Yale SOM MBA Application Essay for 2019-20
Yale SOM Essay 1: Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)
Yale SOM MBA Winning Sample Essays – 1
Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)
Dropping out of high school was the most difficult decision I had to make as a teenager, but a medical condition did not leave me much choice. While the taste of failure was bitterly devastating at first, it dawned on me that dropping out of school was not going to be how my story ends. I resolved to take charge of my learning process, eventually achieving a perfect SAT score and receiving admissions letters from top universities in the US and Korea. I chose to pursue joint degrees in law and business in college, and to serve as an officer in the Korean Air Force to capture the opportunity to play an active role in Korea’s defense and diplomacy sector.
It was during my military service that I became deeply fascinated by the aerospace industry with its knowledge intensive nature and reliance on multinational cooperation. I realized that while Korea was an economic force in industries such as consumer electronics, it was lagging behind in the aerospace arena. I decided to I embark on my biggest life commitment and pursue my passion by joining Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), where I served as lead negotiator in the largest joint aerospace program in the history of Korea and Indonesia to develop over 100 fighter jets.
In the course of the negotiations, I learned that the Indonesian officials felt disrespected due to the apparent indifference of the Korean government which appointed a private entity (KAI) to negotiate on their behalf. With this knowledge, I managed to persuade the company leadership to seek a more proactive engagement from the Korean government beyond their supervisory role. While I was criticized for my unconventional approach from the standpoint of an Asian corporate culture, I steered the direction of this multi-billion dollar negotiation toward a mutual agreement. As a result, the company stock hit a record high, increasing four times in value within three months. KAI was decorated with the 1st Class Order of Industrial Service Merit and two Presidential Awards, and my team received the CEO’s recognition for the most outstanding performance of the year. I was promoted 4 years in advance.
My role in leading multi-billion dollar international contract negotiations made me realize my lack of knowledge in core business skills like finance, marketing and entrepreneurship. At Yale, I seek to navigate my path toward fulfilling my commitment to nurturing Korea’s aerospace industry by developing business insight and building a strong professional network that will form the foundation to enable me to lead the growth of Korea’s aerospace industry in the future. Beyond the classroom, I look forward to engaging with likeminded students who share my passion for the aerospace industry in the Yale aerospace/aviation club.
Above all else, I want to grow as a business leader and to harness the possible, the available, and the feasible to create the impossible, the unavailable, and the unfeasible. I am ready to take the first step to fulfilling my vision to steer the Korean aerospace machine toward its golden age.
Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)
The biggest commitment I have ever made is to learning the Spanish language. From a young age, I learned that Spanish, with over 500 million speakers in a number of countries worldwide, would be a crucial language to learn in an era of increasing globalization. In addition, I recognized that Spanish-speakers represented a rapidly growing portion of the U.S. population, and developing my proficiency in the language would serve me well no matter which career path I chose. I soon found that Spanish became my favorite class.
In high school, I had the opportunity to host a Chilean exchange student, Agustin, who did not speak any English. My Spanish proficiency paid off, as I quickly befriended Agustin and the other Chileans in his program, and decided to study in an exchange program at his school in Santiago. I fell in love with Chile during my time there, and my exchange experience inspired me to pursue a global career, and to study international affairs in college.
While my favorite class, learning another language does not come without its difficulties. When I hosted Agustin in the United States, and later, traveled to Chile, we met significant challenges. Studying abroad in another country, especially one where few speak any English, led me to realize my Spanish proficiency was not at the level I had thought. Living in Chile with a host family forced me to not only learn advanced verb tenses such as the subjunctive tense, it allowed my to develop advanced comprehension skills. I learned that in order to master the language, I would have to become comfortable conversing with native speakers from all Spanish countries, as many countries frequently use slang.
Without understanding slang, in a country where slang is frequently used, one cannot consider themselves fluent speakers. This same principle applied to legal jargon when I worked at a law firm. While researching litigation across the Spanish-speaking world, I hired a personal tutor to smooth over my remaining grammatical deficiencies, and to better understand convoluted legal processes. I consider this personal tutoring instrumental to my development of full professional proficiency. After reaching this achievement, and engaging with the Latin American community in the United States, I realized I wanted to build on my devotion to the language, and extend it to the Latin American region.
Yale’s dedication to diversity and its unique opportunities catered to my passion for Spanish and led to my decision to pursue my MBA at Yale. In particular, I find that the program’s division into cohorts and learning teams would be the perfect way to meet students from all over the world. Additionally, I hope to actively engage with Yale’s Global Network for Advanced Management and participate in an exchange or take courses at universities such as INCAE. Finally, the opportunity to take electives across the university at large, such as courses at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, would provide an excellent supplement to a best in class business education as I pursue my goals.
Yale SOM MBA Winning Sample Essays – 2
The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization—as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent. (500 words maximum)
“CompuDoc will not be developed further because it didn’t pick up in Taiwan.” The Group CTO’s announcement was bad news for me, CompuDoc’s Product Manager in Malaysia. CompuDoc is an application for computer speedup and antivirus that faced strong competition and bad reviews in Taiwan. Management had little hope for the Malaysia market and, operating on a tight startup schedule, planned to kill CompuDoc completely in two months.
I led a team of five to carry out product development, marketing and operations in Malaysia. Achieving concrete results in such a short time with scarce resources and uncertainty about the future of the product was daunting. Morale was low: the team felt directionless without a vision from management. Leadership’s skepticism also limited the budget and made it difficult to implement any ideas we might have.
The first step I took was to set a clear vision. I disagreed with management’s pessimistic view of CompuDoc. Despite the existence of big competitors, the Malaysia market was still fairly open. Available products covered only a small portion of potential customers, specifically tech-savvy users. Identifying CompuDoc’s strengths as a free, simple and user-friendly software, I positioned the product to focus on less tech-savvy customers. Along the way, I engaged team members in market research and competitor analysis. This gave them a positive outlook and motivated them to prove the product’s potential to management.
With limited budget and human resources, I decided that the most cost-effective way to acquire customers would be to build strong digital marketing channels. I rolled up my sleeves and led by example, teaching myself different digital marketing channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and training the marketing team on them. I built content strategy for our website and Fanpage to offer not only helpful but also fun and interactive material. This marketing strategy proved effective and increased management’s confidence, allowing us to embark on other ideas.
I also built up a culture of sharing and proactive learning in my team. I organized weekly update meetings on overall progress, encouraging team members to discuss their problems and exchange ideas. I also met one-on-one with members and worked to assess and acquire any support they needed from management. I even reached out to other Product Managers with different specialties to provide training for the team.
Within 5 months, CompuDoc reached 100,000 users—10% of the maximum user base in Malaysia. Our team impressed by maintaining our cost per acquisition at only one-fifth that of the firm’s key product. In a department meeting, the Group CTO expressed his surprise and satisfaction about our results with such limited resources. Convinced by the growth projection, management decided in January 2015 to develop major features again and double my marketing budget. Our goal is to establish CompuDoc as the most popular PC care application in Malaysia with 30 million users, and consequently monetize the user base. With the strong team I have built and my increased resources, I am confident we can achieve this ambitious goal.