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Hitchhiker’s Guide to the…2016 MIT Launch Application (3/4)

By Annie zhang

November 16, 2015

NOTE: this post is from a previous year.  Please see this post for the current year guide.

Hello again. Hope everyone had a happy Halloween! This week we’re going to focus on a trickier bit of the application (well it’s really not that tricky–it just looks confusing): the Entrepreneurial Baseline. What do we mean by “entrepreneurial baseline”?  We have identified some key questions that will give us a good idea of what kind of entrepreneur you are, your strengths, your motivations, and your expectations for MIT Launch and that #startuplyfe.

IMPORTANT: Don’t game your answers! What I mean is – don’t answer in a particular way because you think we’re looking for particular answers. There’s not a right or wrong answer – there are all different types of potential entrepreneurs – and we want to get a better sense of your potential role within a team, aspirations for the summer, and the person behind the resume.  Just be honest – we appreciate self-awareness, open-mindedness, and willingness to learn.  Plus, this helps us get an idea of where our incoming class is starting from (the baseline) so we know how best to tailor programming to reach our common goals.

Here are some of the more confusing questions explained:

What is your main driver for wanting to be an entrepreneur? There’s no denying it: entrepreneurship is very trendy right now, and that might be the reason you got interested in it in the first place. Or maybe you only want to work for yourself. Or build something cool.  Or leave a dent in the world. Whatever your personal reason (and there’s no wrong reason!) for becoming an entrepreneur, that will shape your priorities and your path as an entrepreneur and we want to know why so we can see what direction you’re headed in, and if admitted, help you find teammates that will share similar company missions and values.

Why are you interested in entrepreneurship? What is your primary reason for applying to Launch? There is no wrong answer here! Your interest in Launch will motivate you in your start-up journey and we want to know what gets you excited and what makes you tick so we can make sure we meet the needs of our customers – you!

What is your biggest hurdle to entrepreneurial success? Everyone has a hurdle/weakness/obstacle. Trust me, your biggest hurdle is not that you’re a workaholic and you just stay up too late getting work done. As counterintuitive as it seems (especially on an application) it’s important to know your own hurdles/obstacles/weaknesses because that demonstrates a certain level of self-awareness. What do you actually think is your hurdle? Identify this, and we will know what you can focus on improving throughout the program, and how to shape the program to help everyone collectively overcome their hurdles together.

Please finish this sentence: “In order for me to be happy with myself at the end of my Launch experience, I will have shown and accomplished: Each year students come to Launch with a variety of expectations for the program and definitions of what a successful and happy Launch experience looks like. Some people just want to learn about entrepreneurship while others are looking to start the “next big thing”. Either way, be honest with your answer because we want to know what you want to get out of the program so you can get the most out of your Launch experience.

What do you do for fun? What do you actually do for fun? You don’t need to use this answer to showcase an accomplishment. If you like cooking for fun, that’s just as valid as someone who like doing biomedical research for fun.  But really, be honest – we want to see that you have fun.  Starting a company in four weeks is intense, so knowing how to relax and have balance is important.

Basically, none of these are trick questions.  None have right or wrong answers, so long as you answer honestly.  Think of this as your opportunity to showcase YOU, the person behind the accomplishments and activities. There will be another even more exciting opportunity for this showcase in the video portion of the application, which we’ll demystify in our final guide post.  Until then, good luck!

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