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MIT Sloan MBA: Admissions Director Interview

Written by Sameer Kamat

MIT Sloan MBAThe MIT Sloan MBA offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the best MBA programs on the planet. The MIT brand has a formidable reputation across the world. In MBA rankings, the MIT Sloan MBA ranks not just in the general category but also across specialty rankings for finance, entrepreneurship, Supply Chain Management / Logistics, Production / Operations, Information Systems. If you check out the statistics for the class profile, you’ll find high average GMAT scores (710) and classmates who have done some solid work in their pre-MBA careers. The graduating class gets an average salary of around $120,000.

Sameer Kamat (founder of MBA Crystal Ball) interviewed Jeffrey Carbone – Associate Director – Admissions, MIT Sloan School of Management.

Read on to delve deeper into what the MIT Sloan MBA has to offer, gets tips on how to tackle the Sloan MBA essays, interviews, and many other topics.


MIT Sloan MBA Q&A | Jeffrey Carbone, Associate Director, Admissions

Choosing the right MIT Sloan program

MBA Crystal Ball: Do you come across MBA applications where you feel the candidate would have been a better fit for the other popular MIT Sloan degrees? Can you share examples to highlight the differences between the typical profiles for the popular MIT Sloan programs (MBA, EMBA, Sloan Fellows, Master of Finance, etc.)?

Jeffrey Carbone: MIT Sloan degree programs empower leaders with the skills and capabilities necessary to solve complex business problems, drive innovation, and improve the world. The Admissions Office works to counsel potential applicants as to which programs are the best fit prior to application submission. The MBA is a two-year program with a flexible curriculum for those who would like to increase their management skills, while also having the ability to focus in a specific discipline through one of three tracks offered (Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Enterprise Management, Finance). Students in an MBA class typically have an average of 5 years of work experience; however, the Class of 2014′s work experience ranged from 1 to 15 years.

The MIT Executive MBA (EMBA) is a 20-month program for executives who want to enhance their management skills while continuing in their current, full-time positions. EMBA students typically have a minimum of eight years of work experience. The Sloan Fellows program is a one-year, full-time MBA program for executives who would like to focus on school and take time away from working. The average work experience for the class of 2013 is 14 years pre-MBA.

The MIT Master of Finance (MFIN) program is a rigorous one-year degree program combining in-depth study of quantitative techniques with practical, hands-on business problem solving. The program prepares students for a broad range of careers within finance. The average work experience for the class of 2013 is 15 months pre-MFin.

The MIT Master of Science in Management Studies (MSMS) program is a one-year program open to applicants who have completed or are in the process of completing an MBA or equivalent Master’s degree program at a non-U.S. institution. Students in this program study a specific field in-depth while working alongside world-renowned MIT Sloan faculty and students.

MIT Sloan MBA Admissions

MBA Crystal Ball: How does the MBA admissions team evaluate each application? Is there a typical process – who reads an application, how many times is it reviewed, how is the final decision made?

Jeff: The MBA Admissions Committee at MIT Sloan works to enroll a diverse class from around the world who are intelligent and innovative team players who are willing to step outside their comfort zones.

We use a competency-based model to evaluate all MIT Sloan MBA applications and focus on an applicant’s demonstrated success from both academic and professional viewpoints, while also focusing on an applicant’s leadership attributes.

Applicants are reviewed by at least two members of the Admissions Committee. Data from the initial evaluations is used to determine who receives an invitation to interview.

Interviews are required for admission and typically 20-25% of the applicant pool will be interviewed. The Admissions Committee is made up of entirely professional staff; faculty, alumni and students are not involved in the evaluation process.


MBA Crystal Ball: What are some common application mistakes that candidates can avoid?

Jeff: We take a holistic approach to reviewing each MIT Sloan MBA application. One factor alone cannot take an application out of consideration.

For example, a lower test score may be offset by a strong recommendation or strong coursework, or a weak undergraduate transcript can be offset by strong examples of success in the workplace.

If applicants feel there are any red flags in the materials they submit, we recommend addressing this in the application.

MIT Sloan MBA Essays

MBA Crystal Ball: MIT Sloan MBA essays focus purely on historical events (what the applicant thought, felt, said, and did). Without knowing about the post-MBA goals, how does the admissions team judge the applicant’s motivation to pursue an MBA & their expectations from MIT?

Jeff: At MIT Sloan, we believe that an applicant’s past experience is the best predictor of his or her future success.

We admit people who we know will be great leaders and collaborators in the future. We do not expect everyone to know where they will be in 10 years, and we don’t find value in asking this hypothetical question.


MBA Crystal Ball: Can you shed some light on the (optional) supplemental information section? What are you expecting to see in there?

Jeff: The format of the optional supplemental section is new this year. Applicants now have the chance to share anything beyond what we’re asking in the traditional application.

