Category Archives: Yale SOM Advice
September 16, 2014
Yale School of Management is part of an Ivy League university with expertise across fields. The school is now investing heavily in continuing to improve the business education at Yale with a new campus, top …
Yale School of Management is part of an Ivy League university with expertise across fields. The school is now investing heavily in continuing to improve the business education at Yale with a new campus, top talent in faculty, and the admissions process.
This year, Yale SOM has streamlined the admissions process by reducing the essays to one 500 word essay (reduced from with two essays coming in under 1,000 words total last year). As we reported when Yale posted the question: “Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico explains that the change from two questions last year to a single prompt for the class entering Fall 2015 is an effort to focus on what really matters to the admissions team: finding out how applicants are making an impact in their professional and personal lives.”
Yale is still using the video interview platform to add an additional personal touch to your application. Stacy Blackman Consulting has been working with a similar video interview platform as the one Yale is using and we are familiar with the technology and process. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you prepare for the Yale application and interview process.
Because there is no specific career goals essay, make sure your resume and recommendations highlight the key elements to your work experience that influence your desire to pursue an MBA. You may want to highlight specific projects at work that have most excited you and shaped your future goals and discuss why. The key is to add some insight to your background through those additional parts of your application.
The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent. (500 words maximum)
Impact and leadership are key components to this question. Impact could range from driving business results for your company to starting an affinity group for an underrepresented employee population. Overall the impact story should be one that you are proud of and that showcases both your values and your leadership traits. Remember the type of MBA student Yale is most interested in admitting. Ideally you are coming across as an intellectually curious student with a diverse background deeply interested in the integrated curriculum.
Behavioral questions like this one seek to understand how you actually operate in various situations. Try to be as specific as possible about how you positively influenced the organization. What did you think or say when you were determining what to do? What did you actually do? How did you feel about the result? Start by describing each step in detail in terms of what you did, the reaction of others and your own reaction. From there you can cut out anything that is too detailed or too superfluous to the story to maintain the 500 word maximum.
Note that while this question could focus on a key solo accomplishment at work since most MBA applicants are individual contributors, ideally you can demonstrate how you work with others as you lead. Regardless of whether you choose an individual or team accomplishment it should show a significant positive impact on the organization or people within the organization.
July 5, 2013
Yale is an Ivy League university with expertise across fields. The school now investing heavily in continuing to improve the business education at Yale School of Management. A new campus is slated for January 2014, …
Yale is an Ivy League university with expertise across fields. The school now investing heavily in continuing to improve the business education at Yale School of Management. A new campus is slated for January 2014, Yale continues to hire top talent in the administrative departments and faculty, and has innovated in the admissions process.
This year Yale SOM has streamlined the admissions process with only two essays coming in under 1,000 words total. Additionally, Yale has eliminated the English-language test requirement this year. The video interview is another new aspect of the admissions process that allows interviewers to review the applicant’s performance after the fact and compare across applicants.
Stacy Blackman Consulting has been working with a similar video interview platform as the one Yale is using and we are familiar with the technology and process. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you prepare for the Yale application and interview process.
What motivates your decision to pursue an MBA? (300 words maximum)
Think about this essay in terms of the inflection points in your career thus far. When you consider why you want an MBA at this time there is likely some consideration of your immediate professional goals, some reflection upon your interests and experiences thus far and a bit of aspirational thinking about the long-term future you envision for yourself.
Because this is a short essay and you will be submitting your resume as part of the application you can avoid reciting each job and accomplishment and focus on the moments that have impacted your decision. For example, you might want to highlight specific projects at work that have most excited you and shaped your future goals and discuss why. The key is to add some insight to your background and demonstrate how you are thinking about your future and how an MBA will assist you with your goals.
The Yale School of Management provides leadership education for broad-minded, rigorous, and intellectually curious students with diverse backgrounds; a distinctive integrated curriculum; connections to one of the great research universities in the world; and the broad reach of an innovative and expanding global network of top business schools.
What motivates you to apply to the Yale School of Management for your MBA? What will you contribute to Yale and Yale SOM? (450 words maximum)
This question offers you plenty of clues about why you might be the kind of student who would pick Yale SOM for your MBA. As you describe the reasons Yale appeals to you, don’t forget you are also selling yourself. Make sure you are coming across as an intellectually curious student with a diverse background and that you are interested in the integrated curriculum.
When you research Yale for this essay question it will be most useful to talk with current or former students or visit campus if your scheduled allows. Understanding Yale on a personal level with your own unique tastes and motivations will help you to make the best case for admission. You will need to know the programs and classes you are most interested in and why, what clubs and activities appeal to you, and the unique attributes of the Yale curriculum that will help you achieve your specific goals.
