The MIT Sloan School of Management is an integral part of MIT’s rich intellectual tradition of education and research and the business school ranks amongst the world’s leading MBA programs.

The School traces its beginnings back to 1914 when it was the engineering administration curriculum in the MIT Department of Economics and Statistics. In 1925, a master’s degree in management was established and, in 1931, the world’s first university-based executive education program — the MIT Sloan Fellows — was created. The MIT School of Industrial Management was formally established in 1952. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a 1972 Sloan alumnus, delivered the opening address at the School’s recent 50th anniversary celebration.

Some of MIT Sloan School’s most unique aspects include:

  • The MIT Sloan Leadership Model
  • The MIT $50K Competition
  • Global E-Lab
  • Biomedical Enterprise Program
  • Center for eBusiness at MIT
  • MIT Sloan China Project

Below is the three-page transcript of our interview with Rod Garcia, Director of MBA Admissions, on May 10, 2004.

What new changes are occurring on campus and how is Sloan evolving?

Our new curriculum has brought more flexibility to the student’s experience, with 75% of the courses electives and few required courses to complete beyond the one semester core.

Each semester now has a 6-1-6 schedule with the middle period being Sloan Innovation Period where students get to attend faculty seminars on their cutting edge research; stuff that won’t be in the textbooks for years.  And our experiential courses like Global Entrepreneurship Lab — where students travel to over 30 companies in 15 countries — are enormously popular.

I think you’ll see even more integration between theory and practice.  It is an area where we are uniquely positioned to add value.

Last year, applications for your full-time program declined by what percentage?

Declines of 15-20% were common across all our peer schools.

Are you seeing any early indications of how this year’s application volume may compare to the 2002-2003 season?

I don’t have the final statistics yet but applications are down this year.  There are several explanations for this.  First is the prolonged weak economy.  In a weak economy, people quit their jobs and go to graduate school and in a prolonged weak economy, there are fewer people left in the pipeline.  Demographics also have something to do with the pipelines.  Remember declines in college applications some 8-10 years ago?  This age group is now applying to business schools.  And finally more and more candidates are applying to fewer schools and fewer applicants are applying to multiple schools.

How about the demographic makeup of the applicant pool?

In our particular case, we’ve seen increases in applications from certain parts of the world (Asia) but we’ve also seen decreases in other parts (Latin America).

What general advice would you like applicants considering Sloan to know?

Be yourself.  Spend more time than you think you need thinking of what you’ve done, how you’ve done it, worked with people, came up with ideas, etc.  We want to know about your process as much or more than the results you’ve had.

You’ll see our questions are designed to elicit the details of your experience.  Don’t give us big picture statements — give us the closeup of who you are.

When do you encourage applicants to apply?

When they are ready.  We have admits with 0 years of full-time experience and admits with 20.

Are there any specific characteristics that you target in the applications to help you identify the ‘best fit’ candidates?

Yes, we have 11 characteristics that help us focus in on the core qualities of success. I won’t name them here but they are what might be expected in a top-tier MBA candidate. The difference in our process is that our admissions staff works very closely together to determine benchmarks of success and potential. We feel we have great repeatability across readers and interviewers.

What should applicants most heavily emphasize in their work experience?

Progression is often overlooked — not titles but levels of responsibility, significance of projects etc. Also, outside of work activities often have major potential to make a positive impact on us.

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