Yale SOM 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out the rest of our 2015 MBA application essay tips!Yale is down to one essay this year from two last year. 500 words max. What does this shrinkage imply? You need to make the most of that single essay, but you also need to take the time to make every box in the application a home run.  They are not after-thoughts. Your job descriptions and activity history are increasing in importance. Write and edit them carefully. Focus on achievements. Quantify when possible and keep in mind Yale’s commitment to “educating leaders for business and society.”

My tips are in blue. 

Essay Question:

The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization—as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent. (500 words maximum)

This essay would do really well with an anecdotal response telling the story of how you positively affected your department, team, club, company, client or any entity that benefited from your contribution.  You can start with a moment of challenge or triumph. Then go back, provide context, and tell your story of contribution, hurdles overcome, and complexity handled. If your impact has lasted, say so.

Video Questions:

As part of your application, you will be asked to answer three video questions. These questions are intended to give you another opportunity to tell us about yourself. These questions are not meant to be difficult and should not require extensive preparation or special knowledge to answer. After hearing each video question, you will have 20 seconds to formulate a response, followed by up to 60 seconds to respond.

After August 15th, you will see a link in your applicant status page checklist that will allow you to complete the video questions once you have submitted your application and fee. To answer the questions, you simply need an internet connection and a webcam. These questions will take roughly 15 minutes to complete, and you will have the opportunity to test your connection and respond to a sample question before answering the questions. Once you have completed the questions, your responses will be added to your application and we will begin the review process.

To prepare for your webcam session, you need to practice for the experience of talking to a video camera with no responses from another human being. It is a weird experience. For tips on how to prepare and behave during the webcam session, please see: Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions.

Optional Information:

If any aspect of your candidacy needs further explanation (unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, promotions or recognitions, etc.), please provide a brief description here. (200 words maximum)

You can use the optional essay to explain or provide context as Yale SOM suggests or you can use your optional essay to highlight something in your experiences, background, personal or professional life that didn’t fit into the required essay and that you want the admissions committee to know about. Consider relating a diversity element, a unique area of interest or an accomplishment that you don’t feel is adequately described elsewhere.

Don’t use this optional essay as a grand summary of your application or reasons for wanting to attend Yale. Make sure the optional adds value.

Required for Reapplicants Only: 

Since your last application, please discuss any updates to your candidacy, including changes in your personal or professional life, additional coursework, or extracurricular/volunteer activities. (200 words maximum)

If you would like professional guidance with your Yale SOM MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Yale MBA application.  

Yale SOM 2015 Deadlines:

Round 1
September 18, 2014
Decision: December 8, 2014
Round 2
January 8, 2015
Decision: March 27, 2015
Round 3
April 23, 2015
Decision: May 25, 2015

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips - Download your free copy!

Linda Abraham By , 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.

  • Jjd212

    Do you think it would be more beneficial to respond to the essay question with positive impact to an organization as an employee rather than as say a member of a college sports team?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


      I can’t give you a blanket answer. It would depend on the nature of the impact and your specific role in each case.


  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for Yale SOM, please provide the following info:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

    • YaleFromIndia

      Hi Linda,

      Below is my profile

      I am a business analyst with 3 years of work experience in business intelligence, analytics and IT. I am from India. Some of my responsibilities at work include

      – Identified emerging market trends and recommended strategy for the management team of a global manufacturer of physical infrastructure solutions. Conducted extensive market research as part of the Business Intelligence & Strategic Research team
      – Evaluated the entry strategy into the $6B cabling segment of oil & gas industry and presented the recommendations to senior management.

      – Produced insights on customer behaviour for CMO of fortune 50 retailer in US.

      GMAT: 720 [94](Q51[97],V36[81])

      Top 10 college in India.
      Major: Chemical Engineering and Physics

      Extracurricular: Captain of college volleyball team, Starting Bloc Fellow, Strong NGO work for 3 years involving PR and being a soccer coach for kids in the slum.

      Post MBA goal: Product development in the analytics area.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Your GMAT and work experience are competitive at Yale. Your grades seem a little low for Yale. Your extra-curriculars show commitment and that ‘s good.

        Overall, you have a competitive profile for Yale, but also consider Darden, Rotman, UNC, Ross, Cornell Johnson, and Duke.