January 7, 2013
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com Almost every day, I receive E-mails and phone calls from new clients that go something like this: “I have a 2.9 GPA, 680 …
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com
Almost every day, I receive E-mails and phone calls from new clients that go something like this: “I have a 2.9 GPA, 680 GMAT, and four years of work experience in consulting. I’ve been promoted twice; I have good extracurriculars. What are my chances?”
MBA hopefuls then want to find out what is the most important part of the business school application. Is it the GMAT score, undergraduate transcript, essays, interview, letters of recommendations, or something else entirely?
Everyone wants to know what to focus on in their application, and how their personal circumstances rate. Top business schools don’t admit you based purely on your statistics, though.
It’s true that solid numbers can help your application be considered. While a 550 GMAT or a 2.5 GPA will raise a red flag at an MBA program like the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, a 700 GMAT and a 3.6 GPA make you a solid candidate. But even an 800 GMAT score and a perfect GPA can be rejected at an elite MBA program.
Ask most admissions committee members and they will tell you that it’s the sum of many pieces””there is no one “most important” part. The top schools want to know who you are, and statistics and a résumé don’t tell them that. It’s the essays, interviews, and recommendations that ultimately reveal the person beyond the paper.
Compelling essays, recommendations, and interviews can provide context for a low GMAT score or GPA””but the reverse is not true. Strong numbers will never make up for weak essays or a disorganized, negative recommendation.
Some say the most important part of the application is your so-called “weakest” part””one weakness could completely change how admissions committee members perceive your application. In fact, in a recent blog post, Yale School of Management‘s Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico urged applicants to be up front about their weaknesses.
“Everyone has weaknesses,” he stressed. “We’ll see them, so you’re better off acknowledging them and incorporating them into your application than hoping we’ll miss them.”
While I doubt that any business school admissions committee would formally support this statement, I would have to cast my vote for essays as the most important part of your application. The essays allow the admissions committee to truly discover who you are. It’s where you write why an MBA makes sense as the next step of your career path, and how you differentiate yourself from all of the other individuals who also scored in the 700s on their GMAT.
The essays are your opportunity to present your strengths, explain your weaknesses, and generally convince the admissions committee members that you have a lot to offer the program and that you belong in their class.
The essays are also consistent among all applicants, so in that way they are less difficult to evaluate and compare. All candidates are given the same set of questions, and are reviewed by the same group of admissions members, creating a level playing field that can simplify the review process.
[Learn to strike the perfect tone in MBA essays.]
Interviews are very different; some are conducted over the phone, some at the business school, and all are handled by different types of individuals with different approaches.
Recommendations vary as well. While all applicants do their best to find great recommenders, some individuals work with MBAs who understand the process. Others work with people who have no idea what to write.
The essays are each individual’s opportunity to talk about their true self. You should know that most applicants to the top schools are qualified, in the sense that they would be able to handle the curriculum and benefit from the program.
However, to be admitted, you need to demonstrate that you are more than merely qualified. It’s the story that you put together about your goals, passions, and prior experience””and how business school fits into the mix””that will make the difference for you. Once that story is assembled, I can better answer the question: “What are my chances?”
December 19, 2012
For most people, the weeks before and after the new year are a time of merriment and a full calendar of socializing with family and friends. However, for Round 2 MBA applicants, this is likely “crunch time” as deadlines in early January loom.
Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean and director of admissions at the Yale School of Management, offers these tips for candidates hoping to put their best foot forward. His general advice addresses the importance of presenting yourself in a genuine way, rather than trying to package yourself as whatever mold you might imagine the admissions department is looking for. “Many applicants get tripped up trying to get inside our heads,” he says. “Don’t out-think yourself. Tell us about what you care about, not what you think we want to hear.”
Earlier this month on the Chicago Booth School of Business‘s MBA blog, associate dean Kurt Ahlm echoed a similar sentiment when he criticized some applicants’ tendency to focus on being remembered rather than authentic. By crafting an application that accurately reflects your past, aspirations and personality, you’ll naturally stand out. At the same time though, Ahlm reminds aspirants to not hold back when it comes to sharing details that will help the school understand your path and how you’ll contribute to the Booth community.
Meanwhile, Yale’s DelMonico urges applicants to be up front about their weaknesses. “Everyone has weaknesses,” he stresses. “We’ll see them, so you’re better off acknowledging them and incorporating them into your application than hoping we’ll miss them.” Make sure though that you don’t make the rookie mistake of trying to pass off being a perfectionist, or a workaholic, as your principal fault!
