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Real Humans of MBA Admissions: Bruce DelMonico of Yale School of Management

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We’re moving right along with our fun new series spotlighting the real people who make those life-altering decisions of whether to admit or deny you to a given business school. At bat this week is Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean and director of admissions at Yale School of Management (SOM). We happen to know he’s a bit of a baseball fan, even though it didn’t come up in our interview. Read on to find some other lesser-known facts about the person who has helmed admissions at SOM for the past 12 years.

Of course, we also talked a little shop with DelMonico when we met with him at last month’s annual Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Conference in Washington, DC. He shared that application volume was up another 6 percentage points, even after last year’s staggering 25 percent increase. He also intimated that the new essay question for this year’s applicants—which hadn’t yet been released at the time we spoke—would revolve around commitment.

“Every year we think about whether and how to adjust the questions or even if we should just get rid of essay questions altogether because they cause so much stress,” he says. For this year, the decision was to go with one, “Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made.”

The essay question was crafted with input from Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor of organizational behavior at SOM who teaches the core leadership courses within the school’s integrated curriculum. “We were trying to get at a question that we feel will tease out some competencies more effectively than previous questions have,” he says. “I’m excited that it will prove to be a good question.” DelMonico adds that his team often taps the expertise of the school’s organizational behavioral faculty, not just regarding what questions to ask but also how to evaluate the responses.

Yale SOM this year also will continue its unique sliding-scale application fee, which ties the fee each applicant pays to his or her total annual compensation for the upcoming year. “The sliding-scale fee helps us attract diverse applicants from all over the world, including those from countries where pay scales are different from the United States and from industries where compensation varies,” DelMonico wrote in a blog post. SOM also offers fee waivers to current or former Peace Corps volunteers, current staff or alumni of Teach for All programs, active U.S. military or U.S. veterans, current Yale graduate students and Yale undergraduate students applying to the Silver Scholars Program.

Ok. Enough business. Now down to the fun stuff. Enjoy! And thanks, Bruce, for playing along!

Real Humans of MBA Admissions: Bruce Delmonico

Coffee or tea? Coffee

Beach or mountains? I guess I can’t say inside? Mountains

Morning person or night owl? Night owl

Pet peeve? I have so many…how to choose? But I’ll go with people who use “I” when they should use “me.”

Guilty pleasure? When I’m feeling lazy I love to watch “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and think about all the food I would love to eat.

Favorite virtue in others? Humility

Worst habit? I’ve got a lot of bad habits. Hmmm. I tend to be very fidgety and my hands are always moving, though I try to keep them calm.

Happy place? I have a leather chair at home that I like to sit in and read after the kids are in bed.

Comfort food? Chipotle burrito bowl

Go-to cocktail? Beer—I love Shock Top

Proudest moment? Getting sworn into the bar, mostly because my grandfather was there and he was prouder of me than I was. Witnessing his pride was very meaningful.

Biggest regret? I wish I had actually studied more in college.

One thing you would change about how you were raised? I don’t know that I would change anything. I think my parents did a great job. I don’t know that it shows, but I can’t think of anything they didn’t do that they should have or did that they shouldn’t have.

Superpower you wish you had? I wish I were smarter. I am always amazed by people who can recall things they have read very concretely. So I guess I wish I had a photographic memory. Although I have always wished I could fly, too.

Favorite fictional hero/heroine? So the first one that comes to mind is Pip from Great Expectations, although not because I would want to emulate him or because he had necessarily the story you might want for yourself. But he is someone I have always sort of remembered.

And don’t miss this clip of Delmonico answering a few additional questions for the camera!