MIT Sloan wants you to make your pitch for admission in a somewhat unique application essay format: a business cover letter. Although the information the admissions committee wants is not that different from what most programs seek, the presentation might be a bit daunting for some candidates. Sloan also asks for a short video introduction, which is probably also intimidating. So, how do you craft winning application essays for MIT Sloan? Here are our tips.
Cover Letter: MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative—true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion.
Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more professional examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to the Admissions Committee. (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).
Sloan’s “cover letter” essay bedevils many an applicant because it is so unconventional relative to other schools’ more traditional essays. Just keep it simple! Whether framed as a letter or an essay, the spirit is the same: you need to write 300 words that convey your identity as an applicant and can distinguish you from thousands of others. In this case, Sloan’s very lengthy prompt lists the types of people the program seeks: “thoughtful leaders,” “true doers,” “people who can redefine solutions,” and so on. Odds are, with so much breadth in these characteristics, you have an anecdote that demonstrates that you, too, exemplify some of them. So, while “conform[ing] to a standard business correspondence,” quickly introduce an example of how you have exhibited one or more of the qualities the prompt highlights. At the end of your example story, relate the experience and traits not to your goals (the school regards your goals as too hypothetical to matter) but to MIT Sloan itself. Using approximately 75−100 words, discuss your fit with MIT Sloan and your need to experience or learn from specific aspects of its program. Three hundred words is a tight fit; in some ways, it might be harder to write this essay than one with a much larger or even unlimited word count (such as Harvard Business School’s). Still, the brevity of this essay allows the thoughtful ones to really “pop.”
Video Statement: Introduce yourself to your future classmates. Here’s your chance to put a face with a name, let your personality shine through, be conversational, be yourself. We can’t wait to meet you! Videos should adhere to the following guidelines:
-No more than 1 minute (60 seconds) in length
-Single take (no editing)
-Speaking directly to the camera
-Do not include background music or subtitles
Sixty seconds! One take! This is another daunting prompt that requires a step back. MIT Sloan will not be viewing your video for Academy Award consideration; the admissions committee just wants to get to know you better as a person and gain some insight into what makes you tick. The prompt specifically requests that you “let your personality shine through,” so before you start worrying about the medium, ask yourself what you would tell others about yourself if you were asked to introduce yourself. This is not a place to reiterate your resume or highlight your work accomplishments. Think about experiences and examples that represent who you are today. What are some bits of information that will help you express who you are and where your values lie?
The admissions committee does not want any background music or subtitles, so be thoughtful about your backdrop and scenery; a setting that is too busy and crammed with props could distract from you and your story. However, a clear and subtle background could be additive. For example, if your future lies in sustainable agriculture, consider shooting your video from a quiet farm or the produce section of a local (not noisy!) market. Remember that you are applying to business school, not film school. Context might help convey your story, but the story itself is what counts! Be yourself.
Reapplicants: We strongly encourage you to submit new application materials and emphasize what has changed since you last applied. Re-applicants may submit their applications in any round, and will have an opportunity to highlight changes since their previous application in a short-answer question.
In your new essays, be sure to clarify and highlight how you have grown and strengthened your candidacy since you last applied. Ideally, you have improved on some aspect(s) of your profile—whether that is a higher test score, more work experience, a promotion, or something similar. Be sure to note what it is about the school that has motivated you to apply again, and present the specific and sincere reasons you value an MBA from MIT Sloan.
In Stratus Admissions’ Guide to Getting into MIT Sloan School of Management, you will find information on a variety of the MBA program’s offerings such as the Sloan Innovation Period, Action Learning Labs, the MIT 100K Competition, and the Sloan Sustainability Initiative. This free guide also includes class profile statistics and our expert advice on answering the business school’s application essay questions. Download our brand-new guide to learn more about MIT Sloan!