Why I’ve Decided To Pass On A Higher Ranked School & Go To Yale

The past few days have witnessed a resounding upswelling of enthusiasm from readers. First of all, thank you!  I have also received emails from other prospectives lost in the Vortex of Decisions, asking: “BUT WHY!?”

While my decision is unambiguously clear to me, I realize I have fully elucidated why, at the end of the day, Yale not only won me over, but skyrocketed to the top of my list, leaving no doubt in my mind that I had made the right decision. So fellow admits, waitlisters, and rejects, please let me know if I have explained my reasons well enough after this post. I am happy to continue to expound and extol. If you’re here, I assume you like that side of me. So onwards and upwards!

It’s funny because I don’t see my decision as abrupt at all. It was all very natural. But since you all aren’t mind readers (or are you?), I will happily explain the factors that led me to this point:

  • Yale is the MOST social-impact focused of any school in the world. They also have the resources to prove it (loan forgiveness and specialized career services) and a culture that stands by it (huge percentage of non-profit people and education and Net Impact clubs). These factors compelled me to apply to Yale, and now they are among the many reasons I will be matriculating.
  • Yale visits and events have been incredible. From the prospective student event in October, featuring 20 smart, articulate, and accomplished alums, to my interview on campus and recent San Francisco admit events, I have been impressed by the ease with which I have connected with current and future students. My interview at Yale felt really natural; I pranced about campus giddily despite the brisk, wintry wind; and I have loved the highly engaging conversations with students.
  • The campus is beautiful. (I know, how superficial can you get?) But if I’m going to spend 12 hours a day locked inside, I’d rather it was in Evans P. Hall. I walked around and could so easily imagine myself there. Additionally, New Haven has great restaurants and easy access to New York City.
  • Yale is the gayest school ever. Really, it is. Even though you hets probably had no idea (yes, we really use that word to mean straight people), Yale is indeed the gay ivy. Not coincidentally, it’s well known for offering amazing benefits for LGBT students and staff. See, even the alumni magazine noticed. I’m enamored with Yale’s evolution and positive impact in gay circles. Plus, living in San Francisco the past few years, I’m going to be frightened and overwhelmed by the preponderance of straight people. This is a gross exaggeration (notice I said exaggeration not lie, I am a little bit nervous about it…ha!). That said, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m the MOST hyperbolic person you’ll ever meet. Ever.
  • The people at Yale are doing the things I want to do. The career center and admissions people have connected me with fabulous alums and career students who have enthusiastically supported my ideas and given my more food for thought in the past weeks than I’ve had in 5 years!

All these points have greatly contributed to my decision, but really at the end of the day it was about the people. I fit in with the Yalies and already count some of them as friends. My visits there primed the pumps and recent events have sealed the deal.Also, they have an ice hockey team. I mean, duh!

So there you have it.  Go bulldogs!

Sassafras is a 30-year-old MBA applicant who works for a San Francisco-based non-profit organization with a primary focus on youth development and education. With a 730 GMAT and a 3.4 grade point average from a highly ranked liberal arts college, he currently blogs at MBA: My Break Away? His previous posts for Poets&Quants:

A Non-Traditional Candidate Reflects On Why He Wants An MBA
The Round One Days Dwindle Down To A Precious Few
Common Questions From The Helpless, Hapless & Hopeless
The Business School Waiting Game
Cultivating Great Leaders or Great Changers: The Mission of Business Schools
Undoing My Scarcity Paradigm
A Partner’s Perspective On The MBA Application Journey
My Round Two Strategy
Rejection From Stanford–An Acceptance From Yale
An Acceptance From Kellogg Leads To Some Soul Searching
Weighing Kellogg vs. Yale: Which School Would You Choose?
Now Into The Next Stage Of His B-School Path: The Network

  • AH

    I am applying this year and have made the unorthodox choice of not applying for any school on the east coast except for Yale. I do live in SF by the way and can relate to you better.

  • FidelA

    I am a Christian with traditional American values and am disgusted by Dan’s ignorance. I’m sorry Sassafras, for his comments.

  • Thanks so much. I’m grateful to have you as an ally! 🙂

  • Caligula is mostly known for beastiality and incest–MUCH more common among the “traditional Americans” you speak of. #IJS #sheepanyone?

