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..!!