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  • Malvika Patil

Yale MBA Essays & Analysis 2024 - 2025



Yale launched its MBA program in 1976, making it a relative newcomer among the top business schools. But with its rank of #15 worldwide in the FT, #7 in US News, #15 in Bloomberg (in the US), and #16 in QS for 2024, the Yale School of Management (SOM) has proven itself as a rising force among the US business schools. The school also boasts a strong relationship with service organizations and NGOs as well as consulting firms.


Yale’s Class of 2025 size is fairly small, at approximately 340 students per year. They have an average of 5.1 years’ work experience. Diversity is important to Yale SOM: 13% of Yale’s students identify as LGBTQ, 16% are first-generation college students, and 50% are international passport holders. 48% of their US students are of color, of which 18% are underrepresented students of color. 


Yale’s median GMAT is 720 with a middle 80% of 680-760. Its median GRE is 330, split 164 Verbal and 166 Quant. 37% of students chose to submit the GRE rather than the GMAT.


Here are the Yale MBA essay questions and analysis for the 2024 - 2025 application cycle.

Career Interests


Briefly describe your career interests and how you arrived at them. What have you already done to pursue these interests? What do you need to do going forward? (200 words maximum)


In this essay, Yale SOM asks you to explain your career goals, how you arrived at these goals, the foundation you have set already, and the skills you need to achieve them.


However, the essay gives you only 200 words to touch upon all of these points, so it's important to be brief and direct in your answer. Start with a story about a past experience that shaped your interest in your target industry or role. This could be a personal or professional experience, but it should lead to a mission statement that clearly states what impact you want to have through your career. You don't need to have a grandiose mission like solving world hunger or becoming President, but you should aim to showcase the overall positive impact you will have on others through your work.


Now that you have a mission, outline the short-term and long-term goals that will help you achieve it. Ensure that you state your target role, industry, and geography.


You can now discuss the skills you already have gained so far that are useful for these goals. This could be transferable skills from your career, extracurriculars, or personal experiences, direct experience in your target industry, and even expanding your network to include people from your target industry.


Finally, talk about the skill gaps you still have. Naturally, you are seeking an MBA to cover these gaps, so be specific with the skills, knowledge, and community you need from your MBA. For example, you may be planning to pivot to a strategy role from a tech role after your MBA. Going forward, you would need to develop your strategic thinking and communication skills, which you'll get from your MBA. If you plan to use your time between now and the start of your MBA to prepare for your goals, specify how.


Yale MBA Essay 1

Please respond to one (1) of the three essay prompts below. The word limit is 500 words.


Option 1: Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made.

Why is this commitment meaningful to you and what actions have you taken to support it? (500 words)

Introduced by Yale SOM’s Assistant Dean of Admissions, Bruce DelMonico, in 2016, this essay is one of three options for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle. As explained by DelMonico, the idea for this essay question was conceived during a conversation with Prof. Amy Wrzeniewski, professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM, where she said, “Reading about future plans is helpful, but actions speak louder than words.” That’s why AdCom wants to hear about your past actions. They want to understand your attitude and commitment to your plans. 

Yales AdCom believes that the most impactful essays do a great job of defining the candidates’ approach towards the commitment. They want you to see your honest, heartfelt response to a situation and the behaviors and actions that support it.

Given the broad scope of this question, you’ll need to dig deep and introspect. Think about some major decisions you’ve taken in your personal and professional life. Write them down and try to find a pattern between them. This will help you understand your value system, priorities and core self that in turn will help identify a commitment that is meaningful and unique to you.

Yale’s AdCom have made it clear that the topic of this essay is as crucial as its content. So a big part of this essay is choosing the cause you committed to.

Here are some examples of causes that our previous applicants have committed to:


  • A war

  • A club

  • An item

  • An idea

  • A value

  • A group

  • A place

  • A belief

  • A person

  • An ideal

  • A theory

  • A feeling

  • A priority

  • A country

  • A religion

  • A concept

  • A mentality

  • A working style

  • A methodology

  • An organization


This is a great essay for a story. Perhaps a story that shows how much energy you spent, the sacrifices you made, or the scale of the challenges you overcame. When did the cause become important to you? Maybe there was a specific decision you want to write a story about. Has your commitment ever impacted others?


Bonus points if your story is consistent with Yale’s values:


  • Rigor & heart: To bring solutions to modern day problems requires drive and passion, in conjunction with analytical and empirical tools.


