Meet Yale SOM’s MBA Class of 2018


Sarah Cedeño

Yale School of Management

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Undercover introvert. Coffee-junkie. Netflix-binger. Grounded by my faith and rejuvenated by family and beachside meditation.

Hometown: Grand Terrace, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I studied abroad in Florence when Jersey Shore filmed a season there! Yes, I admit, I signed my life away in release forms to get lunch at the pizzeria where they worked

Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University, Public Policy

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

EMERGE – Houston Independent School District; Academic Program Manager

Reasoning Mind; Special Assistant to Sr. VP

YES Prep Public Schools; 6th Grade Math Teacher

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishments always relate to tackling the gray areas in any organization. I love identifying unaddressed needs with no clear solution and creating systems where none previously existed. At EMERGE, I was able to initiate a new approach to recruiting and selecting students in order to better meet our mission of serving high-need, high-achieving students and increasing retention. I’m proud of this accomplishment because I was able to obtain buy-in for my idea from all levels of the organization and it then served as the blueprint for future outreach and recruitment initiatives.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Let’s start with the GMAT. For my learning style, it was important to find a 3-month study plan that I could reasonably commit to. I used Magoosh and found the videos especially helpful to not only refresh myself on specific topics, but also to practice solving problems using a more efficient, GMAT-friendly approach. If you follow the Magoosh study plan exactly, you’ll need the Official Guide to the GMAT. I highly recommend using both resources. Magoosh will give you tools and approaches; the Official Guide will ground you in questions that are more representative of the actual exam. Don’t lose heart! The GMAT portion is grueling, but I guarantee you’ll have some breakthroughs with real score gains if you keep pushing.

If you describe yourself as “non-traditional,” stop right now. “Non-traditional” applicants tend to feel the need to defend themselves. I was very guilty of this and found the more I focused on being “non-traditional,” the more alienated I felt from the process. First, there is no longer a “traditional” B-school applicant. Second, own your experiences. They are likely very powerful and unique. Especially if you came from the social sector, your “comfort with ambiguity” will be an insanely valuable attribute in the B-school admissions process.

Talk to as many people as possible at the schools you are interested in. Ask similar questions so you have a common metric with which to compare schools.

Avoid one of the most common mistakes—namely, not having a crisp, thoughtful answer to the “Why B-school and why now?” question. In other words, your answer should clearly address why you wouldn’t be able to do what you want to do without B-school. Test this answer out with different people, especially those with an MBA, and see what resonates with the most people.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Apologies in advance, but this is going to be an extreme cliché. I chose SOM because of the people. There’s just no other way to answer this! I loved the conversations I had with SOM students—they challenged me to think about my purpose and passion over my credentials. I knew that this place would change me personally and professionally and I needed to know who this next version of myself would be after two intensive years with reflective, thoughtful, fiercely passionate individuals challenging my worldview on a daily basis.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job is one that would almost be an extension of business school because of the steep learning curve, fast-paced environment, and incredible peers. It’s a job that fulfills my desire to know that I’m making a positive impact and paying forward the generosity and sacrifices of those in my community who propelled me from a low-income life in the Inland Empire to top educational and career opportunities. With my need for a varied work environment, my achievement-oriented drive, and passion for social change, my dream career must be both challenging and purposeful. 

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? “If I could choose who to work for, I’d choose her.”

One of the main reasons I want to go to business school is to learn and practice how to lead. Leadership requires humility, mutual respect, commitment to improvement, and an ability to connect with others. My hope is that as I build relationships with my peers, I embody those traits and leave a reputation of humility, compassion, and respect.

  • avivalasvegas

    I’m glad you’re happy and satisfied. I’m also glad you made it into MBB from Tepper. Not that I respect the management consulting profession in the least, but most Principle/ EMs from MBB will tell you that they primarily recruit at the Top 10 schools to fill their annual vacancies. If they don’t fill them at the M7 schools, they go lower down the food chain.

    I believe that most prospective MBA student’s goals are similar i.e. to make money, find a great career, learn ALOT, share a classroom with really smart and capable people, earn credibility and to explore. Unless a lower ranked B school offers an edge in some way (YALE SOM has a strong non-profit niche), its unlikely that a lower ranked schools offers any of the above in any better way than a Top 10 program.

  • MBB-Associate

    I have picked Tepper over Yale for my full time MBA three years ago. I am very happy and satisfied and achieved my goals, I was working in technology, and after the MBA got into MBB in strategy. Don’t assume everyone is addict to rank or brand, a lot of reasonable people choose schools that better serve their goals and find the fit in them.

  • avivalasvegas

    You should really consider a career in standup.

