Yale SOM has shortened the essay portion of its application. Whether following a trend or independently deciding to reduce the essay requirements, this year’s essays require you to focus on the stories not told by your resume, transcript and GMAT score.
My tips are in blue.
This year’s application contains four essay questions. The first question has a maximum response length of 150 words; the other three have maximum response lengths of 300 words. Applicants must respond to all four questions. The questions are:
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 maximum)
What was the moment when you realized you needed an MBA? I hope it wasn’t in third grade. What caused that realization? What couldn’t you do? This question allows only for a succinct response. If you can make it a short — very short — story, it will be more interesting.
FYI, the preceding paragraph is 51 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 maximum)
Again an anecdotal approach would work well here. The question asks you to discuss one situation. What was difficult about that decision? Briefly describe the pros and cons, potential upsides and downsides associated with each course of action. What were the results? And the most importantly what did you learn? Please don’t be superficial or cliched in your lessons. Be genuine and thoughtful. Tie the lessons learned into the answer to whether you would make the same decision again.
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 maximum)
To answer this question you need to do your homework on Yale SOM. Choose the 2-3 activities you want to participate in because they will support your professional goals and allow you to “extend your professional vision.” How will you contribute to them and why have you chosen them?
4. What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment? Why? (300 words maximum)
Realize that the “Why” is as important as the “What.” However, starting the essay with the accomplishment will make it much easier to write this essay. What was the challenge you faced? What did you do? What were the results of your achievement on you and others? Why do you consider this to be your most important accomplishment? Again, don’t be cliched or superficial here.
I have said twice in this post “don’t be cliched or superficial.” I have in mind a client years ago who had an internship at one of the national party headquarters. He wrote that the experience was “challenging and interesting.” I told him, “I could have told you the internship was ‘challenging and interesting’ and I wasn’t even there! Could you please tell me something I don’t know about it?” You too should also tell your readers something they don’t already know.
If you are a reapplicant, you must answer three essay questions: Question 1., Question 4., and then a response to the question “What steps have you taken to improve your candidacy since your last application?” (300 words maximum).
In other words, why should they admit you this time if they rejected you last time? What have you done to improve your candidacy? Take on a different role at work? Raise your GMAT? Add an international dimension to your experience? Clarify your goals and your reasons for wanting to attend Yale SOM? Whatever it is, tell them about it here.
This is the most common question asked of MBA reapplicants. You have to answer it well to change the outcome.
|Round 1||October 4, 2012||December 13, 2012|
|Round 2||January 8, 2013||March 28, 2013|
|Round 3||April 18, 2013||May 16, 2013|
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.