They warned me that Sloan is going to keep you busy. That's relative to former work (consulting), other MBA programs, and absolutely.
So there's been a lot of traffic in the back channels regarding what to do if you find yourself waitlisted. Here are my buddy, Chris' favorite tactics.
* Send one email right away that says Sloan is your top choice (assuming it is) and quickly explaining why
* If GMAT is below 700 consider taking it again and then if score is higher send an update email to the adcom
* Try to find something new to do at work that gives you a leadership opportunity and use that as an excuse to write an update email
* Probably no more than 1 update email per month - any more than that can get annoying
* Waitlist doesn't mean the person isn't qualified. it's more about class profiling at this point - what kind of backgrounds they need to create a diverse class. So updates are good but there is probably no single thing to do to put someone over the hump. Just show committment and hope for the best.
So I'm still recovering from night #3 of living hard with the 2011 vanguard.
To those who had more questions coming off the housing tour buses, I started an informal poll...
93% are happy or delighted with their living arrangements. But in retrospect, people wish they'd weighed proximity to campus (42%) and rent (20%) more heavily in their decision. They wish they'd cared less about parking (40%).
Living on campus: 32%
8% Sydney Pacific
Key takeaway: don't live in Tang
Living off campus: 66%
23% Beacon Hill
8% Kendall Square
4% East Cambridge
4% West Cambridge
4% Back Bay
Key takeaway: Invest in a subsidized T-pass, you'll be splitting your time between beacon hill dinner parties and central square pub nights.
Inman square area for some great deals. It's a 15 minute walk from school, but you get great value in a very cute neighborhood
Live close to the T, even if you have a car
Live close to the redline (2)
Live in beacon hill. You'll appreciate the separation from campus, and it's a short walk (or T ride) away
Live on campus to save money and time(2)
Sidney Pacific is the first bus stop for the Northwest Shuttle and it has great amenities like gym, meeting areas, kitchen, music room. A great apartment overall.
If you like to get out of the city, having a car is really nice. And if so, being on campus makes a huge difference
Getting away from campus is really nice, especially at the end of a long day during the core.
To thine own self be true. If you know that you are perpetually tardy, do not convince yourself that school will transform you into a punctual bee. Live CLOSE to school, get a car or bike, or learn how to fly. Otherwise, good luck and welcome to be the most underrated of the overrated b-schools. MIT is the s#it :)
Back in the day, your Ocean meant something. It wasn't just the 70 or so folks who muscled through your first semester of Core (which, just like high school, came with the full complement of Ferris Buellers and "Statues of Liberty" (ooh, ooh! call on me!)). Back in the day, your Ocean was your proto-network, the first friendships you made at Sloan.
Admit's Guide to IAP
I didn't "get" the concept of the MIT Independent Activities Period (IAP) until this year's was underway. Here's the inside scoop so you can make the most of yours.
IAP runs for the entire month of January (it feels longer because finals wrap up mid-December). During IAP, you have no academic commitments. According to MIT, "Students are encouraged to set their own educational agendas, pursue independent projects, meet with faculty, or pursue many other options not possible during the semester."
Right on. So what do Sloanies actually do?
Travel Abroad (popularity: high. timing: throughout- concentrated over the holiday season)
International students use this as an opportunity to spend quality time with their extended families. Independent travelers use this is a chance to hit the destinations not covered by the popular student-organized spring break treks (namely, Japan, Israel, India, China, Brazil). My Facebook newsfeed has been flooded with enviable photo albums and videos.
Travel Domestic (popularity: very high. timing: throughout- treks are the first 2 weeks of Jan)
Almost everyone either goes "home," to some place warmer, or to New York at some point over the holidays. A series of company treks occur in the early weeks of IAP (Silicon Valley, Seattle, Las Vegas, Massachusetts, etc.). If you're in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation track, Silicon Valley is mandatory. Even if you're not, join the Mediatech club to stay in the loop- I've listed 10 other compelling reasons to take one or more of the treks below.
Interviewing (popularity: High. timing: throughout, concentrated 2nd-4th weeks of Jan)
The professional service firms (finance, consulting) lead the charge, followed by household names in technology, consumer products, etc. Not a day goes by when I don't bump into a friend in full formal on the T or shout a "knock their socks off!" to a suited up roommate as she heads out the door. They try to schedule these so they don't conflict with the treks, but be prepared for some last minute changes in plans and possible forfeiture of your trek professional standards deposit.
For-Credit Courses (popularity: Medium. timing: throughout, heavy in 3rd week of Jan)
Several condensed coursesare taught over IAP. My pilot (2nd year advisor for my core team) strongly recommended bidding for these because the credit/time invested ratio is so compelling. I made out like a bandit with 2.5 days working closely with 2 of MIT's most accomplished professors, catered lunches, fascinating discussions, and plenty of breaks to catch up with friends I hadn't seen for weeks and make new ones. Oh, and did I mention it was worth 5 credits (almost as much as a half semester course) and fulfilled the leadership requirement?
Not For-Credit Courses (popularity: Low. timing: throughout, you probably will be too busy until the 3rd-4th week of Jan)
Very few Sloanies go this route, so I have to be a vocal minority here. Do it! You'll get to meet a lot of students from other departments working on cool things at little to no cost. I learned how to make chocolate truffles and authentic guacamole. I tried out improv, learned how to give massage from a pro, participated in a Japanese tea ceremony, visited Curt Shilling's video game company startup, and got one-on-one coaching from a professional life coaching firm. That's just the tip of the iceberg-- check out this year's listing.
Rest & Relaxation (popularity: very high. timing: whenever you can spare)
Someone has to say this because when we run into so many friends doing so many cool things we can feel pressured to fill IAP up like we fill our semesters... We're being lazy! At the end of the day, this is a month to recharge and really cement those new year's resolutions before things heat up. So don't beat yourself up if your calendar isn't as jam-packed as a cruise ship's entertainment menu.
10 Advantages of Sloan Treks
I participated in and organized trekbooks for Mediatech's Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Massachusetts treks. Treks usually take 2-3 days and typically involve 3 company visits per day. Mediatech treks this year had between 8 and 25 people touring companies together. To eliminate confusion about Silicon Valley, there are 2 separate groups there at the same time. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation track (a much larger group) splits off into smaller groups to focus on the start up and VC firm ecosystem. The Mediatech group stays together and focuses on the "household name" tech companies in the Valley. Both tracks combine forces several evenings for mixers and supplemental events.
These treks are a phenomenal experience that you can't replicate by staying on campus, and here are a few of my favorite reasons why:
Candid non-publicly available info!
A sense for culture & work life!
Make Friends, Build Teams, Start Businesses!