EDIT(August 15, 2010): The MIT Sloan 2010-11 Application Deadline and Essay Questions with my tips are now online. Please post questions on this years post.
EDIT(June 10, 2009): The MIT Sloan 2009-10 Application Deadline and Essay Questions with my tips are now online. Please post questions on this years post.
EDIT(July 14, 2008): The MIT Sloan 2008-9 Application Deadline and Essay Questions with my tips are now online. Please post questions on this years post.
EDIT(August, 27, 2006): The MIT Sloan 2007 Application Deadline and Essay Questions with my tips are now online.
MIT Sloan has posted its deadlines and questions. First the deadlines:
Round I* Round II LFM/BEP
Online Application Submitted by** November 2, 2005 January 11, 2006 December 15, 2005
Decisions Released On January 30, 2006 April 3, 2006 March 13, 2006
The MIT Sloan 2006 MBA essay questions (with my comments in red):
The application continues by asking for your cover letter, which should be up to 500 words. This is your first and best opportunity to make a strong, positive impression on us, so take the time to infuse this letter with your personal energy and character. Through what you write we hope to discover whether you will thrive at MIT Sloan, and how you can contribute to our diverse community.
Like all cover letters, this is a sales document and a professional document. Make you case for admission. What are you going to bring to the school? Where is the fit with the Sloan program.
Please prepare a business résumé (as opposed to an academic c.v.) that includes your employment history in reverse chronological order, with titles, dates, and whether you worked part-time or full-time. As part of this résumé, also include a similar education history that includes dates and degrees, listed in reverse chronological order. The résumé should not be more than one page long.
Go beyond mere job description to emphasize achievement. If your title is "consultant.' Saying that you "consulted on projects" is uninformative at best. Writing that you "led a 6-member team working on a biotech outsourcing project to Eastern Europe with a budget of X and that you came in on time and under budget", says much, much more.
Use the application's essays to display your writing skills and tell us more about yourself. You will be asked to organize a persuasive presentation to show us how you think about and approach business challenges.
More than that, the essays are a chance for you to discuss your passions, values, interests and goals. Emphasize those experiences that were most important and meaningful for you — which may not necessarily be those that were most outwardly prestigious. Be sincere and be specific. There is no one "right" kind of MIT Sloan student; in fact, MIT Sloan deliberately builds each class to unite varied strengths and perspectives. Tell us what particular experiences and expertise you will bring to the mix. The essay instructions and questions are included below.
I bolded the above paragraph. Don't write what you think they want to know. Write with sincerity about what's most important to you.
We are interested in learning more about you and how you work, think and behave. Please answer the four questions below. And keep the instructions that I bolded in mind as you write.
For each essay, describe the situation, your thoughts and actions, and the outcome. The essay questions listed below are for the 2005-06 application.
* Essay One: Please tell us about a time when you had an impact on a person, group, or organization. Describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did. (500 words or less.)
The devil is in the details, and Sloan wants them for each of these stories. Look for moments that stand out in your mind. You don't have room for anything but those stand-outs.
OK. The question. When did you effect change? When did your presence make a difference? In terms of structuring this essay, you can start in so many different ways: The situation before you got involved. The challenge. Your statement that turned the tide. Your mood when things were not going the way you want. The list is endless.
* Essay Two: Please tell us about a time when you went beyond what was defined, expected, established, or popular. How did others react? Describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did. (500 words or less.)
Try to mix professional and non-professional stories.
Keep in mind MIT's emphasis on innovation. Innovation means that you go beyond the expected, the already defined, the well established.
* Essay Three: Please tell us about a time when you had a difficult interaction with a person or group. Describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did. (500 words or less.)
MIT is a smaller school. It values highly teamwork and its community. Show that you know how to get along with people, even the occasional difficult person or interaction. What was yours? How did you handle it?
* Essay Four: Please tell us about a time when you overcame an obstacle. Describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did. (500 words or less.)
This is self-explanatory. Again, try to bring out different aspects of your life and experience and keep an overall balance between professional and non-professional experiences.
Use this part of the application to give us any additional information that might help us understand the choices you have made, your leadership activities and skills, and your scholastic and professional achievements. Please elaborate on your personal interests, activities and hobbies-as well as any special circumstances you feel are relevant. We would like to know what you've learned and how you learned it. Please tell us anything that will round out our impression of you as a unique individual.
Several years ago Rod Garcia told me that he starts reading an application with the answer to this question, which at the time was optional. This is not a throw away. Make a good impression on Rod if he is the one reading your file. Give everyone reading it another reason to admit you.