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Yale SOM Essay Topic Analysis 2013-2014

The 2014-2015 Yale School of Management Essay Topic Analysis is now available. 

Following up on last week’s announcement of the Yale School of Management’s essay questions for the 2013-2014 admissions cycle, we wanted to provide applicants with some thoughts and advice on the new essay set.  Yale has significantly shortened its essay requirements this year, reducing the number of mandatory essays from four to two and the total word count from 1,050 to 750.  Director of Admissions Bruce Delmonico noted on his blog that the questions themselves are “a little more open-ended,” adding that all applicants will also be required to respond to video questions—which have yet to be released—as part of the application process.

Now let’s take a closer look at each essay prompt:

Essay 1: What motivates your decision to pursue an MBA? (300 words maximum)

This essay invites applicants to discuss their reasons for pursuing an MBA, identifying the knowledge and skills they hope to gain during business school.  Considering that the adcom has allotted only 300 words for this essay, applicants will need to be clear and concise in explaining the factors that have informed their decision to apply for an MBA.  Inability to progress in an organization’s hierarchy, desire to change career paths, and stagnation of one’s learning curve are all viable responses here.  In addition, while the question does not directly call for it, applicants should consider including a brief explanation of their short-term and long-term career goals so as to give the reader a clearer understanding of their broader rationale for applying to Yale SOM.

Essay 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 maximum)

In asking this question, Yale is trying to get a picture of an applicant’s knowledge, interests, and perspective on the world, along with an understanding of how these attributes motivate his or her application to Yale and how they would impact the Yale culture and community.  When addressing the first aspect of this prompt—essentially, “Why Yale?”—applicants will need to convince the SOM adcom of their genuine interest in the program by showcasing a detailed knowledge of the school’s offerings, such as particular classes and clubs.  Taking the time to learn about the school’s curriculum, special programs and extracurricular activities—whether through a campus visit, conversations with current students, or reading Clear Admit’s Yale SOM School Guide—will pay dividends here.

As for the second part of the prompt, while anyone can argue that he or she could bring a unique perspective to the classroom, candidates will be well served by conducting deeper reflection on how they would contribute to Yale, with the ultimate goal of offering insight into the factors that differentiate them from others in the applicant pool.  Discussing some focused ways that one’s skills and experiences would affect the school’s community (in a modest manner, of course) can really bolster a response here, since the adcom is sincerely looking for applicants who will change the program for the better. Again, familiarity with the SOM community and program will help applicants paint a truly compelling picture the ways in which they would impact Yale.

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