  • Lena Horowitz

    Agreed. I see your point. It is just that homophobia annoys me greatly. I am an ally of the LGBT community and damn proud of it if I may say so. Besides this is about your success (and my envy :P) and I felt that this should celebrate that. Also many congratulations! I used to live in CT and went up to New Haven all the time to escape the monotony of the nearby suburbs.

  • Lena, I definitely appreciate your comment, so thank you. Nonetheless, I disagree that this comment should be deleted. Homophobia is a real and entrenched problem. If we delete comments like this, we’ll forget that that’s true. In his eyes (and in many others’ eyes) I’m a degenerate because I’m gay. I don’t want to pretend that society welcomes LGBT people with open arms.

  • Lena Horowitz


    Can you please have this comment deleted. Not only is this extremely pointless but patently offensive.

    @Dan Nowhere in the admissions process do they ask what religion you are. They at best ask for your ethnicity. Also at most business schools international students are a minority. Duke probably has the highest proportion and that comes to about 40%. Most other schools have smaller numbers. Clearly, there are more domestic students given ‘chances’ than international ones. If you must make statements like these atleast get your facts right. This isnt the kind of community that welcomes these comments. try foxnews.com.. Also how well do you know Sassafras to call him a degenerate and a hippy?

  • Thanks, Ron. You’re too kind to say those things. We will keep in touch.

  • Yes, John has a way of adding sex to a headline lol. Its not THAT shocking, though. Its Yale. The math is simple. Every other program at Yale is top 5 in what it does. And now the school is investing to get the b-school to that level. In the long run, I’d put my money in Yale any day or putting it into Northwestern. They are both fantastic school, but only Harvard has more pure financial resources than Yale. If social enterprise is what you want, Stanford is probably the only school that it would make sense to consider or Yale. Congratulations.

  • Ron

    I’m so happy for you, Sassafras! It’s been so much fun following your journey on here the past few months – you have made the applying, the waiting, and the agonizing bearable – and even enjoyable. I wish you all the best at Yale and beyond. Let’s keep in touch!

    @99974af6bd5d4155124e745ec0213624:disqus Whether there are better, worse, or equally qualified individuals is
    irrelevant. This is no one’s journey but Sassafras’s, who has a real vision for how an MBA will propel him towards his goal of closing the achievement gap in *our* country. That Sassafras secured spots in two of the top MBA programs is testament only to his passion, his commitment, and his outstanding qualifications. Those individuals “passed over” are on their own journeys, so let them be. If they are passionate about promoting certain values, implementing strategies to improve the country in ways they see fit, or securing spots in top MBA programs, then they will. Don’t you worry about them.

  • InterestedParty

    this comment should be deleted. I may not agree with a certain lifestyle, but I don’t think you should insult someone either. That isn’t Christian, since you invoked religion, which is equally ridiculous as well.

  • Dan

    It’s a sad day when traditional family and American values are replaced by these hippy and degenerate values. Little wonder the country is in the state it is in. There is no hope for the future either because our PC society will deem it fit to give Sassafras opportunities over other better qualified, Christian and traditional Americans. Wonder how many well qualified domestic kids with traditional values were passed over so Caligula can go and frolic around New Haven?

  • But did I go right, sir? 🙂 I’m excited to see if I win my bet on where you’re going!

  • Haha, I love John’s editorializing of the headline. I guess I don’t think of my decision as dramatic, but I’m sure most people would choose Kellogg just for the ranking. They’re probably flabbergasted by my strange decision. Well, for most people Kellogg wouldn’t be the wrong choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right one!

    I will add this though: if you want to play ranking games, Yale is #1 for non-profit management according to US News. Despite this factoid, I wholly admit that Kellogg is the better reputed business school.

    If anyone wants to follow up, you’re welcome to email me at sassafras@mybreakaway.com. You could click through to my blog to find this information, but for convenience’ sake, here it is! (Isn’t that the most beautifully awkward use of an apostrophe in the English language?)

  • I said to myself a while ago that Yale would be the choice. Congrats man. You certainly can’t go wrong with Yale.