How To Differentiate Your Cover Letter For Mit Sloan Mba Admissions

NOTE: the question (and word limit) have changed for 2017, but I hope my core advice still helps you

The job hunt is competitive enough but to help you get a leg up we suggest this free audiobook download on how to get the right job faster. You can thank me later.

THE QUESTIONS BEHIND THE QUESTION

Can you get a job?

Do you share our culture?

Will you attend if I admit you?

Opening theme music: Matt Morrish, “Joanie Loves Chachi”

RG: To be honest, I cringe when I hear, “MIT is my number one choice.” I have been burned by this line in the past, and I find that the people who say it are most often not coming here. Even if you are sincere, don’t say it! I am just speaking for MIT, but sometimes I’ll be in the middle of an interview that is going really well, and then I hear that. I know what to do with that data!

Text version:

hello this is Vince and I’m talking about the MIT Sloan School of Management cover letter I’m an admissions consultant and advisor been working for ten years helping people apply to top graduate and MBA programs including MIT the cover letter for MIT is like this the question says prepare a cover letter up to 500 words seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA program the cover letters should describe your accomplishments address any extenuating circumstances that may apply to your application and conform to standard business correspondence your letter should be addressed to rod Garcia senior director of admissions all right what does it mean the question behind the question here I think is absolutely the first one can you get a job MIT Sloan doesn’t ask for a goal essay but they very much care about job placement when I met the Dean when I met Dean Schmidt Lynn in Tokyo he was very proud of the fact and I don’t have the exact statistics that MIT has a very high as a high placement rate not only in consulting and and I banking finance but also in operational companies Amazon Google etc so AM MIT very much cares that you’ll have a good internship and get a great job when you graduate that’s that’s their value proposition that’s how they justify the expense of the program and and that’s how they compete with other schools absolutely care about your getting a job they just don’t want you to write an essay about it because as they say and I agree people figure out what people just say what they think the admissions office wants to hear that the goals si can sometimes just be a formula MIT doesn’t necessarily want you to write about your short long term goals in a traditional way that Stanford or Columbia do Wharton does but they absolutely want to confirm that you actually have the skills to have a good job when you graduate from and with your MBA so getting a job too job and also to get into MIT you have to differentiate yourself in the MIT cover letter the minimum that you have to do which I’ll call good is you at least have to explain any negative situations that you faced and you have to do it for your cover letter because you have to do it for a job interviews recruiters notice and they asked about great grades and GMAT scores and they want to know why you weren’t working you know why you have a gap in your employment or something like that so if any of those issues apply to you you need to explain them the cover letter because you’re going to need to explain them to a recruiter and that’s why it matters beyond that it’d be nice to differentiate yourself with with one of these qualifying adjectives like first youngest’s only your best to actually show this this should be in your resume as well but in the cover letter you can highlight things that you’ve done where you were the youngest one promoted or something or you’re the only one who’s performing a certain function in your team or your office or your company or whatever or best that you have some awards or some Rick external recognition for the work that you do so first youngest only our best those are good terms in in resumes in reference letters everywhere basically and cover letters to and and the best way to differentiate yourself and this is the hardest way that’s why nobody does it or most people can’t do it or most cover letter drafts I see don’t even have anything anywhere close to this is something actually like a unifying theme we very much like Stanford’s what matters mode that’s my little abbreviation here what matters most to you and why it’s very much like like that were you actually identifying something you do you’re actually identifying a unifying concept or a theme or a value that says who you really are a cover letter with that kind of thing absolutely differentiates itself because again it’s very very rare for someone to have that high level of self awareness where they can actually synthesize and present a hypothesis about who they are if you watch my Stanford video which you might want to do if you even if you haven’t or won’t apply to Stanford it could help you with this part of your cover letter is in my case the keyword would be community and I would talk in my cover letter look I’m not saying copy and paste Stanford essay one cover letter of MIT in the essay one if Stanford are different questions fundamentally but the logic could could be the same if you if you were successful and happy with your Stanford answer if you think it really captured what really matters to you then that theme could be included in the cover letter as well because that kind of differentiation is is precious because it doesn’t exist in the resume certainly or the reference letters the recommendation letters and probably not an essay one or essay two either