  • CheongSeoHwa2

    I too chose Yale SOM over Stanford and Harvard despite the fact that I was offered full ride at both schools. But I went to Yale SOM with no money because I knew it is better in rank, prestige, employers perceptions, and much better brand in asia as well. You are not alone my friend who chose Yale SOM over all the M7 schools. You and I are excellent examples of visionary students who know the future of the business and know certainly that Yale SOM is the best business school on earth.

  • CheongSeoHwa

    I choose SOM over Booth, Wharton, Kellogg & MIT. I offered full ride at Wharton but I know SOM higher rank more better brand, especially in Asia Yale much better brand than lower rank Wharon non-M7

  • WizK

    with all due respect, I believe it is stupid idea to consider such selection. Columbia is better than Michigan by all measures.

  • WizK

    pure business education perspective, Kenan Flagler, Tepper, and Emory all better than Yale.

  • avivalasvegas

    But I’m not sipping’ on the hatorade. I like Yale SOM and think it deserves the 10th spot. But only a fool would chose Yale over Kellogg and SOM.

  • WizK

    No, only Duke or Michigan can replace CBS for M7.

  • avivalasvegas

    lol. Gotta love the “who cares” response. Perhaps the students who turned down HAAS and went to an M7? I’m willing to bet that number’s pretty high. That being said, if there was one school that could unseat CBS from the no.7 position, it would be HAAS, so I’m waving the pom poms too.

  • Norbert Weiner

    Haters gonna hate

  • Norbert Weiner

    Haters gonna hate

  • Randski

    It’s true Haas isn’t part of the M7. But who cares? Haasies don’t care at all.
    Almost everyone, as in almost everyone, if not everyon, at Berkeley Haas has been admitted to at least one M7 school. Plenty of students at Haas have turned down Sloan, Columbia and Booth. There’s also a considerable number of students who have turned down Wharton. The only business schools that have consistently beat Haas are Stanford and HBS. People who are drown to technopreneurship are making Haas as their top choice when they’re unlucky with their Stanford GSB admissions.

  • avivalasvegas

    HAAS isn’t M7 and is superior to Tuck only in its location.

  • avivalasvegas

    Sure there are. There’s tons of people who make bad decisions out there every day. I mean, just look at the political race going on right now. No worries, you’ll be fine as long as you land on your feet.

  • avivalasvegas

    My alma matter? But both schools are bitter rivals. Are you accusing me of promoting my school AND my school’s rival ahead of Wharton? Now that would be exceedingly gracious of me now wouldn’t it?

  • Randski

    I don’t see a compelling reason for Yale SOM to overtake Berkeley HAAS.
    All stats would lead to Berkeley HAAS as the superior program, and the gap is huge.
    Haas admitted just 11% of the applicants this year. When will SOM ever reach to that level? If and when it does, Haas maybe admitting just seven or six percent.
    There isn’t anything Yale SOM provides that Berkeley Haas doesn’t or couldn’t. Haas grads can get into Wall Street — just that the vast majority of Haas grads would rather stay in the Bay, just like Stanford GSB grads do. But there are always invitation, so Haas grads don’t run out of offers from WS. On the other hand, Yale SOM or even Yale, as a whole, doesn’t get much respect in the Bay, specially in Silicon Valley. It doesn’t have a strong tech, innovation and engineering culture. And, doesn’t have a strong alumni presence in the area. It also doesn’t help that SOM’s location, New Haven, is a dull, ugly and lifeless place… The Bay Area is bustling and booming, and has always something going on for it.

  • Randski

    I don’t agree with the order. I am in the opinion that it is more acceptable this way:
    MIT Sloan, Chicago BOOTH, Berkeley HAAS, Columbia
    Kellogg, Tuck
    Yale, Fuqua, Stern,

  • dergo

    First : No one asked for your agreement.
    Second : Yale don’t need your support or praise. In fact, they are ashamed that their fans are of your quality.
    Third: Cornell don’t care about trolls like you. In fact, they are amused that people bashing them are of your quality.
    Fourth: YOU and I know, readers know, yale and cornell know, and prospective students know that you are a loser.
    stop and get a life.

  • TrollFinder

    Calling you out. You sound as bad as somsquared and others who troll! Yale SOM is terrific but so is Cornell Johnson in its own right. To call Cornell 5th tier is ridiculous. Also to mock great schools like CMU and Vanderbilt seems better suited to College Confidential trolls. Cheers!

  • ghost

    Well I agree with the above commentary: most regard Cornell as a 5th tier school, possibly even worse than Vandy/CMU. SOM is ranked properly at #8 in USNews, however with the gains they’ve been making I won’t be surprised when they’re in the top 3-5 within the next decade.