We’re expecting a lot of multimedia, a lot of creativity, and a lot of extra essays! We encourage applicants to use this opportunity to share something extra about themselves.

This is the most fun part of the application for the admissions committee members.


MBA Crystal Ball: Do you have any application tips (for essays & recommendations) for MIT Sloan MBA applicants?

Jeff: My advice regarding the essays is to answer the questions that we ask. Be sure to describe your specific scenario (what you thought, felt, said, and did).

Stick to the facts; our evaluation model doesn’t take the hypothetical (lessons learned or what you would have done differently) into consideration.

MIT Sloan MBA Interviews

MBA Crystal Ball: What are the top Dos and Don’ts for MIT Sloan MBA interviews?

Jeff: Be yourself, and come to the interview prepared to talk about a variety of recent experiences from your professional and personal lives.

Like MIT Sloan’s application, our interviews also focus on your past experiences.

We hope you come prepared to talk about additional examples that weren’t already addressed in your application.

MIT Sloan MBA Scholarships

MBA Crystal Ball: Are scholarships available for applicants of MIT Sloan MBA students?

Jeff: All applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships at the time of admission; there are no additional applications needed.

Applicants are encouraged to research other resources to help fund their studies.

Focus on Quantitative skills

MBA Crystal Ball: With its strong focus on developing quantitative skills, do students without quant backgrounds face a tougher time in the class? What can they do to ensure that they can keep up with the others?

Jeff: We admit candidates who we know are prepared for the rigorous Core semester, and there are many students who come from non-quantitative backgrounds.

Some candidates are required to take a calculus, accounting or economics course before they enroll, and we notify them of this requirement at the time of admission.

MIT Sloan MBA Jobs and Internships

MBA Crystal Ball: What resources are available at MIT Sloan to assist with internship and full-time job opportunities?

Jeff: All of our students have equal access to our Career Development Office (CDO), and the office works hard to ensure that job seekers have realistic expectations given a variety of factors (industry, location, experience).

Students begin their time with the Career Core, and meet their dedicated Career Advisors starting the first few days they are on campus. Students have access to the CDO throughout their two years and even after they graduate.

Myths about MIT

MBA Crystal Ball: In another interview, Rod Garcia (Senior Director of Admissions) said that people are generally a little intimidated by MIT, but it’s a very friendly place. Are there any other misconceptions or myths about the MIT brand that you’d like to dispel?

Jeff: Our students are very humble, collaborative, and ready to hit-the-ground-running. We are part of one of the greatest Institutions in the world, and we value the opportunities for collaboration and cross-registration within the Institute and at neighboring schools.

We are looking for the best and the brightest from all backgrounds, which include people without tech or engineering backgrounds (which is a common misconception).


MBA Crystal Ball: Anything that you’d like to share with our readers about MIT that’s not immediately apparent from the publicly available information?

Jeff: MIT Sloan is a great place to visit! We encourage applicants to come to campus if they can, attend a class, meet current students, and get a sense of what a truly great place it is.

Please check out the website for our Ambassador’s Program or to see if we will be coming to your area.


If you have queries about the program, you can now interact directly with the MIT Sloan MBA Admissions team on our MIT Sloan MBA Forum. Great way to form a first impression. So research your queries before posting.


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Sameer Kamat

About Sameer Kamat

Founder of MBA Crystal Ball | Author of 'Beyond The MBA Hype' | Cambridge MBA Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter @mba_cb


3 Comments

  1. D. P. Dash   |  Saturday, 16 February 2013 at 12:53 am

    Thanks Sameer for your important work. Two responses from Jeffrey Carbone took away my breath!

    (1) “We admit people who we know will be great leaders and collaborators in the future.” — Predicting leadership potential is a fraught with uncertainty and peril. Jeff’s choice of words here (e.g., “we know”) simply amazes me.

    (2) “Stick to the facts; our evaluation model doesn’t take the hypothetical (lessons learned or what you would have done differently) into consideration.” — Interpreting personal accounts of “facts” so as to draw conclusions about the person is another hugely perilous adventure. Moreover, ignoring a person’s approach to “lessons learnt” amounts to ignoring the person’s thinking style, capacity of critical self-reflection, skills of analogical reasoning, and a host of other important qualities.

    If I am an MBA applicant, honestly, I would not feel safe with MIT Sloan’s appraoch.

  2. Abhishek Verma   |  Wednesday, 06 November 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Dear Sameer,

    that’s a good insight. Appreciations for the same !!
    Let me tell you that I am seriously making my mind for going for such type of MBA which should propel my professional life…. wanted to interact on the same topic with you.
    Can you give me your email id / contact details ? ( of course, if you don’t mind and can invest a while in guiding someone )

  3. Sameer Kamat   |  Sunday, 17 November 2013 at 8:14 am

    Abhishek: For general discussions, our MBA forum works best. You’ll find thousands of posts out there on diverse topics.

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