• Scott Edinburgh

Yale SOM Class Of 2020 – Fall 2017 Essay Question Analysis

Yale School of Management class of 2020 hopefuls, SOM has just released its essays for the 2017-2018 application year and once again asks students to:

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

Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean for Admissions, explained to candidates in his blog post that this question was designed in collaboration with Amy Wrzesniewski, Professor, Organizational Behavior and a professor for the Leadership course within Yale’s unique integrated curriculum.

As you answer this question, keep in mind that Yale is very mission focused and strives to “educate leaders for business and society.” Its student body is passionate and committed and Yale prides itself on its small group learning teams and close-knit campus. This question gives candidates a chance to show admissions committee members a glimpse of who they are and what matters to them, confirming they can and will live up to this lofty mission.

The commitment can be personal or professional, though I prefer to see candidates share their personal side with this essay. Whichever you choose, be sure that you focus on ONE thing. Do not include multiple commitments here. Past examples have included causes, personal development areas, athletic achievements and professional pursuits. This commitment can be something in the past or on-going but be sure if it is on-going, you have made significant steps to deliver against it. A commitment you just made and your forward looking plans won’t cut it here.

Yale wants to see passion, dedication and follow-through. They want to assess how you think and how you plan effectively. It’s less important what the commitment actually is than showing it is something that genuinely matters to you and you were able to follow-through successfully! Remember, think leader for business AND society here. The most successful answers will show how you have delivered against this mission in the past.

While this question does not ask candidates anything forward looking or to provide detail on what they plan to do on campus, a line or two on this could make sense, depending on the commitment. Particularly, if the commitment is on-going, candidates can share how they might bring this to campus or how they plan to continue to deliver against it post-MBA. Again, this will not always be relevant so don’t throw a mention of Yale in there, just for the sake of doing so!

500 words is fairly short and this is your main shot to show who you are and why you will fit on campus. Be focused and be genuine!

If you would like individual and personalized support while applying to Yale, please find information about Personal MBA Coach’s comprehensive packages or contact us to learn how we can help! Last year we not only got applicants into Yale SOM and all other top programs, but helped them to receive over $3.5M in fellowships. -

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