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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gallant

#9 - MIT Sloan's Assistant Dean of Admissions - Dawna Levenson

In this episode I am speaking with Dawna Levenson. Dawna is an Assistant Dean at MIT Sloan, where she co-leads the Admissions Team. Prior to joining MIT Sloan she spent 18 years at Accenture.  Dawna also received her bachelors and masters from MIT.

When we recorded this interview in Cambridge some two months ago, COVID-19 was not present in the conversation. Nonetheless, Dawna gave an incredibly accurate prediction about coming changes in the education field, and her expectation of a residential / online hybrid model that is imminent to come - this could not be more relevant!

This episode is highly relevant for prospective applicants, interested in Sloan’s mission statement and how the school goes about fulfilling that mission statement, how Sloan’s admission team decides who gets in and who stays out, and what major mistakes to avoid in the in person interview.

It is also interesting for business leaders in healthcare, as it showcases some of Sloan’s unique industry relationships, gives insights on ideation and joint research programs (for example with Harvard U), and tells the story of two impactful companies that were conceived in the school’s halls.

(Dawna encourages prospective applicants to reach out to her directly - details in the podcast).

If you enjoy the podcast, please rate, review and share.

Happy listening!


Some of the things we talk about:

  • Dawna’s personal story

  • Sloan’s mission statement, and the practical implications of that mission statement

  • Having a chemical engineering PhD housemate: how being MIT sets Sloan apart from other MBA programs

  • Businesses created in Sloan #1: PillPack (acquired by Amazon)

  • Academic capabilities, impact on the organization, celebrating the success of others: what makes up a great candidate

  • Thermometer vs Thermostat: a profile of a typical class

  • What NOT to do in the ever so important personal interview

  • The value of international students (Sloan had some 40% of those in the last class)

  • Access to large hospitals and close ties with Harvard: Sloan’s unique industry connections

  • Museum curators, theater majors, opera singers: approach towards candidates with non traditional backgrounds

  • an example of a great candidate on paper, who didn’t get in, and why

  • Book recommendation - How to Win Friends and Influence People / Dale Carnegie - “The ABCs of being a person”

  • Businesses created in Sloan #2: Sanergy’s full circle

  • Joe’s 40-year "short term plan"

  • Dawna’s personal view of Sloan's next 10-15 years (she hit the nail on the head!)

  • Playing ‘Only 3 Words’ (O3W) with Dawna: the driving forces in her

  • Reaching out to Dawna

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