Admissions at Yale
What Yale SOM Is Looking For
In our recent visit to the newly opened Evans Hall, we had the opportunity to sit down with Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico and members of his staff about admission to Yale SOM. They offered some concrete insights about the “perfect applicant” to Yale SOM.
Growth mindset. Recent research on mindset by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has caught fire in business schools today. In short, Yale admissions officers look for evidence of a growth mindset: a belief that intelligence and talents are not simply fixed traits, but areas that can be developed through dedication and effort.
Product orientation. In conjunction with a growth mindset, SOM admission officers are looking for candidates who have a “product orientation” as opposed to a “customer orientation.” These candidates will see themselves as the product in development, seeking every opportunity to improve, rather than the customer of an institution who desires to make a knowledge transaction. Students with a customer orientation tend to use the argument “I paid X thousands of dollars in tuition. Therefore as your customer I deserve to receive Y.”
Experience at leading. Admissions officers will be actively looking for experiences that show how you were accountable for something—anything—and how you led others to fulfill that responsibility. Ideally, you’ll show this experience in your professional life, but it may be expressed in your undergraduate experience and extracurricular activities as well.
Emotional intelligence. As we mentioned in the first part of this Guide, SOM has started using the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) in its first-year curriculum and is looking into the possibility of incorporating it into the admissions process as well. In the meantime, the committee seeks emotionally intelligent and humble candidates who respect others as they evaluate applicants through essays, video responses, and in-person interviews.
Self-starters. Bruce DelMonico uses the term aggressive self-starter to describe the perfect applicant. This isn’t to say that SOM students have aggressive personalities, but they don’t wait for opportunities to fall in their laps. SOM is a small program, a bit off the beaten path, and so students need to have a clear vision of what they want to do post-graduation, and be willing to dive in and achieve their goals through focused effort.