Invited to Interview at MIT Sloan


The Plague

So I’m sitting in my Friday product strategy meeting, and I’m wiping my sore and swollen nose for the 100th time this morning..  It’s flu season, so all the folks with school age kids  have brought their kids’ nasty cooties to work and kindly shared them with the rest of us. Bums.

Since I work in an office building, there is an endless procession of hands touching elevator buttons, door knobs, and the handles of the shared refrigerators in the kitchens on each floor. And I won’t just blame it on the parents. I might very well be the bubonic culprit my damn self. I distinctly remember telling my tutoring student at the midnight mission in Inglewood to use his arm to cover his face (as he sneezed violently in mine) two weeks ago; then last Monday I went to the mission’s Christmas celebration–full of kids–total recipe for illness.

Either way, my job is the perfect petri dish for the fast spread of sickness. And I’ve recently been hit by the ninja. Fun times.

I’m Over it

I tend to be the type who remains emotionally even keel and aloof, and I’ve recently found my way back to my natural state; so I’m kinda over worrying about b-school. I reached that limit some time last week, though, my nerves are still shot–post traumatic stress no doubt.

In the meantime, I have been coasting through each day filling my time with work stuff, NFL games, NBA games, a date or two, reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (hence my obsession with fast spreading epidemics. I apologize in arrears for all the references lol),  and sipping hot tea each morning and warm red wine every  night. I’m good. Gucci. Chillin. I even wore a kangol to work today (you should have seen the look on my employees’ faces when I walked in looking like your friendly neighborhood pimp–I’ve already heard at least one reference to Andre 3000).

Yeah, so back to this meeting. My week has been productive and I’m ahead on most assignments so I’m not at all worried about being put on the spot. I’m actually more concerned about whether I want Indian Korma or Thai Yellow Curry with Lamb for lunch. As my boss opens up the meeting, I already know based on the subject matter that very little of my input will be needed today. I won’t be back on the accountability  hot seat until Monday. So naturally, everything that I’m hearing begins to sounds like Charlie Brown’s school teacher: “wonk wonk wonk…wonk wonk….new features and UI…wonk wonk….bug burn down….wonk…beta release…wonk wonk”.

Then some blooming idiot’s phone beeps loudly in middle of the meeting. What’s that? Oh, its MY phone. Apparently I forgot to put it on vibrate when I came into the office this morning. See this is the kind of schyt that happens when grown people are incapacitated with flu and cold season cooties.

Millennial Values (I’m on the cusp; that’s passing)

As I grab for my phone, I revel in the fact that the next 10 seconds to 2 minutes I’m about to spend all up in my keypad is totally acceptable these days (did I just date myself?). In 2012, everyone is constantly on some mobile device–iPad/iPhone/Samsung, etc–especially at internet/software companies. This crosses my mind only because I can distinctly remember having been reprimanded 4 years ago for reading a text about MY 90+ YEAR OLD GRANDMOTHER BEING IN THE HOSPITAL while sitting in a dumb sales training at the stuffy Fortune 50 I used to work for–friggin nazis man.

[SIDEBAR]: I find it hilarious that just about any of the times that I’ve checked this same iPhone (with its broken “Black Nerds Unite” phone cover) with baited breathe–nada; or a marketing email from a school; or some other dumb ish. Yet, each time there was REAL news, like my interview invites to Wharton and Booth, I wasn’t even checking for anything important [/END SIDEBAR].

At any rate, before I can even click on the inbox the preview window says something about “MIT Sloan Interviews”. Ah, I’ve been here before. I clicked the actual email to confirm (because Sloan sends more marketing emails that ANY other school–which used to be nerve racking; now, I just laugh because that’s so much easier on my mind and body than the cardiac arrest that I used to go into; IJS) that it is what I think it is.

IT IS (!)… an invite to interview at MIT Sloan(!)…that is.

**WARNING: what happens next is ghetto**

So without so much as a thought, I plunge out of my chair and excuse myself from the meeting with two feet of beat up snotty tissue trailing from my hand–AS I continue to read the email with my iPhone up in my face–AS my boss is making some insightful point. Real classy.

My goal? I need to get to my desk to confirm my desired interview time before somebody takes the spot I want. 2/3 of the available times are on days that I have a bunch of meetings; and that’s the last thing I need.

I hop down one flight of stairs, touching many doorknobs and continuing to spreading more plague and pestilence, no doubt. An employee tries to ask me something on my way to my desk and gets shushed with a waive of my snotty tissue (as in, STFU–I’m busy).

The Goodie Drawer–I Mean, Browser

Once at my desk, I open up that special browser window–you know the one–your secret browser with 5 tabs open to P&Q/BTG/GmatClub/Blog Stats etc that you keep BEHIND all of the other browser windows at work—yeah, that one. It’s the cyber equivalent to the bed stand that you have to remove your box and replace them with a KJV bible when your parents come to visit.

Since this browser window stays open 24/7 to my special MBA applicant gmail account –you know, the one with your legit government name that didn’t even exist before you applied to b-school, because your REAL email would raise questions about your judgement on a resume–I was ‘ret to go without needing to waste time logging in (thank you Google for two week continuous sign in). I clicked all the appropriate stuff, scheduled an interview and walked back into my meeting–kangol still on but minus the snotty tissue (the good news cleared my sinuses. Amazing)–like nothing ever happened. Smooth.

Now, I have yet another activity to keep me busy while waiting for my final admission status from Booth and Wharton–prepping for my (much anticipated) interview at Sloan. Nice.

P.S. CONGRATS to my commiseraters Unclear Admit and Sassafras, who’ve been admitted to Dartmouth (Tuck!) and Yale, respectively. Hopefully I’ll be able to pop a cyber bottle myself sometime soon. We’ll see what the future holds.


Would you like my help getting into your dream b-school? Well, there are two starting points for that:

1. Get a Free Profile Analysis (after receiving your information, I’ll let you know whether or not I think I can help you)

2. Get Help Now (If you already know that you want help and what you want help on, then just skip to here)

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Wharton MBA and admissions expert

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53 Comments on “Invited to Interview at MIT Sloan”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Congrats! I just got my invite too. Best of luck!!


  2. Sassafras (@SassafrasMBA) Says:

    dang, man, you’re on a roll with interview invites! keep ’em coming!


  3. DSS Says:

    Awesome news – great job! Keep prepping for your interviews! Sounds like exciting things are on the horizon!


  4. healthcare2mba Says:

    Congratulations! Just so you know, right at the second I saw “mbaover30 – new post – Invited [blah blah] MIT [blah]” popping up in my mailbox, I was like “Oh yessssss!!!” Feeling excited as if we were actually friends in person! Okay, part of the reasons is that MIT is told to be more competitive this year and I’m pretty much of your follower in terms of school choices. Still, the biggest part I wanted to say is CONGRATULATIONS! I’M HAPPY FOR YOU!!!


  5. snicks Says:

    Congratulations – that’s wonderful news! 🙂


  6. ak2012 Says:

    Congratulations! I had been following your blog for some time and your comments on gmatclub. I am really happy for you.


  7. Ohdenny Says:



  8. cheetarah1980 Says:

    Woot woot! Congrats man.


  9. Asax Says:

    Yippeededooooo! 😀 All the best!


  10. sethmba Says:

    Hey Man ! Congrats for the invite. I am still in the gmat part. I am targetting LBS london business school. I hope to have the same success as you!

    Your blog is very inspiring.


  11. xgineer Says:

    30+, I couldn’t stop laughing when I read the part about the hidden browser window. I like to hide P&Q/BTG/GmatClub/Blog Stats in Chrome…I even put up another blank tab to hide the name of any of the sites from showing on the task bar. Still rooting for you man!


  12. n2739178 Says:

    very inspirational, well done! I’m trying to get my R2 MIT app in now, GMAT scheduled for Monday, aaagh such stress! Do you mind if I ask ytou some questions about your MIT app? specifically, how did you research MIT – did you talk to Alumni, go there for a campus visit etc.?



    • mbaover30 Says:

      Here’s the think about MIT: while visiting is always a best case scenario, the primo info that you’ll need for them is on the website–on purpose. I’ve heard their adcom members say it multiple times. Here’s what you need to remember about Sloan while trying to get an interview:

      1) Don’t waste ANY time talking about what you want to do 5-10 years from now. They don’t know care. They want to know how what you’ve ALREADY DONE makes you a fit for MIT

      2) Their focus is very behavioral. They want to know what makes you tick, why and how you’ve done the things you’ve done in life.

      3) Sloan has the most objective selection process. They literally score your app based on several criteria. The 800 highest scores get interviewed. Period.

      4) All of those criteria are on the website. Invest 2-3 hours just jotting down EVERYTHING they say they look for in a candidate. Then, flesh each of those out into detailed stories that show how you have exhibited those traits. Put special focus on your motivations and reasons behind your actions and decisions.

      5) Show, don’t tell. Don’t talk about being a leader. Tell a story that shows your leadership skills.

      6) Make the highest GMAT score possible. Since they use an objective grading scale, high scores and GPAs can help to bolster weaker parts of your profile with MIT moreso than other schools.

      Hope this helps. I don’t envy you doing the GMAT and R2 apps at once. Best of luck to you!


      • healthcare2mba Says:

        Appreciate your valuable and in-depth advices to n2739178! Would you mind if I have a question on the word limit. Did you go over the limit in any essay? Rumor has it that an excess of 5%, and not more than 10% is acceptable. I knew the best answer should be sought from MIT adcom, and I did ask them. Unfortunately, their answers were inconsistent among different members (similar about their grading scale – while they now openly say they use it, an adcom member answered me at an event that “no, we don’t go that deep” – I don’t know why).

        Anyway, while I’m definitely trying my best to stay inside the border, trimming words hurts the flow and style of my essay so much 😦

      • mbaover30 Says:

        I general, I’d stick to the 5-10% rule. It really depends. I really tried to stay right at the word limit +20-30 in general. Ad coms don’t actually count the words. They are general guidelines so that they can actually get through lots of applications. “500 words” is generally one page, unspaced; so, if you’re essay goes way over one page, then there you have it. Your goal should be to use all the words available to present a complete, well-written essay while being right at, just under or just over the limit.

  13. n2739178 Says:

    awesome thanks for your advice! i didn’t know about some of that stuff. yeah fingers crossed for the exam from hell tomorrow! i thought i may be able to pass off a sub-par GMAT mark with an additional essay topic about retaking it soon, but it sounds like MIT really go on “hard numbers” only… well, with a bit of luck, we’ll be classmates next Fall!


    • mbaover30 Says:

      Best of luck to you! And remember that there are MANY great schools. Pick 4-6 that you’d love to attend and put your best foot forward for EACH of them. They all look for the same general things but there are nuances that also differentiate the priority in which they values those same attributes.


  14. n2739178 Says:

    im actually half thinking of leaving the application until R1 next year in order to give me time to boost my GMAT and my profile… by which time i will be almost 32… not sure if that’s a great idea though. will prob just apply anyway this year, see what happens, and perhaps be a reapplicant next year if i dont get in…


    • mbaover30 Says:

      Depends. If you already have a 680/690 it may be worth a shot—UNLESS you are dead set on a school like MIT. Not that you wouldn’t have a chance, but it becomes harder; but, if you are female or URM that will help; just being honest. If your GMAT is not at least a 690 I’d recommend prepping for GMAT next year.


      • davydd Says:

        cool thanks! yeah MIT is in my top 5. Actually, it is in my top 2.

        i should get a 680/690 today on my exam as i’ve been getting that consistently during practice exams. i guess i can always try to apply anyway with a score like that, and just mention in my optional essay that i’#ll be retaking the damn thing soon. just worried that i’ll be 32 next year so would rather be a reapplicant next year i think than not apply at all this year.


      • mbaover30 Says:

        Great. Quick advice though; don’t try to explain GMAT scores in your optional essays. Use that space to talk about something else that will strengthen your case. I’ve heard/read of several admissions consultants strongly advise against that.

      • Dave Says:

        Thanks mate, i actually completely screwed my timing in quant due to a simple miscalculation in the gmat today and had to cancel my sciore, i guess i just got stressed out about th whole thing and r2 deadlines etc. im kinda relieved now as this forces me to apply in r3 or next fall, as i cant retake for 30 days. Good luck with your MIT interview, i’m really crossing my fingers for ya!

      • mbaover30 Says:

        Thanks man! And my advice would be to avoid R3. Take the time to get a super high GMAT knocked out around February or so and then you’ll have all spring, summer and half the fall to construct killer essays and strategize the execution of 2-3 big wins at work—or a promotion that will make your application POP next year.

