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Why You Should Consider Yourself Lucky to Get to Write the MIT Sloan Pre-Interview Essay

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Did you get invited to interview at MIT Sloan today? If so, a hearty congratulations. And if not—there’s still hope! Another batch of invites is slated to go out a week from today, on March 1st.

In case you don’t know it already, for those of you who did or still might receive an invitation to interview—you’re also going to get to write an additional essay. That’s right. MIT Sloan is unique among top business schools in that it saves an application essay question for only those candidates it invites to interview.

Before you groan and say, “Another essay?” you’d do well to understand the reasoning behind the process and the essay itself.

An Innovative Way to Streamline the Process
First, by reserving the additional essay question for those who make it to the interview round, MIT Sloan reduces the number of essays all candidates must write—and the number of essays its Admissions Committee must read.

Clear Admit Co-Founder Graham Richmond is a big fan of MIT Sloan’s pre-interview essay innovation. “Having worked in admissions, I am always interested in ways to optimize the process and make it more efficient, and I think this is a brilliant way on MIT’s part to pre-screen candidates that they want to interview and only get that subset of candidates to write a second essay,” he says. “This is MIT finding an innovative way to streamline the process and really hear more from the people they are most interested in.”

In a post to her “From the Desk of the Admissions Director” blog today, Dawna Levenson shared the second essay question that candidates invited to interview will need to answer—and then she elaborated further on why MIT Sloan asks for it.

Wrote Levenson: “All MBA interviewees are asked to answer one important question before interviewing at MIT Sloan:

‘The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. We believe that a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and well-being is a key component of both principled leadership and sound management practice. In 250 words or less, please describe how you, as a member of the MIT Sloan community, would work to create a campus that is welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse.’”

Mission Matters at MIT Sloan
As to why they ask the question, Levenson stressed the importance of mission at MIT Sloan. “MIT Sloan is a mission-driven school,” she wrote. “In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about working here! MIT Sloan students are smart and collaborative, grounded and inventive. Together, we cherish inclusivity and embrace unique differences because we know that building this culture is critical to fostering world-changing ideas.”

MIT Sloan pre-interview essay
Dawna Levenson, MIT Sloan director of MBA and Master of finance admissions

She continued, sharing that in her years working at Sloan she has seen first-hand how the culture of the school has been enhanced by its commitment to bringing together diverse people and ideas in one place—and how her role as admissions director is to continue to admit students who can contribute to that dynamic culture.

“We love talking about our mission,” she said, adding that it will very likely come up during the interview. “This essay gives you time to contemplate the culture you are looking for in a business school and prepare to have a deeper conversation about it when we meet in person for your interview.”

A Great Exercise That Forces You to Come in With the Right Mindset
Richmond thinks MIT Sloan’s pre-interview essay really achieves this second goal, too. “It gives the school a chance to ensure that everyone they are going to interview has familiarized themselves with the school’s mission and ethos of that campus and what it is the school is trying to accomplish,” he says. “It’s a great exercise that forces you to do at least one thing to prepare for the interview, which is write this essay, learn a little bit more about MIT Sloan, and come in with the right mindset.”

Levenson continued on in her post to provide some specific guidance on what she and her team are looking for in response to the pre-interview essay.