Thursday, December 29, 2011

New York Study Trip - MIT Sloan Fellows Program

The fall term concluded with the New York Trip. We met some of the most prominent speakers and had some great discussions. It truly doesn't get better than this. My favorite session was with Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE where he answered some tough questions. For someone who has always admired Jack Welch, this was a very interesting discussion. 

For most of the fellows the NY trip was the highlight of the program and now I am really looking forward to the California trip in March and then the International Trip in May (to South Africa and Turkey) (just in case some of you are wondering, Accommodation at Hilton, NY was included in tuition fee so fellows only paid for their incidentals)

Some of the other speakers we met were:
  • Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman & CEO, Ogilvy Worldwide
  • Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of Partnership for New York City; Deputy Chair, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Duncan Niederauer, Director & CEO, NYSE Euronext
  • Baso Sangqu, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of South Africa, United Nations South African Mission 
We also visited New York Stock Exchange, World Trade Center Memorial and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some pics below:

Sloan Fellows tour the Trading Floor at NYSE

Duncan Niederauer Director & CEO
NYSE Euronext

Kofi Annan's SF'72 portrait at UN HQ

UN Headquarters

UN General Assembly

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Holidays Video - MIT Sloan Fellows Class of 2012

Yesterday we had the Happy Holidays Party for Sloan Fellows and partners. 

One of the Sloan Fellows made this video where you will see the Sloan Fellows Class of 2012, partners, children and some pets too.. 


Video Courtesy - Fabio Lerrer, SF 2012

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Interview Process - MIT Sloan Fellows Program

The second term is coming to an end and the class is preparing for the New York trip. This is also the time when the International Students get to hear from the Program Office and some of them get invited for an interview. I have got several questions about the interview process from some shortlisted candidates.

In this post I will briefly talk about the interview process. And as always, I only talk from my own experience. Your interview may/may not different than mine.

Mode - 

On Skype or in person. I had mine on Skype. It was a video call (so make sure you have a webcam). But the Program Office staff does travel to some International Locations to conduct these interviews. This is true for candidates they havent met in the past (like during information sessions, visitors program etc.)

Duration -

45 mins to an hour. Mine lasted for 50 mins. But this may not be the general rule. I had met the Director for an hour during the information session in my city so they had a good idea about my background. So if you havent met them or spoken to them earlier, this could go longer.

Content - 

  • Discuss Background/Profile/Achievements - If they havent met you in person.
  • Essays/Application - In my case, all my essays were discussed. I was also asked follow up questions about the essays and learnings from the situations. So be very thorough with your essays and think about what you learned from those situations and possibly how those gaps have been plugged. 
  • Objective - You also have to be very clear about your long term objective and how the program can help you achieve that. This program is about Global Leadership and Innovation. Leadership is of different kinds and so is innovation. But if your objective is to move from Banking to Consulting or vice versa and you say it during the interview, it will not go well. And mind you, this is not like a standard 2 yr MBA interview in which they will look at gmat, resume, essay etc. There is a strong assessment of the overall FIT. The adcom will look at how mature you are and how well you will fit into a class of 100 super achievers. So be yourself. 

They usually have only one round of interviews unless otherwise specified.

Some important last minute tips -

a) Be humble and be modest.

b) Even though you may have had amazing discussions with the program office and you may have a feeling that they like you, dont be complacent. You will be surprised how many amazing individuals are coming as visitors. And if you get through, you will be amazed to see your classmates. Each one of us (I mean my classmates) think even now as to how did we get into this class of such amazing people.

c) You may have had amazing achievements but simplify when you are explaining them during the interview. Dont use jargons, cause if you do, you are losing an important opportunity to make a strong impression. So articulate effectively.

d) Be honest. If you have applied to Stanford, LBS etc. etc. please let them know and also the reasons. Dont lie/hide things. And they understand that people apply to multiple schools. Just remember they have been doing it for so many years, so your case is not new to them.

Good luck with people who have been invited for interview. International candidates get interviewed till January end I think so dont panic if you havent got a call yet. There is still time.

Good luck...!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Amazing Leaders (with pictures) at MIT Sloan - MIT Sloan Fellows Program

One of the advantages of coming to a top Business School is that you get to meet/hear some of the best leaders in the world.

I have had the privilege of listening/meeting/knowing the following leaders in the last 6 months:

MIT India Conference' 2011

NRN and Desh Deshpande on the panel

UPS CEO during the Dean's Innovative Leadership Series

Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman during Dean's Innovative Leader's Series - I couldn't get a seat in the audi as it was full so I was sitting outside and watching the live broadcast.

Daniel Hesse, CEO Sprint - Sloan Fellow'89, came to speak with our class. One of my favorite sessions. He spoke how he turned around Sprint. Truly an amazing leader. Gets a standing ovation from the class.

Patrick R. Donahoe, Post Master General & CEO, USPS. Sloan Fellow' 93 also visited campus and spoke to the Sloan Fellows. The sheer scale of USPS operations makes his job so very challenging.
(Image courtesy
Also, Mark Zuckerberg was at MIT couple of weeks back. Entry was based on a lottery and I did not win. But lot of my friends went and heard him talk about Facebook, social media and its future.

Here is the link (image and link courtesy MIT News Office,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sheer Brilliance in Action Part 2 - MIT Sloan Fellows Program

Sometimes you come across teachers who take teaching to a totally different level. When you sit in their class you can only feel fortunate to be able to experience such brilliance. 

Prof. John Van Maanen teaches a course called Leading Organisations to the Sloan Fellows. His experience and expertise in subjects like organisation behavior and organisation design is unmatched. 

In the picture below he is in fact standing on the table. This was just to demonstrate that communication  becomes extremely difficult if the divide between the top management and the rest of the organisation is too much. Such a hard hitting message conveyed in such a simple manner...simply brilliant...

Friday, October 14, 2011

1400+ Years = Total Experience in Sloan Fellows Class - MIT Sloan Fellows Program

Its been a while since I posted last. The fall term has been as busy as the summer term, if not more.

In this term people taking lots of electives, listening in to several lectures, some folks taking classes at Harvard. Plenty of companies in school to recruit 2-Yr MBAs, so many events and overall lots of buzz.

I was just sitting in one of the lectures last week and I looked around the class. 102 Sloan Fellows and a guest speaker (every week we have guest speakers like former chairman of NYSE and the likes). At that point in the room, it occurred to me that,

The Total Experience in the room = 1400+ years 

(102 Sloan Fellows x 14 yrs. of Experience (avrg.))

Of course, I dont have 14 yrs of experience. ;)

But its such a humbling experience to be in sitting in such a company.

One can only imagine the level at which the discussions take place in this class.... no wonder the senior most faculty at Sloan (look at my prev post) only want to teach the Sloan Fellows. And for most of them that is the only class they take in the year..!! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sheer Brilliance In Action - Professors of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program

There are some great professors at MIT Sloan School of Management. Only when you sit in their class you realize how much you dont know. There are some classes which make you think really hard, perhaps in the directions you have never thought and then suddenly you realize that you are witnessing sheer brilliance in action. Two such professors are Simon Jonson and Andrew Lo . 

Simon Johnson was the Chief Economist at IMF and the Sloan Fellows are privileged to be taught by someone like him.  

Prof. Johnson in Action 
A Sloan Fellow clarifying doubt after class
Prof. Andrew Lo did not teach us just Financial Management, he taught us concepts in Financial Engineering. How Financial Engineering can help change the world. 

Prof. Lo gets a standing ovation by the Sloan Fellows after his final class in Summer
Both of them are world renowned experts in their fields. Do check the links for some great insights..

Another reason for coming to MIT Sloan Fellows program.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Good to Average to Great

There have been many great experiences for me at MIT. When I look back at the Summer Term, it was extremely challenging for all the Sloan Fellows. Even though each one of us came from different backgrounds one particular feeling was common amongst all the fellows --

  • All of us were GOOD in our respective fields and hence we got chosen for the program. 
  • But when you arrive at MIT and saw so many smart people around you, you suddenly became AVERAGE. 
  • But the most amazing thing was that all the fellows (no matter how accomplished they may be) wanted to learn from each other. I am yet to meet a person at MIT who thinks that he is smarter than others. And when you surrender to this amazing environment, you start your journey to become GREAT. 

In my opinion, Sloan Fellows program at MIT is a journey of


Though this transition has been hard but I have loved every moment of it..!! 

Laptop for MBA

I have got lot of queries on which laptop one should buy for business school. I also had this question when I was coming for the Sloan Fellows program.

So here is my take -

1) Software
- You just need a basic machine which can run Microsoft Office (Outlook, Powerpoint, Excel) etc. For submitting course papers, case write-ups etc you will basically use MS Office. For some quant type of classes like Data Models etc. you need softwares like Solver etc.