        Linda Abraham

      • Pedro

        Hi Linda,

        Thank you very much for you kind answer. I really appreciate. This is my profile:

        1) 9 years of full time work experience. 3 years abroad.
        2) 670 GMAT score
        3) Complutense University (Spain). Bachelor degree in Business Administration. My GPA, in a spanish scale 1-10, is 6,2. I worked as a waiter during the degree to get some extra money for my expenses.
        4) I set up my own company some years ago. Active member of a spanish political party. I am specialist in International Trade for a Spanish University. I participated in a Future Executive Program inside one of my former jobs during 2 years.
        5) None
        6) Entrepreneurship

        Linda, could you recommend me any schools where may I be competitive at?

        Thanks in advance!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


          You’re most welcome.

          Yale is a stretch, but a you should apply there and give it a try.

          Also consider Georgetown, Duke, UT Austin, UNC, UCLA, and Babson.


    • Anon12345

      Hi Linda,

      1) For the past two years I’ve worked in a for profit education company in one of the post-soviet states (I mostly do business development, along with some test prep for the SAT, Toefl). Before that I worked at one of the big four accounting firms for one year. And before that I worked in South Africa in the hospitality business. I am Indian and grew up in Delhi.

      2) GMAT – 730 Q(49, [85%]) V (40, [89%])

      3) Williams College, 3.65, Economics and History, 2010. Study abroad – Oxford University, 3.83.

      4) Associate agent for college – 2 years. Volunteered at a halfway house for recovering drug addicts – 1 year. Work with underprivileged students as part of a program i started in my current position – 1.5 years.

      5) None

      6) Work in Education policy

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Assuming that the work you did and are doing is MBA quality, I believe you have a competitive profile for Yale. They will like the international nature of your experience.


  • Anarchy

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks if you can evaluate my profile:

    1. 1 year as an associate in a think tank working on energy and environment projects with state government. completely in charge of field office, communication with government, research, hard core data analysis, writing reports etc. 2 years at an analytics company in Mumbai, India working for major CPG company . Promoted from Analyst to Senior Analyst.

    Worked for short durations in 3 countries outside India.

    2. 730 (96%) V40 (89%) Q49 (86%)

    3. One of the “lower” IITs. 6.55/10. Engineering

    4. Captain of Debate Team. Multiple awards in Debating and ‘Quizzing’. Attended UN conferences. Run 3 Marathons. Volunteer work for 4 environmental organizations. Can speak in Spanish

    5. n/a

    6. Work in the capacity of a consultant in the private or not-for-profit sector.

    Apart from Yale, which other schools may I be competitive at?

    Thanks for your advice.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Your GPA is a little low, but otherwise you have a competitive profile for Yale. Also consider Darden, Ross, Duke, Cornell Johnson, and Tuck.


  • Mohra

    Hi Linda,

    Would really appreciate if you can provide your feedback on my profile :

    1) Professional Experience

    Working in a management consulting of a Big Four since 2011. Working in metals and mining sector. Key projects include – Social benefit studies, Operational Improvement for steel companies, commodity demand forecasting for the economy, Impact of policy changes on the mineral output of the economy

    Won award for quality execution at client engagements in 2011, 2012,2013 & 2014

    2) Social Endeavors
    Independently managed fund raisers for a drinking water project in coastal rural areas.Mentored a female high school student, extended financial support during adverse family conditions.Worked with company’s CSR division to conduct tree plantation and cloth collection drives. Won CSR Champion thrice since 2011. Designed the model for pro-bono consulting in the firm.

    3) GMAT – 740, Q 51(97) & V 38 (85), AWA – 5, IR – 8 (92)

    4) IIT Delhi – B.tech in Mechanical Eng – 7.5/10. Awarded Best B.tech project award among the graduating class.

    5) Multiple awards in B plan contest – Won IIT Delhi B plan contest twice, Won PWC Business Contest, Runner up CIMA Global Business Challenge.

    6) Post MBA Goal – To work in the CSR division for a metals and mining firm in India, post that i hope to start my own CSR consulting firm in India.

    Bummers – “E” grade in a Statistics course at college.

    My questions-
    Shall i be explaining the low grade/GPA in additional information or no need to divert attention to this ?

    Apart from Yale, Which other colleges can be my target and which can be stretch?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I’m sorry, but what is an E grade? do you mean an F?

      What was the context?


      • Mohra

        Yes an equivalent to F grade.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          What caused the F? What was going on that caused the F?


