So, you've submitted your application to the Yale School of Management (SOM), and now they are inviting you to interview! This is exciting news; receiving an interview invitation means that the admissions committee saw potential in your application and now wants to get to know you even better.
However, while this is excellent news, you may feel panic start to set in, especially if you've never interviewed for an MBA program before. What should you say? What kinds of questions will they ask you? How can you make the best impression possible?
All of these are valid questions to ask but don't worry too much. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the Yale SOM interview and help you show your interviewer that you are the right pick for the school.
About Yale School of Management
The mission statement of the Yale SOM is as follows:
“The mission of the Yale School of Management is to educate leaders for business and society.”
Kerwin Charles, Indra K. Nooyi Dean and Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Economics, Policy, and Management, elaborated by stating, “It has been the school’s distinctive aspiration since its founding to educate leaders for all sectors—public, private, nonprofit. We continue to be animated by the belief that leaders who attack problems with analytical rigor, energy, and caring have profound impact on society.”
This is evident as the Yale School of Management consistently ranks in the top MBA programs in the country. US News & World Report ranked the Yale SOM as #9 in “Best Business Schools,” while Forbes ranked it as #11.
Because of these high rankings, you can also expect a high level of competition at Yale SOM. In recent admissions cycles, the acceptance rate at Yale SOM was about 30%. While this percentage is higher than some other top MBA programs, it is still not something to take lightly. As one of the Ivy League schools, Yale only accepts the best candidates who can handle the program’s academic rigor.
Ultimately, Yale SOM is a top-tier business school with a pretty selective admissions process. If you hope to be an MBA student in this prestigious program, it is crucial to learn everything you can about the interview process.
Yale SOM Interview Overview
The interview is a crucial part of any MBA program’s admissions process, and the Yale SOM interview is no exception. According to Amy Abood, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, “By the time you’ve been invited to interview, we’ve evaluated the “hard” aspects of your application—academic record, work experience, career interests, etc.—and we think you could succeed in the Yale SOM academic environment. The interview stage is about assessing fit in both directions."
If you've received an invitation to interview, it means that you've already made a good impression on the admissions committee. They already believe that you have what it takes to succeed at Yale SOM, and now they want to see how well you will fit into the program and what the program can do for you in turn.
How does the Yale SOM Interview work?
The Yale SOM sends out interview invitations on a rolling basis throughout the current applications round. The offer will include an invitation to Yale's campus, where you will meet for a 30-minute interview with a second-year student.
However, if you cannot visit the campus, you will have the option of interviewing virtually. This virtual meeting will be conducted by members of the Yale SOM admissions committee "in major international cities."
It is important to note that there is no particular advantage to interviewing in person, admissions-wise. You do not have a higher chance of getting into the Yale SOM if you decide to interview on campus. Bruce DelMonico, the Assistant Dean for Admissions at Yale SOM, states that “the Yale SOM interview is the same, whether it’s conducted online or in person.” If you cannot make it to campus, do not feel like it will hurt your chances of admission.
The similarities between in-person and virtual interviews also extend to the format of each interview. Regarding the interview structure, DelMonico says that “Our interview structure is just that: structured. Each interview is scheduled for 30 minutes, and each candidate is asked the same set of questions. This is just one aspect of the process that we’ve implemented to help minimize bias in our application.”
Whether you interview in-person or virtually, the interview will be blind, “meaning your interviewer will only know what they see on your resume.”
How to Prepare for the Yale SOM Interview
As with most things, preparing for the Yale SOM interview is vital. There are a variety of things that you can do to prepare for the meeting, including researching the school, practicing with sample questions, ironing out the logistics, and prepping questions to ask your interviewer.
First, make sure that you know precisely what the admissions committee is seeking in an MBA candidate. DelMonico says, “We’re interested in understanding the impact you have had in your personal and professional life, how you hope to lead, and your ability to collaborate.
We are also interested in finding students who will be engaged community members both here at Yale and in their future organizations.” So, make sure that you keep these things in mind when practicing for your interview.
The next step you can take to prepare for your Yale SOM interview is to devise answers to sample interview questions. The following are examples of questions that Yale SOM interviewers have asked MBA candidates in past admissions cycles:
- What would you change about your organization?
For this question, you should provide a detailed response of what you would change and the steps you would take to change it. By doing this, you can show your interviewer that you can identify issues and utilize problem-solving skills to make effective changes to better your organization.
- What kind of friction do you have with your manager? How to overcome them?
In any workplace, there is bound to be some friction between a manager and employee. For this question, make sure that you don't avoid giving an honest answer. You should not respond by saying that your boss gets onto you for working too hard or that your manager has told you not to be such a perfectionist. These situations are not actual instances of friction, and if you answer in this way, your interviewer might think that you are trying to evade the question.
Rather, focus on situations where there was real contention between you and your manager and how you approached a resolution. By doing this, you can show your interviewer that even in the face of hardship, you can work hard to overcome difficulties and make things work.
- How would you get involved at Yale SOM?
As mentioned earlier, Yale SOM has a keen interest in MBA candidates that will contribute to the academic and social atmosphere of the program. Ensure that you do your research on any clubs, organizations, or initiatives at Yale SOM and talk about those that interest you most.
