MIT Sloan's MBA Early Admission Program

Rod Garcia, the assistant dean of admissions at MIT Sloan, announced the creation of a formal deferred admissions MBA program at MIT Sloan similar to other successful ones at HBS and Stanford GSB. In fact, MIT Sloan had for a few years operated a sort of “backdoor” deferred admissions program for college seniors, but this announcement is good news because it signals an expansion of the program, formalizes the process, and take a lot of the guess work out for potential applicants.


Here are the details:

  • Applicants may come from any undergraduate institution (not just MIT)

  • Undergraduates may apply if they are graduating during the current academic year

  • Graduate students may apply if they are graduating during the current academic year and entered their program directly after leaving college (i.e. have no full-time work experience)

  • If admitted, students come to Sloan for their MBA after accumulating between 2 and 5 years of work experience (similar to how HBS and Stanford does it)

Here is the timeline:

  • Applications due: Monday, April 8, 2019, 3:00 p.m., EST

  • The admissions committee notifies applicants of their decisions: Wednesday, May 8, 2019

  • Admitted applicants must reply to their offers: Sunday, June 1, 2019

The Benefits:

We’ve long written about the benefits of applying to MBA programs while still in college, and all those arguments remain true for MIT Sloan, one of the most exclusive MBA programs in the country whose alumni have founded fortune 500 companies such companies as E*Trade, Hubspot, Zipcar, and Akamai Technologies. A deferred admission offer allows students to pursue much riskier opportunities early in their career, increasing their earning potential and limiting their downside with the MBA offer.

The Bottom Line:

Interested in applying? Fill out our “What are my odds?” link and we’ll chat about building your case for:

  • Why a deferred MBA program is right for you and why MIT can’t simply wait to admit you later

  • What compelling narrative you can write that will help you stand out in a an MIT Sloan applicant pool where 87% of candidates are rejected

  • What specific resources you need from MIT, such that you can’t get your MBA from anywhere else

  • Assurance you can give MIT that you’re not applying to them as a backup to HBS or GSB

#MBAMindfulnessMonday: Aromatherapy


The biggest misconception about business school is that it is one big “vacation.” In fact, many find business school to be two of the most straining (but satisfying!) years of their lives. You’ll have little time to cook for yourself, hit the gym, or sleep a full 8 hours. Networking, recruiting, and social events will disrupt any semblance of a regular schedule. Frequent travel for career treks, job interviews, or group excursions will test the limits of your immune system. In a fast-paced environment like this, it is important to develop habits that will promote good physical and mental health.

Starting now, we will be rolling out a #MBAMindfulnessMonday series of tips for you to use as you embark on your application and enroll in classes.

The first one is an important tip for anyone attending business school in a northern, colder climate: the essential oil diffuser. An oil diffuser is a great addition to your study room while you work and your bedroom while you sleep. Cold weather takes moisture out of the air, leading to rough itchy hands and even bloody noses (both bad for job interviews). Water-based aromatherapy diffusers are great at restoring some of this moisture and keep you feeling your best.

While the medical benefits of essential oils are debatable, consistent use of certain oils throughout the day can signal to your body how it is supposed to feel when regular schedules are elusive: orange in the morning can help you “wake up” and lavender in the evening can signal when it is time to wind down. Even the occasional use of an oil diffuser can elevate something as banal as studying into a restorative, spa-like experience.

Even more testimonials from Round 1


UVA Darden Admit

I chose to work with Nate, Anna, and the team at Ivy because they clearly stood out from the competition. The team is small, the consultants are deeply focused on the client as an individual, and the narrative approach is unlike anything you will find elsewhere.

I was very skeptical about the possibility that I'd be able to generate a cohesive story about my career, which has included three seemingly unrelated jobs. Through the Narrative Bootcamp process, Nate demonstrated an uncanny ability to draw connections between my past experiences. He helped me pinpoint genuine threads of similarity that I would not have identified on my own.

Nate and Anna were extremely professional and responsive, and they were a pleasure to work with. Most importantly, they helped me prepare my best possible application, which means I can look back on the whole process with no regrets.

- White, Male, Top-25 US University, Asset Management

Purchased: Complete School Package

More Testimonials from Round 1


Harvard Business School and Kellogg Admit

Before working with Ivy Admissions Group, I applied to and was rejected from Harvard twice. I submitted 8 MBA applications that were ALL rejected. Of those 8 applications, 4 were under the guidance of other consultants, but I got nowhere. I wasn't a bad candidate either, with 3 years of international experience, a 730 GMAT and a 3.5 GPA from my undergraduate school as an engineer. However, I didn't have a well-articulated and genuine vision. Ivy Admissions Group changed that for me completely. They helped me clean up my applications, write the first authentic story about what I truly wanted to be doing with my life. Not only did they get into HBS (and Kellogg), but they also helped me refine my dream and vision for my future. The level of service received was second to none, and trust me I had already spent over $5000 on expensive consultants that got me no results.

