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[转帖]BW: Sojourner's Travels, Sloan

发表于 2003-5-30 02:14:00 | 显示全部楼层

[转帖]BW: Sojourner's Travels, Sloan

Sloan School of Management, MIT

Where more Engineers get their MBAs; 55 Nobel Prizes; Enormous International recognition; Over $50.0 billion in market cap. created from MIT startups; Financial Innovator; Highly flexible

Key attributes of school: Great Engineering and Finance school; Known for innovation and entrepreneurship; huge global recognition; enormous flexibility ¡V including the ability to go to HBS.

When you¡¦re at MIT, you know that you¡¦re at someplace special.  At the end of the day, this is arguably one of the three or four premier educational franchises in the world.  55 Nobel prize winners are directly associated with the school, including 8 in 2001 alone.  The startups formed directly from MIT have over $50.0 billion in market capitalization.  Like Stanford, this is a school driven by technology and engineering.  Unlike Stanford, there is also a significant finance presence.  Furthermore, there¡¦s no other school that commands quite the same kind of international respect, especially in Asia.   

Of course, the joke at MIT has always been, the farther you live from MIT, the bigger the reputation.

And internationally, the MIT name usually does not carry the kind of social stigma that it does it the United States, a stigma that the administrators, admissions officers, and students at Sloan and throughout the MIT community have fought hard against.  

After battling to find parking in Cambridge, I checked in at Sloan at around 10:30 AM for an information session.  Harriet Barnett, an admissions officer, was there to welcome us warmly.  She made it clear right away that she appreciated our efforts in coming out all this way and visiting Sloan.  She also added that she had no idea how anyone could apply to a program without visiting it first.

Right away, it was emphasized that Sloan is a part of MIT, and that the two are not separate.  It¡¦s really the only school in the MBA spectrum where anywhere from 35%-48% of the student population are engineers, and it¡¦s ultimately the preferred school for engineers who either want to advance in their career or change their career.  Towards this end, the majors or tracks at MIT are directly reflective of that.  Sloan¡¦s tracks are New Product and Venture Development, eBusiness, Financial Engineering, Financial Management, Strategic Management and Consulting, Information Technology and Business Transformation, and Operations and Manufacturing.  Sloan is a place dominated by engineers, and engineers who wish to convert to finance or consulting.

In addition, Sloan is also a place defined by enterpreneurship and the 50K competition.  Every school talks about being entrepreneurial or having a business plan competition ¡V but those that really know and really understand, know that the MIT prize is THE PRIZE.  The only school that even comes close is Stanford.  Other than that, no other school can really match Sloan and MIT¡¦s entreprenuerial spirit.  

The other major industry at Sloan, is finance.  Leveraging off of MIT¡¦s quant jock tradition and reputation, Sloan has gathered some of the best finance professors in the world.  Andrew Lo, Stewart Myers, Paul Asquith, Myron Scholes ¡V just some of the big names.  In many respects, MIT has taken over a role that was once held by Chicago ¡V as the place where the finance textbooks for all the other schools are written.   

One of the biggest problems that people have against Sloan is the facilities.  Compared to their cross-town rival and ally HBS, Sloan¡¦s facilities leave a great deal to be desired.  But as I¡¦ve noted in my travels, the one thing that really defines whether or not a school¡¦s facilities are good or not ¡V is whether it¡¦s new or not.  Essentially, the schools with the newest and most recently renovated buildings will have the nicest facilities.  The schools with the oldest buildings will have the worst.  Sloan does need a new building, and from what I have been hearing, it will get one soon in the next few years.

After the information session, we all had lunch with some current Sloan students.  Like virtually all other MBA programs, Sloan has adopted the cooperative, team-based culture focused on collaboration.  It was definitely interesting to talk to the students, as many of them offered insights that would not be obvious.  For one thing, they all agreed that the best things about MIT were the people, the relaxed atmosphere, the entrepreneurial spirit, and the flexibility.  There are a number of students who turned down HBS or other schools that are generally perceived to be better simply because of their desire to become entrepreneurs.  In terms of the flexibility, everyone mentioned that after the first fall, there are really no more required courses.  At that point, MIT students have the right to take classes throughout all of MIT, and even at HBS.  And Sloan students often remark about the change in attitude once you go to the HBS classes.  Suddenly, everyone is in khakis and dress shirts, there are no shorts, and people are more serious and less friendly.

Now given the students¡¦ emphasis on the flexibility of Sloan, I had to ask about the tracks.  Wouldn¡¦t they force everyone into focusing on a path or two?  The answer from my student hosts was a definitive no.  The reason is that there is a self-managed track.  Apparently, the vast majority of Sloan¡¦s 350 or so students are not on a track.  They are mostly on self-managed tracks, and they take classes at places as disparate as the architecture school or HBS.  erhaps the strangest thing about the flexibility at Sloan is that even the Fall Core contains the option of two electives.  Certainly atypical.  I guess maybe mentioning the tracks in your application might not be the best thing to do . . .

One surprising thing that the students added is that Sloan is really trying hard to move away from being the school where more engineers get their MBA.  Ideally, they would like to reduce the number of engineers down from the 40% or so to maybe 30% or less, and get more guys who can be leaders and general managers (i.e. more HBS type guys).  In some respects, this makes sense, but ultimately, I¡¦m not sure if this really plays to the school¡¦s strengths.  Another reason as to why they want to cut down on the number of engineers is due to the fact that apparently over half of the engineers that come to Sloan don¡¦t want to be engineers (which is why they came to b-school).  In this respect, maybe what Sloan is trying to do is to get only those engineers that wants to stay in engineering and become management and entrepreneurs, and reject the career changers - so career changers, beware.   

After lunch, I visited a finance class.  I tried to get into the class taught by Myers (the guy that wrote the textbook that everyone uses), but I wasn¡¦t able to get in.  Overall, my class visit was OK, but nothing spectacular.  Everything about my Sloan visit was pleasant, and I left MIT feeling pretty good about the school.  It¡¦s a good place for me given my finance background, and the fact that I did study to be an engineer a long time ago.  The school clearly has weaknesses since it is so dominated by engineering, entrepreneurship and finance, but that¡¦s not really a weakness if that¡¦s what you want to focus on.

In the end, everything about MIT was good.  Although there was one thing that bothered me.  When I was at Sloan, I got the feeling that the school seems to take its international reputation for granted.  After going to places like Duke, Darden, and Tuck, and seeing how those places are working so hard to build an international reputation - it¡¦s bizarre to see how well known Sloan is internationally, while doing little.  In fact, if you look at the Sloan marketing materials ¡V there isn¡¦t even a section on how Sloan is international or is being international.  Certainly a sharp contrast with other schools.

I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with some old chums who are now at HBS and Sloan.  It¡¦s one of those weird rules that if you visit Boston, you pretty much have to visit Legal Seafood (a famous Boston restaurant).  Conveniently Legal Seafood has branches everywhere in Boston (even at the airport).  After some clam chowder and a good chunk of a Maine lobster, we talked over numerous current events.  In general, recruiting is still crappy, the world-economy is lousy, some old buddies who are in the military are now in Afghanistan, friends are getting fat or bald, and things just aren¡¦t good.  

But they all think there¡¦s nowhere to go but up from here and they all think that by the time I get into grad school (barring any major economic disaster), things should be OK.  I concluded my little trip to MIT feeling pretty positive (and pretty stuffed) ¡V on that note, I began the long drive ahead.

Next Stop: Evanston (Northwestern ¡V Kellogg)
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