2) Processor - An i3 processor is sufficient. i5 is ok if you want more speed but I guess the difference when you are running just MS Office is not huge. i7 I think is overpowered unless you are into some heavy stuff like editing videos etc.

3) Size/Weight - 13/14 inch is what most people use. One should go for a lightweight machine as you have to carry it all day long and with books the bag does become heavy.

4) Where to buy - For international students, you can purchase from your home country or come to US and get it. I recommend getting one in US as you get better deals and international warranty for some brands may not be available if you bought your pc lets say in Japan. 

5) Mac or Windows - Though MIT recommends PC over Mac, it just depends on personal preference. Either of them would work fine. Though the support for Mac is limited and also some 3rd party softwares dont have a Mac version. But its not a big deal and there are ways around it.

6) Netbooks - I have seen plenty of people use it without any issues. Its light and easy to carry (something which is a big plus as you lug your laptop from class to class, all day long). But it does strain your eyes as the screen is very small.  

Lastly, think about spending big bucks on your laptop for school because once you graduate, you would get a new machine from your employer (in most cases). So think of it as a short term purchase.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Sloan Fellow

I just finished my summer term at MIT. 

While it was extremely tough, it was also one of the most amazing experience for me. The academics, the cohort, the networking activities, the faculty etc. are truly world class and these are the reasons why people come to a world class institution like MIT. 

As promised in my earlier post, I want to give readers a sense of what it is like to be a Sloan Fellow at MIT. Let me describe a typical weekday for you..

  • 0830 am to 1000 am - Data Models & Decisions lecture 
  • 1000 am to 1015 am - Break
  • 1015 am to 1145 am - Operations Management lecture
  • 1145 am to 1200 pm - Lunch (sometimes you would have guest speakers, meetings/initiatives by lunch)
  • 0100 pm to 0230 pm - Financial Management lecture
  • 0245 pm to 0415 pm - Data Models & Decisions recitation
  • 0430 pm to 0600 pm - Financial Management recitation

After attending classes all day long the study groups (of 4 fellows) meet for assignments, case write ups, group discussions etc. I have had meetings go on from 0630 pm to 1000 pm on most evenings and even beyond sometimes. 

Well that is not the end of the day. Once you return to your room/apt, there are readings to do for the next day. Usually you will have 2-3 cases to read (approx 50 pages) and pre-readings of chapters to be discussed next day in class. But by the time you finish reading cases its usually past midnight and there is very little time to read chapters from text books. 

All in all, the amount of reading I have done in the last three months has been quite a bit. And now, I can look at an HBS case and figure out what to skip and where to read. Trust me, it helps when its 2am and you have two more cases to read. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Term - Sloan Fellows Program

Many seniors had told me that the Summer term (Jun - Aug) are very intense but after having experienced it myself, its an understatement. The summer is often referred to as the 'Boot Camp' because its meant to prepare the mid-career executives (who have never given a test or sat in class for many years) for the coming year.

Summer term is ending on 25th of Aug with Final Exams and all classmates are looking forward to it. To give an idea of how brutal :)) the course is, let me share some details -

Summer (rather all terms are divided into 2 halves) H1 & H2 -

H1 - Summer 

  • Consists of only Core courses, no electives
  • Subjects -
    • Applied Economics for Managers
    • Financial Accounting
    • Marketing Management
    • A total of 60 lectures (1.5 hrs each) and 17 recitations (recitations are revision classes taken by Teaching Assistants who are mostly Ph.d students, these are optional)
H2 - Summer
  • Also consists of only Core courses, no electives
  • Subjects - 
    • Data, Models and Decisions
    • Financial Management
    • Mgt. of Supply Networks for Products and Services
    • Leadership & Integrative Management (across H1/H2)
    • A total of 60 lectures and 13 recitations
Plus - 
  • A power packed week on Entrepreneurship where multiple guest speakers were invited to address the class. - more about this in future posts
  • There are at least 3-6 assignments in the week. Either a case write up is required or individual group homework, and a ton of reading to do.
  • Sloan Fellows also have to give EXAMS for all the above subjects (minus Marketing & Supply Chain - where a group case is due as the final project)
  • In between the academics, there are multiple networking events, forums, meetings, initiatives taken up by Sloan fellows, parties etc. 

I have never read this in my life that I am reading here at MIT. Though the course is brutal, its one of the most amazing experience one can have. It pushes you to unimaginable limits.

