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Our Latest Podcast: Admissions Director Q&A with MIT Sloan’s Dawna Levenson

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After a brief hiatus, we are delighted to resume the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast series with a terrific interview with Dawna Levenson, who was just promoted to assistant dean of admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management. Describing herself as a “true, blue Bostonian,” Levenson holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT. (Her advanced degree is not an MBA, but that’s only because the school didn’t yet offer one when she was a student.) She has worked full time in admissions at Sloan for the past six years and read applications on a part-time basis well before that, starting more than a decade ago. In other words, she knows the school’s process inside and out.

dawna levenson
Dawna Levenson, MIT Sloan assistant dean of admissions

MIT Sloan launched its application for the 2018-19 season yesterday, and in our interview Levenson goes into great detail about what applicants can expect and how best to approach each portion of the application. She stresses the importance of understanding MIT Sloan’s mission—to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice—since part of what her team is evaluating is how prospective applicants might contribute to that mission as a student.

“The fact that we are a mission-driven school attracts a certain type of person and weeds out others,” says Levenson. “People who want to focus on making the world a better place tend to be really good people—and they tend not to be jerks.” (For more on MIT Sloan’s mission, check out this piece from the Clear Admit archives.)

New Video Format Essay for Applicants Who Interview
Although largely the same as last year, there is one change to the admissions process this year at Sloan. As in past years, applicants who have progressed to the interview stage will be asked to submit an additional essay sharing more about themselves with the admissions committee. This year, those applicants will be required to reply in video format to the later-stage essay, which centers around how they will contribute to Sloan’s mission and the diversity of its class. Sloan experimented with video as part of the application for the first time last year, inviting applicants to submit a 60-second clip introducing themselves to their future classmates. Happy with the additional insights the video format provided, Levenson and team are excited to expand it this year.

Levenson leaves tomorrow for two weeks in Asia, where she’ll be meeting with prospective applicants across the region in multiple “Sloan on the Road” events. Armed with the information she shares in today’s podcast, you’ll be prepared to ask intelligent, insightful questions if you meet up with her in any of those cities. (A full schedule of upcoming Sloan on the Road events is available here.)

Our thanks to Levenson for graciously welcoming us at MIT Sloan last week and generously sharing her time with us—and with you. Don’t miss this insider’s guide to the school’s admissions process.

Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast
Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast
Episode 15: Admissions Director Q&A with MIT Sloan's Dawna Levenson

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief Jeanette Brown and produced by Contributing Editor Jon Pfeffer, this latest episode is part of our continuing Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast series, available here and on iTunes. Have a listen if you haven’t already! And if you like what you hear and can take a moment to rank us in iTunes, that will make it easier for other listeners to find us.