Meet Yale SOM’s MBA Class of 2018

First-year MBAs in the Class of 2018 at Yale University's School of Management

First-year MBAs in the Class of 2018 at Yale University’s School of Management

Mission Accomplished?

It may be premature to pop the cork, but no one can say that Dean Ted Snyder hasn’t been busy. After taking the reins in 2011, Snyder, who made the Booth School of Business a constant among the world’s top five MBA programs, pledged to do the same for the Yale School of Management. That’s no small feat, considering the b-school elite changes as often as incumbent politicians lose their seats.  Based on Snyder’s early returns, however, Yale is well on its way.


Just look at Dean Snyder’s five-year track record. In 2012, he organized the Global Network for Advanced Management, a consortium of 28 top business schools ranging from INSEAD to the University of Ghana. Pooling their resources, members offer course exchanges, projects, and cases that enable students to build expertise in regional economies and cultures. Two years later, Snyder fulfilled the school’s dream of collecting the business school community in a single location by opening Evans Hall. A 250,000 square foot glass fusion of classical and futuristic architecture, replete with sunny interior walkways, elliptical classrooms, and spacious central courtyard, the building embodies the program’s multidisciplinary and communitarian spirit. In the process, he has launched a new leadership program, boosted investment in entrepreneurial education, and launched new dual degree programs to leverage the assets of the larger Yale community.

The numbers tell the real story, however. Since Snyder’s arrival in New Haven, class sizes have increased by over 100 students, with annual applications increasing by nearly 700 students annually. To put it another way, there were 11 applicants for every available seat, a higher ratio than Ivies like Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Dartmouth. Key inputs like GMAT scores and undergraduate GPAs have also risen, as have the percentage of women and international students. Demand and quality aren’t the only areas where Yale has excelled under Snyder. Take outputs like pay. The Class of 2015, for example, saw its median starting pay jump nearly 10% to $146,480 in one year, with over 93% of the class nabbing offers within three months of graduation. As a result, the program earned its highest-ever ranking with U.S. News MBA rankings at #8, topping traditional competitors like Columbia and Duke in the process.

Indeed, Yale SOM has acted as a market disruptor in recent years. In response, some critics have dismissed the program as a flash in the pan, with its “save the world” student body and obsession with ranking-friendly inputs. If the Class of 2018 is any indication, the school is just getting warmed up.


Yale SOM students

Yale SOM students

Who is the Class of 2018? Think of 334 well-traveled, big thinking risk-takers who’ve come to business school, in the words of Steve Jobs, “to put a dent in the universe.” Vance C. Lewis, a Teach For America veteran, probably fits the spirit of the class best, calling himself, “a status quo challenger who pushes himself and others mentally and socially to create change.”  He shares a kinship with Viveca Morris, a North Carolina native who’s “all-in for building a world that treats animals and humans with compassion and decency.” Looking for a woman for all seasons? Check out Sarah Cedeño, who describes herself this way: “Undercover introvert. Coffee-junkie. Netflix-binger. Grounded by my faith and rejuvenated by family and beachside meditation.” In a mission-driven institution like Yale SOM, it’s no surprise that students would also come to campus with deeply-entrenched values. Here are the four principles that guide Nate Micon, a former consultant from IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton, lives by: “Friends and family first, challenge yesterday’s boundaries, keep exploring, coffee.”

Ah, the stories they could tell. Talk about a whirlwind life since graduation: Emily Burchinow has made six cross-continent moves in the past five years. When it comes time for a sixth, perhaps she should huddle with Julian Gomes, who has visited 43 countries (listing Cuba and Cambodia as his favorites). Webber Xu will be in heaven come January, after being one of the first Shanghai residents to learn how to play hockey (in a frozen swimming pool, no less). Mexico’s Olivia Sánchez Badini could star on an episode of Hoarders: “I used to be a major collector of… stuff. Random stuff! I have collections of antique keys, Barbies with closed lips, post stamps, Snoopies, beach sand, banknotes from foreign countries, and (unopened) special edition soda cans.”

 “I can say that it’s as strong and diverse a class as I have seen in my 12 years at Yale SOM,” said Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean of admissions, in an August interview with Poets&Quants. “I’ve also been impressed with how well the class has gelled even in their short time here at Yale. I have already had a number of faculty and staff comment on this fact — as well as the overall quality of the class — so I think it’s going to be a special group.”


Their accomplishments speak for themselves. Burchinow was a driving force behind Old Navy’s entry into the Chinese market. Chris Frerichs achieved his childhood dream by spending a decade as a Navy SEAL, culminating in his promotion to Naval Special Warfare Development Group. Gomes has grown accustomed to rarified air, “presenting financial information to government committees, senior management of partner companies, and high-net worth stakeholders (think Forbes rich list).” In the Peace Corps, Yihanna von Ritter pushed legislation that resulted in greater transparency and accountability for political representatives in the Paraguay city of Encarnación. At the same time, Nina Straathof was instrumental in helping to reform Dutch health care. Through her efforts, physicians are now incented on the quality instead the quantity of care, saving the country tens of millions of dollars.

Such efforts are in keeping with past classes, adds DelMonico. “Each incoming class strikes me by their collective commitment to the mission and values of the school.  This year is no different.  The incoming class shares a desire to further the school’s mission to educate leaders for business and society, and to do so with a spirit of collaboration, transparency, and mutual support.”

Yale School of Management admissions chief Bruce DelMonico

Yale School of Management admissions chief Bruce DelMonico

It was also a banner class by the numbers. The school received 3,649 applications in 2015-2016, up from 3,449 the previous year (and 2,756 the year before that). That was good for a 19% acceptance rate, along with a 48% yield rate — numbers consistent with previous classes.


The class also sports an average GMAT of 725, an all-time high that places the program ahead of MIT (724) and behind only Stanford, Wharton, Harvard, Kellogg, and Booth (whose scores range from 727-733). However, Yale’s 730 median GMAT was equal to that of Harvard, Booth, and Wharton.  Its 3.63 average undergraduate GPA was also a historical landmark and an impressive step up from its 3.51 average just five years ago. It also only trailed behind Stanford (3.75), Harvard (3.67), and Berkeley Haas (3.64) among top tier American full-time MBA programs.

Along with its high selectivity and academic performance, the class ranks among the country’s most diverse. Women account for 43% of students, just a shade below Wharton and Dartmouth (44%) for top honors. This also represents an 8% upswing over the past five years. For a business school with a decidedly global bent, Yale’s percentage of international students, 46%, is higher than any T7 school outside of Columbia (48%). Even more, it is a six point improvement over the previous year and nearly double its 26% figure from the Class of 2013. Overall, the 2018 class boasts students from 46 countries. In fact, 64% of the class hails from North America, with Asia (24%), Europe (10%), Africa (7%), and South America (4%) also constituting large blocs of the class. Students of color comprise 28% of the class, with 13% being underrepresented American minorities.

Humanities and social sciences majors make up the largest portion of the 2018 class at 33%. Business majors cover the second largest share at 22% (down 3% over last year). They are followed by a relatively balanced subset of majors in economics (17%), engineering and information technology (17%), and mathematics and physical sciences (11%), numbers relatively consistent with Class of 2017. However, a sizable number of students, 16% to be exact, also hold graduate degrees, with another 14% pursuing a dual degree with their MBA. Normally, finance and consulting professionals take up the highest number of seats in daytime MBA programs — and Yale is no different. 19% of the class comes from finance, followed by consulting (16%) and non-profits (16%).

Go to next page to read 13 profiles of incoming Yale MBA students.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.