[one_half last=”no”]Yale MBA Application Essays – Analysis

Here are some tips on how to approach the Yale MBA application essays and video interview questions for 2013-2014. Yale has reduced the number of questions and words for their written essays, down from four questions and 1050 words last year to two questions and 750 words total this year, so it’s important not to digress and to make every word count.

The first questions this year for Yale School of Management:What motivates your decision to pursue an MBA? (300 words)

 Analysis: Keep it positive – what “motivates” you.  Instead of explaining that your career has stalled out, or that you want to earn more money or escape your job, you should emphasize the growth potential and new opportunities that an MBA would provide. Whether you’re pursuing a change in industries (say, from engineering to healthcare management or politics to consulting) or a step up in title and responsibilities (seeking a broader business perspective as well as the decision-making skills to take over a family business, to rise in the ranks as a leader in your industry, or to create your own start-up), what gaps will the MBA fill that work experience cannot? How can the guidance, network, and international mindset that come with an MBA enable you to carry over skills from your work experience into new realms??

Show that you’re excited to learn, enter a new phase in your life, and take your potential to the next level, and that you’ve thought carefully about how an MBA will help you achieve your goals once you have completed the degree.

In this essay, focus on the relevance of an MBA degree to your career  rather than the value of the Yale program in particular, because the next essay is about “why Yale.”

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Yale Campus, by Francisco Anzola

Yale Campus, by Francisco Anzola

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Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo and a Yale SOM Alumna. By Andy Mettler.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo and a Yale SOM Alumna. By Andy Mettler.

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 2. The Yale School of Management provides leadership education for broad-minded, rigorous, 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 motivates you to apply to the Yale School of Management for your MBA? What will you contribute to Yale and Yale SOM? (450 words)

 Analysis:The words Yale SOM uses to describe itself and its student body in this prompt are key to understanding what it believes the strengths of the program to be. “Broad-minded” and “intellectually curious” are highlighted on Yale’s “Our Approach” page, so Yale clearly considers these to be crucial aspects of their student body and takes great pride in it, and your answer should show that you share those qualities. The site also mentions “an increasingly connected world,” so emphasizing the “innovative and expanding global network of top business schools,” like Yale’s connections with China and the research institute there, would demonstrate that you are aware of the special opportunities Yale provides. If you’ve worked abroad or in industries other than the typical business school feeders of finance, consulting, and marketing, you can connect that to Yale’s ‘broad reach’ and its interest in a student body with ‘diverse backgrounds. By establishing yourself as an outlier, you can also be Yale’s bridge to another industry, which will expand its network – something you can give back to Yale and Yale SOM.

How will Yale help you achieve your goals in a way that other schools wouldn’t be able to do, and how would you expand upon the opportunities provided by the school to enrich their community? Show that you are “rigorous” in addition to being broad-minded and intellectually curious – you want to push yourself to the next level. And “diverse backgrounds” should flow naturally out of considering what makes you a dynamic individual rather than someone who fits into a neatly defined category. Find a way to relate your own strengths to theirs.

Addressing the “distinctive integrated curriculum” could mean you discuss the “raw case” teaching method as opposed to the standard case study method preferred at Harvard and other schools.  Maybe you’re attracted by the historically strong healthcare program, the leadership development program, or some other element of the Yale MBA program that speaks to you and your passions and personal goals. Research its faculty, courses, clubs, events, and initiatives through the website, campus visits, alumni interviews, and speaking with current students. Determine which elements most excite you and how you could contribute to them.

It’s not enough to be a good student, someone who’s just going to take the degree and go on with his or her life – they want someone who will credit Yale with their future success, be an example of how a Yale MBA can improve the trajectory of one’s career, and contribute to the quality of student life at Yale University – note that they don’t mention just Yale SOM but include Yale as a whole – both while attending and as an alum. Do you have ideas for conferences, courses, or events? Find a way to link yourself to Yale in a specific and personal way. How will Yale SOM transform you from an investment banker into a management consultant?

When answering the “why this school?” question for any university, you are trying to prove that you and this school are each other’s missing link to elevate both of you to the next level. What special skills/experience/qualities do you have that fit particularly well with Yale’s curriculum and community? In order to know that, you need to know what a Yale MBA offers that’s different from other schools.

3. In addition to the essay questions, Yale also uses video application essays (see the link for a discussion and common questions) to get to know the applicants. Make sure that your MBA application essay answers, your recommendation letters (one of which should come from your most recent supervisor, per the Yale MBA application guidelines), and your resume cover as much ground as possible to give admissions the full picture of your experience and qualifications. Use different examples of your experience for each element of the application.

 

Let me help you with your Yale SOM application. Email yael@admit1mba.com or fill out this form and I will get back to you within 24 hours.

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