October 27, 2022

MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips

MIT’s Sloan School of Management requires MBA applicants to submit a cover letter and a video statement. Applicants also have the option to respond to a short answer question. In today’s blog, the Admitify team would like to share our guidance on all three.


Cover Letter: 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 professional examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria [below], and be addressed to the Admissions Committee (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).


When writing your cover letter, please take into consideration the following: 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.


Admitify Guidance

MIT wants the cover letter to consist of (a) “one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria” (described in their instructions) and (b) “seeking a place in the … MBA program.” So for (a) 80+% of the letter can consist of very concise versions of 2-3 core stories, each of which illustrates one or more of their values (illustrating all of the values listed in their prompt is probably not realistic in 300 words), and each example ideally but not necessarily showing different sides of your profile/impact. The rest of the letter (15-20%) should show your knowledge of relevant Sloan resources (with perhaps a one-sentence statement of your post-MBA goals). Keep in mind that Sloan admissions is evidence-based: they want data and demonstrated past performance, not grandiose visionary goals. So if your goals are mentioned at all in the letter, keep it very brief. Close the letter by requesting an opportunity to interview.


Video Statement: 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 second) in length
  • Single take (no editing)
  • Speaking directly to the camera
  • Do not include background music or subtitles

Note: While we ask you to introduce yourself to your future classmates in this video, the video will not be shared and is for use in the application process only.


Admitify Guidance

For the 1-minute video, this must be a single-take/unedited video directly addressing the camera but that doesn’t mean you must be dully sitting at a desk with a bare wall behind you (though that would be fine). You could set a monitor behind you that shows images from your life that are keyed to your words or you could have props (objects, photos, etc.) at hand that you could pick up and ‘show’ at appropriate points. You could also do a live-action selfie video of you standing in front of or perhaps walking through a location that is significant to your life or career, while you narrate its significance. Don’t worry if your cover letter and video involve the same general topic or experience. But keep the cover letter focused on the impact, leadership, and outcomes (treat it as an accomplishment), while the video can be more the ‘why’ than the ‘what’ – why the accomplishment is significant to you or is revealing of who you are. The video is not meant to be an accomplishment at all but rather a personal ‘back story’ (what matters to me) story or general self-introduction. Don’t worry if your video goes over by 10 seconds or so.


Optional Short Answer Question: How has the world you come from shaped who you are today? For example, your family, culture, community, all help to shape aspects of your identity, please use this opportunity if you would like to share more about your background (250 words).


Applicants are invited to expand on their background by responding to the optional 250 word short answer question. This question is truly optional; applicants will not be evaluated more positively or negatively should they choose to respond. This is an opportunity for you to share more about yourself with the Admissions Committee, should you choose to do so.


Admitify Guidance

This is a ‘diversity’ essay similar to Stanford’s Additional Context Question. Think of the influences that have shaped your identity or background. Sloan’s terms “family, culture, community” hint that you need not focus on a narrow ‘diverse’ sense of a identity: for example, that of a non-US or US underrepresented minority. A unique identity or background can stem from any of the following (to borrow Stanford’s language): “your background, such as your work and life experiences, education, skills, interests, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, where/how you grew up, and/or other factors, had an impact on your recent actions and choices.”


Sloan’s wording suggests they are open to a backward-looking, autobiographical essay, but be sure to connect your identity or background with the present: don’t just say X, Y, and Z shaped me; show how they did and what behaviors, action or commitments in your current life reflect those influences.


Check back each week for more essay tips, and contact us now for help on your MIT Sloan cover letter, video statement, and short answer question!