditched the ridiculous suggestion that applicants submit a resume in Sloan’s own resume format, and that the resume could be only “50 lines.” These restrictions were just silly, and created undue stress for candidates. You still should only be submitting a one-page resume (that’s true for any school) but now you don’t have to worry about a particular format for a particular school (especially when that format did not even demonstrate best practices for MBA applicants). Thank you, Sloan Adcom, for coming around!!

MIT 2015 Dates and Deadlines
MIT now has three rounds!
MIT Full-Time MBA Application Deadlines announced
That means: Be careful about any posts you read here on the blahg about “two rounds” and MIT. We have discussed the implications of this change to three rounds in the 2015 MIT Application Guide but we have not gone back over our historical posts here on this site to offer warnings or corrections – what we may have said in the past about application strategy at MIT may not apply to this new world of a standardized admissions cycle.

  • Round 1: – almost a week earlier than Rd 1 was last year. Traditionally this has been the most advantageous at MIT but we don’t know if that will hold true quite in the same way this year (Rd 1 is always recommended but it used to be REALLY recommended at MIT based on how they managed their two-round cycle; Rd 1 will still be an advantage, but it’s a TBD on how big of an advantage it will be going forward at this school).
    Based on a 10/7/15 announcement on the MIT blog , interview invitations this year will work the same as they did last year in Round 1: They’ll start going out in mid-October, through the “week of November 9th” (not sure why they can’t name the actual day?). That’s when the Round 1 “release from consideration” happens, which is a nice way to say “no” to you if they’re not interested. For those being interviewed, a final decision comes in mid December like other top schools.
  • Round 2: . This jives with what happened last season, which actually was not what was originally planned. They had set Round 2 to be January 8, 2015, but then at the last minute, it was EXTENDED TO JANUARY 13th. Round 2 is always viable at MIT. Round 2 interview invitations will going out the week of February 15th (same as last year), with Round 2 release to happen somewhere around March 1st.
  • Round 3 – THIS IS NEW: April 11, 2016. We don’t generally post Round 3 deadlines here on the blahg because it’s typically near-impossible to get in then. HOWEVER: Since Round 3 is NEW at MIT, then we can only expect that they have modified their internal admissions processes to leave spots open for candidates at that stage. We still believe it will be difficult to get in on a Round 3 app but in this case, it may not be quite so difficult as it would be elsewhere. YMMV.

Whew! That’s a lot of change!

If you want to understand how this works, please pick up the SnarkStrategies Guide for MIT (2015 version) – it will help you grasp what’s so very unique about this school’s admissions criteria, compared to other top MBA programs. And of course, you get a full discussion of the impact of the changes with the addition of Round 3 and everything else. The 2015 guide was totally overhauled from 2014; this is not an edit or refresh, it’s a completely new book!

[end discussion of MIT’s 2015 questions]


Click to view 2014 questions

2014 MIT Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis

Here’s what we said when the 2014 questions came out… remember this analysis is from a previous year.

Two “essays” (if you can call them that):

  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)
  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? Really, MIT? REALLY?!?
    • 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.

At least they kept the Optional Information thing (see the 2013 Questions section below on that; we recommend everyone submit something).

They also kept essentially the same deadlines as they had in 2013.

MIT Full-Time 2014 MBA Application Deadlines announced
[end discussion of MIT’s 2014 questions]


Click to view 2013 questions

2013 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis

Here’s what we said when the 2013 questions came out.

Wow! No cover letter?!??? [They had this cover-letter thing as part of their app for YEARS. Decades, maybe. They ditched it in 2013.] They really switched things up! Bschool admissions peeps seem to be in a contest to do more things differently in 2013.

Here’s the Sloan 2013 essay questions:

Two essays:

  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/one page max)
  2. Describe a time [within the last three years] when you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. (500 words/one page max)
  3. Optional Question: The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format.

First note: ESSAY 1 IS HARD!!!!!!

Second note: While most every school allows an “optional essay”, in most cases, we advise to only write it when you have something important to explain that you can’t cover elsewhere in the app (typically a gap in employment, not getting a rec from a current supervisor, what happened during college and that low GPA, etc.). For MIT, we recommend that EVERYONE submit the “Optional Question” and in particular that you do so using a non-written format if possible – e.g., video or something snappy. Note though: They don’t allow uploads. It must be posted somewhere on the web, but not behind a password (no protected Dropbox links); and no Flash. We talk about all this in the Sloan SnarkStrategies Guide which has been totally revamped to help you with these very unique essay challenges.

[end discussion of 2013 questions]



 Click to view 2012 questions


2012 questions – these are REALLY OLDBUT, UPDATE JUNE 2016, NOW RELEVANT AGAIN! -ES
A cover letter and two essays:
  1. Please prepare a cover letter (up to 500 words) seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA program. Your letter should describe your accomplishments, address any extenuating circumstances that may apply to your application, and conform to standard business correspondence. Your letter should be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions.
  2. Essay 1: Please describe a time when you had to convince a person or a group of your idea.
  3. Essay 2: Please describe a time when you overcame a personal setback.

[end discussion of 2012 questions]




 

MIT Links, Important App Info, and Some Snark

official school pages:

 
 

EssaySnark’s posts on MIT:

 

We haven’t reviewed too many MIT essays on the blahg, however there’s plenty of other schools with similar-enough questions that we have covered:

We go into great detail in the Sloan essay guide on how to handle the questions that this school asks. Start there. Then, if you want an MIT essay reviewed – for free! – on the blahg, try sending it over! If you’re looking for personalized and private help, then our standard Essay Decimator is ideal (we strongly suggest writing BOTH ESSAYS together at once; that way, you can get your entire pitch critiqued, and you’ll be ahead of the game when it’s time for that interview invite to come along!).
 

 
 

[Index of essay questions by business school]

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