MIT’s Most Challenging MBA Essay

If your career ambitions are limited in size and scope, then investing the time and money in a Sloan MBA education may not be wise. The program is designed to provide you with the leadership abilities and business skills to achieve amazing things in your career. But a MIT Sloan education will not benefit all careers equally. Therefore, the admissions committee will expect the candidate to argue persuasively that his or her career and personal development goals match what Sloan has to offer. The committee wants to admit students who are highly motivated to pursue a Sloan MBA and who will benefit the most from the experience.

Key Accomplishments

The MIT Sloan Cover letter specifically calls for your accomplishments and an example of how you have had an impact on an organization. While the cover letter is a proxy for the career goals essay required by many other programs, consider using accomplishments from both work and extra-curriculars to demonstrate your well-rounded background and your fit with Sloan.

Tip #1: Express your passion and enthusiasm for your future career with a career vision statement.

Before starting your cover letter, developing a career vision will help determine why you are seeking a place in the MIT Sloan class this year. Defining your career vision and specific career goals also makes answering the “Why MIT Sloan” part of the letter easier. Once you know where you are headed, it is easier to explain to the admissions committee how an MIT Sloan MBA fits into your career game plan.

It will take some time to craft an effective career vision statement. Here are a few questions that might help you evaluate and refine your career vision statement:

Does it provide a clear, vivid picture of who you want to be?
Is it inspiring, uplifting, and positive?
Is the wording memorable and engaging?
Is it bold and yet grounded in reality?
Does it connect to an abiding passion, values, and deeper interests?
Is it deeply meaningful to you?

Tip #2: Present a well-rounded list of accomplishments, presenting achievements inside and outside of work.

There are several reasons why you might want to consider outlining accomplishments both at work and in your other activities. First, most applicants are early in their careers, so the degree of leadership impact they’ve made as junior-level employees may be limited. Second, if you only feature successes at work, you are giving the admissions committee a one-dimensional picture of who you are. Third, admissions officers have read thousands of professional accomplishment examples over the years; so it will be difficult for you to make your story about building a brilliant financial model or improving the throughput of the supply chain or reducing the energy demands of a computer display stand out from the pack.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t feature your professional accomplishments in your cover letter. Because you are also outlining your career goals, it will be necessary to make sure you prove that you have been successful at work. At the same time, think about relevant examples you can show from extracurricular activities.

Tip #3: Complete extensive school research and be very specific in your answer to “Why MIT Sloan?”

If you can substitute any school’s name in your “Why Our School” answer you haven’t answered the question properly. An effective leader understands his or her development needs and has an ability to formulate clear plans for self-improvement. The “Why MIT Sloan” question is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate this kind of self-awareness. Many applicants are loath to reveal any gaps or opportunities for growth, but this is a mistake because if you already possess all the skills and knowledge you require to succeed in your future career then it begs the question “why apply to an MBA program in the first place?”

You must build a compelling case for applying to MIT Sloan but as every good litigator knows cases are won by appealing to both reason and emotion. Certainly, you will want to provide logical justifications for applying to the program, but don’t neglect to express your understanding of and enthusiasm for the school’s unique culture and spirit as well.