Part 1. IntroductionPart 2. About MIT Sloan School of ManagementPart 3. The MIT Sloan Interview Process—A Quick OverviewPart 4. What is MIT Sloan Looking forPart 5. How to Prepare for the MIT Sloan InterviewPart 6. Top Tips on How to Successfully Ace the MIT Sloan InterviewPart 7. FAQsPart 8. Conclusion
Landing an MIT Sloan interview is no small feat—but landing the interview is only half the battle to securing a spot in the program. Known as the third-best MBA program in the world and maintaining an acceptance rate of just under 12%, MIT Sloan is not an easy school to get into.
When surrounded by a large pool of applicants—all of whom have excellent academic standing, personal achievements, and high motivation—it is critical to differentiate yourself, especially in the interview process.
The following steps outlined in this guide will provide a solid foundation to help you ace the MIT Sloan interview.
About MIT Sloan School of Management
The MIT Sloan School of Management—one of the M7 business schools —boasts a 95% employment rate after graduation. As the third best MBA program in the world, the MIT Sloan School of Management MBA program is admirable.
One of the most notable aspects of the MIT Sloan School of Management is its emphasis on data and experiential learning, reflected in their motto, “mens et manus” or “mind and hand.” With graduates going into consulting, technology, and finance sectors, the school emphasizes experiential learning through “Action Learning labs,” working with various host organizations to solve real-life problems.
But, what is especially unique about the MIT Sloan School of Management is their interview process. The process is primarily geared towards learning the details surrounding your past experiences, reflecting the experiential nature of the program.
While questions about your past may seem more straightforward than more abstract questions, such behavioral questions require a significant amount of preparation and require you to articulate yourself well.
The MIT Sloan Interview Process—A Quick Overview
The MIT Sloan School of Management interview process is different from your standard MBA interview process in a couple of ways. For one, it requires the completion of additional pre-interview essay questions, but members of the admissions committee will also conduct a behavioral based interview with you.
Before attending the interview, you will answer a few pre-interview questions. Instructions for the pre-interview questions will be sent in an email, and answers must be submitted 24 hours before the interview.
By the time you are interviewed by a member of the MIT Sloan School of Management Admissions Committee, your interviewer will have read your entire application, pre-interview questions, and watched your one-minute video.
This means that the interviewer will have a fairly good idea of who you are before the interview, so it is fair to assume you will be asked questions about your experience, resume, video, or pre-interview questions. Make sure you are prepared to provide additional details.
The Sloan interview is divided into three parts. During the first section of the interview, the interviewer will ask any clarifying questions about your application, resume, or video. If any section of your application lacks information, the interviewer will likely have questions for you.
The second part of the interview focuses on behavioral questions and questions that focus on how you responded to situations in the past. The MIT Sloan School of Management believes that “past experiences are some of the best indicators of future successes.”
MIT Sloan provided a couple of examples of behavioral-style questions in their interview-prep video:
- “Tell me about a time when you were part of a team working on a project and the project started to not do so well. How did you recognize that, and how did you turn that around?”
- “Tell us about a time when you led a group to accomplish a challenging task?”
- “Tell us about a time when you made a team more inclusive?”
Finally, during the third part of the interview, you will have the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions. This section is crucial for highlighting your interest in the program. When preparing for this section of the interview, it is important to think critically about your interests and goals, so you can ask questions that will help you determine if MIT Sloan is the right fit for you. Make sure your questions demonstrate a genuine interest in what MIT offers and are not easily found online.
Additionally, your questions should reflect who you are and your interests. With that said, don’t stress out. The interview is a great opportunity to learn more about the program and to see if it is a great fit for you.
What is MIT Sloan Looking for?
During your MIT Sloan interview, the interviewer will be looking for a couple of things. The MIT Sloan website outlines a couple of critical things:
- “We seek 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.”
- “We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas.”
And from their mission statement:
“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.”
Together, these phrases highlight key elements your interviewer will look for in your interview. MIT Sloan looks for candidates who stand out from the crowd. If you take initiative, possess an open mind that seeks new opportunities, have a positive impact on others, and can creatively solve problems, you’ll increase your chances of getting into MIT Sloan.