After being in the program for over two and half months, I fell more confident, humble and eager to learn new things. I only wish is a day had 36 hrs instead of 24.. :)

In my next post, I will describe a typical day in the life of a Sloan Fellow....stay tuned..

Enjoy the night shot of MIT Sloan

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Introductory Discussion with Program Office

A lot of people have messaged me asking how to approach the introductory session with the Program Office. The post below may be helpful. However, please note that these views/assumptions are my own and are not endorsed by the program office or any other official at MIT Sloan School of Management.

1. Objective -
  • Main objective of the program office is to get to know the candidates better. While the application, essays, GMAT scores etc. provide a basis for selection, the introductory discussion (more often than not) is also the first step of an informal screening process.

2. Tentative Structure of the Discussion - 

Discussions are usually scheduled for an hour or 45 mins.
  • Step 1 - Candidates are usually asked to give a brief introduction
  • Step 2 - The person from Program office will give an overview of the Sloan Fellows Program
  • Step 3 - Open to questions

3. How To Approach the Discussion -
  • Introduction - Think about how you will introduce yourself. The program office will have your resume and they go through it prior to the discussion. Its a good idea to quickly run through your profile and then talk about one or two key achievements.  
  • Research - Do your research on the program. There is plenty of material available on the web about the program. Look up some of my earlier posts. Being prepared is in the best interest of both parties. It is best to avoid questions like avrg. age, class profile etc as you have this information on the program website. At the same time, there are several aspects of the program which are not on the site. 
    • Its ok to ask some tactical questions (like loan, funding etc.). Good to save those for the end.
  • Goals - You should have a fair sense of where you would like to be after several years of the program and whether this program can help you get there. If you don't then its a good idea to introspect. Don't just think of this program as another MBA or a Master's Degree or a vehicle to change careers because it is not. 

4 . Closure
  • Close the discussion by clarifying the next steps or if you would like to get back after a few days/weeks.
More than anything else, use this opportunity to find out more about the program and the school.  

Lastly, the program office speaks to a lot of candidates every year. There ones who stand out are the ones who are better prepared than the rest.

Good luck..!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The New Sloan Building - E-62

The new Sloan Building was completed last year in fall. E62 is truly an amazing set up. All classrooms and study rooms are set up with the latest audio visual aids. The building overlooks the Charles River and is truly a great place to study in. Sloan Fellows Class of 2012 is lucky as all the lectures happen in this new building. This is also the place where we spend most of our time after our classes doing group work.

Here are some pictures of E62 and also E51 (another building where we had our orientation).
Main Entrance

This is one piece of stone

Classroom during break (E-51)

Classroom during break (E-51)

E-62, Staircase

E-62, View from 2nd Floor

Overlooking Charles River

2nd Floor, seating area

E-62, View of the 2nd Floor

Fellows getting ready for photo session for SF Brochure

Outside of E-62

E-62, Courtyard

One of the rooms on the Corporate Floor in E-62

Book Wall in E-62 Corporate Floor

Front View

Old Sloan Building Entrace - I really like it..!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Graduate Accommodation

In this post I want to talk about one of the most important logistic issue which is accommodation. There are a number of options for Sloan Fellows and details can be found on the MIT housing website

Do note that there is a lottery for housing and the allocation is applicable from Fall (Aug every year). This means that you have to take a Sublease an apt from Jun-Aug in case you want to stay on campus.

There are also a number of options outside MIT where Sloan Fellows usually stay. Rents are usually above $2500 for a 2 bed room apt. Options given below are popular as they are walking distance from Sloan.

While people have different preferences there are a lot of benefits of staying on campus -

  1. Less expensive (cable, internet, heat included)
  2. You stay within the graduate community which is really important
  3. There are plenty of events like BBQ, Summer Parties which happen in the dorms
  4. Free shuttle to and fro from campus
  5. Plenty of study rooms and common kitchens
  6. All facilities like gym, laundry, movie rentals etc are available on campus at zero or nominal cost
I am attaching some pictures of Ashdown House which is the newest graduate residence in MIT. This is meant for single students.
Ashdown Sign

Efficiency Room

Efficiency Room

Outside view

Main Entrance

View from Inside overlooking Courtyard

Poster inside the elevator. Plenty of people sell stuff like this

Common Kitchen

Common Kitchen

Efficiency Room

Efficiency Room
Ashdown House also has a pub called Thirsty Ear.

Also attaching picture of Eastgate Apartment. This housing option is nearest to Sloan and is meant only for students with families.