  • eddysham

    I believe he is a Yale student. He is trying to do it the other way. stupid.

  • DoubtIt

    If your claimed background is true (which I seriously question), you would do well to represent such an amazing University by not mocking or hitting out at other fantastic universities as Yale. Your negative comments about other schools weaken instead of strengthen Cornell.

  • BullDogAp

    Ultimate troll ^^^^

    Congrats SOM. Incredible class. This program is bonafide top 10 and will be top 5 eventually. As a Yale undergrad I didn’t consider SOM in my long term plans but am now definitely adding it to my decision set. I just hope I can get there while Snyder is still Dean.

  • somsquared

    LOL whatever bro! I am a Cornell Student and damn proud. I have been mocking SOM students because they think they are better than everyone else because they now send 50 kids a year to MBB and are ranked top 10. Like people actually care…the quality of your research from professors is poor and you have no entrepreneurship track to speak of.

    Cornell was ranked 2nd behind GSB for entrepreneurship programs. Now that we have combined with the hotel school we will probably challenge other top management programs like Darden and HBS in Management ranking.

  • ReolanJii

    still keeping up this act? We know you went to Johnson…why can’t you just pretend to be happy with your school.

    BTW I got into CBS, Kellogg and SOM and choose SOM. You can troll all you want but that is the truth and I know many more like me.

  • bunny101

    I agree somsquared is a troll, but he/she is correct in saying that SOM belongs in the same tier as Booth, Tuck, etc. I know several people who chose SOM over schools like Booth/HBS, etc.

  • Orange

    Not sure what your problem is buddy. Despite what you seem to think, I have no beef with Cornell or any other school- just this guy who keeps trying to damage SOM’s good name.

  • DoubtIt

    Cheers! Despite his/her repeated rants, SOMSQUARED could not be a Cornell or Yale student or alum! Real affiliates from either of those two great universities would never speak the way he/she does.

  • Warren

    both of you belong to neither Cornell nor Yale. Both of you are not a material of those two great universities. Both of you are losers.

  • Orange

    Yawn. You’ve already admitted several places on this site that you’re a Cornell alum trolling SOM. I would recommend at least changing your username again (maybe you can go back to using USNewsFan) if you want people to think you are actually an SOM alum.

  • somsquared

    This is amazing! Best class profile so far. SOM will be #2-#4 in USNEWS very very soon. Highest MBBBBVEPC placement and superior to lower tier schools like Booth/Tuck.

  • Orange

    SOM alum here- I think the top of your list is probably about right, though I don’t necessarily agree with the order. I would put Wharton between HBS and Booth, and would also probably say Kellogg=MIT=Columbia. I think it’s probably more like Yale / Fuqua / Ross, with Stern / Darden / Anderson right behind them.

    Other than the occasional poster pretending to be an SOM alum, you’ll find that most alums are pretty rational when it comes to our place in the rankings. The M7 have a lot of advantages that will be challenging for SOM to overcome. Yale’s MBA alumni network is small, given that the school has been around only since the 1970s. We don’t have a ton of millionaires and billionaires among our alumni ranks who can donate a building at the drop of a hat.

    I could see SOM passing Tuck and Haas in the next few years, but even that will be tough. IIRC, Tuck has the oldest MBA program in the US, so has a deep alumni pool, while Haas will continue to be buoyed by its proximity to Silicon Valley.

    Dean Snyder could make it happen, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

  • Spartan 22

    Gotta love the subtle Wharton trolling.

    So you did a “Top 3” MBA and then put Booth and Kellogg in front of Wharton? That looks suspiciously like an attempt at cheerleading your alma mater.

  • avivalasvegas

    I know this is going to stir up a storm, but everything I’ve learnt over the years before and after my Top 3 MBA experience tells me that the top schools are:

    GSB>HBS>Booth>Kellogg>Wharton>MIT>Columbia>Tuck>Haas> YALE/ STERN/ ROSS.

    I see the No.10 position alternating between these 3 programs and also see Fuqua as a real threat to their place(s) as Top 10 programs. Has Yale really cemented its #10 spot? I think this article tries to say so. Given the pedigree of the parent university, I’d have to say I agree.

  • anonymous

    Very strong class, and great to see some schools innovating and trying to reach higher while so many are resting on their laurels.

    To be fair though, the international students % is only up because they changed how they count it – now anyone with a citizenship other than US (including US citizens) are counted in, before only non-US citizens were counted. This is more in line with other schools, but for all we know, there’s actually less “actual” internationals in this year.