The Online Application Form
SOM’s online application form is pretty straightforward, but we’ll offer a few tips to reduce anxiety in certain sections.
Picking a round. When you create your application, you’ll be asked to select a round immediately. If you’re unsure, simply select the earliest round you plan to apply. You will have the opportunity to change it each time you log in.
Personal information. Your primary citizenship is typically in the country where you were born or where you feel the greatest cultural connection. Secondary is typically a citizenship that was established later in life. However, the order does not matter here for admission purposes.
Members of the U.S. military do not have an explicit advantage over civilians, although the SOM highly values leadership experience that can come from military service. It also provides several benefits to U.S. veterans, including a waived application fee and enrollment deferrals for deployed military personnel.
Application information. If you have applied to Yale SOM previously, be sure to note that here. Your previous application and new application will be viewed side-by-side, assuming you have applied within the past two years. The key for re-applicants is to focus on those areas of your profile that have improved since your previous application.
As we mentioned previously, joint-degree candidates comprise about 15% of the SOM class. All joint-degree applicants must be admitted separately by each school. Candidates who have already started their graduate programs in other Yale schools may apply to SOM, usually during their first year.
Current college seniors should indicate their status in this section to be considered for the Silver Scholars program. We recommend all candidates release their information for consideration for outside scholarships. Yale must ask this question due to privacy considerations.
Academic record. Be sure to include coursework from all academic institutions you have attended, unless exchange courses are included on your primary transcript. This includes coursework that you may have taken recently to prepare for your MBA. If your undergraduate grades are not stellar, taking additional courses in relevant topics such as calculus, microeconomics, statistics, finance, and accounting can help build an “alternate transcript” to show admissions officers that you are capable of thriving in the rigorous academic environment at Yale.
Other academic information. This section includes a short-answer “mini essay” with the following prompt: If you have a graduate degree, how, if at all, does pursuing an MBA relate to your previous graduate studies? (100 words maximum). Business schools are practical institutions, and they don’t like to admit applicants who are simply “eternal students,” collecting as many degrees as they can. Even if your MBA doesn’t relate directly to your previous studies, you should show how your current pursuits build upon skills you gained previously to achieve your goals.
Legal questions. Yale conducts background checks on admitted applicants each year, so if you have been convicted of a crime or received other disciplinary actions listed in this section, be sure to report it. You may use the space provided to explain circumstances. At Veritas Prep, we’ve consulted with many applicants who were convicted of crimes or suspended from school who were admitted to their target schools. This does not need to be a deal-breaker if it is handled appropriately.
Test scores. Yale is true to its desire to attract growth-minded applicants, so it does not punish applicants who take the GMAT or GRE multiple times to improve their scores and achieve their goals. You will report your two highest scores in this section, which can be from the GMAT, the GRE, or one score from each. The admissions committee will use these scores to evaluate you for admission, although later in the process they will see your past five scores from each exam when they compare self-reported scores to the officially reported ones from the test providers.
At Veritas Prep, we know of an applicant who took the GMAT 11 times before being admitted to SOM, so don’t be afraid to retake the test until you achieve a score that will enable you to accomplish your goals! (Note that GMAC has changed its policies and now allows you to take the GMAT just five times in a 12-month period.)
Work experience. Notice that SOM asks for only post-baccalaureate work experience, so do not include internships or full-time work conducted while in undergrad. If you believe this experience is vital to presenting a full profile to the admissions committee, you may include it on your resume. Also, don’t embellish your work experience. For example, many applicants have not managed any other employees at this stage in their career, and that’s fine! Do not list any direct or indirect reports if you fall into this category.
Post-MBA goals. We like that SOM has reduced your career interests in this section to a set of drop-down menus because it encourages honesty and a straightforward answer. Hearing that successful applicants must differentiate themselves, many will try to dream up more “creative” career goals because they fear that the common goals of finance or management consulting will not help them stand out from the crowd. Don’t do it! List your genuine career interests in this section and use the rest of your application to stand out.
Motivation for an MBA. Those sneaky admissions officers at SOM have slipped a 150-word essay into the middle of this application—and a vitally important one at that! It reads: Please describe how you arrived at these career interests (150 words maximum). On the plus side, the word count has been slightly reduced this year. This is your opportunity to connect the dots among other elements in this section. Help the admissions officers see through your eyes what you’ve done to this point, what your goals are in the future, and how an MBA from SOM will help you get from here to there. If you currently have fewer than three years of work experience or more
than six, you may want to emphasize why you’re pursuing an MBA at this point in time, because
most other applicants will fall into this range.
Gaps in employment. It’s best to address any application shortcomings, such as gaps in employment, in a very brief and straightforward way. The shorter, the better! If you took advantage of that time to travel, pursue your passions, volunteer for an organization, or something similar, be sure to mention that here.
Resume. Many applicants put little thought into their resume, perhaps adding a couple of bullet points for their current job and little more. However, it is often the first element of your application that the admissions officer will read, and thus becomes your first impression. This section offers sound advice for any MBA resume, which is to focus on accomplishments rather than job duties, and emphasize leadership and team roles that you have held throughout your experience.
SOM asks you to include awards, honors, recognition, and other interests, skills, and accomplishments that may be relevant to the admissions committee, in addition to the standard professional and academic items. Most applicants should still be able to fit the necessary information onto one page, although spilling over onto a second page wouldn’t be the end of the world. Note that you also have the opportunity to describe up to five activities in the next section of the application, so don’t feel obligated to cram everything onto your resume.
Activities/professional affiliations. For many applicants, their true leadership potential and impact on organizations comes through their extracurricular activities more than through their professional life. This is your opportunity to shine! The admissions committee understands that many applicants come from extremely demanding industries where 100-hour workweeks may not be uncommon. In these cases, they understand when applicants have not been actively involved in activities outside of work. Ideally, you’ll still be able to show that you used to be involved in organizations outside yourself back when you had a personal life. Investment bankers, you know what we’re talking about!
Statement of honesty. Your business school applications have the power to change the course of your entire life. Of course, you may elicit the help of others when crafting your application, just as you would have trusted friends and colleagues proofread your dissertation before you submitted it for review. However, the content should be uniquely yours. Besides, the admissions committee wants to get to know the person who is uniquely you, not read some generic, cookie-cutter (albeit well-crafted) essay written by someone else.
Our Veritas Prep admissions consultants will not write your essays on your behalf, but we can help you ensure your application will sparkle! No matter how you choose to approach your application, be sure to do it in a way that you can sign your name to this statement of honesty without any reservations.