it’s nowhere else in your application it’s only in this cover letter where you tell us like I would tell you everything I’ve ever done in my life has been about creating community I’ve had different roles and titles of teacher actor musician or admissions counselor admissions advisor consultant coach whatever I call myself a what I do is always the same thing it’s all about creating community that the tools I use may be different but everything I’ve ever done and everything I want to do in the future including it in my tea has to do with this concept of creating community and what and what that means to me this would be part of my MIT cover letter as well this would unify the examples and other stuff that I would talk about in my cover letter and that’s really hard to do but if you can do it you should try okay quick pause for my favorite tea here the second question behind the question do you share our culture my assumption is that you know our culture our being MIT I’m speaking as if I’m MIT I’m obviously not you know our MIT culture if you know our people culture is pretty much people sociologists might argue with me but people are a big part of culture you don’t think you can have one without the other in my view anyway none at anime program so if you know our people you can show it a good way a simple way may be the minimal way is just some names I talked to these MIT graduates or these current students a better way is to actually talk about transformative conversation that you’ve had where your knowledge of the school transformed you you you learn new information you had an idea and you got clarification or confirmation or expanding that it’s not the right part of speech you expanded the idea that you had somehow or deepened it you learn new things about the school that confirm your cultural fit your your feeling of belonging this is the place for you the best way and again not everyone has it and I don’t suggest you fake this because they can find out don’t make this up but if you do have such a story absolutely share this kind of a story would be to say like this um you know my friend sue went to MIT I’ve known her all my life and followed her you know career and and she’s someone I grew up next door or parents of friends anyway whatever someone I respect someone I know before during and after at MIT and I see how the school changed her and that’s the transformation that I want as well either she’s used the school to transition her career in a way that I want to transition mine or I see how the school has changed her into a certain kind of leader or team member or whatever it’s it’s transformed her character or built her skills in some important way anyway the experience that Sue had is very much like this experience that I want out of an MBA and I know MIT is the place for me because this is someone with whom I have a deep connection and I see what the school did for them and I want to have that same experience that’s real if you’ve got it and if you don’t don’t try but if you’ve got that you may have that for one or two of the schools on your list if MIT is one of them put that in your cover letter okay third question behind the question MIT Sloan Admissions Office has to ask itself at some point will this person attend if we admit them look at the numbers harvest yield is number one Stanford’s is number two Columbia is number three Wharton and then mi t ‘s fifth fifth out of five these are the top five schools in terms of yield and let me just remind you in case in case it’s it’s not clear yield basically means of those so let’s use Harvard as an example it’s the it’s the most famous one and it’s the one everyone else is jealous of I’m sure Harvard admits however many people of those people 90 percent say yes to Harvard so Harvard says yes to X people I should have memorized that number I didn’t I’m not gonna make it up however it admits X number of people 90 percent of X says thanks Harvard here’s my deposit see you in the fall or in the summer that’s an enviable statistic right no other school comes close except Stanford and then quite a bit down in the 70% range Columbia Columbia 72 percent because of early decision round I think that’s no one’s ever said that I just kind of figured that out Wharton is just behind there and then if you know in the mid 60s and wanting to be higher and probably now is higher because of the the thing last year were they over it they over admitted I think they were expecting about 65% yield and they got surprised they’re they’re hot or whatever more people who who they offered seats to took those seats so there aren’t enough seats anyway still not number four I don’t think no matter what I don’t think they’re gonna be Wharton this year they’re trying to they want to whatever more power to them if they can anyway this is why this question is really is a real question and so how do you address this issue let me let me share an anecdote it actually relates to a client of mine who was admitted to Wharton and MIT and a bunch of other schools and went to Wharton this is someone whose all his life assumed he would go to MIT given his background or where he works or something about his you know personality or something he’s the kind of guy who as a kid maybe dreamed of MIT as soon as he heard about the school it was like the school he wanted to go to maybe for engineering or undergrad or something but anyway still in his mind for MBAs held out this hope well when he starts the process it might ease number one on his list but then along the way he meets some Wharton people and he thinks what that’s a neat school for whatever reason it takes him where he wants to go for whatever