Dec 21, 2011

Inside MIT Sloan's Admissions Office

This post is one in a series of posts trying to decipher what happens once you click that "submit" button in the application portal of the top business schools. As told by the admissions directors themselves! Follow us on twitter and facebook to keep yourself updated with the next set of schools.


What happens once applications are submitted?

Rod Garcia, Director of Admissions MIT Sloan - After the application deadline for a particular round is over,, the first thing we do with the submitted applications is to import the application data into our own database. And since we have a paperless application process, this year we’ve made our application evaluation process sustainable by downloading the applications to our  admissions readers’ iPads rather than printing them out. The first person to see the submitted application is me. I review each of these applications online and then distribute it to a member of the admissions committee for reading. By the way, applications are distributed randomly. The application reviewers are all our internal admissions staff along with some contract readers – controlled by us – and we don’t use students or alumni as application readers.

So initially the applications are downloaded to iPads in batchs of 20, 25, or 40  depending on how quickly our reviewers can read them. Then, a week later, we all meet to calibrate the scores and then upload these scores to our database.

Yes, that’s right. We score the applications. Although we don’t have a global rating, we score applicants on a set of attributes. There are about nine attributes that we broadly look at, ranging from GMAT to GPA to work success to all the other attributes, such as leadership attributes. Essentially there are two broad groups attributes – demonstrated success (as indicated by indicators such as GMAT, GPA, work success) and leadership attributes. We then sum up the two scores, and based on these two scores I will then decide the 18 percent applicants who we will send invite for interviews.

Is the interview invites always 18 percent? No. There are two constants - the size of the class – 350 MBAs plus roughly 50 in our Leaders for Global Operations dual degree program, and the number of people we will interview. However, the percentage of applicants who are invited for an interview changes depending on the total number of applications we receive during any particular year. But it is no more than 800 applicants, and from there we will give admit to slightly more than half.

The invited applicants are then interviewed by the members of the admissions committee after which the committee members will score them again, and based on those scores, we will pick the 50 percent to admit.

The admissions process is actually quite easy. We do not spend a lot of time debating because we can point to something specific in the application. Either the attributes that we are looking for are there or they are not. We do not say, “I like this applicant because this  applicant is outgoing.” We do not do it that way. We admit applicants because they have a high competency score in goal setting, or influencing, or creativity, or relationship building. (these are all among the leadership attributes we consider.) It’s a logical and sensible process based on tangible considerations. So when someone asks, “Why was this applicant not admitted?” we can really pinpoint where this particular person came up short, according to our criteria set.

BizSchoolPrep Comments:

  • Every complete application is read seriously. No cutoffs. Seriously, even if you have a 200 GMAT and 0.4 GPA!
  • First person to see the applications? Rod Garcia.You better get that cover letter up to the mark!
  • Applications are read twice, at minimum. Hence, do not get worried thinking one person's perspective (who is in a bad mood) will break your application!
  • Your application will not be read by a student member.
  • Your application is assigned scores and get calibrated. Analytics definitely seems to be on forefront with MIT!
  • The application reading process may be a little random so do not try too hard to find a coorelation between the submitted date to the interview invite date with that of your friend.
  • Do not submit an incomplete application. Period.

School Stats:

Tuition & Fees: $103,797
School Recommended Two-Year Budget: $165,264

Median GMAT: 710
GMAT Range: 670-770
Average GPA: 3.57

Acceptance Rate: 13%
Full-Time MBA Enrollment: 790
International: 38%
Female: 38%
African American: 8%
Asian American: 24%
Hispanic or Latino American: 15%
Mean Age: 28

Median Base Salary: $119,000
Average Signing Bonus: NA
Percentage of MBAs with Job Offers at Graduation: NA
Percentage of MBAs with Job Offers Three Months Later: 96%
Estimate of Total Pay over a 20-Year Career*: $3,031,132
* as per Bloomberg Business Week
Source: Collected from internet/clearadmit/Poets&Quants

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