Stanford GSB | Mr. Tesla Intern
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Wharton | Mr. Top Salesman
GMAT 610, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Nuclear Vet
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Mr. SpaceX
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
MIT Sloan | Mr. Latino Insurance
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5 / 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Founder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.12
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. MBB Private Equity
GMAT TBD (target 720+), GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Yale | Mr. Yale Hopeful
GMAT 750, GPA 2.9
MIT Sloan | Mr. MBB Transformation
GMAT 760, GPA 3.46
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. CPG Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Supply Chain Data Scientist
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Global Consultant
GMAT 770, GPA 80% (top 10% of class)
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB/FinTech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Digital Indonesia
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBT Social Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.79
Stanford GSB | Mr. Oilfield Trekker
GMAT 720, GPA 7.99/10
Kellogg | Mr. Big 4 Financial Consultant
GMAT 740, GPA 3.94
Stanford GSB | Mr. Mountaineer
GRE 327, GPA 2.96

My MIT Sloan Info Session in California

I also got a burning question of mine settled once and for all.  I had read some time ago on The Essay Snark’s blog that you shouldn’t mention your goals on Sloan’s app because their adcom really doesn’t want to hear it. Then at the Riordan/DMAC event I got my face cracked when the adcom officer who represented Sloan basically said that advice was bunk.

On this day, however, I learned from the horses mouth that the actual truth was at the midpoint between those two pieces of advice. I raised my question about the two opinions that I had received, demonstrated the obvious contradiction and put a period on my question with “which is it“? There were several giggles in the room over that.

The answer that I got was [basically] that Sloan isn’t really interested in what you say you’re going to do because you probably won’t end up doing that. Statistically, 80% of Sloan’s students change careers while in the program, many not even knowing about their chosen professions before they get there. That corroborated the bit about goals being less important.

She did, however, say that they’d like for you to be very clear on your need for an MBA and why now, which corroborates some of what the other adcom officer at Riordan spoke about. Why you need the MBA and why now is basically the first leg of your goals statement, which is traditionally followed by your immediate, mid (optional) and long term MBA goals. So finally, it was settled. I now knew exactly what I needed to do to tweak my Sloan essays, which had been bothering me for weeks.

SLOAN’S OBJECTIVE ADMISSIONS PROCESS

According to the admissions officer, Sloan grades each applicant on X number of criteria. Then the 800 highest scores get interviewed. Lastly, the class is chosen from approximately 60% of that 800, a certain percent of which will choose other programs over Sloan. Knowing this, it makes perfect sense why Sandy Kreisberg is always telling people with high GMATs that they will probably get into MIT.

While this is not necessarily true, knowing about this objective grading scale adds some explanation to why a high GMAT score is definitely to your benefit. Knowing that also makes me feel a little ill about not having the time to do a retake like I had planed.

A scored approach vs. the more widely known subjective approach has both its pros and its cons.  And whether the objective nature of the process registers as a “pro” or a “con” depends on your individual situation.

People who have worked hard for high GMAT scores and GPAs can rest assured that they will get a bump in preference regardless of other weaknesses in their application. On the other hand, folks who may have weaknesses in their status but are strong in other areas may not feel that they are getting a fair shake.

Regardless of what camp you sit in, its good to be aware of how this process works and how you might stack up against your competition within it if your sights are set on Sloan.

THE MOST PARTICIPATING ALUMNI

Something else that impressed me about Sloan was their alumni. One would think that H/S/W would be way ahead of them in terms of west coast alumni representation. And while that might be true in reality, it was not evident at the info session.

There must have been about 12 or so alumni who made up the Sloan panel. I found it odd that they stood the entire time, but they were very engaged and quite reminiscent of their times at MIT. That said a lot to me about the quality of the experience of that program.

TOP MBA PROGRAMS REALLY ARE UNIQUE

Whenever I’ve heard top MBA programs pontificate about their supposed uniqueness, I’ve always received that information with a bit of skepticism; however, attending info sessions has shown me a cut and dry uniqueness in each. One example of differentiation between them that I have observed has been the kind of people who even show up to the various info sessions.

Aside from the group of us who seem interested in multiple schools, each group thus far has been very distinct. From the HBS suits, to the laid back Stanford-types, to the MIT techies. If I had to guess the professions of those in the Sloan info session, I’d bet good money that 60% or more of them were engineers.  That made me realize why the person who represented them at Riordan/DMAC was so adamant about talking about the non-engineering students who were doing great things at Sloan. Non-engineers are apparently who MIT looks for in order to create a diverse class; makes sense.

NO FOOD TO FEED THE MULTITUDES

Where are 2 fish and 5 loves of bread when you need them? The only downside to the Sloan info session was its lack of food. Not that I am the type of person who generally expects that (actually, I generally eat before I go anywhere), but the past few info sessions have really spoiled me; but is it really spoiling? I mean, these info sessions ARE right after work and DO tend to last through dinner time.

Its a logistical issue. There just ins’t any time to get food AND be on time if you have an even remotely demanding job. And by the time you’re done, it will have been hours and hours since you’ve eaten. So needless to say, by the time the info session ended, I was doubled over with hunger pangs; nevertheless, I still had a smile on my face as I had received a great deal of insight that I can apply to my application strategy for one of my target schools.

MBAOver30 offers the perspective of a 30-something, California-based entrepreneur who is applying to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Northwestern, Chicago, Dartmouth, Yale, and Berkeley.. He hopes to gain acceptance to the Class of 2015 and blogs at MBAOver30.

Previous posts on Poets&Quants:

How I Totally Overestimated The MBA Admissions Process

Musings on MBA Failophobia

Letting Go Of An MBA Safety School

When A Campus Visit Turns Off An MBA Applicant

Yale, Tuck and Booth: The Next Leg of My Pre- MBA Research

 My Countdown: Less Than 30 Days To The GMAT

From Suits To Startups: Why MBA Programs Are Changing

Why I’m Not Getting Either A Part-Time MBA or An Executive MBA

Preparing To Sit For The GMAT Exam

Falls Short of GMAT Goal, But The 700 Is A Big Improvement

A 2012-2013 MBA Application Strategy

Celebrating A 35th Birthday & Still Wanting A Full-Time MBA

A Tuck Coffee Chat Leaves Our Guest Blogger A Believer

Heading Into the August Cave: Getting Those Round One Apps Done 

Just One MBA Essay Shy Of Being Doe

Getting That MBA Recommendation From Your Boss

Facetime with MBA Gatekeepers at Wharton

The Differences Between Harvard & Stanford Info Sessions