Yale SOM Application Essays and Deadlines for 2009-2010

Yale SOM has posted it application essays and deadlines for the coming season. This year Yale has significantly overhauled its essays for the coming year, going with shorter essays that will require brevity and focus.

Key information is below, followed by our comments, in italics:

Yale SOM Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 8, 2009
Round 2: January 7, 2010
Round 3: March 10, 2010

(Note that, like other top MBA programs, Yale will release its Round 1 admissions decisions in December, before the holidays. This is a tremendous help if Yale is your top choice, and you want to know your status with Yale before deciding to dive into a whole batch of Round 2 applications over the holidays. We expect this trend of earlier decision notifications will continue among the top programs.)

Yale SOM Application Essays
Please answer each of the four questions below with a short paragraph of no more than 150 words. This is an opportunity to distill your core ideas, values, goals and motivations into a set of snapshots that help tell us who you are, where you are headed, and why. (600 words total)

  1. What are your professional goals immediately after you receive your MBA?
  2. What are your long-term career aspirations?
  3. Why are you choosing to pursue an MBA and why now? (If you plan to use your MBA experience to make a significant change in the field or nature of your career, please tell us what you have done to prepare for this transition.)
  4. What attracts you specifically to the Yale School of Management’s MBA program?

(Wow, these are short! This will really challenge you to be succinct and get right to the point. But, we think this is a good thing. Each of these “micro-essay” questions covers a topic that you should be well prepared to answer by now. Yale is just asking you to cut the fat and get right to it, so the best thing you can do is answer these questions head-on. Career switchers should take special note of the additional instruction in Question #3. In this economic climate, Yale, like all schools, is especially interested to know how well you will do in the post-MBA job market. Career switching is fine, and is even a great reason for pursuing an MBA, but you need to show that you’ve done your homework and are realistic about your intended career.)

Personal Statement 1

Describe an accomplishment that exhibits your leadership style. The description should include evidence of your leadership skills, the actions you took, and the impact you had on your organization. (500 words)

(This is almost exactly the same as last year’s question, with one notable omission: Last year’s question asked for a professional accomplishment, but this question asks for any achievement that demonstrates your leadership style. Yale especially wants to learn how you did it, and what impact you ultimately had on the group. The “what” is important, but so are the “why” and the “how” of the story.)

Personal Statement 2

Choose one of the following topics and answer it in essay form. Please indicate the topic number at the beginning of your essay. (500 words)

  1. A central premise of our teaching about leadership at the Yale School of Management is that true leadership—leadership that helps to address a significant problem in a new way—is necessarily personal. It is only when personal passion aligns with meaningful aspirations that individuals are able to inspire others to act in support of an important goal or cause. What are you most passionate about, and how have you demonstrated a commitment to this passion?
  2. What achievement are you most proud of and why?
  3. What is the most difficult feedback you have received from another person or the most significant weakness you have perceived in yourself? What steps have you taken to address it and how will business school contribute to this process?
  4. Describe a situation in which you devised and implemented a creative or unique solution to a difficult problem. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
  5. Required for reapplicants: What steps have you taken to improve your candidacy since your last application?

(Of all of the questions, we still really like Question #1: “What are you passionate about?” Giving a standout answer to this — including concrete examples of your passion — is a great way for you to stand out vs. other applicants. Note that Yale has removed its “SOM Story” and “What unique attributes will you bring to Yale?” questions… These must not have been giving the Yale admissions team enough in terms of what it needs to distinguish applicants from one another.)

Additional Information (Optional)

If any aspect of your candidacy needs further explanation, please provide any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider. (250 words)

(As always, only use this essay if absolutely necessary. If there’s a weakness that you feel you must address, then do so succinctly and then move on. Do not make this a catch-all bucket for excuses about holes in your candidacy!)

For more information and advice on applying to Yale, visit Veritas Prep’s Yale SOM information page. Also, be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!

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