This year, MIT (Sloan) has removed the usually required MBA essays from its requirements and replaced it with a Cover Letter instead. Applicants should keep in mind that this is not a traditional essay and the admission committee wants to see how applicants write a cover letter seeking admission to MIT (Sloan).
‘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 and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions. (Body of the letter should be 250 words or fewer)’
Guidelines for Cover Letter
- Think as if you are applying for your dream job: When you start to write your cover letter think about how would you write the cover letter for your dream job and what is the typical information you would want the recruiter to know about you. Think of what you can write so that the employer is convinced that you are the best candidate for the job.
- Don’t Summarize your resume: Since MIT already requires the MBA applicants to submit a one page resume with the cover letter, please do not waste the 250 words of the cover letter imitating what’s already mentioned in the resume. Try to focus on the key skills you have gained from your professional experiences. Mention the skills that make you stand out and these skills should also be reflected in your LOR’s by your recommenders.
- What needs to be discussed? : When you start writing your cover letter, remember that you need to follow the guidelines and themes that apply to a standard cover letter. Besides discussing your key attributes and competencies, you need to discuss why you want to join MIT (Sloan), just like in a job application you discuss that why you would want to work in a particular company. Another important aspect would be ‘How you would contribute to the University’. This is somewhat similar to the ‘Career Goals’ essay question of many B-schools. Though it might sound tempting to simply recycle the Career Goals material that you may have prepared for other schools, you must tailor it specifically for MIT. Admissions committee easily spots recycled information. Don’t turn it into a goals essay, rather be specific about your career goals.
- The format: A good idea for beginning your cover letter would be to start with a ‘Greeting’ to the ad-com followed by a crisp statement of how you can contribute to their legacy. This should be followed by a statement of you career goals and how your experiences have prepared you for a competitive MBA program. After you have summarized these, a section should focus specifically on ‘Why MIT’ and why is it the perfect choice for you. For this it is important for you to do some research on the curriculum, special programs, electives, extracurricular etc. You can also highlight specific aspects of Sloan’s culture that appeal to you, whether that is strong connections to tech industries, its location in Boston, or another trait. You can also talk to some alumni for getting inputs on specific program details. You should conclude the cover letter with a ‘Thank You’.
- What not to do? : Avoid long narratives and storytelling. Don’t get carried away and try to share too much or personal anecdotes. The whole purpose of replacing the essays with just a cover letter is to focus more on ‘Directness’. Use simple, forceful phrases that let your enthusiasm shine through while also showing that you have done your research. Instead of filling with praises about MIT, concentrate on WHY you should be selected, HOW you will contribute, WHY MIT (Sloan), WHAT are your goals.
- What if you have more to tell? The cover letter is not the prompt where you should be telling the entire extra –information you wish to tell the ad-com. After writing your cover letter if you feel that you have more to say and you could not fit it in the 250-word cover letter, MIT Sloan allows applicants to submit optional responses through written or multimedia format.