- STEM, International

Purchased: Complete School Package


Praise for Ivy Admissions Group

There is nothing more satisfying for us than to see a client we spend months and months working with finally get into their dream school. Below are the testimonials that have been collected in our evaluation forms; we’ll keep updating them as more people submit. Congratulations to all the Ivy Admissions Group clients admitted in Round 1 and best of luck to all those working with us on Round 2!


Harvard Business School and Wharton Admit

“Initially, I was a bit skeptical of paying thousands of dollars for a consulting service, but I'm glad I did. The Ivy Admissions team really took the time to understand who I am and what I want to get out of business school. I felt supported 100% of the way and I know his feedback contributed both to my acceptance at HBS and my 110k merit scholarship at Wharton.”

- Military, Public university, Male, White

Purchased: Complete School Package



Wharton School Admit

“If you are reading this, do yourself a favor and go with IAG. You will save time, $, and emotional struggles from this one heck of a competitive admissions cycle.”

- Consulting, State School, Female, Asian

Purchased: Complete School Package + Extra Interview


Wharton School and Duke Fuqua Admit

“My admissions consultants provided prompt, high-quality input to my application materials that I believe increased my odds of acceptance. My consultants were professional, easy to work with, and most importantly, clearly cared about me and my application process. I have no doubts that my applications were made stronger through using the services of Ivy Admissions Group, and they were critical to gaining acceptance at my top-choice school.“

- Consulting, Military, White, Male

Purchased: Complete School Package



Harvard Business School Admit

“Nate and Anna were consummate professionals from start to finish. The unique process at Ivy Admission Group helped me crystallize my narrative - not just for business school, but also for myself. Thank you!”

- Non-Profit, White Male

Purchased: Complete School Package

Why was I waitlisted?


In love and admissions, there’s no answer as painful as a “maybe.”

If you’re one of the Round 1 applicants who opened up the admissions portal to find the dreaded wait-list letter, a lot of questions probably started rushing through your head.

  • Should I apply to more schools in Round 2?

  • Should I risk losing a deposit to a second-choice school or hold out for a final acceptance?

  • Should I contact the admissions committee or stay quiet?

  • If I’m applying to more schools later on, should I change my application materials?

However, the first question you should ask yourself is “Why am I on the Waitlist in the first place?” After having helped dozens of clients successfully navigate this process ourselves, we find that the answer comes down to a combination of four reasons:

1. Your narrative was too complicated.

Admissions Committees have thousands of essays to read through in a short time window. Do they have a lot of time to appreciate nuance and subtlety? No. Are they going to appreciate having to go back and re-read your story when it takes an unexpected turn? No. Are they in a hurry for you to get to your point so they know what your story is about? Yes.

Your job was to use your application to communicate a narrative story that was as simple and easy to digest as possible. If you did not accomplish that, then you need to start your analysis there. Complicated stories are far less compelling than simple ones, but they are a lot easier to write! That’s why you don’t see a lot of simple stories about waitlisted candidates.

To write a simple story requires two basic steps. First, strip out all detail that does not aid in understanding the story.  If there were five reasons why you moved from job A to job B, but one reason captures 90% of the story, just give that one reason! If your job has three major areas of responsibilities, but only one of which relates to your narrative, reduce the real estate on your resume that you devote to the irrelevant parts. Otherwise, the adcom will be inundated with so much detail they won’t know which ones to focus on.

Second, structure all transitions in the story as simple cause-and-effect. Humans naturally search for causes to the effects they observe, and get confused when one is not readily available. That’s why magic exists! Don’t write your essay like a magician, with your motives coming out of thin air. Instead, articulate what formative moments in life led you to make the decisions that you did or else your chances of admission will disappear!

2. You lacked a clear mission statement.

People are never as excited about supporting other individuals as they are about solving problems. At Ivy Admissions Group, we like examining narratives through the lens of politics, so indulge us – Which person do you think was more excited to cast their vote: someone endorsing Hillary Clinton’s superior qualifications, or someone extending a big middle finger to the world by voting for Donald Trump? 100% the latter.

Admissions Committees work in a similar way. They are more excited about marshalling the resources of their programs around candidates out to solve a clear problem in the world, than those just out for their own career progression.

When I read applications from waitlisted candidates, they almost always talk a lot about the job they performed or the life they want to lead without discussing the problem they want to solve or the vision for the future that they want to create. Simply put, an overachieving professional working in the healthcare industry is not as compelling a candidate as someone on a mission to end childhood obesity in America.

3. You did not differentiate yourself among a crowded field.

What is the difference between whole wheat bread and multigrain? All I know is that when I go into a new supermarket I have to sort through a wall of bread and sometimes get so overwhelmed that I don’t want to buy any.

How do you think adcoms feel with management consultants? They all pretty much do the same thing in the same place for nearly identical companies. If you’re coming from a traditional pre-MBA background (consulting, finance, big tech), unless your application makes clear that you offer something very different than your peers, it’s likely that your admissions journey will take a detour via the waitlist overpass.

