What's the best way to plan for the two years at Sloan so that you get the most out of it?
Speak to current students ahead of time to see what activities they engage in and how they spend their time. Check out the club websites and think about where you might want to get involved (or where you might want to establish a new club!). When the time for bidding comes around (second semester of the first year, after the core is over), make a preliminary list of all the classes you might want to take, then figure out which semesters you want to and/or can take them in.
How has MIT met your learning needs for your specific goals so far? MIT Sloan has facilitated my learning both in the classroom and out. Many of my professors are well-respected leaders in their field, and not only make traditionally challenging subjects interesting and applicable to our professions, but also bring in guest speakers and former colleagues to make the material come alive.
My core team (study group of seven students in the first semester) was so much fun, and we balanced each other in skill sets and professional backgrounds. We learned a lot from each other, including how to most efficiently work with different personalities, draw out each others' strengths and help improve weaknesses.
Additionally, the Dean's Innovative Leader Series constantly brings in notable figures across various industries such as Bil Porter (Sloan Fellow, '67), Co-Founder and Chairman of E-trade; Paul Sagan, President and CEO of Akamai; and Jeffrey Hollender, Co-founder and Executive Chair of Seventh Generation. Having not only the access to these individuals but also hearing firsthand about their experiences has contributed to the learning experience.
What about the Boston location? How is that affecting your experience? Boston is a great city - there is never a shortage of things to do, either on or off campus. Cambridge specifically is known as a growing technology hub. Those interested in start-ups, technology, biotech, and pharmaceuticals will find that the area is teeming with opportunities for projects, internships and employment. MIT Sloan is uniquely positioned as a place of innovation, creativity and cutting-edge technology and is extremely well-connected within the Cambridge, greater Boston/MA area and beyond.
What kind of leadership training or mentoring do you receive at Sloan?
I participated in a great leadership class that allows you to request 360-degree reviews from former colleagues, peers and clients. Upon arriving at Sloan, I was matched with a coach who helped me to understand my strengths and areas for improvement in my leadership skills - which I have been putting into action. There are many other classes that focus on leadership development, which provide you with opportunities for self-reflection and periodic assessment.
Second-years that mentor incoming first-years are also given training on mediation and how to help new students make the transition back into school.
Any last words of advice?
The curriculum at MIT Sloan can be extremely rigorous at times, but manageable. They would not admit you if you could not do the work. If at times you feel the need for extra help, I have found that the students and administrators are extremely collaborative and willing to help in any way. The close-knit community is fostered not only in the small class size, but great mix of personalities as well.
About the Author:
Interview conducted by By Cindy Tokumitsu, who has assisted applicants applying to top business schools since 1998. She is co-author of The Finance Professional's Guide to MBA Success, The Consultants' Guide to MBA Admission, The EMBA Edge, and author of several articles and the free, email mini-course, Ace the EMBA.