MIT is pretty unique among MBA programs in the sense that it requires a one minute video submission along with all your other application materials.
In early 2020 I submitted my video submission and got accepted into MIT Sloan. Watching that video again today makes me cringe - but who cares, it worked! Today, with that experience behind me and with some hindsight I'll walk you through how you should go about recording a strong video submission.
What MIT Sloan is looking for
MIT's motto is "Mens et Manus", which roughly means "Mind and Hand". MIT really lives and breathes that motto and the Sloan School of Management is no exception. Theoretical or purely academic pursuits are great and all, but what really sets apart MIT is how the students there apply that to the "real" world - thats the "manus" part.
Generally, Sloan wants people in their MBA cohorts that aren't afraid of going out into the world and getting things done. They want to see evidence of that in what you've done so far and a desire to ramp that up after your MBA.
What to answer on the video submission
While the above should guide the tone of your video, MIT Sloan does not look for submissions that answer a secret question. They want you to be authentic and in fact welcome creative and memorable messages and settings - as long as they make sense and are not gimmicky.
Below are some suggestions that work well for the video.
- Look to your past to explain why you want to get an MBA at Sloan. Use evidence from your past achievements to forge a compelling story arc that builds towards getting an MBA at Sloan.
- Look to the future to explain why you want to get an MBA at Sloan. Getting an MBA offers many a chance to "reset" their lives and careers and start on a new path, which is probably more compelling to the applicant. Talk about the amazing things you want to do and how an MBA will empower you to do so.
- Talk about how you are unique. If you have a particularly unique story, make sure to talk about that and bring it to life. If you are one of the thousands of people with consulting and finance backgrounds but you make artisanal goat cheese in your spare time - talk about that!
- Be authentic - admissions has been doing this for much longer than you think. They know how to detect BS and don't think very highly of gimmicky props unless they help tell a story as opposed to being the story itself.
Don't be afraid to mix and match (I touched on all four points in my video!) but make sure the narrative of the whole video makes sense, and is not a disjointed, rushed mess.
Fortunately, since you'll record the video on your own time, you can re-record as many times as you like. That allows you to look at what you've recorded and check for technical issues.
Sound - Make sure you can be heard clearly. If not, think about whether the root cause is the microphone you are using or if you aren't speaking loud enough. Admissions has been looking at videos all day, don't make them strain to listen to your voice!
Lighting - Make sure your face is well lit and if you wear glasses, that there are no reflections bouncing off them. You want to be memorable in your video, being able to be seen clearly is a big part of that!
No editing, music, etc - Sloan does not want any fancy post production effects. The star of the video is you, and only you. Any gimmicks are interpreted as distractions from what should be the most interesting thing - you.
Don't read from a script - Reading from a script usually drags down the energy of a delivery, so avoid that. Jot down bullets of everything you want to say or touch on but talk about those in your own, spur of the moment words.
Many see the MIT Sloan video submission as a pain or are intimidated by it. My recommendation is to embrace it. You will not get a better chance to tell your story in such an interesting and compelling way.
Just be authentic and show them what is special about you!
If you feel I've left anything out and would like me to update this article, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Use a platform like Voomer to prep for the submission. It is a MIT based start up that uses AI-powered analysis tools that evaluate your responses so you can improve quickly.
If you are curious about how Voomer's AI-powered video assessment tools can help you to prepare thoroughly for your upcoming video essays click below to get started!