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Admissions Director Q&A: Bruce DelMonico of the Yale School of Management

CA: I wonder if you could talk to me a little bit about the interview. Do you have three pieces of advice?

BD: Sure. Know who you will be interviewing with, know how much they know about you. We have, primarily, second year students doing interviews. Other schools will have mostly admissions officers. Some schools will have alumni. So know who that person is. Know, what they know. We have interviews where our interviewer will have seen your resume but nothing else. Other schools, the interviewer might have read your whole file. So know what the interviewer knows about you.

My second piece of advice would be for you to know your story. I don’t think any school is going to try and throw curveball questions at you. We want to hear from you about your story, we will also add some behavioral questions. You can probably guess 75 percent of the questions most schools are going to ask. So practice those questions. Think about your answers to why do you want an MBA, why from this school, successes, failures. Go through your resume, understand it backwards and forwards. Just being prepared in that way is very helpful. But practice the answers. The first time you articulate why you want an MBA should not be in the interview itself.

The third thing is, have questions for your interviewer. Even just one or two questions that are non-obvious. Not things that you can easily get from our website, like what’s your class size or what’s the learning model here. Something that is a little bit more sophisticated. It is definitely not a great sign if the interview ends and we ask if you have any questions and you say no, or if you have a questions that are easily found some other way.

CA: So if the interview comes to an end and the interviewee has no questions it suggests a lack of curiosity or a lack of true interest?

BD: Right. It comes off as a little bit of a lack of interest, and a lack of engagement. And a lack of understanding the interview protocols. We reserve five minutes at the end for questions. If you have none, it doesn’t look like you’ve done the research.

But I’ll note a caveat on the interview. I mentioned this earlier, we don’t weight the interview so heavily. I talk to other schools that put a lot of weight on the interview and they say the people we admit who interview well tend to do really well in their professional interviews, and their internship interviews. That makes sense, but we are more focused not on who is going to interview well, but on who is going to do the job. Being a good interviewer does not necessarily correlate to being a good professional. We care about the interview, we want to make sure you do a good job, but we are really more focused on the substantive qualities that will make you a successful manager and leader; not just someone who can get that internship or that first job.

This notion applies to all aspects of the application. Just yesterday, I sat down with one of our graduating students. She asked to talk about how we go about the admissions process because she wants to be a good hirer, after she graduates.

I actually had interviewed her when she applied. We talked about the fact that the interview was very good, but her resume was not very typical, and was not very well formatted; it didn’t look right. We talked about the fact that we looked well beyond that. We weren’t focused on the bells and whistles, the style of the application, we were looking at the substance.

She happens to be the class Marshall. She was a wonderful contributor to the community, and did fantastically well, and is well positioned to have a wonderful career. But if we were just looking at the false signals, the formatting of the resume and what it looked like, we would have made a poor decision.

CA: What haven’t we covered that you would like to highlight or that you think is really important for applicants to be thinking about?

BD: The points that I have tried to make, taking the application process seriously but being true to yourself, not getting stressed out about the things you think might be more important like the essays and interviews, but really understanding that those are just pieces of the puzzle, that we look at everything together. Hopefully it helps to become less stressed about the process and more focused on what they can bring to a school, what they can get out of a school. Focus on the things that are more meaningful about the process, and less about the stylistic aspects or the bells and whistles that are less critical to us.

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Posted in: Admissions Director Q&A, Feature Main, School Q&A

Schools: Yale SOM

About the Author


Lauren Wakal

Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.

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