Yale MBA Application Essays and Deadlines for 2010-2011

Business School GuidesThe Yale School of Management has released its application deadlines and admissions essays for the coming admissions season. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics.

Yale MBA Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 7, 2010
Round 2: January 6, 2011
Round 3: March 17, 2011

These deadlines are virtually the same as last year’s, with the exception of Yale’s Round 3 deadline, which is one week later than it was last year. Note that, like some other top MBA programs, last year Yale pushed its Round 1 deadline up to early October, which enables the school to render decisions on Round 1 applications before the holidays (and before the Round 2 deadlines come in early January). If Yale SOM is your top choice — or one of your top choices — this gives you a chance to take a strong shot at the school early and apply to your backup schools in Round 2, if needed.

Yale MBA Admissions Essays

Short Answers
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?

These short (and we do mean short!) questions carry over unchanged from last year. These essays really challenge you to be succinct and get right to the point in answering the school’s questions. But, we think that’s okay. Each of these “micro-essay” questions covers a topic that you should be well prepared to answer by now. Yale just wants you to cut the fat and get right to the point, 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 SOM, 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.

(By the way, the above paragraph is exactly 150 words, by design. Notice that you really can say a lot in just 150 words!)

Personal Statements
Choose two (2) of the following topics and answer them in essay form. Please indicate the topic numbers at the beginning of your essays. (500 words maximum per essay)

While last year Yale asked everyone to answer the “leadership style” question (#3 below) and then choose from a short list of other questions, this year that question is just one of five questions that applicants can choose from. Since Yale has kept the question, it must give the school what it wants, but Yale must have gotten enough good info from the other questions that it now wants to give every applicant the chance to choose which two essays will work best for him or her.

  1. What achievement are you most proud of and why?
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. An effective leader for business and society is one who is able to hear, understand and communicate with people from all segments of society. In order to educate such leaders, Yale SOM is committed to promoting diversity and creating a community that cultivates a wealth of perspectives. In this spirit, describe an instance when, as part of a team, you played a role in bringing together individuals with different values or viewpoints to achieve a common goal.
  5. For Reapplicants (answer this topic plus one (1) of the other topics): What steps have you taken to improve your candidacy since your last application?
  6. Question #1 is similar to Harvard’s “three most substantial accomplishments” essay. Of course, here you can devote 500 words to just one accomplishment, allowing you to go into more detail. The “why” is really what matters here — in your life until now, if you can pick just ONE thing, it had better be good. And not just impressive, but also consistent with the overall story you present in your Yale SOM application.

    We like Question #2 because it gives you a chance to really show off your self-awareness. Applicants are understandably uneasy about discussing their weaknesses and failings, but being able to show how you maturely and constructively handled tough feedback — and then how you put that feedback to use in a later situation — is a terrific thing for your candidacy.

    Question #3 gives you the chance to put the Situation-Action-Result (SAR) framework to use, although for many applicants, the best example to use here may overlap with Question #1, so we expect that many applicants will find themselves having to choose between #1 and #3. Question #4 may reflect an evolution in Yale’s thinking… Two years ago, the question was “What unique attributes would you bring to Yale,” but now the school is interested in seeing how you worked with and brought together people with different viewpoints. This ability to work well with (and lead) others is a trait that Yale SOM really prizes in its applicants.

For more advice on applying to Yale SOM, download our free Veritas Prep Annual Reports! And, as always, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!