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Yale Cuts Required MBA Essays To One

Headshot of Bruce DelMonico, director of admissions at Yale's School of Management.

Bruce DelMonico, director of admissions at Yale’s School of Management

Yale University’s School of Management today (July 3) said it plans to reduce the number of required essays for admission to its MBA program to just one 500-word composition.

Yale joins an ever-increasing number of highly selective business schools that have dramatically slashed essays, word counts, and recommendations required in an MBA application. So far this year, cutbacks have been announced by Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton, and Dartmouth College’s Tuck School. Wharton also cut back to a single essay this year from two last year and three a year earlier.

In a July 3rd letter announcing the change to admission consultants, Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean and director of admissions at Yale SOM, said the change was made to put more emphasis on what the school considers most important in assessing candidates.

‘WE’RE NOT TRYING TO WATER DOWN THE APPLICATION’

“Like many other MBA programs,” wrote DelMonico, “we reduced our essay number from two essays last year to one this year. We did so not because we’re trying to water down the application but rather to focus on what we think matters most to us. As I wrote in my blog post announcing the essay (on June 19), we feel that this year’s topic really gets to the heart of what business school is about: making an impact. Our goal was very much to cut straight to the core of what we care about.”

Yale requires one MBA essay, with a word limit of 500 words:

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.

DelMonico noted that Yale added a video question element to its application last year and in the process reduced its essays somewhat to compensate. “This additional reduction is a further refinement to try to strike a harmonious balance among the various elements of our application,” he said.

YALE SAYS ANOTHER ‘INTERESTING CHANGE’ IS YET TO COME THIS SEASON

Yale intends to put its new application online by July 15–and DelMonico hinted that there likely will be one more surprising wrinkle. “There will be no new application elements this year, but we do have one interesting change that we feel is of note,” he said. “I will send a follow-up email once the application is live with details on what that change is (a little suspense . . . ).”

For the Class of 2015, Yale received 2,826 applications, accepted 601 candidates, and enrolled a class of 291 students, up from 249 the previous year. That worked out to an acceptance rate of 21.3%. The average GMAT score for the class was 717, with an average undergraduate GPA of 3.55. The school has yet to announce its numbers for the Class of 2016.

Yale SOM’s first-round deadline this year is Sept. 18, with notification on Dec. 8. The school set a round-two deadline of Jan. 8, with notification on March 27, and a third-round cutoff of April 23, with notification May 25.

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About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.