MIT Sloan Application Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

MIT’s Sloan School of Management has released its admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2016. There are a few big changes this year, including Sloan’s removal of the cover letter that had famously accompanied its more traditional MBA admissions essays over the years. Sloan’s application is now down to just two essays, and they’re both new this year, continuing the trend that we have seen at most of the top-ranked MBA programs.

Here are MIT Sloan’s deadlines and essays for the 2013-2014 application season, followed by our comments in italics:

MIT Sloan Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: September 24, 2013
Round 2: January 7, 2014

Sloan’s Round 1 deadline is much, much earlier this year: Last year it was on October 24, and now it’s earlier by a month. At the same time, the school moved its Round 2 deadline from late December into January, leaving a big three-and-a-half month gap between its Round 1 and 2 deadlines.

Also, remember that MIT Sloan only has two main admissions rounds, so there is no “Round 3 or not Round 3?” dilemma if you apply to the school. Although Round 2 is Sloan’s final round, don’t assume that applying in Round 2 is as bad as applying in Round 3 anywhere else. If you need the extra several months to get your application in order, then take that time to improve your chances. Especially since Sloan’s Round 1 deadline is now so early, we expect many applicants will wait and apply in Round 2.

MIT Sloan Admissions Essays

  1. The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words)

    As noted above, this question is new this year. At its core, it is a “Why MIT Sloan?” question. Sloan admissions officers have stated before that they don’t love explicit “Why this school?”-type questions, but it’s clear that this type of insight is what they’re looking for here, at least in part. The admissions committee wants to see that you have done your homework on Sloan, that you understand what it’s about, and that you really want to be there.

    When Sloan asks you how you will contribute, it’s not just asking about what you will do while you’re in Cambridge for two years, but also about how you plan on taking what you’ve learned (and the connections you’ve built) and going farther than you could ever have without an MIT Sloan MBA. Note the very last part of the question: The key to a believable essay here will be to cite specific examples from your past when you got involved and make things better around you. Don’t feel that your examples need to perfectly match the high-minded ideals in the first part of the essay prompt… Making an impact (rather than just standing idly by and being a follower) is what they want to see here, even if it’s on a relatively small scale.

  2. Describe a time when you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. (500 words)

    This questions is also new this year. However, take a look at Sloan’s admissions essays from last year… In many ways, this essay gets at the same sort of thing that Sloan’s two essays got at last year. The school wants to see introspection, maturity, and a willingness to take on challenges even when there is a significant risk of failure.

    For essays like this, we like the “SAR” (Situation-Action-Result) method: What situation did you face, what did you do about it, and what was the outcome? Mountain climbing-type stories will likely be popular among applicants who tackle this essay, and those could certainly make for some great essays, but we advise applicants to steer more towards stories that show personal growth and maturity rather than just impressive achievements.

    Finally, note this piece of advice on MIT Sloan’s website: “Please limit the experiences you discuss to those which have occurred in the past three years.” Even when business schools don’t explicitly state this, you should assume that they’re far more interested in your very recent experiences than they are in what you did back in college. The more recent, the better.

For more advice on getting into Sloan, get yourself a copy of our Essential Guide to MIT Sloan, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum