1) Find a topic you are passionate about: the MTO is a one year research project that requires a decent amount of commitment. If you do research on a topic you love, you will soon see the benefits that the MTO work gives you regarding other endeavors you might have, such as landing an assistantship or internship position in your field of interest. The MTO is a great way to leverage your applications and provide you with something to present during an interview.
2) Reach out to faculty in your field of interest and find a dedicated mentor for your project: this will give you additional support while doing your research and a potential option for an assistantship.
3) Make use of the various research options that Boston provides: UMass has a broad variety of databases and resources that you can use for your research, for instance subscriptions to Bloomberg Professional and FactSet. But you can also access research tools of numerous other universities and libraries in the Boston area, e.g. through the Library Consortium service (Healey staff can help you with questions in this matter). This way I was able to use for example one of MIT’s databases.
4) Pace yourself: regular check-ins with your mentor and supervisor will help you to finish the project in time while handling all of your other commitments. The one year timeframe is generous, but make sure you don’t get lost in details. Eventually, it is all about getting your work out there and focusing on your main target: your career!
5) Leverage your work: as mentioned before, the MTO is a great way to enhance your resume and deliver a valuable and comprehensive piece of academic research that proves your ability to go beyond the standard requirements for MBAs. While all MBA students will have to prove their quantitative skills throughout their time in business school, you will be able to prove that, in addition to that, you are able to transform complex information into a concise piece of writing. Use this valuable work product for your personal branding, for instance by working with faculty on publishing your work or presenting it at conferences.
Björn Stengel, MBA Class 2015