Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Public Finance
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Darden | Mr. Engineer Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Airline Captain
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Almost Ballerina
GRE ..., GPA ...
Harvard | Mr. Startup
GRE 327, GPA 3.35
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Ross | Mr. Verbal Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3

Navigating The New Org Chart In MIT Sloan’s App


MIT Sloan’s MBA application requirements already buck the M7 standard by soliciting a cover letter and video statement in lieu of traditional written essays. This year, Sloan is also the first top tier business school to ask applicants for an organizational chart that outlines the “internal structure of your department and company.”

MIT Sloan offers candidates a sample for reference, and will allow you to create your own providing you’re as thorough as possible. Adds Sloan:

We should be able to see your line of reporting to the top of your organization, and to easily find you, your peers, your supervisor, their peers, and your direct reports, as well as any other recommenders from your current organization.”

This is an interesting move for MIT Sloan, and it’s a great one. As a Stanford GSB Alumni Interviewer and expert coach at Fortuna Admissions, I’ve encountered countless candidates who struggle to concisely convey how valuable they are to their employers within the constraints of their MBA application. There’s no space in the resume to do this, and if someone has a really important role but an opaque job title, it’s hard to get the message across.


From the admissions point of view, every applicant has a resume chock full of titles, many of which are hard to translate to a business school context. For some well-known companies or industries, it can be clearer where an applicant stands along the continuum of their organization, as there’s an obvious progression and career path. For example, if you’re someone who started as an analyst in a consulting firm, there’s a broader understanding of the typical timeframe and hierarchy of promotion. Then there are other organizations with less regimented career tracks where it can be standard not to be promoted in three to four years.

But in many other companies it’s difficult for admissions readers to discern, “how important is this person in their organization?” “Where does their department fit in?” As an applicant, you don’t want to squander valuable essay real estate on explaining it. The org chart question is a smart way to get to that.

With the introduction of the org chart requirement, MIT Sloan is really trying to get at the questions of what you do, how you interact with other parts of the company or entity, who you report to and how close you are to the top. It’s also about understanding your career path and the pace of your progression – how you’ve evolved over time, the significance of your promotions, your level of influence, and whether your movement has been upwards or horizontal. The org chart is a visual medium that offers admissions – at a glance – the context surrounding your professional position and achievements.


One of my clients worked for the economic development council for a major US city, in its strategy department. The option to submit an org chart in her case might have vastly simplified her storytelling strategy. Instead, we had to think hard about effectively conveying her role within the bureaucratic complexity of the city. I remember asking her to describe the whole organizational chart to me, including her relationship to the mayor. Ultimately, she said: “We’re like the internal SWAT team.” Which was a brilliant and succinct ‘way in’ for us to convey how she worked across different parts of the city and ultimately influenced high level decision-making at the city level.

That said, the org chart question can be tricky in non-traditional organizations. Another client was a senior engineer in a certain department at Apple; his job title didn’t mean anything to someone outside of the organization. To complicate things, Apple doesn’t publically publish its org chart, so it was incumbent on him to convey where he existed within the broader structure of the company. It might seem cumbersome, but for anyone looking to be a future industry leader this kind of mapping exercise can be invaluable.

Trend alert: I wouldn’t be surprised if other top b-schools begin to follow suit.

Heidi Hillis is an expert coach at MBA consulting firm Fortuna Admissions, as well as a Stanford GSB alum & former MBA admissions interviewer. Fortuna is composed of former admissions directors and business school insiders from 13 of the top 15 business schools.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.