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Top Yale School of Management MBA Interview Tips from Actual Interviewees

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If you’re among the many candidates in receipt of an interview invitation, you won’t want to miss what past candidates learned from their Yale SOM interview experiences. You can thank us—and them—by paying it forward and submitting reports of your own after you interview. Want to learn more? Check out Clear Admit’s Interview Guide for Yale SOM.

How Big Is the Window of Opportunity?

Yale SOM invites many candidates—60 to 80 at a time—to visit campus for a full day of events in addition to interviews. Several past interviewees report that Yale stuck to a set schedule and format for their interviews…

“The interview with Yale SOM was super structured. She had a list of questions, which she mentioned were the same for everyone. Ran for about 30 mins. She was super friendly and made an effort to make me comfortable.”

“Yale keeps interviews pretty standard, with 30 minutes time limit almost on the dot. The interviews are blind so the interviewer has your resume as their only reference of your application.”

“Adcom stated that all interviews would be standardized to about 6 questions across all applicants interviewed.”

“[The interviewer] was very nice and explained to me before we began that she had not seen my file, that she will be asking me preset questions, and that she will be busy writing her comments and so I should not expect too much eye contact. She had a form with printed questions and answer boxes for her comments.”

“They took notes while I gave my answers and checked their watch every so often to keep track of time.”

“When I entered the room, the Admissions associate introduced herself and then told me that the interview would be 30 minutes and 6 questions.”

…while others had a different experience:

“The interview lasted 30 minutes, but we talked for 1 hour.”

“The interview was done in 15 minutes and we had some Q&A for another 10.”

A few candidates also reported back on the activity part of the day:

“It was a VERY long, but really fun, day. I personally loved meeting my potential future classmates and I felt that it gave me a really good feel for the kind of people SOM is looking for. We had an address by the Dean, which was personally very inspiring as he discussed the school’s mission – you could tell how passionate and serious he was about SOM’s broader mission. (Hint: I would seriously look at this and consider how it fits in with your preparation).”

“We met adcom members, had a formal intro by the Dean of Admissions, a Faculty lecture, student panel, clubs meet and greet, school tours [SOM & Yale University] and closing reception.”

“I liked the activities they organized for on-campus interviews. It kept you busy and you learned a lot about the school. However, I don’t think the format of the room was conducive to getting to know other applicants and students because we were in a lecture hall, rather than sitting at round tables or something. It’s awesome that the dean speaks at each of these sessions!”

Making a Good Impression

Whether your interview ends up being 30 minutes on the dot, wraps up a little early, or runs way over, the following advice from past candidates will serve you well.

A Round 2 candidate had the following encouraging words to share:

“Applicants should head into their interviews at ease knowing that Yale is just trying to get to know you and your goals a little better.”

Other past interviewees had their own hypotheses:

“I think SOM is looking for a candidate who is very strong intellectually and collaboratively.”

“I think they were looking to see your communication skills. And they care about finding people who will complement and play well within the diverse student body they cultivate.”

Advice from a recent Round 1 applicant may help:

“Know your story inside and out and be prepared to elaborate on any aspects as my interviewer followed-up on a few questions based on what I said in the previous question.”

Know Why Yale is a Good Fit for Your Goals

Like a lot of programs, the school wants to know that you’ve done your research and that you know why you want to attend. Not only is this a common interview question, this candidate noted its importance:

“The Adcom pressed a lot on the ‘Why Yale’ question. This was emphasized more than I would expect. Maybe they were trying to up their yield by making sure there is a strong desire to go to Yale.”

Yale SOM Gets in on the Act!

It seems we’re not the only ones to recognize that those who interviewed before can offer some of the best advice to anxious interviewees in waiting. Yale SOM students offered their advice on the admissions interviews.

A few reflections:

“Ask current students questions about their experiences! They are a great resource—they know the school and they were in your shoes very recently.”

“Talk to alums as early as possible. The earlier I approach alums, the earlier I can figure out which school is the best choice for me. Different schools hold different values, and it is incredibly important to choose a school that has the same values you do.”

“Take the time to really reflect on what you want from the MBA experience, where you might go after graduation, and which school is going to best get you there. For each person this is a different path, and getting lost in all the different blogs, rankings, and such may get you lost in where you want to go in life.”

“I didn’t have a chance to visit the school before I applied. But if you can do it, it can provide a lot of insight to meet with current students and sit in on one of our classes.”

“The application process is also a self-reflection process, which I value as a good opportunity to think about my personal values, my strengths and weaknesses, and my goals for the future.”

For the full Yale SOM piece featuring interview advice from students, click here.

Are you preparing for your Yale SOM interview? Don’t forget to check out our Interview Guides for a deeper dive into each school’s process! Also, share your interview experience in our Interview Archive to help your fellow peers.

Clear Admit Resources
As you prepare for your Yale interview, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Yale SOM offerings:

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.