Understanding How Yale SOM Assesses Applications
The admissions process at most elite business schools seems like a black box that no outsider can ever comprehend. Fortunately, the Yale School of Management has decided to shed light on its assessment procedure for MBA applicants. Assistant Dean for Admissions Bruce DelMonico recently explained what happens behind the scenes in the admissions office in an emailed update.
As you can imagine, how you would perform in an MBA classroom is top-of-mind for application evaluators. Your undergrad record and standardized test scores provide baseline predictions to determine readiness. But, as many schools emphasize, these are just two factors. At the SOM, the admissions team uses a holistic approach when evaluating candidates.
How Yale SOM Assesses Applications
For example, DelMonico deemphasizes aligning your test scores with the school’s reported averages. (Applicants should note that the school has no preference between the GMAT and GRE.) “We encourage applicants to focus less on our median GMAT or GRE score and look instead at the range of scores that comprise each class,” he says.
“The test score is not one-size-fits-all,” DelMonico adds. “It has different meaning depending on the rest of your application, so don’t feel as though you need to be at or above the median (by definition, half of our students aren’t!).”
How Does Grade Point Average Affect Admission?
GPA is another area where applicants, particularly those with lower averages, get stressed out. But you can offset a lower GPA if you struggled in undergrad quant classes by taking college-level courses before applying.
“If you haven’t taken statistics and microeconomics, I would suggest doing so before starting an MBA program – ours or any other,” DelMonico advises. “Not only can it help in the admissions process, but it will help you in the program itself, where data-driven decision-making is a core competency and microeconomics is a common language.”
He also notes that the process of evaluating academic history is quite broad at the SOM. “We look at far more than just your overall GPA,” he explains. “The Admissions Committee will spend a good deal of time going semester-by-semester, looking at each of the courses you’ve taken and your performance in them. We also look at your major, your institution, the range of courses you’ve taken, and any trends in your performance. Your story is much more than just a GPA.”
One thing that might surprise applicants is how the AdCom views the two components of standardized tests. Certainly, the school wants to ensure you can handle the quantitative courses. But DelMonico reveals that “the verbal section of the standardized test is actually more predictive of performance in our MBA program than the quantitative section.”
Also worth mentioning: Yale SOM cares more about how you performed in college than what school you attended. The assistant dean notes that the average MBA class of 350 students may hail from more than 200 different undergraduate institutions.
The Behavioral Assessment
Finally, after candidates submit their application, they complete a Behavioral Assessment as an additional evaluative data point. This assessment consists of 120 paired statements, and applicants choose which of the two statements best describes them. No preparation is required for the Behavioral Assessment as there are no right or wrong answers. It’s designed to measure intra-and interpersonal skills related to success in business school.
“I think it’s important to understand that we introduced this assessment as a way to better predict academic success for applicants who may not demonstrate academic preparation based on traditional metrics such as grades and scores but who would make strong contributions to the classroom,” DelMonico explains.
“It won’t be a deciding factor in any application – we use it with a light touch, as we like to say – but it does help us broaden the scope of our evaluation and expand the range of candidates whom we can admit, which we feel is an important goal,” he says.
SBC has successfully guided many MBA applicants through the Yale SOM admissions process. You can check out our Yale MBA essay tips here. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss your MBA candidacy further—request a free 15-minute advising session here.