4. You didn’t seem sold on their school.

Schools hate rejection as much as candidates do. If your application didn’t convey passion for the program, or a lot of specifics that show you have done your research, they might reasonably believe that you would go to a different school if given the option.

Schools also have a lot of pride. They are not offering a generic MBA, they are offering their MBA. Schools are most excited to admit students who they believe will experience the biggest transformation by going to their program: ones whose unique gaps in skill sets will be filled by the resources that school has to offer. If your application failed to mention what gaps you are looking to close in business school and how that school’s unique and specific resources can be used to fill those gaps, you missed an important element.

So what do I do now?

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If you could go back and re-write your essay. That’s what you’d do, right? Well that option is not available to you. Instead you’re going to have to find more creative and unconventional ways of communicating your improved story to the admissions committee. That’s what we do in our Waitlist Campaign and that’s what makes our approach effective. How often do things work out?


That’s how many waitlisted candidates over the 2017-2018 application season that Ivy Admissions Group got admitted to their desired program.

If you’re interested in getting our help for your waitlist situation, sign up for a consultation with us here.

How to apply as a re-applicant


Not everyone get’s into business school on their first try. Don’t worry if that’s the case for you — many business schools explicitly welcome and encourage applications from re-applicants. But what can you do to make sure you' don’t set yourself up for the same disappointment?

Step 1: Gut Check

Before you invest any more time, make sure that your MBA school selection is reasonable based on the raw statistics of your profile. For example, if you are applying to the M7 and are not an underrepresented minority, is your GPA at least above 3.0 and your GMAT above 700? If not, I probably wouldn’t waste the application fee. If you need any help determining whether you have the raw stats for your choice of schools, feel free to fill out our What are my odds? form and we’ll have a conversation about it.

Step 2: Focus in on the Story

For every candidate, the area of the application that has the highest return-on-investment for admissions odds is the story. Everyone will tell you to write a good story (which isn’t very helpful, right? Why would you intentionally tell a bad one?). Essays that are fun to read are good. But the real key is in understanding the next level deeper of what other objectives you want your story to accomplish.

Step 3: Autopsy

What went wrong with your last story? The short way to accomplish your task at hand is to run a ding report to understand where your last story broke down last time:

  • Was it too complicated?

  • Did your goals lack credibility?

  • Did you fail to connect your candidacy to a larger cause or problem to solve?

  • Did you fail to create resonance through emotion and values?

  • Did you fail to articulate the urgency of your candidacy?

Many schools ask re-applicants to submit essays explaining what has changed in their life and career since their last application, so it is imperative to understand where you fell short so you can then show improvement.

Step 4: Tell your Narrative

When we lead our clients through the Narrative Bootcamp portion of our Complete School Packages, we start from the facts of their life and build an argument from the ground up as to why this background is the ideal preparation to solve a particular problem. We then explain how our client is on a mission to solve that problem, starting from an emotional origin story and proceeding to some important vision for the future. We then show how they are prevented from accomplishing that mission in their current position, but how business school will allow them to achieve that mission if admitted. We call this specific structure of story a "Narrative" and you can read some posts about it here and the process we recommend using here.

The interview questions Northwestern's Kellogg is asking this year

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is one of the couple business schools in that it requests all applicants to schedule an interview. On-campus interviews will be conducted by an admissions officer or a current student, while off-campus interviews are usually conducted by alumni. For all interviews, the interviewer will have only read the resume submitted upon registration. Expect the interview to last 30-45 minutes.

The Chicago Skyline minutes away from Kellogg’s Campus

The Chicago Skyline minutes away from Kellogg’s Campus

Both on- and off-campus interviewers at Kellogg are not given a predetermined script, so applicants should be ready for a variety of questions to be asked. The level of rigor and engagement can also vary widely depending on who ends up conducting the interview. However, applicants should expect the interview to have a conversational feel, with the goal of getting to know the applicant more intimately.

Analysis of the questions this year:

Our analysis of the questions our clients have been asked by Kellogg indicate that in addition to the typical career transitions, Kellogg is very interested in understanding the specific leadership style of each candidate and what experiences have informed the formation of that style. Additionally, Kellogg is placing a greater emphasis on diversity and experience in leadership of diverse teams and wants to see a certain baseline of that experience in its applicants.

The specific questions Kellogg has already asked this year:

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  • Walk me through your resume.

  • Why did you choose your undergrad? Your major?

  • Tell me about which experience in your career you had the most impact.

  • Tell me about a time where you dealt with a team with a lot of diversity. What did you gain/learn? What challenges did you face.

  • How did you manage your junior team members? What did you learn as a manager?

  • What does leadership mean to you?

  • What are the specific traits that define a leader?

  • What are your strengths?

  • What are your long and short term goals?

  • Why MBA? Why Kellogg? Why now?

  • Tell me about your biggest concern or challenge you expect to face at Kellogg.

  • Kellogg is a diverse school. When have you interacted with people differently than you?

  • What is your leadership style? Why is it the way it is?

  • What role do you play within a team?

  • What specially do you hope to gain with your time at Kellogg?

  • Any questions for me?