Also, look into internships and opportunities to study abroad that might catch your attention. This will showcase how you get involved outside of the classroom.
- Talk about a difficult situation you have experienced at work. Explain with details.
As in the question above about friction with your manager, you should answer this question as honestly as possible. Do not try to avoid the question; Rather, discuss a situation that was truly an obstacle for you and explain how you overcame it. By doing this, you can show your interviewer that you can operate well in times of duress.
With each of these questions, you should try to answer as truthfully as possible. Don't try to tell your interviewer what you think they want to hear. Instead, focus on why you chose this program, what it can offer you, and how you will fit in at the Yale SOM.
You should also take the time to review your resume. Because your resume will be the only information that your interviewer has beforehand, it is beneficial to look over the document and note the specific experiences and achievements you included. Reviewing your resume can better prepare you for any questions that your interviewer might ask about your background.
Also, be sure that you nail down the logistical aspects of your interview. For a virtual meeting, make sure that you select an appropriate time according to New Haven's time zone. Every interview will take place in US Eastern Time, so make sure that you plan accordingly! Don't miss your interview over something as simple as time zone differences.
Finally, be sure to prepare some questions for your interviewer. Some questions you can ask include "What is your favorite thing about Yale SOM?" or "How has Yale SOM benefitted you?" You could also ask about more specific aspects of the program depending on who your interviewer is, including questions about classes, instructors, or living in New Haven.
Overall, preparing these questions beforehand will help the interview run much smoother and seem more conversational. Not only will you be able to gain a sense of how well you will fit into the Yale SOM, but you will also show your interviewer that you care deeply about the program and what it has to offer.
Top Tips on How to Successfully Ace the Yale SOM Interview
There are multiple strategies that you can employ to ace your Yale SOM interview.
First, whether virtually or in-person, try to arrive early. Your arrival is the first impression that your interviewer will have of you, and showing up early portrays dedication and respect for the interviewer’s time.
As the interview begins, be sure that you show that you have done your research. Your answers should not be generic to any MBA program; You should take the time to tailor your responses specifically toward the Yale SOM. Mention particular organizations that you want to be involved in, classes you are excited to take, or instructors you hope to meet. Doing this will show your interviewer that you care about the program.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to spend a few seconds thinking about your responses. It is much more beneficial to take a moment to organize your thoughts than to try to answer immediately and possibly mess it up. Ask your interviewer if you can take a few moments, and then, if possible, try to pull your answers from the sample questions that you practiced earlier.
The interviewer may ask you questions that were not on your practice list, but that’s okay. Just make sure that your answers are concise, exhibit your strengths, and convey an honest image of who you are.
You should also try to avoid selling yourself short. It may feel natural to be very modest about your accomplishments, but remember that the goal of the interview is to show your interviewer the full extent of your talent and abilities. However, be careful that you don't seem too arrogant, either. Try to find a compromise; be confident in talking about your successes, and avoid being too modest or vain.
Overall, your interview should not feel like an interrogation. Abood says, “Remember you’re interviewing us just as much as we’re evaluating you. No matter where you interview or who you interview with, it should feel like a conversation.”
Try to stay relaxed and casual with your answers, and don’t be afraid to ask questions at the end. By doing this, you can ensure that you are putting your best foot forward and show your interviewer that you are a good fit for the program.
1. What is the format of the Yale SOM interview?
The Yale SOM utilizes a blind interview format, meaning that the person conducting the interview will have no prior knowledge of you outside of your resume.
2. Who conducts the Yale SOM interview?
Typically, for in-person meetings, a second-year Yale SOM student will conduct the interview. However, if you cannot visit the campus, the Yale SOM admissions committee members will conduct the meeting.
3. How long is the Yale SOM interview?
The interview is about 30 minutes long.
4. Is the Yale SOM interview more important than the initial application?
No. DelMonico says, “The interview is just one data point that we consider in making an admissions decision; it does not have any more weight than any other element.”
5. If I choose to interview virtually for Yale SOM, will that put me at a disadvantage?
No. Students often choose to interview virtually because they cannot make it to the campus. Yale SOM has structured its interview process using methods that limit bias, which means that all candidates answer the same questions and are evaluated against the same criteria, whether virtually or in person. You will not be at a disadvantage if you choose the virtual route.
6. Is there anything that I should do after my Yale SOM interview?
While it is not required, sending a thank you letter to your interviewer is a great way to show your appreciation and make a final good impression. Thank them for their time, mention specific things that you enjoyed discussing, and let them know that you are looking forward to hearing from them soon.
The Yale SOM interview can seem quite intimidating at first, but it is reassuring to know that there are multiple steps that you can take to prepare for this meeting. Take the time to research the program again and review your resume to tailor your answers to the school. Also, make sure to go over practice questions beforehand so that you are not blindsided by any questions.
Keep it light and conversational, and don't be afraid to ask questions at the end. The business school interview can be nerve-wracking, but remember that you have already made a good impression through your application. Now, all you have to do is prepare accordingly to show your interviewer all you have to offer.