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Approaching MIT Sloan’s Pre-Interview Questions

·6 min read

MIT Sloan School of Management

Approaching MIT Sloan’s Pre-Interview Questions

MIT Sloan School of Management will require applicants to respond to two pre-interview questions this year.

Trisha Nussbaum, an MBA Admissions coach at Fortuna Admissions, recently broke down Sloan’s pre-interview prompts and how applicants should approach their responses.

REQUIRED QUESTION 1

For the first required question, applicants are asked to respond to the following:

In 250 words or less, please describe a time when you contributed toward making a work environment or organization more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse.

With the first short-answer response, Nussbaum recommends aligning yourself with MIT Sloan’s core mission and values on diversity and inclusion.

“For this essay, you need to identify one meaningful example and then extract lessons learned that showcase the kind of person you are and leader you hope to be,” Nussbaum writes. “Your answer stands to communicate how you will engage with the very diverse and global community at MIT Sloan, and how you will add value.”

When thinking about added value, Nussbaum says, self-reflection is key.

“Remember that diversity and inclusion can be about race and ethnicity, but also gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, politics, age, and other realms,” Nussbaum writes. “How are you inviting diverse perspectives, creating a welcoming work environment where differences are valued, and cultivating awareness of the less visible forces that shape decision-making and group dynamics?”

REQUIRED QUESTION 2

The second required question asks applicants the following:

We are interested in learning more about how you use data to make decisions and analyze results. Please select one of the following prompts to respond to:

Option A – In 250 words to less, please describe a recent data-driven decision you had to make, and include one slide presenting your analysis. The slide may include a data visualization example and should present data used in a professional context. Your slide must be uploaded as a PDF.

Option B – Please select an existing data visualization and in 250 words or less explain why it matters to you. The data visualization should be uploaded as a PDF. Examples may come from current events, a business analysis, or personal research.

For option A, applicants will first need to select a data-driven decision to reference in their essay. Nussbaum recommends focusing on the how over the what.

“It’s ultimately less about the specific data you used, and rather if you used the right data that resonates with and influences your audience, considered your stakeholders and/or customers, and elevated your credibility with strong logic,” Nussbaum writes.

While option A and option B may appear similar, Nussbaum says, there are slight but important differences.

“Option B lends itself more to a values/goals question, whereas option A is more of a leadership/situational question,” Nussbaum writes. “Meaning, option B is an invitation to share startling statistics that have motivated you to make a change or impact.”

Sources: Fortuna Admissions, MIT Sloan

How Business Schools Teach Decision Making

Decision making plays a small, but integral role in the overall responsibilities of a business executive.

“Decision making is only one of the tasks of an executive,” Peter F. Drucker, an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, famously wrote for Harvard Business Review. “It usually takes but a small fraction of his or her time. But to make the important decisions is the specific executive task. Only an executive makes such decisions.”

For many MBAs, learning how to be a good decision -aker may be a tough feat—something that cannot easily be learned simply by reading a textbook. Peter Klein, an executive MBA professor and department chair of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation at Baylor University, recently explained how exactly it is MBA programs teach such a skill.

SEEING THE BIG PICTURE

One of the benefits of being in business school is the access to an incredibly diverse network. Each student has vast knowledge in a specialized field—from marketing to consulting. That diversity, Klein says, is central to allowing students to develop their weak spots to advance their knowledge and skill—and ultimately be able to make wise decisions at the executive level.

“We are trying to get them to see the big picture, to figure out how they integrate different bits of knowledge from different business functions or different aspects of their company, to take the CEO’s perspective,” Klein says. “We say, ‘We are trying to train you to be the CEO, who has to deal with accounting and finance and marketing and management and HR and operations—and figure out how to pull all those things together to make a decision that’s in the best interest of the organization as a whole.’”

REAL COLLABORATION

Learning in B-school relies heavily on collaborative and interactive methods such as the cohort model. Simply having the opportunity to interact with classmates offers a strong foundation for learning about decision making.

“Of course we are emphasizing skills, frameworks, techniques and building up your knowledge base in a program like this,” Klein says. “But the social aspect, the horizontal learning aspect cannot be overemphasized. It is different than some undergraduate courses in a lecture hall listening to somebody giving a speech. Our classes are not like that. Everything is interactive. There is a lot of peer-to-peer learning.”

And once students are placed in teams to work together on solving a problem, Klein says, the possibilities are endless.

“It creates an environment within which people can grow and learn and build relationships,” Klein says. “We are guiding and steering and helping create that environment. That is where the real value lies.”

Sources: Baylor University, Harvard Business Review

Kent State University Renamed Its B-School

Kent State University’s College of Business is getting a new name after receiving its largest gift in school history.

The College of Business will now be called the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship – named after entrepreneur Ambassador Crawford and his family who have donated a significant amount of Kent State’s $350 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. Part of the gift will also go towards funding the construction of a new business school building named Crawford Hall.

Ambassador Crawford has had an illustrious career as an entrepreneur to-date. He helped grow Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. from a small local manufacturer into a publicly traded $1.6 billion dollar industrial supply chain logistics and diversified manufacturing business. He currently serves as Chairman of Crawford United Corporation, CEO of The Crawford Group, and Director of Park-Ohio.

“Ambassador Crawford has spent his life as a successful entrepreneur and business owner, growing his company from the ground up,” Kent State President Todd Diacon says in a press release. “To have earned his confidence in our College of Business Administration, which will bear his name both for the college and on its new building, makes us very proud. Our students will not only be educated in an iconic facility, with a forward-thinking design, but they will also be able to look to him as a mentor for their own entrepreneurial and business endeavors. We are very thankful for his support.”

BUILDING OF THE FUTURE

Crawford Hall, which will begin construction in December, will open its doors to students in fall 2024. The new building is designed with innovative technology to support a variety of learning spaces and instructional layouts.

“Crawford Hall will be instrumental in how we prepare students for modern business careers,” Deborah Spake, Ph.D., dean of the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Kent State, says in the press release. “This new building – which will be one of the largest buildings on any Kent State campus to house an academic program – and its enhanced technology will continue to bolster our reputation for both international business and entrepreneurship education. We anticipate a continued increase not only in domestic enrollment but also for international students seeking a top-tier education. With this gift and new building, the future is bright for the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship.”

Sources: Kent State University, Record-Courier

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