Round 1: 12 September 2018

Round 2: 7 January 2019

Round 3: 16 April 2019


Yale SOM has experienced a significant rise in the quality of its program and outcomes over the last few years. It’s no surprise that the school has also seen a jump in the number of its applicants. With an international outlook, Yale is searching for candidates who want to make a global impact. In fact, Yale has a plethora of resources and learning opportunities that allow its classes to engage with international businesses and MBA students from top programs around the world.

As for the application, it has not changed from the previous year. You have a single essay question and three video questions, following submission. If you need help with any part of Yale’s application, feel free to contact us.

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

One essay question seems like a relief in a sea of applications often overflowing with writing requirements. However, this situation presents a serious dilemma: you have only 500 words to convince Yale SOM that you’re worth taking on.

Before you begin, you need to really understand what Yale is asking you for in this question. The topic originated from a discussion with Yale’s Professor of Organizational Behavior Amy Wrzesniewski. Amy rationalized the question in the following manner: “Reading about future plans is helpful, but actions speak louder than words. What big commitments have applicants already made in their lives to date, how did they follow through on them, and what does this tell us about who they are? That is what is at the heart of this question.”

There are many ways to approach this essay. Feel free to choose personal or professional commitments that have led to impactful successes. However, as you come to your decision, it would probably be best to try to understand what might be missing from the application as a whole. See if you can identify some important aspect of your character that isn’t present in the CV or recommendation letters.

It might also be in your interest to select commitments that highlight attributes that Yale SOM values. Ask yourself, “What great commitment have I made that’s illustrated my capacity for leadership and teamwork?” If your example can also shine a light on your ability to handle a global commitment, all the better.

Video Questions

Once you’ve sent in your application, you will receive a link to complete three video interviews. You will be given a maximum individual response time of 60 to 90 seconds, depending on the question, though you have the option to stop the recording earlier. Also, before you start, you’ll have the option to complete one practice question.

In a recent post on Yale’s MBA Blog, Dean Bruce DelMonico explained the rationale behind the institution of Yale’s video questions: “Remember the video questions were initially developed as a replacement for a test of English language proficiency.” Therefore, they are not looking for the sort of polished and thoughtful answers you would produce in a written format.

So, what is the current purpose of these questions? DelMonico replies, “Our video questions will resemble questions you could be asked in any standard interview. My biggest piece of advice is to practice answering basic behavioral interview questions. In your answers, we’re looking to assess your potential for leadership and your communication skills.”

We highly recommend that you take up Dean DelMonico’s advice: practice, practice, and practice. The biggest mistake you can make is to come into the video interview feeling unprepared. On the other hand, you don’t want to come across as unnatural. So, as you practice, keep in mind that you’re not trying to communicate a fixed script—concentrate on expressing your ideas and experiences as a future leader would.

Published On: October 4th, 2018 / Categories: Essay, Yale SOM / Tags: , , , /