Scott Edinburgh
July 27, 2023

Yale SOM Essay Tips and Application Deadlines: 2023-2024

Yale SOM Essay

Yale School of Management has released deadlines and essays for the 2023-2024 application year, changing their essay section for the first time in eight years.

As one of the smaller top MBA programs, Yale SOM’s intimate class size is a defining characteristic of the program, with 347 students enrolled in the class of 2024. Of these students, 43% identify as women, 48% are international passport holders, 17% are first-generation college students, and 12% identify as LGBTQ+.

The class of 2024 came from a range of pre-MBA industries, the top three being financial services, consulting and non-profit. On average, students had an average of 4.4 years of work experience.

Want to learn more about applying to Yale SOM? Take a look at Personal MBA Coach’s interview with Laurel Grodman, Assistant Dean for Admissions at Yale School of Management, to get insider advice on the Yale SOM experience and application process.

Watch below to learn how to position yourself for success!

The Upcoming Yale SOM Application Deadlines Are as Follows:

Round 1: September 12, 2023

Round 2: January 4, 2024

Round 3: April 9, 2024

This year, Yale SOM decided to allow applicants to choose the essay question they would like to answer, leavings its longstanding essay regarding commitment as one of the options. Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean for Admissions, gives more detail on this choice in the 2023-2024 Application Guide (copied below):

We want to know what matters to you, and our essay question is designed to help us gain insight into your background, passions, motivations, responsibilities, ideals, identities, challenges, or aspirations, depending on where you take your response. To ensure that you’re able to write about something important to you, we offer you three essay prompts from which to choose:

1) Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. Why is this commitment meaningful to you and what actions have you taken to support it?

2) Describe the community that has been most meaningful to you. What is the most valuable thing you have gained from being a part of this community and what is the most important thing you have contributed to this community?

3) Describe the most significant challenge you have faced. How have you confronted this challenge and how has it shaped you as a person?

Choose the prompt that speaks most strongly to you and about which you have the most enthusiasm.

Student Looking at Financial Times MBA Rankings on a iPad

Personal MBA Coach’s Yale SOM Essay Tips:

It can always be a bit of a challenge when a program offers you an essay choice. However, Yale has stated that you should truly pick the essay question you best relate to and there is no “wrong choice.”

Regardless of which option you choose, as you craft your Yale SOM 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.

Below, we have shared our tips for approaching each of the three options:

Yale MBA Essay Option 1: 

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

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 Personal MBA Coach prefers to see candidates share personal experiences in their Yale SOM essays. Whatever you choose, be sure that you focus on ONE thing; do not include multiple commitments here. Past MBA essay examples have included causes, personal development areas, athletic achievements and professional pursuits. The commitment can be something completed in the past or ongoing. However, if you select something that is ongoing, 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.

Five hundred 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!


Yale MBA Essay Option 2:

Describe the community that has been most meaningful to you. What is the most valuable thing you have gained from being a part of this community and what is the most important thing you have contributed to this community? (500 words)

This essay is a great opportunity for candidates who have a close relationship with a particular community. You can think of your physical community or think of community more broadly.

To craft a strong answer here, be sure that you can identify a community from which you have learned and to which you have contributed. Remember, this is your main opportunity to tell Yale SOM what you uniquely bring to the table, so be sure that community is significant to you.

Once you have defined this community for the reader, tell them how this community shaped who you are today.

Equally as important, you want to share what you have done to add value to this community. As you do this, be specific! Keep in mind that Yale admissions directors are looking to glean information on how you will add value on campus. While you do not need to discuss Yale here, past actions are the best predictors of future behavior so let Yale SEE the leader you will be on campus.

Yale MBA Essay Option 3:

Describe the most significant challenge you have faced. How have you confronted this challenge and how has it shaped you as a person? (500 words)

This third option is also new for Yale SOM. For those applicants considering this option, keep in mind that Admissions Directors shared at the 2023 AIGAC conference how the “trauma” essay, particularly if unrelated to an applicant’s reason for applying to business school, is often overused.

This means that the challenge selected here does not need to be a major tragedy that you faced or challenge you have overcome. You can select either a personal or professional challenge here. However, this challenge should have shaped you in some way.

A strong essay not only will show the skills you developed and utilized in overcoming this challenge but also help the reader to understand how this experience has prepared you to succeed at Yale and beyond.

Woman On Laptop and Phone for London Business School

Yale MBA Short Answer Essay: Post-MBA Interests: Briefly describe your career interests and how you arrived at them. What have you already done to pursue these interests? What do you need to do going forward? (150 words)

Finally, Yale has a short career goals essay. There is a lot to cover in just 150 words so you want to be very direct. In addition to briefly sharing your goals with Yale (need help developing a compelling goal statement – check out this blog), tell the reader what drove these goals and how you have already prepared for them. Finally, think about where Yale fits into the picture. While there won’t be a lot of space to deep dive into Yale’s offerings in this essay, you should make it clear that you have thought about why you need a Yale MBA to be successful in achieving your goals.

Yale MBA Reapplicant Essay Topic:

Since your last application, please discuss any significant updates to your candidacy, including changes in your personal or professional life, additional coursework, or extracurricular/volunteer activities.(200 words maximum; required for all reapplicants)

Reapplicants should use the required additional essay to demonstrate growth. We advise candidates to review our tips for reapplicants before tackling this essay.

Finally, Yale has retained its video essay

Candidates will receive the video questions after submitting their applications. Learn more to get started with Personal MBA Coach’s video essay guidance and tips. Ready to apply to Yale SOM? Contact Personal MBA Coach today to learn how we can help with your Yale SOM application!