  • Success & impact: Yale MBA prepares you for success by approaching business challenges linked to deeply-rooted societal problems.


When you’ve got answers to these questions, consider using the SCAR framework to write your story, followed by analysis. You’ve got a 500 word limit here. Ideally, about 50% of that should be your story, and 50% analysis:

Story:

  • Situation: Provide some context

  • Challenge: Describe the immediate challenge you faced

  • Action: Explain what you did to overcome the challenge

  • Result: Give a concrete result, try to quantify

Analysis: 

  • Connect the story to your commitment by describing the lessons you learned about yourself.


Option 2: Describe the community that has been most meaningful to you.

What is the most valuable thing you have gained from being a part of this community and what is the most important thing you have contributed to this community? (500 words)


This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate your ability to learn from others, your leadership and interpersonal skills, and the positive impact you have had on others. It helps the AdCom better understand how you will contribute to Yale's community and uplift your peers.

​The community you write about does not need to be professional. This may be an extracurricular engagement, an identity you have, a cause you support, or something broader. Define the community for the AdCom and why it is significant to you using a story. Explain how it has shaped your values, goals, or character and inspired you to give back.


Then, discuss your contribution to this community using concrete examples. Try to quantify your contribution using data (the people you helped, the hours you worked, the results you had, how you created/improved something) and how it impacted your community.


End your essay with how you would extend your contributions to Yale's own community. In this essay, the AdCom is trying to assess your fit with the school. You have demonstrated how you have previously been a productive member of a community, so now you need to demonstrate how your skills and experiences will best serve your MBA cohort and the larger university. Research classes, student clubs, extracurriculars, conferences, competitions, and any other opportunities where you can add value to Yale's community. Speak to alumni, current students, and school staff to add a personal touch to your essay and show that you are already getting involved with the school's community. If you can, you should also consider visiting the school campus to understand its culture and speak to Yalies.


Option 3: Describe the most significant challenge you have faced.

How have you confronted this challenge and how has it shaped you as a person? (500 words)


Growing through challenges: this is the underlying idea behind Yale's Option 3 essay. Here, the school wants to see how you tackle a difficult situation, show resilience and leadership through it, and what lessons you learned from it.


Your challenge may be personal or professional. Yale specifically asks that it be significant to you, so don't be afraid to get vulnerable here and choose one that has left a lasting impact on you. Knowing how to handle conflict, failure, or setbacks is an important leadership trait, so the school wants to see how you use these as opportunities to grow and adapt.


Here are some examples of challenges that our previous applicants have written about:


  • A project/product that failed

  • A team/interpersonal conflict

  • Financial or family circumstances

  • Being unable to achieve a goal

  • Mental/physical health struggles

  • Missing a deadline

  • Making a sacrifice

  • Losing your job

  • Standing up for something/someone

  • Conflicting values/ideas

  • Failing an exam


Again, this is a great essay for a story. Perhaps a story that shows how much energy you spent, the sacrifices you made, or the scale of the challenges you overcame. Why was this important to you? Did it impact others?


When you’ve got answers to these questions, consider using the SCAR framework to write your story, followed by analysis. You’ve got a 500 word limit here. Ideally, about 50% of that should be your story, and 50% analysis:

Story:

  • Situation: Provide some context

  • Challenge: Describe the immediate challenge you faced

  • Action: Explain what you did to overcome the challenge

  • Result: Give a concrete result, try to quantify

Analysis: 

  • Describe the lessons you learned, and how they have influenced your life since.

Optional Essay - Additional Information


If any aspect of your application requires additional explanation, you can address it in the Optional Information section below. Please note, you should use the specific prompts provided in the Work Experience section to address gaps in work experience or choice of recommender. The Optional Information section is truly optional – if no aspect of your application requires further explanation, you should leave this section blank. (200 words)


Like the prompt says, this essay is truly optional! Don't add information here just because you have an extra 200 words to work with. Also note that Yale's application provides specific prompts to address employment gaps and to explain your choice of recommenders, so use those if needed.


Topics that you can discuss in your optional essay include a low undergraduate GPA or GMAT/GRE scores, any criminal records or expulsion from school, or any other extenuating circumstances that may affect your application.


 

Check out our Yale SOM MBA Interview Guide for in-depth insights into SOM's interview process, what they're looking for in prospective candidates, interview schedule and questions for 2024 - 2025, and tips to ace your interview. 


We help determined applicants get admitted to top business schools. Get in touch if you think we can help you with your MBA application. Book a free 20 mins chat now.

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