To demonstrate these points in the MIT Sloan interview, you should select personal and professional anecdotes to highlight these elements. As previously written, MIT Sloan believes past actions are the best indicator of future actions, so having strong anecdotes that you can elaborate on is important. Show how your values align with those of MIT Sloan.
In addition, the MIT Sloan Interview will also test you on your interest in the program. MIT Sloan wants students who truly encapsulate the school’s mission, values, and interests, so demonstrating enthusiasm and well-thought-out research is paramount to succeeding in your interview.
How To Prepare for the MIT Sloan Interview
As with any business school, researching MIT’s interview process can provide you with valuable insight. To further your chances of acing MIT Sloan’s interview, review Sloan’s Youtube videos and websites concerning interview-prep.
Additionally, reviewing the school’s mission statement, values, and specific attributes they are looking for can assist in selecting your personal anecdotes and can aid you in deciding how to frame them. For example, MIT Sloan lists “[enhancing] the experience of other students” as a key attribute, along with “thoughtful” leadership.
With this in mind, reflect on your past experiences and interactions with others. Remember, examples do not have to entail grand gestures—an example of subtle yet impactful actions is sufficient.
Thorough research can also help you generate questions for your interviewer and ensure you avoid asking poor questions that may weaken your prospects of getting accepted.
Prepare Anecdotes, Questions, and Consider Your Purpose:
Once you have conducted sufficient research and feel like you have a solid grasp on the interview format and expectations, you can prepare your anecdotes, questions, and shape your purpose.
The first thing to prepare is your personal anecdotes. Since MIT Sloan’s interviews involve behavioral based questions, you will need to answer the interview questions using specific examples of how you acted in the past.
To maximize your ability to answer these questions effectively, you should generate a list of personal anecdotes that demonstrate “how you have built relationships, influenced others, and made decisions,” which you can apply to any behavioral question. Personal stories can come from any of your experiences—whether it is an experience from an internship, extracurricular activity, or a class project.
A great method to approach framing these anecdotes is the STAR method. When asked a behavioral question, this framework can guide you on shaping your anecdote to best address the question. The STAR method—an acronym for situation, task, action, results—provides a comprehensive framework to explain and reflect on your experiences.
Provide the necessary background and context to your interviewer. This information can include where your anecdote took place, the type of pressures you faced, or the environment you operated in.
Identify your exact role in the situation. What was the problem? What needed to be done? What was the significance of this problem? What were the implications of it?
Describe the steps you took to remediate the situation. How did you respond? What information did you use to decide how to respond? How did you weigh the consequences and prioritize your actions?
For this section, it is important to describe how your actions improved the situation. What was the outcome? You should also reflect on the results to showcase your critical thinking skills.
Using this framework will ensure you thoroughly apply your past experiences to the interviewer’s questions.
Finally, prepare a strong answer ahead of time to the question “Why MIT?” Answers such as “MIT is my first choice” are not suitable—it doesn’t show anything about you. This question gives you the opportunity to prove you know the school. The admissions committee also looks for people who strongly align with their values. If you can demonstrate how your values align with those of MIT Sloan, you’ll be one step up on your competition.
Practice and Seek Feedback:
Finally, practicing your Sloan interview will give you the confidence required to ace behavioral questions and give you practice with framing anecdotes to specifically address the questions.
As with anything, the more you practice, the more proficient you will become in answering behavioral questions, which will increase your chances of gaining acceptance into the program.
Practice for the interview by sitting down regularly with a family member or friend for 30 minutes, while they ask you behavioral questions. However, make sure they are someone that can provide you with honest criticism. This feedback will allow you to improve your interview skills and increase the likelihood you get accepted at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Top Tips on How to Successfully Ace the MIT Sloan Interview
Interviews can be stressful, but considerable preparation will be the number one step to acing the interview. There are a couple things you can also do on this big day that will set you apart from other applicants.
First, be aware of your actions and posture. It is natural for the nerves to kick in right before an interview, but do not let your nerves get the best of you. Fidgeting, avoiding eye contact and talking too fast or excessively, can all weaken your presentation, or distract your interviewer from what you are saying. This will weaken your impression on the interviewer.
