Wall Street. Numbers flowing and data crunching. Computations and algorithms. High risks and high rewards. If working in this hectic, fast-paced environment is your dream, then MIT Sloan is the place to go.
How to Demonstrate Your 'Fit' for
MIT’s stated mission is “to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice”. Of particular importance are the words “innovative” and “leaders” – that’s who MIT seeks to attract: innovative leaders. In your essay (which in recent years has simply been a cover letter to the Director of Admissions) and interviews, make sure to paint yourself as an innovative leader who has pushed the envelope on established ways of thinking or on established practices, and be able to articulate how you’ve had a positive impact on a group or organization.
MIT is typically associated with three things: quantitative rigor, entrepreneurship, and strong placement into Wall Street. Not surprisingly, Sloan’s core curriculum is quantitatively-heavy, and the school expects its students to apply a quantitative lens to solving business problems in each of its courses. As such, successful acceptance into MIT requires that you demonstrate your comfort with – and even enthusiasm for – working with numbers.
Regarding its focus on entrepreneurship, MIT encourages its student entrepreneurs to apply to its prestigious Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) program. Those who are accepted are put into a separate cohort of students who take their core classes as a group and continue to take additional entrepreneurship-focused electives. They graduate with a special certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation. Applying to this program is simple – just check the appropriate box on your application.
It also holds an annual competition which encourages students to develop a business plan and compete with other MIT programs for $100K in funding and assistance with their start-up business. Sloan touts the fact that past companies who were winners of this competition are now collectively worth over $15 billion.
More than most programs, Sloan provides its students with a lot of flexibility in the curriculum. While it has its set core curriculum in the first semester (which is common practice in the MBA world), students are free to choose whichever courses they want starting in the second semester of their first year. Another unique aspect of the MIT curriculum is its Innovation Period, a break during each semester to take week-long seminars and workshops in a multitude of topics including entrepreneurship, leadership, and management communications. Demonstrating an awareness of this program, and researching which course of study you might want to pursue during the Innovation Period, is a guaranteed way to prove to MIT that you’ve researched their program. Demonstrating that you’d thrive in such a flexible environment where you can literally shape your path of study will also help your case.