Meet MIT Sloan’s MBA Class of 2018

MIT Sloan School of Management - Ethan Baron photo

MIT Sloan School of Management – Ethan Baron photo

Not surprisingly, Sloan, like MIT as a whole, is a haven for engineers. That is represented in the class makeup, where 32% of students earned undergraduate degrees in engineering. That said, it is a very well-rounded class, with heavy concentrations in business (21%), economics (16%), science and math (11%), humanities (11%), and social sciences (11%). Demographically, 61% of the class hails from North America, with Eastern Asia (13%), South America and the Caribbean (9%), and Europe (7%) also encompassing large blocs of the class.

“When I welcomed the Class of 2018 on August 29,” trumpets MBA Program Director Maura Herson, “it was wonderful to see this group of 409 individuals, assembled from fifty different countries, excited to begin the MBA journey together.  They are ready to learn, grow, and change the world!”


Hyperbole? They are no doubt ready to try. The Class of 2018 can be described as ‘true do-ers’ itching to get their hands dirty. This bias towards action is a hallmark of the Sloan culture. For González De Peña such a community only amplifies his talents and passions. “In my experience, what you learn from and share with your classmates makes a whole lot of difference. After visiting MIT Sloan, I am still impressed by the fact that Sloanies had a remarkable professional background and yet everyone was down-to-earth and approachable.”

Indeed, the motto for Sloan could be “Ecce enim ex condiscipulis” (“Look out for your classmates”). Notably, the second years consider it their mission to mentor the incoming class on everything from difficult class concepts to interview strategies. This community spirit was not lost on the Class of 2018 during the recruiting process. “The culture at MIT Sloan is friendly and highly collaborative,” explains Jonathan Lovett, who describes himself as the kind of guy who’d solve a Rubik’s Cube while skydiving. “There is a mantra of “Sloanies helping Sloanies” that was extended to me even as I was applying. Every Sloanie wants to see other Sloanies succeed and it’s reflected in how dynamic the culture is.”

Small group class discussion in the MIT Sloan School of Management - Ethan Baron photo

Small group class discussion in the MIT Sloan School of Management – Ethan Baron photo

The Sloan experience also comes with several unique features. The core courses are restricted to first semester, freeing students to prep for their internship with electives and an action learning lab. Aside from reigning as the top MBA program for operations, supply chains, and information systems according to U.S. News, Sloan is also an emerging force in social impact and entrepreneurship.


In fact, the school opened its Martin Trust Center For Entrepreneurship this year, adding 7,200 square feet of workspace for startup work. While the majority of Sloan grads enter consulting, tech and finance, 26% launch their own startup within three years of graduation (no doubt spurred by recent Sloan MBAs being part of acclaimed startups like bpi, Linio, Locu, and PillPack that have raised a combined $457 million dollars). They certainly can’t help but be influenced by their surroundings. The Boston area, long known for banking, consulting and technology, can also add entrepreneurship to its elevator pitch. Blessed with a cluster of top research and educational institutions, along with an enviable talent pool, available capital, and ecosystem connectivity, the city ranked as the #1 startup hub according to a 2016 joint report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and startup incubator 1776.

While the program stresses action, it also builds in time for reflection. Across the university, MIT students get January off from classes for Independent Activities Period (IAP). For MBAs this is often a time to enjoy club-organized “treks” to locales like Silicon Valley, London, and China or devote more time to a startup idea or job hunting. In the middle of each semester, students take a week off for a SIP (Sloan Innovation Period), where they can take ungraded seminars on everything from healthcare to neuroscience.

In choosing Sloan, 2018 class members also looked at the MIT experience as a whole. Here, students are an integral part of the larger graduate community. They can join campus-wide clubs, along with taking three classes in other graduate programs like engineering. “Sloan was the perfect fit for me because it is seamlessly integrated into the fabric of the broader MIT community,” Lovett adds. “Thus, by attending Sloan, I have countless opportunities to collaborate with some of the most prominent technical and business minds in the world.” It goes without saying that the “MIT” name opens doors too. “The brand carries a lot of weight,” says González De Peña. “There’s a “Wow!” attached to every response to my acceptance to the program and it is for a reason.”


Now that the 2018 Class has reached Cambridge, what do they intend to do once they leave? You’ll find 409 different answers with that question. Salute Wonghiriwat will be “working towards my dream of revolutionizing Thailand’s energy sector by introducing electric vehicles to lower the country’s dependency on petroleum”…and he intends to do this while building his ecommerce business (Wow!).

View from the MIT Sloan School of Management - Ethan Baron photo

View from the MIT Sloan School of Management – Ethan Baron photo

Fresh off re-organizing a major company, Zacharias plans to tackle the medical field next, with an eye towards female patient care. “Throughout my life, I have both witnessed and experienced many situations where women are judged by a different standard. I want to work at and potentially lead a place where women are not questioned for pursuing a career in science, where being a mother should not be part of the promotion criteria, and where equality is truly embraced, not just talked about.”

At the same time, Hanford intends to translate her social enterprise success in Kenya to sustainable business models at a multinational brand. “My hope is to have a role where I can contribute my social impact knowledge and operational skills to create change at a greater scale.”

Despite the bravado, most students really haven’t pinpointed exactly what they want to do. Hussain is happy to admit just that. If wit and imagination are windows to success, she may end up being the class member with a building named after her. “At this point, the only job I truly dream about is being the successful COO of a billion-dollar theme park where people travel to from all around the world to be mesmerized and spooked. The role involves casually running in heels from dinosaurs and saving the world. And yes, my dream job is being Claire from Jurassic World.”


How does the Class of 2018 want to be remembered? González De Peña hopes his classmates tell him, “YOU NAILED IT!” Lovett would like to be known as the “Lebron James of our class” because of my “assists.” In true Sloan style, Pawa is staking her legacy on being the person “who takes initiative for what she believes in and works hard to make things happen.”

For Hanford, the real magic of the Class of 2018 will happen when they pool their talents together, bound by a commitment to make each other better. “I really like the Margaret Mead quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I’m not just going to business school because I want to create change, I’m going because I know I’ll be surrounded by smart, ambitious people that are also creating change. I hope after I graduate that my peers will feel that I have supported them in reaching for their dreams just as much as they have supported me.”


To read profiles of incoming Sloan students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Juan Ignacio Bazet / Buenos Aires, Argentina

Estefanía de Sosa Cadete / Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ben Funk / Atlanta, GA

Eugenio González De Peña / Santiago, Chile

Diego Grove / Santiago, Chile

Kate Hanford / Denver, CO

Anum Hussain / Windham, NH

Jonathan Lovett / August, GA

Kasmira Pawa / Edmonton, Canada

Will Sripakdeevong / Bangkok, Thailand

Salute Wonghiriwat / Bangkok, Thailand

Camila Zacharias / Santiago, Chile

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