reason it gets into MIT he gets into Wharton in round one he saves his MIT application for round two for whatever reason he goes to the Wharton admitted students weekend he flies back and the next morning he has his MIT admissions interview and wart an MIT which is famous and the first school to have to use behavioral interview questions at this admissions interview the interviewer the admissions staff person didn’t ask a single behavioral question right so I’m helping this client prepare for the interview we’re doing all these behavioral questions he gets to the real interview and there’s not a single behavioral question asked the only questions asked are in five different ways with lots of follow up tell me again why you really want to come to MIT it you know it’s it’s like you know these MIT admissions officers all admissions officers veterans are smart and they’re perceptive and they have been tuition it’s like that if like this it’s like the guy was you know it’s like underneath he could feel this Wharton I just happened to be wearing this shirt today my client different clients sent me this when he got admitted to Wharton and I wear it sometimes just because it’s fun I didn’t go to Wharton anyway I happen to be wearing the shirt so I thought it’d be fun to flash you in my video it was like that it’s like x ray vision the interview work and just kind of like it’s like he smelled this guy smelled like cheese steak or something right he he had this Billie vibe somehow you know Wharton didn’t come up in the interview but it’s like the MIT interview were sitting there skeptically saying you know kind of flu if we take this guy is he gonna come is he gonna come and they ask that so at the any admissions interview they ask what they want to ask at my point here I’m not saying don’t I’m gonna get in trouble again I’m not saying don’t prepare for behavioral questions it’s the standard in my t interview formula so don’t skip it I’m just saying that if they throw it out if something else no crops up in this case tell me again how many MIT people do you know and you know how much time have you spent Reese you know tell me have you done this have you done that have you testing and checking and probing because again this number Wharton beats MIT statistically so chances are numbers suggest that there’s somebody’s admitted to both school they might go to Wharton and MIT doesn’t like that so they want to confirm it so how do you how do you address this in your cover letter well various ways one way is just to simply say it MIT is my dream school and if admitted ala 10 you could write that or you could say it in the interview I don’t always suggest it but you could another way a better way is to actually prove it again with these qualifiers are only your best so only MIT has this thing that I need it could be a professor a research center some opportunity some program they could be a cross disciplinary tie up that MIT has with another Department you know the Sloan has with another part of MIT or with the Kennedy School or whatever something at MIT is exactly what you need to fulfill yourself and the best way of all is to tie it back to this theme so again if I am mr: community this is a hard one by the way to sell but I’d have to somehow say that since I’m the community guy who makes community creates humanities somehow MIT gives me the missing piece you know I don’t know what this logic would be because I’m not applying to MIT I haven’t really thought this through but it would be like you know the communities I need to create now are there’s some missing piece I want to create a new form of community and only MIT has some element some aspect of the school either the experience of being there for two years and or some person I would study with or some program that I would take advantage of or some resource research or resources that I would tap into is the missing piece for the new form of community that I am going to create I don’t know what I’m talking about I’m just make like I’m gonna make the next Facebook or something whatever I’m not and then again it might he doesn’t want to your goal per se so I’m going off on a tangent here my point though is that if you can prove that the school connects to you at the deepest level that would prove to them that there’d be something that only they offer and that would prove to them that you will be highly likely to beat the statistic and actually choose MIT over some other school that’s ranked higher I mean maybe you didn’t even apply to any of those other schools that are have a higher yield it’s MIT in schools with a lower yield or whatever I’m not saying name the names of other schools in your cover letter or maybe even at your interview if they asked you have to say where else you have applied I think it’s a fair question and it should be answered honestly but then again you’ve got to come back to this but MIT beats them all because of whatever it is this killer thing that only MIT has to figure this logic out all right I’m gonna sign off here and keep this one short I have to apologize as well as I meant to make this video much earlier than I’m actually making it I’ve been very busy with my with my main responsibilities which is helping my clients meet deadlines and so this video is just squeaking in before around 1: 00 I hope you watch it and have time to think about the stuff I’m saying here and apply it in some way whether you’re applying round 1 round 2 whenever you’re applying to MIT best of luck and thanks for watching and stay tuned I’ll be making more of these whenever I can alright thanks again good luck to you bye bye..

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