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May 16, 2011

Q&A with a Member of the MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2011

My former client, MIT2Y is an MBA candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to MBA, he engaged in sales & trading in Tokyo at an investment bank. After graduation, he plans to go back to his company in their NY office.  

Adam: Looking back on your MBA, what do you think you have gained from the experience?

MIT2Y: MBA really changed my values in a variety of ways and turned my eyes towards the outside world: what the top level people from around the world are thinking, want to accomplish in their lives, care most and do not care much. It feels like I’ve got an option to redesign my lifestyle, which I wouldn’t have got without this MBA experience. I don’t necessarily have to execute it, but it allows me to stay open to take any actions to get a better life in today’s fast-changing environment.    
For example, I learned the basics of international management skills including how to discuss very detailed issues, persuade non-Japanese colleagues, and create a high-performing team in English. Prior to MBA, I could barely understand what native speakers were discussing when it came to business issues. Now, I’m pretty much confident in handling those kinds of situations. This means I’ll be able to operate anywhere in the world, keep pursuing my desirable career, and ultimately protect my family from almost any unexpected events.  
Adam: What parts of the program have you liked the most? The least?

MIT2Y: The most: MITers are, in essence, engineers. So MIT Sloan focuses on how to monetize technologies that those engineering geniuses (or nerdy geeks?) invented. In other words, we are here to go down-to-earth, to be realistic, and to make things actually happen. Not only just discussing in classroom, we always try to get our hands dirty in order to create a specific outcome/solution for a project. Super practical education.   
The least: The flip side of the coin: too much homework. Sometimes I had to give up on hanging out with my Sloan friends.

Adam: How would you describe the culture of the business school?

MIT2Y: Down-to-earth. I’ve already talked about this above.
Collaborative. In some other b-schools a certain percentage of the bottom in a class automatically fail, creating some tension among students. On the other hand, MIT Sloan has absolute evaluation system in terms of pass/failure decisions. That means everyone with enough efforts can graduate. Under this atmosphere, students are actually encouraged to help one another to increase the value of learning opportunities for your classmates.   
A little bit too nerdy? Even our varsity football team is called “Engineers.”    

Adam: Did you actually have any time for clubs? If so, which ones are you active in?


MIT2Y: I co-founded the Salsa Club, and organized weekly salsa night parties. Also, we gave free dance lessons for beginners in the first semester. Skill is no burden. That helped me a lot to make friends, no matter where they are. So I never had a hard time finding someone to team up with for projects from the second semester onwards. I got lucky on that!  

Adam: What is the job market like for you and your classmates?

MIT2Y: I’d never say it’s sellers’ market, but it looks like things have been getting better and better since the Lehman Shock finally got under control. In fact, most of my friends have got jobs.

Adam: Do you have any specific advice for those considering application to your school?

MIT2Y: Show your LOVE and loyalty to our school, and visit our campus. Meet people out there and feel our energy.

Adam: Are there any specific websites or blogs that you would recommend that applicants look at to learn more about your school?

MIT2Y: For Japanese, applicants, this is our unofficial website run by current students:
http://web.mit.edu/sloanjapan/101/index.html You should definitely check this out if you don’t want to get screwed up.

Adam: Anything else you would like to tell us?

MIT2Y: I have some comments for Japanese applicants. If you look at our neighbor, Korea, the number of Korean students at Sloan’s MBA program is twice the size of Japan. When it comes to China, it’s even greater. Japan has to compete with them in the real world. Then, how do you feel about it?
The Japanese markets have saturated. Population is going down over the next few decades. It doesn’t look like people high up in the hierarchy of our society really want to deregulate our financial markets to attract capital from overseas. Our productivity is already one of the best in the world. So how could we grow our country?
What do you do if Japan suddenly declares to default on debt?
The answer is pretty simple: Go global! B-schools are one of the most powerful solutions for that. I hope more Japanese go to top schools and get this awesome experience. 

I want to thank MIT2Y for taking the time to answer my questions.

-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

If you are interested in my counseling services and would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form, which is publicly available on Google Docs and Scribedand then send your completed form to adammarkus@gmail.com.  You can also send me your resume if it is convenient for you.  Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to.  See here for why.

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