Also, be sure to keep an eye on Yale SOM’s MBA deadlines if you’re planning to submit an app.
Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words)
While only having to answer one essay question for an application can feel like a relief, it also means you only have 500 words in which to make the largest part of your pitch to SOM.
It’s best to start by evaluating what Yale is really asking for in this question. The topic came 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.” Now, in terms of commitments, it doesn’t matter whether you choose one from your personal or professional life, as long as what you’ve chosen has had an impact on you and/or on others.
Given the wide spectrum of examples that can fit this criteria, it may be helpful to narrow down your topic choice based on what aspects are otherwise missing from your application. Is there an important part of your personality, values or history that is not present in, say, your resume or recommendation letters? If you’re unsure what might be missing, take some time to learn more about what makes Yale SOM a unique program. Highlighting a commitment that mirrors Yale SOM’s values would help lift the quality of your essay, notably if you mention your capacity for leadership, teamwork or, if it happens to be the case, your ability to handle a global commitment.
After submitting your written application, you’ll be asked to answer a series of video questions that will require 60 to 90 second responses. Moreover, before you start, you’ll have the option to complete one practice question, so you’ll have the chance to familiarize yourself with the platform.
Initially conceived as an English language proficiency replacement test, SOM’s video questions have grown to serve as basic behavioral interview questions to help the admissions team better assess your potential for leadership and your communication skills. So, they’re not expecting the same highly-polished, thoughtful answers someone would present in a written format. Rather, they want to gauge how well you can express yourself and your ideas in a natural, ‘face-to-face’ fashion. The best way to prepare is to practice, practice, practice. Get comfortable speaking out loud and delivering 60 to 90-second responses, while remaining careful not to seem scripted; though not as damaging as during an in-person interview, robotic responses are still strongly frowned upon to the video questions.