  • Hari Govind

    Should the video question be responded to before the deadline?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I checked with Yale. The response: “Applicants have until a week after the deadline to complete them.”

      So you have a little leeway. My advice: Don’t wait until the last minute. The servers may get overloaded.

      • Hari Govind

        Thank you for checking! I did not get a response from them on this. A week is fine, it would just have been a little hectic to wrap up the final revisions of my essays as well as do this by the deadline.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Glad to be of help!

  • Ramalo

    Hi Linda the following is a snapshot of my profile.

    27 years old Indian male (I know over populated applicant pool, can’t help it).
    I have just over 6 years of experience in business development and strategy implementation at a firm with interests across hydropower, textiles and education in India (revenues over USD 100m). I’ve worked across all three verticals. Currently leading a team in implementing the expansion/diversification of the education vertical. The initial concept was my idea and I was allowed to form my own team of 14. I’m also the youngest at my firm in a senior managerial role.

    GMAT- 710 Q49 (81%) V39 (88%)

    I did my undergrad in accounting and finance from cardiff university. Graduated in 2008. Topped my class in year 1. Ended up with an upper 2.1 (grades fell in final year as I missed classes for 1.5 months due my dads illness). 3 weeks after final term ended my dad passed away and I was forced to move back to take care of family affairs (personal + financial reasons). Hence the lack of international work experience.

    I’ve volunteered with one of the most renowned environmental ngo in the country for over 4 years. Also running a cancer foundation in the memory of my late father (organized numerous blood donation camps and raised money through charity runs, etc). Also worked in strategy development for a member for parliament in the last 2 national elections in India (2009 and 2014).

    Post my MBA my goal is to transition to strategy consulting and work in new geographies (preferably the US or Western Europe).

    Besides Yale I’m planning to apply to Insead, emory, darden and sloan. Please feel free to recommend other schools. Regards

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Sloan is a stretch, but you have a competitive profile for the other programs. You may also want to consider Cornell Johnson and Duke.


      • Ramalo

        Thanks for the reply Linda. Will a higher a GMAT score help at Sloan? Retaking the gmat next week, hoping to score 730+. Also if you don’t mind can you also please evaluate my chances at LBS, Columbia and Tuck? Really appreciate your advice so far.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


          yes a higher GMAT score will help at Sloan, but obviously still doesn’t guarantee acceptance. You have a competitive profile for LBS, Tuck, and Columbia, but a higher GMAT will help other too.


          • Ramalo

            Hi Linda,

            Thank you so much for your insight. Just one final question. Seeing how I’m not planning to apply to too many schools. Which 3-4 of the schools discussed do I have the best shot at getting into? Thanks

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


            Yale, Darden, Duke, and Emory.

            Linda Abraham

  • Anon

    Hi Linda,
    I had a very basic query. Does Yale require the GMAT scores to reach them before the deadline, or is it merely required to have taken the GMAT and the scores can be a week late?

  • Anon

    Hi Linda,
    I had a very basic query. Does Yale require the GMAT score to reach them before the deadline, or is it merely required for the applicant to take the GMAT before and the scores can be a week late?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


      I believe, but am not positive, that you can self-report your GMAT score, but the official score can reach them later. Please confirm with Yale.

  • bb11

    1. 2 years in marketing for online video companies. The bulk of the experience was in a division of a Fortune 50 tech company, but I recently left to move to a new city and am now working with someone else.
    2. 730. 48 Math (78%), 42 Verbal (96%)
    3. UC Santa Barbara, 3.51 GPA, Psychology
    4. Two years of collegiate baseball, Toastmasters. skills-based volunteering through my prior company, member of city’s management consulting club
    5. None
    6. Management consulting

    Thinking of applying to Yale, Ross, Columbia, and Kellogg. Not interested in West Coast schools. Please advise on competitiveness and school choice. Thank you.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


      You have a competitive profile for your target programs with Yale and Ross being the most likely acceptances. You may also want to consider Duke, Darden, and Cornell. For all schools, you must be able to show why you need an MBA now because you have relatively low work experience.

      Your weakness is relatively little work experience. Obviously time will take care of that if you don’t get in this year, provided that you can also show growth on the job.


