Do you weigh different parts of the application?
We don’t have a fixed weighting. Most schools use the proverbial holistic approach. We have a general sense of how we view each element, but the way I describe it to applicants, each data point will mean something different depending on what your profile is. We can’t have a fixed weighting because someone with a quantitative background in investment banking, for example, will look differently than someone with a liberal arts background who is in the social sector. We take that all into account.
There had been some concern that Yale would shift its mix of private enterprise and social sector candidates to favor more traditional MBA applicants. Has that changed much in recent years?
We haven’t fully run the latest numbers yet. But my sense is it probably is on par with past years but maybe slightly lower. Typically. 20% of the incoming class comes from the social sector. I think it’s probably in the high teens this year, but I still want to run the numbers to get a firm sense of that.
Ted has been very clear that we do have a multi-sector mission so he doesn’t want to abandon the social sector. But he wants to make sure we have a good balance. I think we are in a pretty good place.
So what happens to an application once its comes into the School of Management’s admissions office?
This year the journey might be a little different because we are adding the video component to our application. That is something we have been testing for the past three years. We have done it with individual rounds to try and figure out how it should work. This is the first year we are rolling it out for the entire season. So that will affect the review, and we will probably have to play around with it a bit to see what works best.
This year, for the first round, people will submit their application and then they will be invited to complete the video questions. They will have a short time, probably a week or so, to do that.
What we do is sit down and review the entire pool to help us calibrate. We actually do this as a committee. We go through and look at the key data points for everybody so we have not just a sense of what the averages are but what the candidates look like.
That’s unusual. So even before there is a first read, there is a committee read?
Yep. It is different and it doesn’t take long. It’s not meant to be a substantive review. It’s meant to help us get a view of what the pool looks like.
How many members of the committee are there?
We have seven committee member sand we do use a handful of outside seasonal readers and we invite them to participate in this review as well.
So as a committee you’re looking at the basics, I presume: the median and average GMAT scores, the GPA record, gender, geography, and work experience?
We have the top level numbers but we also have a dashboard for each candidate. So we are looking at every applicant’s profile, their grades and scores, undergraduate major and institution, work history, activities they’ve identified, their recommendation ratings. It’s all summarized in a snapshot and it’s pretty robust. Again, it’s not a substantive review. We are not reading the essays or the recommendations at this point. We are just getting a sense of the profile.
We also take some action in this review. We invite to interview early on in the round even before a full review. If you went to Yale, have a 760 GMAT and work at McKinsey, we probably want to talk to this person. So we’ll invite them in and have a conversation. It’s also meant to keep the process moving forward logistically so we’re not creating a bottleneck later on. This way we can spread people out across the round.
What percentage of candidates in any given round get invited to interview?
It varies by round. Probably a third or more of the people we invite are off the bat from this early committee review. It speaks to the quality of our pool. I think we have some very strong people who we know we at least want to have a conversation even if it doesn’t ultimately result in an offer of admission. These people still get two full reads. That is as much a timing issue to help smooth the process for us. But they don’t get a separate process. They come to committee for the actual decision.
Do you discard any applicants during this early committee review?
We do identify a set of candidates who for whatever reason seem less competitive. They will still get a read. Typically, it’s a candidate with a 350 GMAT or something like that but we still want to make sure everyone is viewed twice. So no decision is made unilaterally by one individual. And usually, for those people who we tend to have concerns about, I tend to be the second reader because I want to see if there’s anything that jumps out that is rehabilitating.