The MBA Gatekeeper At Yale SOM

Yale School of Management students

Review your application. Go over your resume, go over your essays, know what you said, be able to answer those basic behavioral questions that you will likely get, such as having a sense of your past experiences, some things you have accomplished in your professional career, challenges you’ve faced, obstacles you’ve overcome, teamwork examples, those kinds of things.

Show up on time. Ninety-five per cent of the people, that’s not an issue, but that sort of puts that other 5% into starker relief.

How do you answer the ‘What are weaknesses?’ question without looking weak?

You don’t want to give a false weakness that you’re trying to spin a strength as a weakness, like, ‘I care too much,’ or, ‘I’m too much of a perfectionist.’ We recognize that there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate, and I think applicants try to compare themselves to that perfect candidate, and think that, ‘If I show any weakness, if I’m not perfect in every way, I’m not going to be admitted.’ You’re looking to continue to improve yourself. That suggests that there are areas of your background and your profile that you’re still working on. You’re applying to business school for a reason. What are you trying to get out of it? What are you trying to improve? We know you’re coming to business school for a reason – if you help us understand what that is, that can help us connect the dots in your application, and help us understand whether you are a candidate for our program

What non-verbal cues do you watch for when doing an applicant interview?

I don’t know that we’re looking for any particular non-verbal cues. We want to make sure that you are not comporting yourself in an inappropriate way: so not putting your feet up on the table. I have had interviews where people have done that. That shows excessive comfort with the situation. We’re looking for people who have a positive affect, and positive demeanor. So, good posture. We would look for example to make sure your hand gestures are contributing to the delivery of your message and not distracting form that. Just to make sure that you’re overall presenting a positive professional picture of yourself. We’re not looking for overly polished, we’re not looking for slick. We’re just looking for an engaged personality and presentation.

If someone expresses interest in entrepreneurship, what do you look for that would suggest they have what it takes?

It is an area that people are increasingly expressing interested in. Sometimes it’s not always that someone has had an entrepreneurial career in the past. It might be that they have worked in a particular industry or a particular role and want to make that pivot. We would evaluate those candidates in the same way we would evaluate any other candidates. We don’t base admission decisions on what an applicant says that they want to do. We’re really more focused on what they’ve done to date, how they view themselves, what your motivations are for wanting to get the MBA, independent of where you see yourself going afterwards. It’s less of a focus on what you say you want to do, and more how you got to where you are now and how you’re thinking about yourself and your career going forward, in sort of a broader sense.

 

THE MBA GATEKEEPER SERIES:

THE GATEKEEPER TO UNC KENAN-FLAGLER
THE GATEKEEPER TO GEORGETOWN MCDONOUGH
THE GATEKEEPER TO NYU STERN
THE GATEKEEPER TO CORNELL JOHNSON
THE GATEKEEPER TO DUKE FUQUA
THE GATEKEEPER TO BERKELEY HAAS
THE GATEKEEPER TO HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL 
THE GATEKEEPER TO STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 
THE GATEKEEPER TO THE WHARTON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
THE GATEKEEPER TO THE KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
THE GATE KEEPER TO CHICAGO’S BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
THE GATEKEEPER TO MIT SLOAN
THE GATEKEEPER TO DARTMOUTH’S TUCK SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
THE GATEKEEPER TO MICHIGAN’S ROSS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 
THE GATEKEEPER TO CORNELL’S JOHNSON GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
THE GATEKEEPER TO YALE’S SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
THE GATEKEEPER TO LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL
THE GATEKEEPER TO CAMBRIDGE JUDGE
THE GATEKEEPER TO THE INDIAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS