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Yale MBA Essay Analysis

(2022-23 Application Cycle)

Yale MBA Essay 1

“Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words)”       


Introduced by Yale SOM’s Assistant Dean of Admissions, Bruce DelMonico, in 2016, this essay is required for the 2023 admissions cycle. As explained by Monico, the idea for this essay question was conceived during a conversation with Prof. Amy Wrzeniewski, who teaches 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.

Commitment Ideas

Yale’s adcom have made it clear that the topic of this essay is crucial. Yale SOM in this 2021-22 application guide clearly outlines, “The topic of the essay is every bit as important as the 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 friend
An ideal
A theory
A feeling
A priority
A person
A country
A religion
A concept
A mentality
A working style
A methodology
An organization

Essay framework

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:


  • 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


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


I hope that helps. Good luck!

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