      • dave Says:

        cool thanks! do you reckon its worth applying anyway with my previous gmat of 580 and explaining that I intended to have a 700+ but due to unforeseen circumstances i had to cancel my score, and that I will be retaking in January? not sure the working for another year option is great to be honest because i don’t think there’ll be many good opportunities at work next year (small company)…

      • mbaover30 Says:

        Hey Dave, applying with a 580 and explaining that you intended a 700 and cancelled your score is the worst thing you could possibly do. The 580 will communicate that the might have a problem handling the work. Explaining that you intended to make a 700 but don’t have one will make them think you make excuses. And then ending that with saying that you had to cancel your score will communicate that you might be a quitter. The conventional wisdom is to never cancel a score. Even if it is bad, you’ll get cool points for making a big improvement on your next try. I started out with a 590 GMAT; and I’m sure that it did not go unnoticed to adcoms that I made a 110 point improvement. I saw regroup and take the next 4-5 months and study diligently for the GMAT. If you can afford it, take a class. Your score will determine the list of schools that are reasonable targets for you to apply to. And for that reason it is the most important part of your profile–even though there are many other parts of your profile that are just as important for different reasons.

      • mbaover30 Says:

        Also, if there are no good advancement opportunities at your job, then get another job. It counts as the same thing. Its just like dating. Everyone wants someone who other people want. Show them that people want you and that they are expressing how much they want you by giving you more and more opportunities with increasing responsibility.

      • dave Says:

        cool ok thanks for that advice – I guess I really have missed out on this year’s MIT application then. I’m going to apply to Tuck regardless as it is one of my top choices, so I’ll try for R3 with a great GMAT (hopefully) and hope my unusual profile helps me. you’re advice is really helpful, I really appreciate it. at least I still have hope after yesterday’s cataclysmic GMAT resit 🙂 I cancelled it because I knew I’d get a terrible quant score – I completely mistimed it and then had 17 questions left with 20 mins left on the clock… A complete disaster, and definitely a result of stressing out over looming apps, GMAT scores etc. Anyways, the thing about a new job: I’ve been pigeonholed in what I do (essentially data management/developer), it’s pretty hard to branch out of that even into another job, hence the need to do an MBA.. In my current job, I’ve been given more and more responsibility on various consulting projects but no official promotion as yet, and I don’t see one coming in the April review round either as I’ve moved around a bit in the copmany and not stuck in one particular career track (I wanted to diversify rather than move up the ladder)… so yes in a bit of a condundrum now! thanks again

      • mbaover30 Says:

        I hear you. I have two final bits of advice. You can take them or leave them because I’m just a stranger who doesn’t know you. 1) Don’t apply in R3, even with a great GMAT. I friend of mine had a 760 and still did not get in. It’s not about GMAT at that point. 2) If you can afford it, hire an ADMISSIONS CONSULTANT. You have a lot of things that need to be tied up by a professional. As always I recommened Kofi Kankam of or Linda Abraham of . I was not a customer of either of theirs but both of them gave me lots of valuable advice that helped me be successful in this process.

      • dave Says:

        cool i think you’re totally right – lots of things to fix in my profile.

        good luck! and thanks for your advice.

      • mbaover30 Says:

        Anytime and good luck to you as well. You can so this: its all about planning and execution. Talk to anyone who was dinged and we’ll tell you we know what we could have done better

      • dave Says:

        cool thx 🙂 i guess i can look at it like this – I’ve got 1 more year to boost my profile and put in a killer app in R1.rather than a mediocre one in R2 (if I had done the GMAT properly yesterday!)… this whole b-school process is fked up!

      • mbaover30 Says:

        Exactly. Id hate for you to work hard on apps and still get dinged. That would hurt badly.

  15. str1der Says:

    Thanks so much for the shout out! I will be doing the same in 2 days 🙂 I am sure Wharton and/or Booth will admit you -they will lose a great candidate otherwise and these aren’t stupid schools 🙂



  16. Christine Says:

    what’s blog stats? you mean to say there’s another page i could be stalking in my wait?


  17. rache Says:

    Good luck! I had mine last week, didn’t go too well. Very behavioral and didn’t get to give the reasons mit is my number 1 school… (which it absolutely is)


    • mbaover30 Says:

      I’m sorry to hear that your interview did not go well. I have heard that MIT’s interview is the toughest along with HBS; that it is very behavioral and also open so they have your entire app and essays and can dig into them pretty deep.


  18. guest Says:

    Congrats on Booth man. Great stuff!!! Now keeping fingers crossed for you for you fo Wharton on Thursday.


  19. CP Says:

    Congrats on Booth. Hopefully you will get great news from Wharton as well. I’ve been suffering through the application process with you (I was admitted to Kellogg yesterday!). Now I am curious as to your next steps. Will you still submit your R2 applications?



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