I've been answering questions from recently accepted MBAs, so I thought I'd post a few here as people are searching. Note that while my answers are technology centric given what I was looking for, I do think Sloan would be a great experience even if they were tech focused.
Could you tell me a little about your background and why Sloan?
Before I went to Sloan, I worked in Consulting at two smaller firms, Kohlberg and Associates, and Collaborative Consulting. I always felt like I was winging it a bit as a Consultant, having been a liberal arts major, and I also wanted to switch out of a focus on financial services work, which is where the firms I worked focus. As such, a MBA made a lot of sense for me. Most importantly, I wanted to gain an understanding of technology based entrepreneurship as I saw this as my path in the future.
I had a few options, but in the end I decided on Sloan because I felt it fit me the best as someone who is technology and entrepreneurship oriented.
What are the advantages to attending Sloan over other schools?
In retrospect, the top 4 are reasons why I’d go back, and the 4th is a sense of something I missed out on because the new building really is great.
- Learning style: The MIT and the Sloan way of doing things focus on a lot of cross-disciplinary, collaborative projects. So you work closely with lots of MBAs (incl. Sloan Fellows), as well as people from all over MIT. I think this simulates reality more than other approaches (e.g. cases, which you will get plenty of).
- MIT Ecosystem: More in the next answer, but getting to mix with the best and brightest from other fields is fantastic, especially if you’re interested in a vertical domain (e.g. energy, automotive, aerospace). I got involved with a health care project (www.sanamobile.org, winner of Vodafone $150K mHealth alliance prize) as that was something I was interested in and never had an opportunity to work out before.
- Entrepreneurship focus: E&I program, MIT E-Center, along with general entrepreneurial resources are world class in terms of teaching you the ins and outs of starting and building your own company.
- International exposure: I actually took 5 trips paid for by MIT or sponsor companies through the school to do hands-on projects internationally. Highly recommend G-Lab, China Lab and India Lab.
- Great new building – this is obviously cyclical as to who has the newest, nicest building, but you might as well take advantage
Do you ever feel like the school's small size is a disadvantage by any chance in terms of gaining a network?
I don’t think it has. I think in general, you’ll walk out of whatever business school you go to with sort of the maximum breadth of MBAs possible. In other words, there’s more great people than you can really ever hope to get to know well in a class of 350 MBA. I think that’s probably true as long as that number is over 200, which I think is the case for all the top 10 MBA programs.
I think where MIT helps a lot is that Sloan is set up to get you out of the bubble, and fill your network with engineers, developers, CIO, entrepreneurs, scientists, operations experts, etc. It is really set up to do this. Whereas at other schools, the MBA program is a silo, MIT has all sorts of mixers, competitions, and events to tee up mixing across different programs. The MIT100K is a primary example of this. While I would say it is MBA driven, the whole point of it is for MBAs to go and meet great MIT scientists and work with them to commercialize their work.
This is something that I’ve found exceptionally helpful, both as a consultant and running a software company that addresses many vertical topics. I always have someone from the MIT ecosystem to connect with on almost every topic.