  • Krishna

    Hello Linda, I’ve greatly enjoyed all your posts and tips. Big fan of Goals on Steroids!! (The phrase)
    I now plan on applying to Yale ( along with Duke, Darden, Johnson, Tepper and Emory)
    Here’s my profile:

    28 Year old Indian Male
    Academics: B.Tech Chemical Engineering Graduated in 2008(from a tier 2 Indian University – Non IIT, but reputed)
    72 percentage (GPA should be over 3.5?) over the four years (roughly in the top 10% of the class and was awarded a University level Gold medal for excelling in the core subjects)
    Gmat: 730 (96 percentile) Verbal 40 (91 percentile) Quant 49 (79th percentile) AWA 6 (92 percentile)
    Extra curricular:
    1. Captained my college cricket team and have lead and organized Chemwiz (a university level technical fest attended by students from all over the nation)
    2. I have mentored many kids from underprivileged sections and taught them extensively on subjects required for matriculation
    3. I have also been teaching Reasoning and comprehension for competitive exams including Gmat and Gre for the last 2 years

    Professional experience
    1. 3.5 of years of work experience with an IT major as a Business analyst where I have had a few accomplishments. I was instrumental in getting lots of new business from the client (millions of $ worth) and also in proposing and later implementing a complete technology overhaul with great results.
    2. Quit IT in the April of 2013 to launch a social enterprise. Worked with a very eminent political activist. Built a strong theoretical model to bring youngsters onto a platform to address social grievances. Mentored and helped scores of middle school drop outs from poor neighborhoods and equipped many low income schools with toilets and other vital facilities (lack of these was the prime contributor to dropping retention rates of girl students)
    3. Actively involved in large scale implementation of cost effective toilet and bath systems for millions of Indian poor. (There will be significant developments in the coming 6 months)

    I see a strong need for an MBA program to gain the requisite business thinking in building such a potentially herculean endeavor.

    Apologize for the length of the ‘brief’ profile! I look forward to your analysis of my chances at Yale. Thank you so much for all your contributions to our admission efforts. Invaluable!!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


      You have a competitive profile for Yale as well as the other programs on your list, and are applying appropriately. You may also want to consider Ross.

      If you would like help with your application, please let me know. You could even work with the consultant who coined the phrase “goals on steroids.” It wasn’t me; it was Cindy Tokumitsu.



      • Kelly

        Hello Linda,

        My profile:

        1. I will have 48 months of full-time work experience at matriculation. I spent 2 years as a research analyst with the central statistical agency of a provincial government in Canada. This included a temporary assignment as the Team Leader of a fundraising campaign during which I managed a team of over 50 volunteers and which raised over $100 000. I was promoted from an entry level to an intermediate level position in less than 9 months. Now, I am a statistical analyst with the Business Intelligence and Statistics department of provincial government agency responsible for the province’s legal aid services. My position is part of the organization’s Senior Professional Group and I consult departments throughout the organization on their research and data needs.

        2. GMAT: Total 750/98%, Verbal 42/96%, Quantitative 49/79%,
        AWA 6/92%, IR 8/92%

        3. University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.
        Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with Distinction. Major in Psychology, Minor in French. GPA 7.57/9.00 (in my calculation this is equivalent to 3.77/4.00). 22 of 42 courses required 90% to achieve an A.

        4. Golden Key International Honour Society, Psi Chi
        International Honour Society in Psychology, Psychology Organization of Students, Peer Helper, presented research at conference in Belgium, founding member and teaching assistant with non-profit dance company

        5. French Language Diploma

        6. To consult government organizations on how to best increase the integration social, legal, and medical services.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


          You have a competitive profile for Yale. Also consider Georgetown, NYU Stern, Columbia, Duke, and Wharton. You may also want to consider a joint MBA/MPA or MPP.


  • Tushar

    Hi Linda,

    Below are my vital stats:

    1) Started in the semiconductor industry in a niche firm, switched to a quantitative role after an year and moved to a leading Indian brokerage house as an associate. Running my own portfolio of strategies now for Foreign Institutional Investors and was promoted to Manager after an year with the organization. (Total work ex – 1+2.3)
    2) GMAT 710 (Quant: 51|97; Verbal: 34|71; Essay: 6|92; IR:7|81)
    3) College info: I completed my Dual Degree (B.Tech+M.Tech) program in Electrical Engineering with specialization in Communication and Signal Processing in 2011 from IIT Bombay, India’s premier institute. (GPA: 7.57/10).
    4) Part of the college cultural scene and won several dramatics and dance events at school and university level. Post college I was involved in conducting cultural activities for underprivileged children. I am a believer of human rights and participated in various drives for LGBT rights.
    5) CFA Level III candidate
    6) Right now I am only involved in quantitative trading strategies. I want to be a well rounded investment person with skills in various styles of investing.

