This application has changed very little from last year. As applicants have done for the last few years when applying to Yale SOM, you need to make the most of its single required essay, but you also need to take the time to make every box in the application a homerun. They are not afterthoughts; your job descriptions and activity history are very important. Write and edit them carefully. Focus on achievements. Quantify when possible and keep front and center Yale’s commitment to “educating leaders for business and society.”
Yale SOM essay question
Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)
The question evolved from a conversation with Professor of Organizational Behavior Amy Wrzesniewski, who noted, “Reading about future plans is helpful, but actions speak louder than words.” In your response, we are looking to learn about how you have approached a particular commitment, whether personal or professional, and the behaviors that support it. You should be less concerned about what we want to hear and instead focus on being honest with yourself in selecting and describing the commitment that has been most significant to you.
This question is based not only on the stated premise that actions speak louder than words, but on the additional premise that past behavior predicts future behavior.
You want to show that you are a person who follows through on commitments. So when did you make a commitment and follow through? Do you make big commitments? What are the results? What impact have you had as a result of your biggest commitment? What was the impact on you?
An anecdotal response, telling the story of the commitment you made, could be very effective. What was the challenge or problem that triggered the commitment? How did you follow up? What was the outcome and why is it significant? Did you successfully solve that initial problem or 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 – succinctly include that part of the story too.
If any aspect of your candidacy needs further explanation (unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, promotions or recognition, etc.), please provide a brief description here. (200 words maximum)
As Yale says, this essay is optional. It is an opportunity for you to provide context for something in your application that may cause the application reader to come to an incorrect and undesirable conclusion. Yale gives a couple of examples above. I would add a sudden dip in your grades due to illness or family problems that are no longer affecting your performance.
Yale SOM application video component
Yale also has a video component to its application. The questions are not posted ahead of time and they vary from applicant to applicant. The key element to preparation here is practice. Practice talking into a webcam without feedback from another human being. Practice the 60-90 second timeframe. Rehearse answers to typical interview questions in this format. Remember the STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result) or CAR (Context/Challenge – Action – Result) framework in structuring your answers.
Yale suggests that you practice via video chat with a friend, but have your friend turn off their webcam and just provide feedback at the end of your response. I also suggest you put up a smiley face somewhere so you can see it and remind yourself to smile. 🙂
Watch: Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, talks about the resume, essay, and video questions:
Yale SOM at a glance
Yale SOM average GMAT score: 720
Yale SOM average GPA: 3.62
Yale SOM acceptance rate: 29.7%
U.S. News ranked Yale SOM #9 in 2022.
Has this blog post helped you feel more confident about approaching your Yale application? We hope so. It’s our mission to help smart, talented applicants like you gain acceptance to your dream school. With so much at stake, why not hire a consultant whose expertise and personalized guidance can help you make your dream come true? We have several flexible consulting options—click here to get started today!
Yale SOM 2021-22 MBA application deadlines
|Application deadline||Admissions decision|
|Round 1||September 14, 2021||December 3, 2021|
|Round 2||January 6, 2022||March 25, 2022|
|Round 3||April 12, 2022||May 18, 2022|
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions, and deadlines.**
Source: Yale SOM website
Stay on top of MBA deadlines with the MBA Admissions Calendar!By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted. Linda earned her bachelors and MBA at UCLA, and has been advising applicants since 1994 when she founded Accepted. Linda is the co-founder and first president of AIGAC. She has written or co-authored 13 e-books on the admissions process, and has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, Poets & Quants, Bloomberg Businessweek, CBS News, and others. Linda is the host of Admissions Straight Talk, a podcast for graduate school applicants. Want an admissions expert help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!