MBA Application Advice You Might Not Expect

Bruce DelMonico runs MBA admissions at Yale SOM. He says Yale doesn’t “sort candidates based on who will be the best ‘fit’ at the school — in large part because fit is such a subjective concept”

From Bruce DelMonico, Yale School of Management: With the 2022-2023 application cycle ramping up, you’re likely starting to hear lots of advice about how best to position yourself for admission to an MBA program. And to be sure, we here at SOM have lots of resources that we’ve put together to guide you through the application process, as well as upcoming events that will help in that regard. I don’t want to repeat the advice in those tools, but instead want to offer a higher-level opinion that may run counter to accepted admissions doctrine but that I hope will be even slightly liberating as you work through your application. And it’s this: don’t worry about fit or passion in preparing your MBA application.

This advice may be contrary to what you hear from other people, so let me explain what I mean. In terms of fit, I am decidedly not saying that you should not take “fit” (however you define it) into account when deciding which MBA program to attend—you definitely should do that. The application process is bi-directional: just as we are evaluating you, you are evaluating us. And as you evaluate schools, you should very much think of where you will get the most out of the experience—whether it’s though the school‘s pedagogy or size or location or culture, or any number of other dimensions upon which you choose to orient your decision-making process.

Rather, when I say don’t worry about fit, I mean don’t change who you are to suit what you think each school cares about. We at Yale (and I can only speak for Yale) don’t sort candidates based on who will be the best “fit” at the school—in large part because fit is such a subjective concept that making decisions based on it allows for bias to creep into the process and results in poorly correlated evaluations across reviewers. Again, this does not mean that we don’t look at qualitative dimensions in our evaluation or that we don’t care about the qualities that our community members possess—we very much do. But it does mean that we evaluate them based on structured rubrics that identify specific behaviors we care about rather than conclusory assertions of “fit.” So this is all to say, don’t be overly focused on fit when applying; we aren’t.

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Jim Kitchen, a professor of the practice of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, was one of the passengers on a March space flight; next he will explore the deepest depths of the ocean

After space flight, UNC prof decides to go low

From UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School: Three months ago, entrepreneur and UNC-Chapel Hill professor Jim Kitchen was gazing down at Earth from a rocketship in the blackness of outer space.

Next week, he’ll be exploring the darkness of the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench, the deepest known point on Earth.

Kitchen, 57, calls himself a “serial adventurer,” having also visited all 193 United Nations-recognized countries. This dive will make him the fifth person in history to travel to both inner and outer space.

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HBS Staff Offers Summer 2022 Reading List

From Harvard Business School: Mysteries. Classic authors. The history of Method acting. Governments behaving badly. These are just some of the ingredients that make up our staff’s summer reading lists.

We reached out across the organization to find out what piques our colleagues’ interest when they hit the beach (or couch) during some well-deserved time off. Here’s what they said.

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