    Awaiting your response,
    Warm Regards

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


      You have a competitive profile for Yale. Also consider UNC, Cornell, and UCLA.


      • Tushar

        Thanks for the reply. I was looking at schools who are closer to the financial world and whose recruiters include some wall street names including some funds, hence the desire for Stern, Columbia, Tuck. What would you advise ?

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Your work experience is good. Your grades are good. For an Indian applying to these programs your overall GMAT is on the low side. I also can’t assess your extra-curricular experience.

          You’re relatively young. Apply to Yale, Stern, CBS, Tuck, and Booth this year for R2. See how you do. If you are accepted, great. If you aren’t accepted, prepare again and work to raise your verbal score on the GMAT. Then apply R1 of next year.

          If you would like help with your application, please let me know.

          • Tushar

            Really appreciate your advice. Regarding the essay, it mentions influence on ‘an organisation’ . Does that mean that we are supposed to pick just one i.e. currently employing firm or can we also write about a second experience ?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


            You don’t have to write about your current employer in your response, but you should discuss how you helped one organization. With 500 words, you go into depth with one, but if you try to do two, you’ll end up being superficial.

  • SWilson

    Hi Linda,

    My profile details are:

    1) Work experience: Total 3.5 years, chiefly in Energy and Environment sector. 20 months in a major Indian oil company as a technical manager. Another 20 months on environment regulation on a government project, as an employee of an internationally renowned policy research organization. The environment regulation work has involved significant project management, field work, human resource management, as well as liaising with various organizations.
    2) GMAT: 740(97%), V 41 (94%), Q 49 (79%), AW 5.5(81%)
    3) College info: IIT; GPA: 8.1; Major: Engineering; Graduation: 2011
    4) Extra curricular: Convener of college technical symposium. Editor of Literary Magazine. Class Representative. Organizer of several Cultural events at college.
    5) Certifications: None
    6) Post MBA Goal: Management consultancy in Energy and Environment sector.

    I am chiefly targeting Yale, Duke, and Berkeley — given there significant footprint in the energy and environment sector. Can you please comment on my chances at these institutes?

    • SWilson


    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for your target programs and are applying appropriately. You may also want to consider UT Austin.


      • SWilson

        Thank you very much!

  • emmorse

    Hi Linda,

    Below are my stats. Would love your advice on chances at Yale and other programs I should be considering:

    1) 1 year as Fulbright Research Fellow in Tanzania working with a local NGO and the ministry of health; 2 years at a global health focused NGO in Boston working on evaluation initiatives.
    2) GRE: V: 155 (67) Q: 157 (68) AW: 4.5 (80)
    3) George Washington U, GPA: 3.76, graduated in 2011
    4) Director of Community Service, Club v-ball captain, Director of Fundraising, volunteer and research experience in Rwanda and Tanzania, study abroad in Jordan
    5) N/A
    6) nonprofit/social impact consulting (considering joint MBA/MPP or MBA/MPH degrees)

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


      Assuming that you work in Tanzania and at the NGO allowed you to show leadership and have impact, everything but your GRE is competitive. Your grades are good and it is possible that you could get in despite the GRE. You can apply and if accepted your done. If not accepted, you retake and apply again next year.


  • RHS

    Hi Linda,

    Request you to please evaluate my profile for Yale SOM:

    1) I spent over 2 years in front-office investment banking at India’s leading investment bank, advising clients on fund-raising and mergers and acquisitions. I am currently a member of the founding team of a start-up in the education and training space, with the organisation breaking even and being self-sustainable within 1 year of operation. (total 3+ years of full-time work experience thus far)
    2) GMAT – 710 (92%)
    3) Education:
    College – one of Mumbai’s leading engineering colleges (not an IIT)
    GPA – graduated in the top 6 of my class
    Major – Production Engineering
    4) Captain of the college badminton team; currently playing badminton competitively at the club level – selected to represent a club in Mumbai at national inter-club competitions
    5) No other certifications
    6) Short term post-MBA goal: Consulting with a focus on social sector projects
    Long term post-MBA goal: Impact investing

    Request you to please also suggest other schools I would be competitive at.

    Thank you for your time!