The Yale School of Management has released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the Class of 2015. Continuing the trend we’ve seen emerge among top business schools over the past month, Yale has changed a lot this year. However, in Yale’s case, once you dig down a bit deeper you realize that Yale is still mostly looking for the same attributes in its applicants this year.
Here are Yale’s essays for the coming year, followed by our comments in italics:
Yale SOM Application Essays
- What prompted your decision to get an MBA? When did you realize that this was a step you wanted –- or needed -– to take? (150 words)
This may be the most specific example of the “Why an MBA?” question we’ve ever seen. (Last year, a similar question read, “Why are you choosing to pursue an MBA and why now?”) It still is definitely the “Why an MBA?” question, but the emphasis on “When did you realize you needed an MBA?” is an interesting wrinkle that we haven’t seen much before. Obviously, this is a very short essay. They’re not looking for a novel, but rather a brief headline as to why you’re taking this potentially huge step now. There’s no right answer here… You don’t need to start with, “Ever since I was 15 I knew I wanted a Yale MBA.” (No one would believe it!) The admissions committee just wants to understand where you’re coming from, make sure that you’re being realistic, and know that this is more than a snap decision on your part. (Bye the way, this paragraph is exactly 150 words, not including this sentence!)
- Describe a difficult professional decision you had to make. What were the consequences, and what, if anything, did you learn? Would you make the same decision again? (300 words)
This question is entirely new this year, and it provides a great opportunity for you to demonstrate maturity and depth in your application. For essays like this, we encourage applicants to use the “SAR” (Situation-Action-Result) method, with a lot of emphasis on the “Result” part. In this case, the result addresses the second and third questions in the essay prompt: What happened? How did it change your view of the world and how to work with others? How did you take what you learned and put it into action in another, later situation? You on;y have 300 words here, so don’t get too bogged in describing the situation. Tell admissions officers what they need to know to understand the situation you were facing, and then move on to the real meat of the story.
- The Yale School of Management provides a leadership education characterized by broad-minded 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 will you contribute to the Yale SOM community, and how will being part of it help you extend your professional vision? (300 words)
This question is an evolution of one that Yale asked last year. At its core, it’s a “Why Yale?” question that asks you to demonstrate that you have done your homework on Yale and are passionate about the program. They have a particular vision for Yale SOM and its student body… Help them see that you share that vision and will fit in at Yale.
- What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment? Why? (300 words)
Ideally the story you choose will demonstrate at least one or two of the key themes in your application. Is it your leadership abilities, your analytical skills? Be sure to work in those themes here, especially since Yale’s essays give you very few other places to do that this year. All things being equal, a story from your professional life will serve you best, but don’t feel that your significant accomplishment MUST be from the workplace.