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..!!

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