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MIT Sloan Fellows Program Application Tips Part One: The Cover Letter

July 31, 2019

 

The MIT Sloan Fellows Program is an MBA program specifically intended for mid-career leaders who have a minimum of 10 years of professional experience. It is comparable to Executive MBAs with one key difference: it is a one year full-time MBA program. In the US, there is only one comparable program: Stanford’s MSx program.

 

Both MIT Sloan Fellows and Stanford’s MSx have similar class sizes of 90-100 students. They are very international and they target candidates who are already leaders in their industry. MIT has one more unique element. Participants in the program can chose their degree from the following options: an MBA, a Master of Science in Management, or a Master of Science in Management of Technology.

 

There are multiple components of the MIT Sloan Fellows application. The first is the cover letter, which serves as your primary essay for the application.

 

The Cover Letter Prompt:

 

“This global leadership development program is a 12-month, full-time MBA program designed to prepare an elite group of global mid-career managers with the management skills necessary to magnify their impact as leaders and innovators. Our guiding principles are to help you develop critical skills essential for future leaders; to instill a spirit of innovation through exceptional opportunities at Sloan and across MIT; to foster a deep spirit of community among Fellows; to provide a breadth of electives and depth through one-on-one relationships with senior faculty; and to offer flexible curriculum to allow you to tailor the program to meet your specific professional objectives.  We accomplish this by maintaining a foundation in our three pillars of: leadership, innovation and global perspective.

 

Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan Fellows MBA program. Please share your short and long-term professional objectives and how the MIT Sloan Fellows MBA program will help you to achieve them. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria and be addressed to the Admissions Committee (500 words or fewer).”

 

With this cover letter, you are being asked to pack a lot of information in 500 words. The instructions specifically request the following.

 

  • your short-term and long-term professional goals 

  • how the Sloan Fellows program will help you achieve your goals 

  • one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria of the program. 

 

Starting with your professional goals, if you are applying to the Sloan Fellows program you are already advanced in your career. Therefore, your reason for participating in the program should most likely be career advancement. Once you have 10+ years of professional experience making a major career change is unlikely. While there are certainly cases where experienced professionals change role or industry or pursue entrepreneurship, these career movements should build on your existing experience. With this in mind, I recommend being very careful in deciding upon your career objectives. You should closely relate how your current skill set and knowledge can be leveraged to achieve your goals. 

 

The question of how the Sloan Fellows program will allow you to meet your goals is essentially asking: why MIT Sloan? This is the section in your cover letter to demonstrate your knowledge about the program. Ideally you would have done your research before writing this letter. You would have had conversations with current Fellows or recent graduates or members of the admissions/recruitment teams at Sloan. You would have reviewed the website and all other information online that you could find and you would have attended admissions events. At this point you should be able to identify very concrete elements of the program that you find valuable and draw a clear argument for how those components of the curriculum will enable you to improve upon knowledge gaps or areas of personal growth that will benefit your career.  

 

You are also asked to share one or more example of how you meet the criteria for the program. I suggest sticking to one example as the word count of this essay is limited. When you write your example, try to use the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) interview format as much. This format works very well for written examples as well as oral examples and helps to clearly convey arguments. 

 

The criteria:

 

Leadership:

  • Push boundaries and tackle challenges that others might find too difficult to achieve.

  • Manage and develop people engaged in innovative activities.

Global perspective:

  • Apply a broader perspective to understand how economic, social, and political factors impact an organization.

  • Confidently perform in multicultural environments.  

Innovative:

  • Be a champion for innovation within an organization.

Quantitatively comfortable:

  • Able to succeed with a rigorous, data driven, general management curriculum.

 

Try to think of an example that can encompass two criteria. Two criteria should be sufficient. Otherwise, your example will become too long and challenging to explain. You should also share a story with a strong result that is also quantifiable, if possible. Achievements that are quantifiable will come across stronger. 

 

One other consideration when choosing the example is to pick something that relates to your career objectives. You have a very limited word count for this essay and you want the entire essay to feel as cohesive as possible. 

 

Rona Aydin has multiple years of experience advising clients on their MBA applications, both in the United States and internationally. As a full-time admissions consultant, Rona provides highly personalized services that fit into your busy schedule. She is a graduate of Oxford Said's MBA program.

 

The Oriel Admissions team also includes Lauren Levine, a former NYU Stern admissions officer with over ten years of experience. Lauren has read over a thousand MBA applications for NYU Stern and has interviewed hundreds of candidates.

 

For more information about Oriel Admissions services and how we can help you with your applications, please contact Rona at rona@orieladmissions.com.

 

 

 

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