Posted on May 22, 2012

MIT Sloan Admissions Essays-2011-2012

Essay 1: Please describe a time when you went beyond what was defined, expected, established, or popular. (500 words)

Through this question, Sloan intends to evaluate you for one of your leadership qualities- your ability to think outside the box and confidence in taking the initiative to go beyond the established norm. So, this prompt calls for an example from your professional life when saw the situation in a different light and went over and beyond your regular job description. As a result, you were able to make an impact on those around you i.e. your peers, your superiors, and/or your clients. For example, when working on a project, you might have developed an innovative solution or handled an operation/a project in a way different from the usual practice leading to the creation of a new process or standard.

Your answer should have the following four components:

  1. the situation
  2. the action/ten challenges involved
  3. the outcome of the action or initiative
  4. the significance/the impact

In the following example, the applicant discusses the outcome of the initiative he took in going beyond his stipulated job responsibilities.

Example: "Impressed with my analysis, the client requested us to implement top three proposed solutions immediately with additional budget and headcount - something unimaginable at that time. By year-end, my own team size peaked at 60 associates, against the average size of 50. The most important impact was my team's elevated morale."

Essay 2: Please describe a time when you convinced an individual or group to accept one of your ideas. (500 words)

That Sloan is looking for real leaders in its applicant pool is evidenced by the fact that their second question is also meant to evaluate one of their leadership qualities - their ability to influence others. So, you need to look for examples when you dealt with resistance or opposition to an idea and succeeded in persuading a person or a group in accepting your ideas. Make sure your story should not only highlight your ability to convince others in a non-aggressive manner but should also reflect your sensitivity and receptiveness to other peoples' suggestions and ideas. Thus, your story will tell the ad com that you possess the abilities to succeed through challenges at MIT Sloan and in your future career.

Your answer should have the following four components:

  1. the challenge
  2. the action
  3. the outcome of the action or initiative
  4. the significance/the impact

The following example shows part of the third component -the action or the way the applicant dealt with the challenge.

Example: One month after the initial rejection of my proposal, I gain requested my manager for a meeting to which he reluctantly agreed. After walking through the case-studies to him, I explained how the new model could help us cut down 20% of the effort (and thus cost!), simplify the super-complex analysis process, and even some seemingly-independent defects in the mainframe system. Also, I addressed his concerns about the safety of the model Impressed with the analysis; he agreed to present the new model to our client and convinced them to adopt it. (the action)

Essay 3: Please describe a time when you had to make a decision without having all the information you needed. (500 words)

This question is meant to evaluate your analytical ability or decision-making ability. In the business world, a lot of times you will be required to make decisions with insufficient information or necessary facts. Therefore, Sloan is seeking this decision-making ability in its prospective students. Think hard to look for examples when you had to make a choice without having all the facts.

To brainstorm ideas for this essay, ask yourself questions:

  • What was the situation/ challenge?
  • What were your concerns/doubts?
  • What answers/ information you were not able to get?
  • Despite the lack of key info, how did you make your decision?
  • What was the outcome?
  • What did you learn from it? How is the experience meaningful to you?

In other words, your complete story should have the following components:

  1. the challenge/ the situation
  2. the action/ the decision you took after thinking through the situation
  3. he outcome/ the result of your action
  4. the significance

In the following example, the applicant reflects on the significance of the challenge he took, the decision he made without having proper information and facts.

Example: "Today I recall CIT as one of my most memorable projects. From a revenue perspective, it was not the biggest project I handled, nor was it the most complex project. However, it was the most challenging project in terms of saving the reputation of my company and, above all, my own reputation in the face of mounting unforeseen challenges. And that makes this project such a special memory."

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