Applying to the Yale School of Management

The Yale School of Management (SOM) aims to produce leaders who will make a difference both within their organizations and in their communities. The school’s stated mission is to educate leaders “for business and society.” While nearly two-thirds of each class go into finance or consulting (like most other business schools), there is a much greater emphasis on nonprofit and public sector lessons and opportunities at Yale than at most other schools. No matter what their career goals are, the candidates who most appeal to the admissions committee are the ones who demonstrate a broad perspective and an understanding of the importance of contributing to society at large.

Fittingly, Yale has one of the best known non-profit programs in the United States. The school offers extensive elective options in nonprofit and public sector management, and also provides students with a variety of opportunities for getting involved in their communities outside of class. Yale’s Internship Fund, established in 1979, provides financial assistance to students who take on non- or low-paying jobs in the nonprofit or public sector. Funds are raised from contributions from the Yale SOM community, and approximately 20% of the class receives some amount of funding in any given year. Even if you don’t plan on pursuing a nonprofit job after school, demonstrating enthusiasm for getting involved in this type of program can help further show your fit with the school.

Entrepreneurship is also a focus at Yale, and students have several opportunities to get involved in building a business. Yale is one of the key partner schools in the Haas-led Global Social Venture Competition, giving students the chance to combine their entrepreneurial chops and their desire to do good in a competition vs. students from across the globe. The school’s Program on Social Enterprise (PSE) provides additional support and opportunities for students who are interested in the intersection between business and positive social impact.

Yale stresses the importance of understanding the interaction between the private sector and public sector, so you want to demonstrate a “big picture” view and a willingness to learn about how one affects the other, no matter what your career interest is. Yale especially looks for people who are comfortable with having their thinking challenged and are willing to take intellectual risks. The more you can demonstrate a willingness to “think outside of the box” both on the job and in your extracurricular activities, the better off you will be. Additionally, the school looks for applicants with integrity, so think about how you can demonstrate this as part of the maturity dimension in your application.

Further, Yale is looking for business-minded people who are just as comfortable talking about world politics as they are building an asset pricing model. You can show a fit with the program by demonstrating your knowledge of current events and a natural desire to get involved in your community. While Yale’s application no longer features an essay question that hits this head-on, the school still looks for people who are aware of the world around them and want to make a positive impact. No need to force it and promise that you’re out to cure world hunger when you’re not, but keep this in mind if you’re serious about applying to Yale SOM.

Insider Information

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with Yale SOM’s innovative new core curriculum. While many business schools these days are talking the talk about multidisciplinary approaches to problem solving, Yale is really walking the walk with its new program. The new curriculum eliminates the traditional core courses of Finance, Marketing, Strategy, etc., in favor of eight courses (called “Organization Perspectives”) that each correspond to a certain role or stakeholder in an organization. Examples include the employee, the customer, the innovator, and the investor. The traditional management disciplines are still present and accounted for, but are taught together in the context of those eight organizational roles. Other additions to the core curriculum include the International Experience, a mandatory two-week trip abroad for all first-year students, making Yale the first top U.S. business school to make overseas study a required part of the curriculum. The changes to Yale’s core curriculum are significant. Make sure that you understand them as you develop your Yale application strategy.

What Makes Yale Different?

As we have hopefully made clear, the curriculum at Yale is unlike what you’ll find at any other school. Much of the cases have been developed by the faculty themselves, in order to cater to their unique method of teaching.

Other aspects of the Yale experience that are unusual when compared to its peers?
First-year students are required to travel to one of several destinations in the world as part of the International Experience Destinations program.
Yale SOM has developed its own set of cases which are housed on a multimedia platform and feature the types of open-ended, ‘fuzzy’ source materials that a professional might encounter while analyzing a problem

Application Essays

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment? Why? (300 words)

All school information appears courtesy of Your MBA Game Plan and is used with express permission of the authors.

An Insider's Guide to the Top Business Schools

Veritas Prep’s Essential Guides were written and edited by our MBA admissions experts, incorporating unique insights from current students and recent graduates. We’ll show you what type of student thrives in each program, what life is really like in the classroom, which professors students love, how the job hunt works, and more. In each report we also highlight “hidden gems” at each school, as well as areas where a school isn’t as strong as it may seem.

Learn About Other Top Business Schools

Business Schools
Chicago (Booth) Columbia Dartmouth (Tuck)
Duke (Fuqua) Harvard INSEAD
Michigan (Ross) MIT (Sloan) Northwestern (Kellogg)
NYU (Stern) Penn (Wharton) Stanford
UC Berkeley (Haas) UCLA (Anderson) Yale