MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Michael C. '16

May 8 2016

MIT’s Once-a-Century Party

Posted in: Miscellaneous

If you were in Boston sometime these past few nights and glanced towards MIT, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Killian Court had been transformed into a huge sports stadium, with gigantic spotlights emanating from the Great Dome and swiveling around the sky.  Turns out they were just rehearsing the lights for MIT's 100-year-anniversary of its move to Cambridge - an event named "Moving Day".

Not exactly the most imaginative name, but boy does MIT know how to throw a party - I'm told the weekend was a $10+ million event.  It's not every Saturday night that you get to see...


...the Mens Et Manus seal come to life - with the two characters on the seal playfully arguing about the merits of theory vs. practice:


...or giant bobblehead figures of esteemed MIT alumni brawling in a fistfight (I believe that's Feynman trying to knock out Packard):


...or President Reif taking a selfie (Reif-ie?) with the MIT seal:


...or more spectacular fireworks than July... read the post »


Apr 13 2016

Lessons on How to Start a Hard Tech Startup, with Sam Altman

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research


A photo posted by Michael Cheung (@m_cheung_) on


If you know anything about startups, you know Y Combinator.  YC has spawned $50 billion worth of startups, including Dropbox and Airbnb, and shows no signs of slowing down.  A common criticism of Silicon Valley startups, however, is that they often go after "easy money" instead of tackling hard technology problems that have more world-changing potential.

Sam Altman (president of Y Combinator) gave a talk today at MIT about why "hard tech" startups are hard, and why they're still worth it.  Here's the main lessons I took away from his talk:

How to know when to jump into a field

70-80% of the market is chasing the current fad.  This means that if you choose to make a video streaming startup, or a social network startup, you'll have an enormous amount of competition both from established companies and other startups.

Far better is to think of a new idea that the rest of... read the post »


Apr 8 2016

10 (more) reasons why MIT is beautiful

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

Part 1 here

(1) Because sometimes when you’re heading home after a long day of classes, you turn around and see this:


A photo posted by Michael Cheung (@m_cheung_) on


(2) Because sometimes it’s Christmas in April:


A photo posted by Michael Cheung (@m_cheung_) on


(3) Because if you’re ever disoriented, the Green Building makes a pretty good landmark:


A photo posted by Michael Cheung (@m_cheung_) on


(4) Because Killian Court is pretty nice (when geese aren’t pooping everywhere…)


A photo posted by Michael Cheung (@m_cheung_) on


(5) Because even when you’re neck deep in a 2.006 thermal-fluids pset, there’s light at the end of the tunnel Mass Ave bridge:


Dec 10 2015

Ideate, Model, TEST! A long, behind-the-scenes look at 2.009

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous, Academics & Research

Clockwise from top right: sketch model review, sketch model review (on a real stall), mockup review, final alpha prototype on stage.  Top left photo by John Chow.


End-of-the-semester class presentations are usually pretty dry events. Busy PowerPoint slides, droning presenters – “excitement,” “magic” and “this made me want to switch majors” aren’t phrases often heard in the audience.

Then again, most class presentations don’t involve a live band, an audience of 3300, and an overall class budget of a half million dollars.

Under the tutelage of Professor David Wallace, MIT’s senior capstone mechanical engineering product design class (known as 2.009) has steadily grown into a huge spectacle that attracts audience members from around the globe. It’s the closest thing you’ll find at MIT to the campus spirit-unifying atmosphere of a football game. Over the course of the 3+ hour event, 8 teams reveal the products they’ve been working on over the semester.

But while the... read the post »


Sep 21 2015

So what makes a successful MIT student, anyway?

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research, Life & Culture

It's Career Fair season, and that means hundreds of companies are swooping down on campus with brightly-colored t-shirts, cheap plastic goodies, and oddly-formatted emails.  I've been reading a lot of job descriptions lately, and I've noticed that recruiters regularly provide "success profiles" -- lists of traits and behaviors that are associated with job success.  

These profiles are often full of buzzwordy corporate fluff.  But when written well (i.e. when written by actual employees and not HR), a success profile can be a valuable framework when you start a job -- a compilation of past experience, something that reminds you of best practices.

This got me thinking: what would a success profile for an MIT student look like?

This is a challenging question to answer, because the variety of experiences and perspectives across MIT is staggering.  That's the whole point of going here.  There are 22+ majors, and if you do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation my experience as a... read the post »