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Yale SOM MBA Application Essays: 2023-2024

For the main essays this year, applicants are requested to answer one of three essay options in under 500 words. Please respond to one of the three essay prompts below. The word limit (though not necessarily the goal) is 500 words.

  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? (500 words)
  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)
  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)

Yale SOM MBA Winning Sample Essays – 1

Yale SOM MBA Essay 1: Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)

When you look at my resume, it is no secret that my life’s greatest commitment was baseball.  Within my career, the greatest single commitment I made to the sport itself was to play as a professional rather than taking a more traditional route towards a corporate career. 

For twenty years, I competed and excelled against the top competition in the world. I won a gold medal with Team USA at the IBAF World Championships in 2012, I was a part of Vanderbilt University’s first-ever men’s national championship in 2014, and I was selected as a team leader by the players and coaches and led us back to a second consecutive national title appearance in 2015.  These successes were the result of an unwavering commitment to my passion and sacrifice of the many leisurely activities my peers enjoyed.  

I had a tremendous career, which ultimately led to my greatest achievement as well as my toughest decision. On June 11, 2016, in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball draft, I was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals. I was torn between whether I should use my education to propel me into a career in finance or should I follow my passion and see how far I could take my baseball career.  I consulted everyone close to me–family, professors, working professionals, and current and former players.  After endless hours of consideration, I decided that I would be doing myself the greatest disservice possible if I didn’t see my passion through to its very end: I chose baseball.  

The greatest commitment of my life led me to this momentous achievement. Getting drafted was a dream come true.  By the end of my first season, I was selected as the Cardinal’s minor league pitcher of the year.  I was immediately considered a top prospect and was on the fast track to the major leagues.

Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 2017 season, I developed a severe bone deformity on the head of my femur, tore multiple ligaments, and underwent a comprehensive surgery.  In surgery, the doctors found that I had removed most of my hip cartilage and would probably never be the same. I spent the next two years giving absolutely everything I had, I sought out specialists and did everything I was prescribed, but nothing helped.  Eventually, after years of making every possible attempt at resurrecting my career, I decided that it would be best to move on and pursue a more stable corporate career.

This decision, however, has not come without its share of sacrifice.  Although the opportunity to work at my father’s company still existed upon my retirement from baseball, the years that I had spent out of the workforce amount to thousands of valuable hours of experience that I had to forgo.  While I have been quickly catching up, working on three of the Company’s largest deals in its history, there still is much I aspire to learn.  Business school will provide me the perfect opportunity to immerse myself into an environment of accelerated learning where I will be able to develop the target areas I need to improve upon.

Yale SOM MBA Essay 2: How did you arrive at these career interests? How have you or how will you position yourself to pursue them? (250 words maximum)

In 2019, after gathering 3 years of experience as a professional baseball player, I retired from the sport due to severe injuries that hampered my career.  Since retiring from baseball, I have joined my father’s firm, Elite marketing, to start my second professional inning in the corporate world.

As a two-time entrepreneur and CEO of a 23-year-old company, my father has been a great mentor and inspiration to me. I also have a very strong personal relationship with my father. After retiring from baseball and trying my hand to have a career in finance, it was a no-brainer that I wanted to join my father and help him grow the Firm.

In the last two decades, my father has helped the firm grow from a small enterprise to a firm capable of handling large international projects, and now we both feel the need to bring in someone with the know-how to lead us into international expansion and growth. As the next generation, I would like to take on that mantle from my father.

That is why I would like to step out and upskill myself via an MBA to build on my understanding of media and internet-based marketing business, and also develop a more comprehensive understanding of international business practices.  I believe that Yale SOM will provide me not only the best learning experience possible but also a great alumni network with hundreds of bright young people that will represent our next generation of business partners.

Yale SOM MBA Essay 3: If any aspect of your candidacy needs further explanation (unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, promotions or recognition, etc.), please provide a brief description here. (200 words maximum)

I would like to take this opportunity and explain my extended timeline to complete my bachelor’s and my choice of recommenders. 

It took me five years to complete my bachelor’s because in my junior year, I was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals to play professional baseball.  As a professional player for a Major League Baseball team, I had to go and play a full baseball season during the spring and summer. I could then only return to campus to take a fall semester and complete my credits for graduation. Because of this setup, it took me two years to finish my final two semesters at Vanderbilt.  This is the typical timeline for professional baseball players.  

The second thing I would like to explain is the choice of my recommenders.  I chose Pryor Smartt and Zach Walker because the firm I am currently working at is owned by my father and I wanted to make sure you received honest, impartial commentary on my character. I didn’t request anyone from my baseball team to write a recommendation as I felt that wouldn’t be a typical recommendation a B-school might be looking for.  Hence, I tried staying with a professional recommendation from my brief career.

Yale SOM MBA Essay 4: If you have had any post-undergraduate gaps in full-time employment greater than three months (other than for graduate study), or if you are currently unemployed, please use the space below to provide more information. (250 words maximum)

After playing professional baseball for St. Louis Cardinals from 2016-2019, I was released in early April of 2019.  For the next couple of months,  I focused intensely on my training while trying to get re-signed by another Major League Baseball team.  

For 2 months I trained at a biomechanics lab in Seattle that specializes in pitching mechanics design to both improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injury.  After that, I was signed to an independent professional team in St. Paul Minnesota called the St. Paul Saints. 

I arrived in St. Paul in early August 2019 but unfortunately was plagued by the same injuries I had been dealing with for the prior few years.  It was at this time that I came to accept that while I would always love the game of baseball, my body was no longer fit for the job.  At that point, I decided it would be best to retire from baseball, and immediately I went to my first job at Lead Capital Partners in Nashville.

I was released from the St. Louis Cardinal in early April of 2019.  For the months of April through August of that year, I trained and tried to get re-signed by another MLB team.  The first move I made was to go train at a biomechanics lab in Seattle that specializes in pitching mechanics design to both improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injury.  After I left there, I was signed to an independent professional team in St. Paul Minnesota called the St. Paul Saints.  I arrived in St. Paul in early August but unfortunately was plagued by the same injuries I had been dealing with for the prior few years.  It was at this time that I came to accept that while I would always love the game of baseball, my body was no longer fit for the job.  From there I immediately went to my first job at Lead Capital Partners in Nashville.

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Yale SOM MBA Winning Sample Essays – 2

Yale SOM MBA Essay 1: Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (not more than 500 words)

I come from a family with a rich history of business owners and we have one of India’s largest accounting firms. The biggest commitment I have made is to move away from my family business and have an independent career. This is significant because my decision to not follow my family’s legacy, almost broke my family up and I would like to share my journey below.

My grandfather was one of the first few Chartered Accountants in India, who started an accounting firm in the early 1960s. My father took over the helm and grew the firm to be one of India’s fifth-largest accounting firms in India with an employee base of around 200. I was expected to be the third generation Chartered Accountant to further grow our firm to match the likes of the Big Four.

Inspired by my grandfather, the idea of business appealed to me at a very early age. During my bachelor’s, I went on to pursue a six-month internship at a social education technology start-up. After my social education internship, I came back to my father’s firm and continued pursuing Chartered Accountancy but failed my accounting exams twice. 

This was the first time I had ever failed an examination in my life and a lot of introspection made me realize that I was just not passionate about the accounting field. I wanted to step outside of accountancy; this decision created a rift between me and my parents. My girlfriend was the only person who supported me, hence, my parents presumed that she had influenced my decision. This further increased the tension in my family to the extent that I decided to leave my parents’ home. I believe not being able to fulfill my parents’ expectations was the biggest failure of my life.

After moving out of my family business, I joined Deloitte as a consultant. At Deloitte, regular interactions with CEOs and senior management taught me a lot about business processes, and the mindset required to handle a business crisis. Simultaneously, I also started working on the idea of a medical education technology start-up. Launching my own business has always been my childhood dream and I was fascinated by the revolution in the Indian education sector with the advent of ed-tech companies such as Byju’s. 

This year, I took a bold decision to resign from Deloitte amidst this pandemic and begin working on my start-up on a full-time basis. The ed-tech market was booming during lockdowns and we reached a user base of 2000+ within 3 months. The success I achieved on my own terms also helped me finally reconcile with my parents and they even accepted my relationship and we are scheduled to get engaged next year.

I am proud of the fact that I didn’t compromise my ambition for the sake of a family legacy, although it was a risk I took to move away from the business but looking backward, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

Yale SOM MBA Essay 2: How did you arrive at these career interests? How have you or how will you position yourself to pursue them? (250 words maximum)

In 2016, my internship at a social education technology (Ed-Tech) start-up is what first ignited my interest in the potential of the ed-tech space. Later in 2018, I worked on a thought leadership project in Deloitte for the Indian education sector, where I found that the Indian ed-tech market is growing at an exponential rate of 44% YoY.

Inspired by my previous experiences and the booming Indian market, in 2018, My friend and I started Surgypedia, with the vision of teaching surgery to medical students through experiential learning methods such as artificial intelligence-driven mock surgeries.

COVID-19 imposed lockdowns forced traditional test preparation institutes to shut down classes and the entire market shifted to online education. This presented an opportunity for exponential growth, so I left Deloitte and started focusing on Surgypedia full-time. 

Currently, with a team of 19 members, we have partnered with five medical colleges. We already have a user base of 2000+ in a short span of three months, and our short-term plan is to increase our existing 5% market share to 25% in India before expanding overseas into the US market. 

In order to do that, we would like to seek proper mentorship and guidance and if I get selected to the Yale MBA program, I would love to incubate my start-up at the Yale SOM Entrepreneurship program. At Yale, the Startup Founders Practicum and the business education will provide a conducive environment for me to nurture my start-up, and grow it into a successful business.

Yale SOM MBA Essay 3: 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)

I applied to Yale SOM in 2018 for the MBA program with only two years of experience. After the rejection, I visited the Yale SOM campus and talked to current students to understand better the qualities and skills Yale MBA looks for.

Since then, in terms of professional growth, I got two more promotions at Deloitte and grew into a team lead position where I was leading a team of 6 consultants. I also quit Deloitte to work full-time on a medical ed-tech startup where I am now leading a team of 15 people. These experiences have helped me develop my leadership skills and client management skills.

Also, in the last two years, I got the opportunity to lead several international projects in Southeast Asia and the United States, which exposed me to many different cultures. These experiences enabled me to be a more diverse individual. 

During my visit to the campus, I also attended a class on entrepreneurship, and now I strongly believe that I am prepared and ready for business education. I am also confident that Yale SOM will be the best fit for nurturing my entrepreneurship goals through its diverse and collaborative environment.

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