the MIT Sloan Optional Essay is, in our opinion, not an option. And because this is MIT, applicants should STRONGLY consider flexing their creative muscles outside the confines of a traditional essay—be
The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that we only accept written essays.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)
MIT Optional Essay? — College Confidential
If you belong to the 1st category, i.e. your GMAT score is less, or you havent had quantitative subjects, or you have gaps in work experience, or your immediate supervisor is not a recommender and so on, you need to provide suitable justification. The objective here is to reduce the skepticism of ADCOM as much as possible. You dont have much choice to consider whether to attempt the optional essay or not.
If you fall in the 2nd category i.e. you dont have any of the above mentioned problems in your MBA application, then should you attempt the optional essay? What will happen if other applicants submit the optional essay and you dont? And moreover, after writing about your achievements, success, failures, and so on in other essays, you might think what more is left behind to write in an optional essay?
Most of the applicants in the 2nd category do not attempt the optional essay. And out of those who do so, a majority uses it to give explanations for academic non-performance, poor GMAT, less involvement in extracurricular, below average professional career and so on. This invariably drives the attention of the Admissions committee to weaknesses of the applicant. While such explanations can be genuine, sometimes they come across as excuses for non performance and that really makes the admission officers skeptical. Successful applicants crack the deal despite having weaknesses. So the key is to focus on strengths and not on weaknesses.