Practicing your interview skills will be critical to identifying and consciously fixing these blunders. One way to do this is by filming yourself doing a practice interview. This can help you recognize any visible and distracting habits you may have while being interviewed; try to actively pay attention to stopping these habits when they’re identified.
Ultimately, using engaging body language and a confident tone will serve you well and reflect your preparation. If an interviewer asks you a difficult question, take a minute to think about your response. It is better to take some time to form a coherent response that answers the interviewer's question, instead of jumping into an unorganized answer.
1. How do I get an interview, and when will I be notified?
The MIT Sloan interview is by invitation only and is a mandatory step to gaining admission. Interview invitations will be sent via email and sent out until the decision deadline.
2. Should I send a personal thank you note to the interviewer?
Though not required, sending a personalized thank you note to your interviewer will make a great impression. The MIT Sloan MBA interview is a great opportunity for this due to the conversational nature of the behavioral questions. When writing the thank you letter or email, ensure you use your interviewer’s name, thank your interviewer directly, reflect on the most impactful parts of the interview, and express your excitement for the program.
3. How can I show the admissions committee that I am a good fit during the interview?
Showing the admissions committee that you are a good fit for the program comes back to prove you fit the school’s values and have a genuine interest in the program. Preparing strong personal anecdotes that reflect MIT Sloan’s values and specific questions tailored to your interests for the interviewer before the MIT Sloan interview will reflect your dedication, research, and commitment—all of which are necessary to gaining admission.
4. What is a common mistake students make during their interviews?
Lack of interview practice. It is important to practice selling yourself and your experiences. You have a limited time with the interviewer, so it is crucial to make a strong impression through using your prepared anecdotes to help the interviewer understand you—and better yet—help the interviewer realize that your interests, values, and goals parallel those of MIT Sloan.
If you have sufficiently practiced and feel you have a strong grasp on your responses, then practice for flow. While you will not get dinged solely because of “ums” and stuttering, the more natural, confident, and conversational your answers are, the better off you will be.
5. Is a high GMAT score needed to get an MIT Sloan interview?
The median GMAT score hovers around 720, but the GMAT score is not everything. According to Dawna Levenson, MIT Sloan Director of Admissions, “you should not let one specific attribute or element about yourself discourage you from applying.” That being said, if you are applying with an average or a lower than average GMAT score, recognize that you may be asked about it in your interview during the first section.
It is worth having an explanation for your score that ties in with your overall personal story, complete with additional steps you have taken to improve yourself after taking the GMAT, which addresses the shortcomings in your score or any other section of your application.
6. When are the interviews?
Interviews for Round 1 occur from October to December, February to March for Round 2, and May for Round 3.
7. What experience does MIT Sloan look for in an interview?
Any experience! Whether you have experience working at an engineering firm or a non-profit organization, MIT Sloan will consider all backgrounds equally as long as the experience demonstrates a genuine interest in what MIT has to offer and an alignment with MIT’s values and mission. However, MIT Sloan looks for about five years of work experience on average.
8. Who will be interviewing me?
Unlike some business schools that get alumni to conduct anonymous interviews, a member of the MBA admissions committee will conduct the MIT Sloan interview. The individual in your interview would have reviewed your entire application—from the one-minute video to your pre-interview questions and resume—and will be very likely to ask you specific questions that guide you to elaborate on your experiences.
Acing the MIT Sloan interview will take practice and careful consideration. From conducting thorough research to selecting anecdotes and brainstorming questions, each step of preparation will require you to apply MIT’s values directly to your personal anecdotes.
Once receiving your invite to interview, your first steps should be to review your initial application, and find areas of weakness you might be asked about. Remember, the admissions committee will want to know more about you than just what your application reflects, so be prepared to talk about more than what you have written.
Next, researching MIT’s Sloan’s values and brainstorming a list of personal anecdotes that demonstrate how you have implemented these values throughout your lifetime will be the second step. Preparing unique questions for your interviewer that demonstrate genuine interest will also be a necessary step to setting you apart from other candidates.
And finally, practice. Doing multiple interview simulations will not only drastically improve your interviewing skills, but it will also build your confidence—something that is critical to acing the MIT Sloan interview.
By taking the time to follow the steps outlined in this guide, you will be on the right track to gaining admission in a top MBA program.