2009 MIT Sloan MBA Military Chat with Barry Reckley
2009 MIT Sloan MBA Military Chat with Barry Reckley
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Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 10:58:42 AM)
Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s chat.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 10:58:46 AM)
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 10:58:49 AM)
First I want to welcome all applicants to the MIT Diversity chat today for military personnel and veterans, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about MIT Sloan. To make a sound decision and to get accepted you need to know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask the experts about this outstanding business school.
I also want to welcome our special guest, Barry Reckley, Assistant Director MBA Admissions. He will be joined shortly by Sean Arnette, a first year MBA student, in a joint degree program with the Kennedy School of Government. Prior to Sloan, Sean was in the Air Force, in Intelligence and Defense Acquisitions. Currently, he is a VP of the Finance Club and involved in the Veterans and VCPE Clubs.
Thanks to everyone for joining.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:00:40 AM)
Barry, what would veterans and military applicants like to know about Sloan?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:01:52 AM)
Sloan is a general MBA program, it is not a technical MBA. You can take this degree and explore many different options.
Vani Punam (Nov 24, 2008 11:02:18 AM)
Hi Barry and Linda, thank you very much for this opportunity. I am a Round 1 applicant. Could you please take us through the next steps in the process after one clicks the Submit button? Also, when do you expect to start sending out interview invites for Round 1?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:03:37 AM)
Vani: we are presently in the process of reading all application. The interviews will start during the week of December 8th.
Cody (Nov 24, 2008 11:03:45 AM)
With regards to the management science program, how much time is spent on case studies as opposed to theory or model building?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:04:35 AM)
Our learning process is a multi-base process, in other words case/lecture/and team-based learning.
Shaun So (Nov 24, 2008 11:04:45 AM)
Beyond what is listed on your webpage, in what other activities does the Veterans Club participate? For example, do they give panel discussions regarding leadership and other experiences?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:05:48 AM)
Yes, and support for recruitment of other vets/military personnel.
Hey Sean, welcome!
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:06:21 AM)
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:06:26 AM)
Thank you Linda!
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:07:43 AM)
Sean, Did you go straight from the military to MIT or did you work in between?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:08:03 AM)
I worked in between for a few months, consulting with the Air Force, doing more or less the same work I was doing during active duty, though in Defense Acquisitions. I also took some time to travel, which I highly recommend!!
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:08:41 AM)
Sean, Would you recommend obtaining civilian work experience prior to starting an MBA?
Doug Solinsky (Nov 24, 2008 11:08:58 AM)
Barry: Is there a certain number of military applicants that Sloan tries to bring in each year?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:09:04 AM)
Linda, I don't think you need it. It's a split here between people that have experience and do not. I haven't really seen any difference between any of those military classmates.
Shaun So (Nov 24, 2008 11:09:20 AM)
Sean, I've found that many Business school-military members are officers; do you have any enlisted/NCO students?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:09:50 AM)
Doug: No we do not have a limit.
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:09:53 AM)
Shaun, I don't think so, but I don't see any reason why there couldn't be.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:10:12 AM)
Barry, how many students at MIT have a military background?
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:10:52 AM)
Question for applicants in the chat room: How many of you are currently serving in the military?
David (Nov 24, 2008 11:11:24 AM)
I got out in 2004.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:11:24 AM)
Presently we have 35-40 students with some form of military background.
Shaun So (Nov 24, 2008 11:11:27 AM)
I am (Army Reservist).
Brandon R (Nov 24, 2008 11:11:40 AM)
I'm active duty Army.
Shire (Nov 24, 2008 11:11:43 AM)
I am (active).
Joe Fraser (Nov 24, 2008 11:11:50 AM)
Linda: I am an active duty Captain in the US Marine Corps, currently deployed to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. I return in January and get out in May.
Eric Lindberg (Nov 24, 2008 11:11:52 AM)
I got out in July.
Doug Solinsky (Nov 24, 2008 11:11:56 AM)
Got out in '04.
Mark (Nov 24, 2008 11:12:10 AM)
I've been out since '06.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:12:56 AM)
So it's about 50% active and 50% veteran among those who responded. Thanks.
David (Nov 24, 2008 11:13:12 AM)
Barry: As recently as last year, MIT had a combined MBA/MPH program with Harvard. Is that program option still available? I have not seen it as an option this year.
Brandon R (Nov 24, 2008 11:13:25 AM)
Sean, what types of preparation do you recommend for applicants transitioning from the military to the MBA Sloan program (i.e. presumably with little background in business, finance, etc.)?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:14:04 AM)
David, it is still available and it should be on the website.
Mark (Nov 24, 2008 11:14:14 AM)
Hello Linda and Barry, can you give Round 1 applicants a rough estimation of when we will be notified of an interview invite?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:14:19 AM)
Brandon, you definitely don't need business experience, just make sure you can translate what you did in the military to language that people without military experience would understand. The key is to be able to tell a story, where you were, what you want and why business school.
Doug Solinsky (Nov 24, 2008 11:14:31 AM)
Sean, are you ultimately trying to get a defense-related job? Do you and/or many of your classmates already have their chosen career path?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:15:06 AM)
Mark: Interviews in Cambridge will start on Dec. 8th.
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:15:17 AM)
Doug: No, I am looking for a consulting job, probably focused on the Financial Sector.
Dennis James (Nov 24, 2008 11:15:27 AM)
Barry and Linda, Thanks very much for hosting this chat session. My first question is for Barry: I am currently deployed to Iraq and will not return home until early March. I plan to submit my application for the final round in January. Will this hurt my chances to conduct an interview with the MIT Admissions Staff?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:15:38 AM)
Doug, there is no set time-frame to decide on a career path. Many of my classmates are still completely open to nearly anything and many are using the summer to explore.
Shaun So (Nov 24, 2008 11:15:55 AM)
Sean, how did you translate/describe your intelligence experience to Sloan?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:16:41 AM)
Shaun, it really helps to pull specific examples from your past. When you do this, you can isolate the characteristics you want to and it doesn't really matter the job function you were doing.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:16:47 AM)
Dennis: No, one of the cornerstones of our admissions process is that we are extremely flexible, this will not hurt you.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:16:52 AM)
Barry: What aspects of military experience should these applicants highlight in their application?
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:17:03 AM)
Sean, how big is the Veterans Club and what does it do?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:17:37 AM)
Linda, the Vets Club here is fairly big (30-40), but very informal. We don't have set activities, more just get-togethers and events to help out the local community when someone brings them up. Last week a group of us went to the Shelter for Homeless Vets to work on interview skills. That's just an example of an event the Vets Club focuses on.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:17:54 AM)
Linda, we are looking for drive, determination and leadership
Mark (Nov 24, 2008 11:18:40 AM)
Barry, are you looking to increase the number of veterans in the program? I was at the Service Academy Career Conference this past week in San Antonio and I saw that you were there recruiting.
Doug Solinsky (Nov 24, 2008 11:19:21 AM)
Sean: How about geographically, do most of your classmates expect to work on the East Coast?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:19:55 AM)
Probably a lot do, but definitely not all. I am hoping to go to the Midwest and I have several friends interested on the west coast.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:20:31 AM)
Mark: We like to maintain our marketing drive to let veterans know that our school is recruiting veterans.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:20:51 AM)
Two related questions for Barry:
Cody (Nov 24, 2008 11:20:53 AM)
As far as work experience goes, does military (enlisted) experience carry the same weight as business experience?
David (Nov 24, 2008 11:20:57 AM)
Shaun So had a good question. How many prior service personnel in the program were enlisted and how many were officers? And does being one or the other make a difference in admission?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:21:38 AM)
Cody, it all depends on how you sell it. Military experience offers a great deal of leadership opportunities and the schools know that. Focus on that and don't worry that you've never built a financial model before, business school will teach you that.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:21:57 AM)
Cody: we are looking for the quality of the work experience.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:23:22 AM)
Barry: Does MIT view military experience outside the US differently from military experience in the US armed forces? Do recruiters view it differently?
Dennis James (Nov 24, 2008 11:24:01 AM)
Sean: Can you elaborate on the level of recruiting that occurs in your first year at Sloan?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:24:40 AM)
Dennis, it all depends on the person, but I can tell you that the opportunity to spend way too much time recruiting is there. If you are interested in Banking and Consulting, recruiting will take on a life of its own. But if before you get here, you can tailor it a little bit, that will help. That said, I tried to, but it didn't end up mattering. I've gone through two other career fields before getting to consulting.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:25:04 AM)
Linda, from the admissions standpoint, no. If you mean "recruiters" from the career development standpoint, I do not believe so either.
Linda, regarding the international military experience, my guess would be no, as I think MIT is more concerned about your individual work experience, rather than where it was.
Barry: What common interview advice would you give to all candidates, and is there specific advice you'd give to military candidates?
Cody (Nov 24, 2008 11:26:47 AM)
Sean: Speaking of building models, how much of the math is paper and pencil and how much uses a software program like Excel, MiniTab, Maple, etc.?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:26:56 AM)
Brandon, from my perspective, know your application inside and out. I had a lot of very specific questions aimed at my essays, but once I got through those, the interview was much more laid back.
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:27:21 AM)
It's a mixture of both, but honestly, the math hasn't been bad at all. Some of the other quantitative things have been tricky for people with no background in it, but all my classmates are really helpful.
Shaun So (Nov 24, 2008 11:27:33 AM)
Sean, what has been the most difficult thing about transitioning from military to your current role as a student?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:27:52 AM)
All candidates, including military applicants, this is your opportunity to tell us your story. Be passionate and energized about what you have to say.
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:28:21 AM)
Shaun, for me, I think it's been trying to figure out what I want to do after school.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:28:46 AM)
Sean, I think that's difficult for most people.
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:29:01 AM)
For a while in the military I knew I would get out and move on, but actually figuring out what I want to do when the possibilities are endless is tough.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:29:47 AM)
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of coming from the military and going for an MBA?
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:30:37 AM)
Barry: Is combat experience, intelligence, or logistics more valuable from an admissions perspective? A career perspective?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:30:58 AM)
For everyone planning on applying, it is really important to look at your application as one big story. Think about how each piece fits into the entire picture. It's the same thing I'm doing now as I prepare for summer internship interviews.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:31:06 AM)
Linda, the advantages are great, the applicant is place in a situation that really develops their leadership skills.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:31:38 AM)
Linda, they are all highly valued with our process.
David (Nov 24, 2008 11:31:51 AM)
Sean, do you find it difficult to balance your schedule between the Kennedy School and Sloan, or do you complete one semester at a time in each program?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:32:23 AM)
David, it's actually one year at Sloan, one year at Kennedy, then split the third. So I won't start at Kennedy until next fall. The difficult thing to balance is activities, as I don't have three continuous years at Sloan.
David (Nov 24, 2008 11:32:44 AM)
Sean, during the recruitment process, have you had the opportunity to meet with recruiters with military background and how has that benefitted your career search? Are there recruiters that specifically seek out prior service personnel?
Vani Punam (Nov 24, 2008 11:32:51 AM)
Thanks for your response, Barry. Did you see a large increase in the number of applications received in Round 1?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:33:18 AM)
Vani: We had around a 10-15% increase for the first round.
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:33:37 AM)
David, the military network for job recruiting is incredible. I've focused on that far more than anything else. I find Vets are much more upfront about a firm and will talk to me about anything.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:33:48 AM)
Barry: MIT Sloan introduced its Entrepreneurship and Innovation program a few years ago. To take advantage of it, is it necessary to have business or entrepreneurial experience?
Shaun So (Nov 24, 2008 11:33:56 AM)
Sean, have you heard any guest lecturers or speakers who are prominent military and MIT alumni?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:34:39 AM)
Shaun, I don't think so, but to be honest it's hard to keep up with everyone coming through Sloan to talk or give a seminar.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:35:08 AM)
Linda: No, again just the drive and determination to succeed.
Dennis James (Nov 24, 2008 11:35:19 AM)
Sean and Barry: Just want to clarify my question- I'm curious as to when it is expected that I should have a chosen career path. As an example, I am interested in the telecommunications field but I also realize that my direction may change once I set foot in the MBA program. At what point should I "know" which direction I want to head? I have heard from former military members in other MBA programs (such as Stern), that I should know where I want to go rather early.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:36:15 AM)
Dennis: At MIT, that is not true, in fact we encourage you to explore all possibilities.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:36:24 AM)
Barry: Does MIT have any financial aid or scholarships specifically for military applicants?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:36:27 AM)
Dennis, (disregard Barry) you need to have an idea of what you want during the application process, but if you come to school and change your mind, that is completely ok. Sloan isn't looking for you to say the exact job function you are looking for before hand, but you need to be able to talk about why you want to come to business school. To do that, it really helps to have some sort of career path in mind to tell your story, but since my application, that has changed. Not really the end goals, just the path that I'll take to get there.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:38:14 AM)
Linda, there is financial assistance and we are part of the Military MBA program scholarship.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:38:22 AM)
Barry: If you are looking at an application and the numbers and basic profile is in the ballpark for a Sloan student, what distinguishes an application that is accepted from one that is rejected?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:39:21 AM)
Linda, the application, the story and the presentation are all parts of the application that will make a difference.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:39:35 AM)
Barry: How do you use the interview in the admissions process?
Doug Solinsky (Nov 24, 2008 11:40:10 AM)
Do applications below a certain grade or test score get sorted out before the essays are read?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:40:36 AM)
Linda, the key point in the interview is Personal Presence, which is extremely important.
Shaun So (Nov 24, 2008 11:40:51 AM)
Sean, within the Vet club, do you have any light-hearted service rivalries/competitions?
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:41:10 AM)
Doug, don't worry about the scores too much, I have friends that scored anywhere between 630 and 780.
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:41:22 AM)
Doug: All applicants are reviewed.
David (Nov 24, 2008 11:41:26 AM)
Barry, do you know how many prior service personnel at MIT are planning on returning to duty once they have completed schooling?
Dennis James (Nov 24, 2008 11:41:51 AM)
Sean or Barry: Can you expand on any specializations available in the technology field within the MBA program? Is there a specific academic focus or is this achieved through extra-curricular clubs?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:41:52 AM)
David: Not sure about that.
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:42:23 AM)
Shaun, besides my two closest friends (Army Ranger and a Navy Seal) always giving me a hard time, nothing formal within the club. Although I know we have a few things coming up for the Army/Navy game.
Joe Fraser (Nov 24, 2008 11:43:03 AM)
Barry: I don't recall seeing any information on your website about the Military MBA program? Can you expand upon that or inform me of where I can learn more?
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:43:05 AM)
Dennis: It's accomplished through both areas.
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:43:21 AM)
Dennis, there are a lot of opportunities depending on what type of technology you are looking for. For example, the LFM program, cross register for courses within the MIT community, and club events.
Cody (Nov 24, 2008 11:43:30 AM)
Thank you all for hosting and answering questions. I have to return to work, but will review what I'll have missed after work.
Linda Abraham (Nov 24, 2008 11:43:46 AM)
Thank you again all for participating. Special thanks to Barry & Sean for joining us today.
We look forward to seeing you at future chats. Here is a list of currently scheduled chats:
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:00 AM)
Joe: You can make contact directly with me. We are planning to add information on our website.
Shaun So (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:03 AM)
Doug Solinsky (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:06 AM)
Thanks Sean and Barry!
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:15 AM)
You're welcome Doug.
Brandon R (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:20 AM)
Joe Fraser (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:23 AM)
David (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:34 AM)
Thanks for your time.
Dennis James (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:36 AM)
Thanks Sean and Barry!
BarryReckleyMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:44:38 AM)
Good luck everyone! Thanks Sean!
SeanArnetteMIT (Nov 24, 2008 11:45:02 AM)
Take care and let me know if you have any other questions.