Friday, September 30, 2011

Applications are coming! (and my application story)

I discovered the LGO program at the end of last summer.  I had recently found and been looking at the MIT 1-year MEng in Manufacturing (, but then found Leaders for Global Operations.  LGO is like that program plus an MBA with a longer internship.  From my perspective, I wanted to apply for the engineering degree and the MBA would come as the bonus.  I used the engineering application and applied through ESD (Engineering Systems Division).  The program homepage became research central, to try and learn as much as I could.

You might be one of those people who leaves things to the last minute and so will find what I'm about to write crazy.  I know people have different styles, so take this with a grain of salt.  I started writing my essays in September.  I started writing my essays from the 2009 questions (the 2010 app hadn't been finalized yet!).  I had five full drafts written (one of each question) when the 2010 application came out and, to my dismay, one of the questions had changed!  So, first word of advice.  Don't do anything until you've got your year's application.

Now for less crazy, everyone applicable advice.  Especially if you start with enough time, have as many people read the essays as you can.  I had professors, work colleagues, friends and all kinds of people read it. I felt that the essays were really important because they would help explain my unusual story.  Some of you who already majored in Industrial Engineering or worked for partner companies might have a little less explaining to do.  So, back to writing.  At one point, each of my essays had gone through about three drafts and then one former professor just tore them down.  I was blown away; I was dismayed; I was a combination of confused and sad and completely indignant that someone could think that these paragraphs that I had already spent so much time on could be improved that much.

I took a lot of his advice but not all of it.  In the end it's you who's writing these essays, hopefully interviewing with the program, and who admissions has to see is a good fit for the program.  Your personality and drive need to be there.  Disclaimer: As far as I know I'm one of the people in 2013 who spent the most amount of time on their essays, so it is possible to be much less rigorous and get in.

Besides my application, I went to Ambassador Day (Nov 7th, 2011 this year!), and a Sloan on the Road event in Detroit, MI.  Ambassador Day is when you come to MIT and spend a day going to classes, meeting students and going out in the evening.  It's busy and it's a lot of fun.  Sloan on the Road events are mostly MBA focused, but especially if there are LGO alumni in your area, there will often be a quick Q&A with them as well.  Some Sloan on the Road events have already occurred, but here's the page to get more information about them.  They're usually held in the evening so you can go after work:  Disclaimer: these events are meant for you to learn more about the program and see how well you fit with other students and the school.  They have no bearing on your admission status.

Other than the essays, most of the application is the same as any other business school or even college application - tell us about yourself, include recommendations, and, since it's partly a business program, include a resume as well.

If you're wondering about your fit with LGO and even MIT here are some adjectives for you to mull over.

LGO students and the program:
Leaders ( the L in LGO matters a lot )

Never sleeps - not necessarily because of class work, something's just always going on
Networked - tons of connections of the Cambridge community and MIT alumni, also awesome wifi ;-)
Encouraging - lots of program and campus resources to help you do what you want to, whether that's start a business, start a club, etc.

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