Yale SOM MBA Interview
The business school of the prestigious Ivy League university, Yale School of Management (Yale SOM)has grown in its reputation as one of the leading providers of an MBA in the US since the degree was first offered by the school as recently (in US terms) as 1999.
From the Director of Admissions: Inside the Admissions Process:
“At the Yale SOM MBA interview, we will ask you questions about your past experiences and decisions, in order to get a better sense of how you act and think. The best way to prepare for an interview is to know your résumé, re-read your application essays, and have a good sense of what you have done well—and not so well—in the past, and why.”
Interviews are by invitation of the Admissions Committee. We invite applicants to interview throughout the round. At the moment, we have extended roughly one-third of the total invitations we plan to offer for the round; more invitations will be coming in the next few weeks. While an interview invitation is certainly a positive sign—it’s not possible to be admitted without one—it should not be viewed as an indication of your final decision. We typically interview roughly 30% of our applicants, and a little more than half of those interviewed are ultimately offered a place in the class.”
Frequently Asked Interview Questions
- Why Yale? Why MBA? Why now?
- Tell me about yourself.
- What did you like doing in your free time at college.
- Why did you pick that (undergrad) school?
- what made you pick company ABC for your first job?
- What are your short term goals? What are your long-term goals?
- Imagine you are a 2nd year student at a job interview with the company you want to work for, how would you sell yourself given that you don’t have a good background in that field.
- Have you talked to anyone from Yale?
- Give me an example of time when you led a group through a difficult period. How did you motivate the team?
- Any questions for us?
Interview Transcript - 1
Yale put on an entire day of events for the students on campus to interview (everyone there was invited to interview). I interviewed in the morning slot, so they provided some breakfast and refreshments as we could socialize before our interview. My interview lasted 30 minutes. It was the most formal feeling interview of the schools that I interviewed with 2nd year students (all similar rank to SOM).
The interviewer started out by stating that it would last 30 minutes and we had a set of questions to work through. Here they are:
Describe your current role.
Walk me through your progression at your company.
Why an MBA?
What’s your career goal immediately following business school?
What’s your proudest accomplishment leading a team?
What’s a time you made a mistake and how did you fix it?
How did you research your career goal and SOM?
What clubs do you plan to be in while at SOM?
You had to submit a quote prior to your interview. What was it and can you tell me a little about it?
Is there anything else you would like me to know?
Do you have any questions for me?
The most surprising thing to me was the amount of questions that were asked. There wasn’t much time for discussion-based on the amount of questions we got through. I think SOM is looking for a candidate who is very strong intellectually and collaboratively. After the interview, there was a full day of activities ranging from tours to professors talking about courses and curriculum.
Interview Transcript - 2
Visited Yale SOM early November for my interview. There were roughly 50 other candidates there and from what I heard Yale had 4 days of interviews. The day was well planned. We were asked to pick a slot for the interview and they also had other events through out the day. Our base was one of the classrooms so we kept having events there and candidates would leave for 30-40 minutes for their interviews. Since I’m a morning person I opted for the 9 am slot (first one available) which meant I was able to enjoy the rest of the day stress free. Looking at other candidates later in the day I’m glad I went early.
The interview itself was with a second-year student who had only seen my resume. She kept the atmosphere a bit relaxed. Asked me the usual questions,
- Walk me through your resume/Tell me about yourself
- Why MBA? Why Yale?
- What will you contribute to the classroom?
30 mins passed by pretty quickly without me getting the chance to ask her questions about her experience so I emailed her later with all my questions. In general, the whole day was a very good experience.
Got accepted and will most likely be attending SOM starting August this year!
Interview Transcript - 3
I had a very decent interview. Interviewer started with a brief introduction of himself and where he was headed to for his internship. I expected him to ask me to talk about myself, but instead he started with why Yale? Because I had rehearsed so much on the traditional way, I was quite thrown away with the start but I managed to compose myself. Next, he asked me about post MBA career goals, my background and how I hoped to achieve it. We spent some time talking about this and then he asked about clubs I will like to join. I spoke about a club he was part of and was really excited about it. A couple of other standard questions I cant remember now and then asked if there was something he had missed out. I reminded him of the quote we were asked to send before the interview. He had somehow missed this. I recapped the quote and explained why it was important to me.
Finally, he asked me if I had questions for him. I asked him a couple of questions and we ended the interview in approximately 30 minutes. My interviewer was really nice and smiled throughout.
Interview Transcript - 4
It was a blind interview conducted by a SOM student from second year. The interviewer was great, and made me feel comfortable from the outset. He started off with his background and then dove into some of the questions which included:
- Explain more about the work you do
- Tell me about a failure at work, what you learned
- Difficult situation at work
- Short & long term aims
- How would you contribute to SOM
- What the quote, that you submitted prior to interviewing, means to you and how that would guide your experience at SOM
- Any questions?
Overall the atmosphere was friendly, and the interviewer responded well to one or two technical glitches we had, and my attempts at ice-breaking. He wasn’t from my industry, but listened closely to any projects I talked about. He also very keen to talk about SOM culture and values. I was nervous before the interview, but my experience talking with SOM students has been overwhelmingly positive; so I wouldn’t say it was a surprise to do the interview in a friendly atmosphere. SOM always came across as a school with a friendly, tightly knit, collaborative culture, which embraces diversity. Through the interview I reaffirmed those views, and also got a better idea of the strong leadership brand they’re building; particularly with their dual focus of business and society.
Interview Transcript - 5
It was the third Interview Super Day (there were 3 in total), around 80 prospective students joined the interview. My interview was scheduled in the morning. The interview lasted 30 mins, but we talked for 1 hour. The questionnaire was listed on a paper held by the interviewer. All the questions were not uncommon.
- What is your biggest success which means most significantly to you? What is your biggest failure?
- Tell me one typical day in your current company. (and follow-up questions on some details)
- Why did you change your job from xx to xx company? Why technology?
- Why MBA? (Did not ask why SOM, but I tailored the answer)
- Which clubs do you want to join?
- What is your submitted quote related to Yale SOM community?
- Tell us your proudest leadership experience, and how you can apply this experience in MBA study?
- Any questions?
Apart from the interview, we had a class customized for interview visitors, a student launch/panel, a Yale tour, a SOM tour, and an ending reception.
Interview Transcript - 6
Interview in a hotel conference room. The Adcom member was pleasant and offered polite conversation and explained the interview process before proceeding. The whole thing took exactly 30 minutes.
Prior to the interview I was asked to submit a quote that was meaningful to me.
Blind interview. Adcom stated that all interviews would be standardized to about 6 questions across all applicants interviewed.
- Walk me through your résumé.
- Why an MBA? (for me, this transitioned into my career plans… and why Yale without needing a question. I’m not sure if these would have been asked)
- Behavioral Question (Tell me about a time (professionally) you succeeded that was meaningful to you. Tell me about a time (professionally) you failed that was meaningful to you)
- Tell me about the quote you submitted.
- Yale is very diverse, What can you add to the Yale community?
- Is there anything else you want me to convey to the Adcom?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Because the interview was blind and only 30 minutes, I thought it was easy to fill the time. Nothing surprising or tricky about the experience. I think they were looking to see your communication skills. And they care about finding people who will compliment and play well within the diverse student body they cultivate.
Interview Transcript - 7
Interview was held with the adcom who was visiting the West Coast. Was in a hotel room and lasted about 45 minutes.
Interview began with questions about my educational background. I was somewhat surprised by the level of detail sought – the interviewer asked me about educational choices made beginning from high school. This was followed by a discussion of my career. Once again he got into a lot of specifics about things I’d done.
This was followed by the Why MBA in a kind of “what do you want to do next?” fashion. He then asked me about which other schools I’d applied to and if I’d been accepted at any of them. He asked me why Yale was “in the mix” among those schools.
I then had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about Yale and the SOM.
We ended with a long discussion about some recent developments at work, and my take on some of the strategic challenges facing my industry. Overall, it was a very pleasant, conversational interview.
Interview Transcript - 8
Met with the Yale SOM alumni at a Starbucks in the bay area. We had a light chat for about 1/2 hour. After sitting down, she informed me that this was a casual interaction and Yale mainly wanted to know if I “interviewed well.” (Think of all the interviews we’ll be doing next year during recruitment!) Covered some points on my resume.
- Why the MBA?
- Seems you’ve traveled to country X for work. What was your role on the trip?
- What other schools are you applying to?
My interviewer had a similar background, and we compared notes on many things.
- Our jobs as engineers, and how we want to transition into a marketing roles.
- Experiences in sorority life and tying this into life @ Yale SOM.
- Both going to public schools for college and the difference between public and private schools.
- What processes we’d like to see implemented into product marketing in our tech industry.
- Comparing her experiences at my competitor company with mine.
- Our relationships, what sacrifices/plans she made to follow her fiance to the bay area, and what plans my fiance-to-be and I have post-MBA.
She gave me tons of recruiting tips for the high-tech industry. “A lot of companies don’t go out to New Haven, so you really have to do a lot of external work. You’ll find yourself flying out to the west coast a lot.”
She spoke about Yale’s social life and all the activities she was involved in. She met her fiance (a grad student @ Yale not studying business) at an external event. ? Also explained to me the “Ivy League Connection” among the 8 schools.
We ended on a good note. She was very supportive, telling me that no matter what school I get in she wanted me to keep in touch.
Interview Transcript - 9
I applied for Yale in the first round and received the invite early in December. There were bunch of available slots for on-campus interview in December/January/February, and I also had the alternative to email the Admission Office to schedule alumni interview.
I scheduled an on–campus interview for early January. I came to the Admissions Office about 30 minutes before the interview (a small building). I parked the car in front of the building (there were enough unoccupied meters). It was a 2nd year student who interviewed me. The interviewer already had a copy of my resume, and we started walking it through.
Since I prepared quite some stuff regarding work experience, leadership, education, and extracurricular, it took almost 20 minutes. Then I was given opportunities to ask interviewer a few questions. Therefore in fact the only question I had was to “walk me through resume”. In the last 10 minutes, I was given tons of information about the interviewer’s own exciting experience at SOM, and I was highly impressed. I felt the interview went well and I am very positive about SOM.
Interview Transcript - 10
I was interviewed by a second-year student, and she was very polite and pleasant. We had a good talk, I think, and we hit 45 minutes before we really realized it. We shared a few laughs, and I think I got most of my points across. In the end, I think it went pretty well, but there were plenty of places for improvement, in hindsight — but isn’t that always the case?
A few things: the interviewer has seen ONLY your resume and not your entire application packet. She even told me this as we began the talk. Also, it was verified by a number of people there that admissions decisions are routinely released before the official January date. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be told early, but it does happen from time-to-time.
The questions were as expected, and none was a surprise: Why MBA? Why Yale? Why now? Why did you pick your undergrad school and your major? Tell me about your work experience. Do you do any community work? What are your hobbies/interests? (I actually forgot to mention one of my biggest passions in life, because I had forgotten it was in my application and not on my resume! So it goes…) Etc, etc.