ARINGO continues its series of interviews with MBA students and grads that bring you the inside stuff on the top MBA programs. Today, we talked to Jonathan Perel, first year MBA student at MIT Sloan:

Tell us a bit about your pre-MBA background

I have a “classic” background – I have an undergraduate degree at Philosophy, Economics, Political Science and Law. Later I worked for two years at the international strategic consulting firm Strategy&.

What is special about your school? In your eyes, what differentiates your school from others?

I think MIT Sloan School of Management is unique in the following aspects:

  1. Culture – I heard a lot about the culture at the school, but I didn’t imagine that it is so significant in your everyday life. At Sloan everyone wants you to succeed, just as you want other students to succeed.
  2. Action labs – at these courses you can implement what you learn at class in the real world and gather experience. During these courses you can work on projects with companies and organizations.
  3. Life at Cambridge – this city is full of students from top universities such as Harvard, which creates amazing social life.
  4. Connection to MIT – the opportunity to collaborate with such great university (and take courses at different faculties) is a big advantage.

Any recent changes in your school? or in the MBA admission process?

In the past 2 years, MIT Sloan is granting GMAT waivers. Last year we studied in hybrid mode but this year we went back to class.

Can you share some details about the atmosphere in the school? between students, between students and faculty? How do you spend your free time?

The school has a lot of history in terms of culture and relations between students. Until you actually get here it’s hard to understand how so many people really care about your success and development. It starts with Core teams, which are small study groups with 7 students. In addition, other students help you with the studies and with getting summer internships.

In my experience, the relations between students and faculty are great. The professors want you to succeed, they conduct professional and personal meetings where you can talk to them about anything.

In terms of free time, the first semester is considered the busiest but we still find the time for social activities – “happy hour” every Thursday, joint meals, trips (for example, we went to Costa Rica and New Orleans) etc. it is a question of priorities and budget.

Can you share some details about the area/city?

Cambridge is a student city that hosts 3 of the best universities in the world. Sloan is located in an area called Kendall Square which is considered The most innovative square mile in the world. Regarding restaurants and night life, Kendall Square is mellow, but a short train ride will get you to fun places at Cambridge and Boston.

Can you share some details regarding job opportunities and summer internships for students in your school? How strong is the career office? Did the school name/brand give you any advantage when looking for a job? Are there any specific recruiters who mostly recruit from this school?

I can’t tell you much about it because I’m only in my first semester, but I can tell you that the career development office has a lot of resources, such as a website with job offers and summer internships, large staff of career advisors in many fields who can help you write CV and cover letters and conducting mock interviews. However, it is important to note that the purpose of the CDO is not to find a job for you.

As for companies that recruit in our school, you can find all the big firms (Amazon, McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Google, Apple etc.) and also small companies such as start ups and VCs. In case the company where you wish to work does not recruit at our school, you can easily find the right person of contact through the school’s alumni network.

What did you like about the school / MBA program? Any classes / clubs you would recommend for future students?

One of the things I like the most in MIT Sloan MBA program is the way the curriculum is divided – we have a core semester with all the mandatory courses (you can add one optional course), and in the other 3 semesters you take elective courses. This provides you with flexibility to build a suitable curriculum for yourself. I also like the fact that we have a relatively small program (around 400 students) and that you have many opportunities to collaborate with other faculties at MIT. Another thing I like is the Action Labs (you can read all about it on the school website) which allows students to implement in the real world what they learned in class.

What kind of candidates is the school looking for? Who will especially enjoy this school? Who will be a good fit to the school?

In the past, MIT Sloan was considered a tech school with many students from tech/engineering  background. However, it’s important to understand that the school is looking for candidates from all backgrounds, as long as they are highly motivated, curious, and want to challenge themselves. Having said that, the school does put a lot of emphasis on analytical abilities.

Any tips for someone who is considering applying to your school?

My most important tip for all candidates – contact students and alumni from the school you are applying to and ask them whatever you want to know, as they are the best source of information. Remember that each person has their own individual experience so it will be good for you to speak with many people. It can also help you form friendships before starting school, which makes a big difference in my opinion.