The MBA Gatekeeper At Yale SOM

Yale's incoming MBA students in the Class of 2016

Yale’s incoming MBA students in the Class of 2016

How often do you get Round 1 applications that look like a good candidate shot themselves in the foot by scrambling to meet that deadline, rather than waiting for Round 2?

That happens occasionally. I feel as though applicants have gotten. My anecdotal sense is that applicants have gotten a lot savvier about knowing they should not rush. In past years, I did see applications that maybe weren’t fully cooked, maybe could have marinated longer. I feel like I see less of that now.  I feel like applicants have gotten better about putting their best foot forward, even if that’s in a later round.

With the GMAT, rushing to take that test to get it in by the deadline, that’s probably the main thing that I see – not giving themselves enough time to study. To the extent that we do see that people may be rushing to meet the Round 1 deadline, that’s probably the reason we see more frequently than others.

How did you get your applications up 25% in the latest cycle over the previous one?

We’re obviously very pleased. I don’t know that we’d be able to sustain that every year. It was probably a convergence of a number of circumstances, a number of factors. The school has had a pretty strongly positive momentum for a few years. That’s continued and if anything accelerated. (Admissions has) moved into a nice new building that I think has garnered some attention. We’ve really tried to increase our engagement and our outreach.

How has the SOM’s recent climb in rankings changed the number and quality of applicants?

That’s probably true as well. We have seen some positive results over several years, and this year we did see some jumps as well, and I think that certainly helps. I hope that’s not the reason why someone would choose one school over another, because rankings are a very rough instrument.

The (applicant) pool has been relatively consistent in terms of the breakdown of applicants. We’ve seen an increase in the quality over the past several years, and that’s something that has continued this year. We’ve seen an increase in international applicants. It’s not just an increase in numbers; usually we’re roughly 50/50 U.S. versus non-U.S. This year, it’s a little bit more non-U.S. than U.S. There’s been an increase in the diversity of the international applicants: we’ve seen applicants from more different countries. We’ve been able to assemble an incoming class that has more diversity than in years past, in terms of the number of countries represented.

You’ve increased student populations significantly from three years ago – will you continue to expand?

This is coming from Dean Snyder: we want to hold that class size steady for the next few years. There’s a sense that we need to not just keep growing. Part of the culture of the school is we’re on the smaller size in terms of class size. We’re one of the smaller full-time MBA programs, and I think that is one aspect of the experience here. It’s an intimate culture and environment; everybody knows everybody. We don’t want to grow too large. We have grown a good bit. We want to make sure that we’re able to deliver the curriculum, deliver on our programming, and execute these things in an effective way. Focusing on the execution as opposed to being in constant growth mode is an important aspect of where we are now.