Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sloan Class Visit {earlier in October}

I was sure I was going to lose it. My bicycle that is. As I sped across the Harvard Bridge towards MIT on a beautiful day earlier this month for the Sloan Ambassadors class visit program, I realized that I had left my bike-lock at home. And I didn't have time to go back as I was already running (biking actually :) late. So, I just left it unlocked outside Tang Center and ran to the admissions office. It was almost 9:40 and I was late for the info session. There were 6 other students - no Indians except me, three of them were asian, 2 americans and 1 south american. All male. The adcomm member walked us through the admissions procedures, requirements, and spoke at length about what makes Sloan Sloan. Enterpreneurship was an overriding theme of her presentation. She also said that Sloan makes about half of its offers during the first round and half during the second - and strongly advised applying early. But, only do so if your application is solid. A bad app is going to hurt, no matter when you apply. She also said that Sloan admissions people interview every person interviewed. No alumni interviews. She and her team will travel around the world for the next few months doing these. Impressive.

Then we met our student ambassadors who escorted us to one of their classes. MIT's cohorts { unlike HBS } don't use the same classroom all year round. So, they did not have fixed places and need to carry their namecards with them to class to place in front of their seats. The class I visited also did not have space for visitors with a desk. There were chairs along the back and side walls that we had to use. I was introduced by my ambassador to the professor and a couple of other students also stopped by and chatted. As I took a seat, the person next to me got talking and after enquiring about my background she suggested that I would be a good fit for the LFM program and that I should look into it. { unlike Harvard, visitors were not introduced to the class }.

The class I attended was an econ-type class and it did not use the case-study method. But, the professor was superb. I expected him to 'teach' but after some initial opening remarks the class participation took off and it was a fun class to watch. Students at Sloan I spoke to were, across the board, very satisfied with the mix of teaching strategies and not relying on one solely { like Harvard does with the case study }.

After class, my ambassador had to rush to some company presentation and she handed me over to a couple of other students who came by to lunch with the prospectives. There were a mix of first- and second-year students talking to us, and it was very informative. One first-year told me to make sure that I work on my Sloan app as the second school I apply to - he said usually the first crack is not the best. We talked about the student life, application procedures and work-fun balance.

The most impressive part about Sloan has to be the students. For students of an elite institution, they were unbelievably down-to-earth. Every single one I met was like that. Very easy to talk with, eager to share their knowledge and experiences with the app process, and forthcoming with advice for anyone who had a question. And the classroom diversity was very visible { one thing I noticed that there seemed to be more Indians and Chinese people at Sloan than at Harvard - maybe it has to do with the engineer ratios in the class ? }. I felt very comfortable walking the halls - I can see myself being a happy citizen of this school.
Being an engineer and wanting to remain in the tech industry after an MBA, Sloan was a natural place for me to apply. But, after visiting, I get the feeling that this is the school where I am going to have the most meaningful MBA experience.

As I walked out of Tang, I felt like something was not right. My bicycle was still standing where I left it ! An unlocked bicycle left unstolen in Cantabridgia !! This surely must be a sign ...
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