In this application cycle, Yale SOM has decided to preserve its MBA essay topic and video questions. However, Yale has introduced a new Behavioral Assessment, which is a half-hour examination that is integrated into its online MBA application.

Be sure to keep careful track of Yale SOM’s MBA deadlines, if you’re planning to submit an application in the 2019-2020 admissions season.


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

One essay question seems like a relief in a sea of applications so 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 accepting.

Before you begin writing, you first need to fully understand what Yale is asking 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 naturally many ways in which you could approach this essay. You should feel free to choose personal or professional commitments that have led to impactful successes. However, as you review potential examples, 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 aspects of your character that aren’t present in the CV or recommendation letters, and could, in turn, be illustrated within this essay.

Moreover, if possible, try to also highlight a commitment that illustrates those attributes that Yale SOM most values. Ask yourself, “Which of the commitments that I’m considering best exemplifies 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 answer three video prompts. 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 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, SOM is not looking for the sort of polished and thoughtful answers that one would find 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 sit down for this 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.

To develop a powerful strategy and application essays, get in touch with our Yale SOM experts today.

Published On: August 29th, 2019 / Categories: Essay, Video Interview, Yale SOM / Tags: , , /