Yale has a brand new question this year. And one that is fairly distinctive among bschools.
As you did last year, 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 very important. 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.
Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)
This essay would do really well with an anecdotal response telling the story of the commitment you made. What was the challenge or problem that triggered this commitment. How did you follow up? What were the results? Did you solve that initial problem or successful achieve your goals in meeting that challenge? You can start with the moment of challenge or the moment of triumph. If you choose the latter, then go back, provide context, and tell your story of commitment, resolve, hurdles overcome, and challenge handled. If the impact has lasted — on you and others — say so.
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)
“Explanation” equals context.
It’s easy to understand when talking about negatives for example your grades went down one semester because you were in a car accident. Provide the context and point to your GPA without that one semester affecting it.
Yale also gives you an opening here to provide context for positives, for achievements. So you got a promotion. A lot of applicants can talk about promotions. What makes yours particularly noteworthy is that you are the youngest person in the company at this level. The bolded sentence is important context for the admissions committee, and you may add to the context by saying why you believe you were promoted at such a young age.
Don’t use this optional essay as a grand summary of your application or reasons for wanting to attend Yale. And don’t repeat information found elsewhere. Make sure the optional adds value.
After you submit your application, you will be asked to answer one of three video questions. These questions are intended to give you another opportunity to tell us about yourself. Yale will use your video to get to know you, to assess your English fluency, and 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 20-30 seconds to formulate a response, followed by up to 60-90 seconds to respond.
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 and listen to this interview with Yale’s Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at Yale SOM.
Here are Yale’s tips on preparing for the video question:
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)
This is the key question that every re-applicant has to answer. Why should Yale SOM admit you this time around? What’s changed? What’s improved?
If you would like professional guidance with your Yale SOM MBA application, check out Accepted’s admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Yale MBA application.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.