For Booth applicants still struggling with their essays, Ahlm advises spending a few weeks in self-reflection and doing some deeper thinking before sitting down to hammer out those answers. While acknowledging the fact that great essays can come in many forms, he says all have at least three elements in common:
Spark ”“ what gets you up in the morning? What do you love? How do you want to change? What motivates you in your career?
Clear goals ”“ try not to speak in generic statements and maybes. Make sure your goals make sense and are achievable. Do you understand the industry you are striving to work in? Have done your research?
Fit ”“ you have to know where Booth can fill in the gaps for you and what you can’t get anywhere else.
Yale SOM applicants who have already completed a first or second draft of their essays should take these next few weeks to proofread and polish to ensure that they are hitting all crucial points, advises DelMonico, who suggests asking a trusted friend or family member for feedback from a fresh pair of eyes.
Finally, both DelMonico and Ahlm recommend MBA hopefuls attend one of the informal social events over the holidays to further forge a connection with the b-school community you’re targeting. The various Yale Winter Break Socials and Chicago Booth Student-Hosted Winter Events around the globe are a great way to hear first-hand about the MBA experience and can only help you cement your decision of why your school of choice is the right fit for you.
October 23, 2012
Have you already applied to Yale School of Management or thinking of doing so in an upcoming round? Admissions director Bruce DelMonico recently posted insight into the Yale SOM MBA admissions process that we’d like …
Have you already applied to Yale School of Management or thinking of doing so in an upcoming round? Admissions director Bruce DelMonico recently posted insight into the Yale SOM MBA admissions process that we’d like to share with current and future applicants.
Step # 1
Two different members of the Admissions Committee review the submitted applications. Like most top-ranked schools, Yale SOM takes a holistic approach to its review and DelMonico says no one element of the application is determinative. The school is looking for candidates with strong academic backgrounds and leadership potential, with certain qualities that make Yale SOM students distinctive.
According to the admissions director, successful applicants will possess “broadmindedness and intellectual curiosity,” as well as “the ability to think rigorously and act purposefully, and the constancy to navigate uncertain situations.” With a class size of just 250 students, it’s imperative that each member of the community brings an element of diversity through his or her background, experiences, interests and professional aspirations.
Step # 2
For those who applied in Round One, know that Yale SOM has extended approximately a third of the total interview invitations it plans to offer for the round. While an interview is certainly a positive sign, DelMonico cautions against assuming that an invite is a strong indicator of AdCom’s final decision.
“We typically interview roughly 30% of our applicants, and a little more than half of those interviewed are ultimately offered a place in the class,” he explains.
The purpose of the interview is to get a better sense of how you think and act, DelMonico says. Preparation is vital, and you should come in ready to discuss your leadership experience and career trajectory as well as elements from your resume and essays.
Step # 3
If you applied in Round One, you will receive a decisions by December 13, 2012. For those applying on the January 8th Round Two deadline, expect to hear back by March 28, 2013. If you are still working on your application and interested in learning more about the school, DelMonico notes that Yale SOM has posted additional events to its schedule, including online chats, which are a great way to get a feel for the campus and community.
For more on applying to Yale School of Management, read Stacy Blackman’s previous posts with Round Two advice, application tips, interview pointers, and more.
December 21, 2011
In the latest admissions newsletter from Yale School of Management, Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico offers advice for those planning on spending the holidays polishing their applications in advance of the January 5, 2012 Round …
In the latest admissions newsletter from Yale School of Management, Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico offers advice for those planning on spending the holidays polishing their applications in advance of the January 5, 2012 Round 2 deadline.
Here are DelMonico’s three general tips:
Be yourself. This sounds obvious, but many applicants get tripped up trying to get inside our heads. Don’t outthink yourself. Tell us about what you care about, not what you think we want to hear.
Don’t ignore your weaknesses. There’s no such thing as a perfect applicant. Everyone has weaknesses. We’ll see them, so you’re better off acknowledging them and incorporating them into your application than hoping we’ll miss them. If you don’t do so, we’ll wonder how introspective and self-aware you are.
Don’t stress about (insert application element here). Grades matter. Test scores matter. Essays matter. Everything in the application is important, but nothing more so than anything else. Do a good job and take everything seriously, but don’t let it overwhelm you””no element by itself will make or break your application.
For the next two weeks, DelMonico suggests you reread your essays and recruit a trusted friend or family member to give it a thorough review to ensure that you’re addressing all of the cogent points. Be sure to proofread the entire application to ensure there aren’t any spelling mistakes or missing/incorrect information. Also, wrangle those recommenders to confirm that they’re on target to submit their letters by January 5th.
Applicants will last-minute questions will be relieved to know that the admissions office still has a handful of 10-minute telephone Office Hours spaces available–but you’ll have to jump on those asap.