The MIT Sloan School of Management claims to be a different type of business school. In fact, its students (aka “Sloanies”) frequently say that MIT Sloan is the “anti-MBA MBA.” By this they mean it is a place of humility and “niceness,” where previous success counts a lot more than talking about goals that might or might not actually be achievable.
What does an MIT Sloan student look like? No simple answer exists. Although the stereotypical Sloan student might be a geeky engineer, one walk through Sloan’s campus at the heart of MIT (located in Cambridge’s Kendall Square neighborhood, which has been called the “Silicon Valley of biotech”) belies this idea. MIT Sloan’s varied alumni base includes entrepreneurs (such as Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar; Brian Halligan, co-founder of HubSpot; and Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com), a pretty impressive roster of corporate titans (such as John W. Thompson, former board chairman of Microsoft; Bill Ford and Alan Mulally, former CEOs of Ford Motor Company; and Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP), a larger-than-expected number of politicians (such as the late Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations; Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel; and U.S. congressman Jake Auchincloss), and a few wild cards (such as Daryl Morey, sports analytics guru of first the Houston Rockets and now the Philadelphia 76ers; Nitin Nohria, former dean of Harvard Business School; and even a winner of The Apprentice, Randal Pinkett.
The MIT Sloan School of Management Insider’s Guide
After consulting with MIT Sloan MBA students, Sloan admissions committee members, and alumni about their MIT Sloan experiences, we have prepared our Insider’s Guide to the MIT Sloan School of Management. We take an in-depth look at life as a Sloanie, highlighting how the school’s location, class size, curriculum, teaching methods, facilities, alumni involvement, and rankings all affect its culture and MBA experience. Then we delve into MIT Sloan’s faculty and professional student clubs, revealing how they facilitate the careers of MIT Sloan MBA students. Through our guide, you will learn more about the spirit of innovation that runs through MIT Sloan, starting with the “mother ship,” the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship; the MIT delta v, which helps Sloanies become entrepreneurs before they even graduate; and the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, one of the first business plan competitions in the country. In recent years, MIT Sloan has developed certificate programs in sustainability, health care, and business analytics, representing the wide-ranging interests of the school’s community.
Getting MBA students out of the classroom has been a key focus at Sloan over the past 20 years, leading to the creation of MIT Sloan Action Learning labs. Through this program, MIT Sloan students are immersed in real-world business problems and given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills. MIT Sloan Action Learning labs focus on disciplines such as operations, product management, and entrepreneurship; allow students to travel to such countries as Israel, China, and India; and drill down on subjects such as digital design, analytics, and sustainability. A recent and popular MIT Sloan Action Learning lab is “USA Lab: Bridging the American Divides,” which focuses on using entrepreneurship to improve local economies. MIT Sloan dean David Schmittlein has been at the helm of the school since 2007, and through our guide, you will experience the remarkable program that continues to develop under his watch.
The MIT Sloan School of Management Interview Guide
MIT Sloan interviews—almost always conducted by MIT Sloan MBA admissions staff—are friendly and relaxed. But they are also comprehensive, with the interviewer reviewing the candidate’s entire application prior to the Sloan interview. Many of the questions are behavioral in nature, meaning the applicant is asked about their previous experiences—for example, times when they applied their leadership skills or particular challenges they faced as part of a team. This is in line with Sloan’s belief that the greatest indicator of how a person will behave in the future is how they have behaved in the past; what the Sloan admissions officer is looking to do is gain insight into your decision-making abilities and your values.
Further, you will need to be ready to share why you are a good fit for Sloan. An MIT Sloan applicant must explain not just why they want to earn an MBA but also why they want to earn an MBA at Sloan in particular. MIT Sloan considers itself a different type of business school and wants its applicants to understand that as well. For sample interview questions and commentary from past students, check out our MIT Sloan School of Management Interview Guide.
MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips, 2023–2024
Rather than framing its required application essay as a traditional “essay,” the MIT Sloan School of Management instead requests that applicants submit a “cover letter,” including even the standard formal correspondence elements of an address and opening salutation. Writing cover letters will undoubtedly be a large part of students’ career development efforts at Sloan, after all, so why not start now? Candidates must also submit a one-minute self-introduction video in which they are expected to convey their personality and basically “be themselves.” Some MBA programs use video essays to evaluate candidates’ communication skills, grace under pressure, and potential to contribute to classroom discussions, and even though Sloan’s admissions committee will likely be able to glean hints about these qualities through its video, its primary purpose appears to be to reveal who the school’s applicants are as living, breathing people, rather than one-dimensional aggregates of words and numbers in a folder. As we have noted in the past, while somewhat unorthodox, the school’s “essays” allow applicants to deliver a balanced view of their professional and personal profiles, with a good amount of leeway for creativity.
In our essay analysis, we provide in-depth guidance on each of MIT Sloan’s 2023–2024 pre-interview essay questions, as well as the main essays that all Sloan applicants must submit:
- 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 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).
- Video: 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
- Pre-Interview Essay 1: The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. We believe that a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and well-being is a key component of both principled leadership and sound management practice. In 250 words or less, please describe a time when you contributed toward making a work environment or organization more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse.
- Pre-Interview Essay 2: We are interested in learning more about how you use data to make decisions and analyze results. Please select one of the following prompts to respond to:
- In 250 words to less, please describe a recent data driven decision you had to make, and include one slide presenting your analysis. The slide may include a data visualization example and should present data used in a professional context. Your slide must be uploaded as a PDF.
- Please select an existing data visualization and in 250 words or less explain why it matters to you. The data visualization should be uploaded as a PDF. Examples may come from current events, a business analysis, or personal research.
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MIT Sloan School of Management Rankings
The MIT Sloan School of Management has consistently been ranked one of the top ten, if not the top five, most popular business schools for many years. In the 2023 Financial Times rankings, the school was in eighth place within the United States and 11th in the world, in a tie with Duke Fuqua and Chicago Booth. Still firmly entrenched in the U.S. News & World Report rankings’ top ten, the school stood in fourth place in the 2023 survey. Sloan was also listed in the top five in the following U.S. News specialty rankings: business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems, production/operations, and supply chain/logistics.
MIT Sloan MBA Application Deadlines (2023–2024)
September 29, 2023
Round 1 Decision
December 12, 2023
January 17, 2024
Round 2 Decision
April 5, 2024
April 8, 2024
Round 3 Decision
May 16, 2024