A frequent question Yale School of Management’s Bruce DelMonico has received from nervous Round 2 MBA applicants is how to tell their personal story. Getting a better sense for what applicants care about in the world is a primary goal. If you’re preparing to apply to Yale SOM on January 7th, don’t miss this crucial advice.
What is the Yale SOM Admissions Committee Looking For?
“This is a difficult question to answer, because what makes someone stand out can be vastly different from candidate to candidate,” says DelMonico. In essence, Yale SOM wants to understand the impact you’ve made, both in your personal and professional life.
The admissions team would like to know how you hope to lead, and about your ability to collaborate. “We are also interested in finding students who will be engaged community members both here at Yale and in their future organizations,” he adds.
SBC Says: One of the biggest mistakes we see applicants make is assuming that the surest route to business school admission is playing it safe and doing what “everyone else” does.
Remember: no two people are the same, and that’s a good thing! The key to a successful MBA application is showing exactly what you—and nobody else but you—can bring to the program. So listen up Round 2 MBA applicants! Don’t be afraid to let your originality and your true personality come through in your materials.
Will a Low GMAT Score/GPA Doom My Application?
While the Yale SOM admits only those who can handle the rigors of the MBA program, low scores will not automatically disqualify you. “While our median undergraduate GPA for the class of 2020 was 3.71, the full range was 2.99 to 4.0. Similarly, our median GMAT score was 730, but the range was actually 540 to 780,” DelMonico explains.
“I tell you this to say that we take a very broad approach to reviewing applications; a single data point such as a GPA or test score will not be dispositive to an application.”
SBC Says: Whether your lower-than-desired score is a result of illness, test anxiety, or just plain insufficient prep time, don’t let it throw you off your game. Make peace with the fact that it’s totally normal to take the GMAT more than once. In fact, I typically advise clients to plan for two attempts at the GMAT, leaving a buffer for a retake if needed.
If your score hasn’t improved significantly despite two or more attempts, don’t beat yourself up over it. Turn your focus to taking a broader look at your entire application strategy. The GMAT score foretells how well one would do in the core academic courses of an MBA program. However, it isn’t a predictor of success throughout the entire b-school experience. This is why most schools have a holistic approach to considering each application.
When it comes to poor undergrad academic performance, the most important thing is to show exceptional focus and leadership skills in your career. Openly acknowledge to the admissions committee the reason or reasons for your lackluster college GPA.
Best Essay Tip for Round 2 MBA Applicants
The essay question for this year is, Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. DelMonico’s advice is straightforward: write about a single commitment, how you approached it, and the behaviors that supported it.
“Select a commitment that truly fits who you are,” he advises. “Whether that commitment is personal or professional, you should be less concerned about what we want to hear and instead focus on being honest with yourself in selecting and describing the commitment that has been most significant to you.”
Finally, DelMonico urges applicants to avoid addressing your career goals or Why Yale? within the essay. Don’t recount your resume either. You can cover those subjects in other parts of the application.
SBC Says: Try to be as specific as possible about your commitment and why it qualifies as the biggest commitment you have ever made. 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?
Yale is a program focused on making a difference in the world. The subject you choose will tell the admissions committee what you value, ideally something that impacts the greater community or world. Regardless of whether you choose an individual or team commitment, try to show how you have made a significant positive impact.
Take a look at assistant dean for admissions Bruce DelMonico’s original post for more answers to common application questions. Good luck to all Round 2 MBA applicants!