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Yale School of Management 2020-2021 Essay Analysis


Yale School of Management has released deadlines and the essay for the 2020-2021 application season, leaving the question unchanged for the fifth year in a row.

This year’s deadlines are as follows:

Yale asks students to:


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

Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean for Admissions gave this advice to candidates in a blog post:

We have one essay question: “Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made.” We developed this question in collaboration with Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM. Your time in business school, and the choices you make thereafter, represent significant commitments. In asking this question, the Admissions Committee is seeking to learn about how you have approached a commitment of importance in your life.


When it comes to choosing a topic, be genuine. We want to hear about something that is meaningful and distinctive to you, in your own voice. Your commitment can be personal, specific or expansive. We receive outstanding, insightful essays covering a wide range of topics.


The content of your essay is every bit as important as the topic. Regardless of the commitment that you choose, the most effective essays do a great job of describing your approach to commitment. Point to the specific actions that you have taken, over time, to bolster your commitment. This is especially important if you have chosen a broad topic, such as an ideal or a belief. Don’t just explain why a commitment is important to you; we want to understand how your behaviors have demonstrated and supported your commitment.

Below is Personal MBA Coach’s guidance on how to address the Yale MBA essay question:

As you craft your essay, keep in mind that Yale strives to “educate leaders for business and society.” With a passionate and committed student body, Yale takes pride in the small group learning teams and close-knit community. This question gives candidates a chance to provide admissions committee members with a glimpse of who they are and what matters to them, confirming they can and will live up to the school’s lofty mission.

The commitment can be personal or professional, though I prefer to see candidates share personal experiences in their Yale MBA essays. Whatever 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. The commitment can be something completed in the past or on-going. However, if you select something that is on-going, be sure that you have already made significant steps to deliver against your commitment. A commitment you just recently made and your forward-looking plans will not cut it here.

Yale SOM wants to see passion, dedication and follow-through. They want to assess how you think and how you plan effectively. Your commitment should be something that genuinely matters to you. Remember, think leader for business AND society here. The most successful answers will show how you have delivered against this mission in the past. However, the commitment does not have to be focused on volunteer work. There are countless ways to make an impact on society.

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

Need help? Personal MBA Coach is willing to be your guide. Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, we regularly help applicants navigate their applications each year. We also conduct mock interviews with former M7 interviewers on our team.

Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for 13 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email scott@personalmbacoach.com for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!

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