Applying to MIT Sloan

MIT’s Sloan School of Management has combined the quantitative strengths of its parent school with a focus on entrepreneurship to establish itself as one of the most highly regarded MBA programs in the country. The school is also well-regarded on Wall Street, where Sloan grads are prized for their analytical skills.

As expected, the school’s curriculum emphasizes the quantitative side of business. Courses such as Data, Models, and Decisions and Economic Analysis for Business Decisions will test your quantitative abilities, but Sloan also encourages students to apply the skills that they learn in these classes to nearly all of their coursework. Graduates speak highly of the hard skills that they learned at Sloan, so make sure that this is what you want out of your MBA experience. Also be sure to demonstrate that you are comfortable being surrounded by numbers, through your GMAT score, previous coursework, or job experience.

Sloan’s curriculum provides a lot of flexibility and control for the individual student. After completing the standard first semester core courses, students are free to chart their own course for the rest of their time at Sloan. One especially unique aspect of the curriculum is the school’s Sloan Innovation Period, a break during each semester in which students can take week-long seminars and hands-on workshops in a variety of subject areas including leadership, management communications, achieving work-life balance, and entrepreneurship.

Speaking of entrepreneurship, it’s a big deal at Sloan, as characterized by students’ participation in MIT’s annual “$100K” entrepreneurship competition. The competition, which started as the “$10K” competition back in 1990, allows Sloan students the chance to develop a business plan and compete against students from other MIT programs for cash and startup business assistance. Many companies founded in the competition go on to be successful, and Sloan touts the fact that these companies now have a combined market capitalization of over $7 billion.

Sloan students who really want to focus their MBA education on entrepreneurship can enroll in the school’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation program (E&I), which was introduced in 2006. Students who are accepted into the E&I program are placed into their own cohort and take their core classes together, plus an additional class on technological entrepreneurship, concluding in a group trip to Silicon Valley after the first semester. They continue to take additional entrepreneurship-oriented electives, and finish their two years at Sloan with an MBA as well as an additional certificate in entrepreneurship & innovation. If you are serious about entrepreneurship, then consider applying to this program, which requires no more than checking a box on your Sloan application.

Another important program at MIT Sloan is Leaders for Global Operations (LGO), a two-year joint degree program offered in conjunction with MIT’s School of Engineering. It offers students courses in engineering, change management, information technology, and operations management through a variety of in-class and on-the-job experiences. Students spend more than six months on-site as an intern with a sponsor company, culminating in a thesis. The best part of the program is that students receive up to 80% fellowships, thanks to sponsor companies including Cisco Systems, Dell, General Motors, Boeing,, and Raytheon. The bad news is that the program is very exclusive – just 45 to 50 students participate each year – but give it a look if you want to work in manufacturing after business school.

Insider Information

MIT Sloan says that its mission is “to develop principled innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice.” Note the words “innovative” and “leaders” – the admissions office will look for both of these dimensions in your application. To that end, Sloan has recently introduced several new admissions essay questions that hit directly on these dimensions. The questions ask you to describe several specific situations in which you demonstrated examples of having an impact on a group, had to put an idea into action, and advocated a certain position. The school is clearly looking for dimensions beyond basic quantitative skills, and these essays are where they will look for them.

What Makes Sloan Different?


The Sloan Approach

The MIT Sloan approach to the business school education can be summarized with the Institute’s motto “mens et manus” or “mind and hand.” Both in and out of the classroom, it is very much a part of Sloan culture to learn by doing. MIT Sloan wants its students to not only possess a deep understanding of business management theories, but to also be well equipped to execute the practical application of these concepts.

Below are some of the key elements of the MIT Sloan experience:

Hallmarks of the MIT Sloan MBA program include entrepreneurial innovation, a customizable curriculum, distributed leadership, and action-based learning.
Action-Based Learning. While case studies and lectures have their place in the Sloan curriculum, there is an emphasis on action-based learning (commonly referred to at other programs as “experiential learning”) as being one of the best ways to learn important business management lessons. Sloan offers a host of project based “lab” classes focused on global entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability, which pair student teams with companies and organizations around the world. The faculty also embraces the idea of learning by doing, whether piloting experimental classes to share their ground-breaking research, or making significant adjustments to flagship courses based on student and partner feedback. Going beyond theoretical discussion to take action is a deeply engrained aspect of the MIT Sloan culture.

Collaboration. A lesser-known fact among many potential applicants is that MIT Sloan enjoys a deeply collaborative culture. From the first moments of the intense “Core Semester” experience, to the launch of fledgling start-ups upon graduation, the desire to work with and help out fellow students is shared by most Sloan students throughout their MBA experience. Sloan views the art of developing high-performing teams as crucial to addressing today’s business challenges, and strives to cultivate effective teams and leaders through action-based learning in the field.

Entrepreneurship and Self-direction. The MIT Sloan MBA program is customizable, allowing for each student to focus on developing specific leadership and analytical skill sets, while pursuing unique set of interests. Following the rigorous and intense experience of the first-semester Core, students are given the remaining 75 percent of their time at Sloan to craft their own curriculum. Sloan students tend to be proactive, creative, and comfortable with ambiguity. These entrepreneurial traits are all helpful in this environment, where each individual student has a higher degree of responsibility of making the most of their time at Sloan.

Going beyond theoretical discussion to take action is deeply engrained in the MIT Sloan culture.
Global Focus. The school boasts a well-respected global curriculum and actively seeks to further expand the MIT Sloan name and network around the world. Over the course of the two-year MBA program, most students will travel internationally as part of a Sloan sponsored project or trip, or on a student-organized event. Programs such as China Lab and Global Entrepreneurship Lab are unique offerings that allow Sloan students to gain hands-on experience overseas as part of their MBA education.

Application Essays

Cover Letter

Please prepare a cover letter (up to 500 words) seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA program. Your letter should describe your accomplishments, address any extenuating circumstances that may apply to your application, and conform to standard business correspondence. Your letter should be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions.


We are interested in learning more about how you work, think, and act. For each essay, please provide a brief overview of the situation followed by a detailed description of your response. Please limit the experiences you discuss to those which have occurred in the past three years. In each of the essays, please describe in detail what you thought, felt, said, and did.
  1. Please describe a time when you had to convince a person or a group of your idea. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)
  2. Please describe a time when you overcame a personal setback. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)

All school information appears courtesy of Your MBA Game Plan and is used with express permission of the authors.

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NYU (Stern) Penn (Wharton) Stanford
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