Meet The MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2017

Jennifer Ballen

Jennifer Ballen


MIT Sloan School of Management

Hometown: Boston, MA

Undergraduate School and Major:

Lehigh University

Double Major: Finance, Marketing

Minor: Psychology

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Morgan Stanley, Analyst 

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Timed practice tests! 

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Speak extensively with current students, alumni, and professors. Seek schools in which you feel a fit with the student body, the culture, and the academics. Importantly, visit the campus and sit in a class or two.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Do not rush your application. Choose recommenders who can speak to both qualitative and quantitative characteristics. Whereas interviews in the workforce often try to trick you or “see what you’re made of,” business school interviewers simply want to obtain a sense of who you are.

Think deeply about why you desire to attend a specific program and why you deserve a seat in the class. Be yourself – passion and honesty will prevail.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The MIT Sloan School of Management fosters creativity and is, in my opinion, the perfect combination of rigorous academic philosophy with entrepreneurship and innovation. The professors, students, and alumni I met throughout the application process solidified this belief.

I am drawn, first and foremost, to the culture and the people, but also to the one semester core, the experiential learning opportunities, the encouragement and facilitation of entrepreneurship, and the strength of MIT Sloan’s sustainability program.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Driven by a steadfast belief that profitability and impact need not be mutually exclusive – and that business has massive power to alleviate environmental and social deficiencies – I aspire to embark on a career at the intersection of business, sustainability, and technology. I want to impact the world through for-profit business.

I am optimistic that two years at MIT Sloan School of Management will transform the manner in which I think about the world, augment my perspective, and improve my leadership and management skills. I hope to open my mind to novel concepts, careers, and opportunities. I hope to challenge prior ways of thinking and emerge with new views, new friends, and an immense professional network.

  • thomas

    A lot of the schools have been engaged in what appears to be a GMAT score competition. After a particular number (710-720, rough baseline for most MBB consulting firms), it has been observed there is not a great correlation between professional success and test score. I am sure Sloan is more preoccupied with the quality and accomplishments of its candidates, than reaching stratospheric mean GMAT scores (and given their acceptance rate and continuous top 5 rank, it is not really hurting them). Basically they don’t need the GMAT card to compete with the best!

  • None

    With Columbia, I bet it’s because of the early decision program. I have to believe the ED pool has a lower average GMAT, but Columbia uses it to fill a big chunk of their class.

    With MIT, my sense is that they just don’t care as much about it. They seem to know what they are looking for and GMAT score isn’t a huge part of it.

    I suppose it’s also possible MIT’s smaller class size makes it harder to justify reserving spots for a strategy aimed at boosting average test scores. That is, when you have 400 people to work with, you can’t take that person with only decent experience but the 800 GMAT.

  • James Lee

    “Erik took a leave of absence from the Air Force Academy to volunteer with non-profit organization based in North Africa, first providing relief to Sub-Saharan refugees and later helping rebuild homes following an earthquake. Joined by his younger brother Alex, they decided to set out on a backpacking expedition from South Africa to Egypt. During their last stop in Cairo they were caught in a suicide bombing while walking through a marketplace. Erik was severely injured. Alex was killed.

    After several months and over 30 surgeries, Erik eventually regained the ability to walk. Eventually, Erik resolved to honor his brother’s memory by taking a stand against those who propagated the violent extremism that took Alex’s life and that had mired his country in war. Erik returned to the Air Force Academy, commissioned, and spent the next six years leading counterintelligence teams in Afghanistan, Korea, Indonesia, Japan and the United States. Serving his country as an intelligence operator allowed Erik to meet with and experience the perspectives of the local population, opening his eyes to the complex social and economic challenges that lead to extremism and conflict.”

    Okay man

  • Chicken cutlet

    Wow so true. Best looking collection at any school.

  • How come?

    How come Sloan and Columbia have such a low avg GMAT compared to other M7 schools? They really do not care about it or they couldnt attract high score applicants? Whats gonna happen this admissions decisions? Are MIT and Columbia gonna go after high GMATs to keep up with Booth and Kellog?

  • adfdasf

    comments like this won’t win you any friends, emil. 🙁

  • Sloanie

    @esuric:disqus – Did you read their profiles or just get a little too excited over the pictures?

    McKinsey/ Khan Academy, Morgan Stanley, Air Force/ VC, Analysis Group, National Director at FWD.US – all sounds like pretty meaningful, selective, diverse work experience buddy.

  • bwanamia

    Nothing wrong with that!

  • Esuric

    Based on the profiles highlighted here, it appears that Sloan places a high premium on physical attractiveness and pays little regard to meaningful, selective work experience.

  • Jeff Schmitt

    My mistake. I had accidentally sent over both pictures of Jennifer Ballen. No worries. Thanks for pointing this out. Best, Jeff

  • Sam77

    Thanks for this.

    Off topic: I see 9 collage pics and 8 there another profile to be posted?