Yale School of Management (SOM) Explore Diversity 2009 Event

This past Sunday and Monday (the 8th and 9th of November), the Yale SOM hosted it’s annual Explore Diversity event. I was invited to attend and give a GMAT Presentation, and had a chance to meet many of the people directly involved in selecting candidates from the large pool of SOM applicants.

I have to say, first off, I was pleased to find that when Yale’s SOM touts a diversity weekend, they mean more than just ethnic or racial diversity. Their notions of diversity extend to include a great many parameters that would distinguish candidates, including career choices, country of origin, undergraduate education, and employment history, among others.

I also have to say I found the members of YSOM Admissions Committee to be a great bunch of people. Smaller, more intimate events such as this one give attendees a better opportunity to meet the people behind those the email addresses. The Admissions Committee seems as committed to diversity as the school is, with members clearly expressing very different personalities and perspectives. I imagine committee discussions about applicants are always interesting, and probably quite often heated. If you’re considering Yale, you should definitely meet some of these folks, and if they are any representation of the YSOM, it seems a great place to be!

Sitting in on the various events and talking to other people there, I got a few insights about the Yale SOM application/selection process.

  • Someone asked a YSOM speaker whether applicants with GRE scores are evaluated differently. The answer (and I’m doing some significant summarizing here): The GRE is too new for us to use as a judgment tool for our School of Management application and selection process.
  • Most interviews are done on campus, with 2nd year students

For advice on the application/selection process, at various points SOM officials mentioned or recommended the following:

  • If you don’t “contextualize” your weaknesses, you leave it to the Admissions Committee to draw conclusions. Better to make clear about what you’d like us to infer or deduce.
  • The “additional info” section of the application is a GREAT place to address potential weaknesses or inconsistencies in your application.

One way in which YSOM evaluates applicants/applications:

  • They look for 5 Quant classes on academic transcripts: Stats, Microfinance, Finance, and Accounting (sorry, I missed the last one, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s Calculus; if you really want to know, contact the admissions office) .
  • They like to see balanced sub-scores on the GMAT.
  • They look at your entire GMAT scoring history (not just the last and not just the best), which means they don’t just piece together your best sub-scores for some sort of “Frankenscore” result.

And my two favorites (in reverse order of appreciation):

  • Recommendations from your CEO, Barack, or Oprah, while having a great wow factor, don’t really add much value, unless they can speak specifically to your strengths.
  • “Monkeys with darts are NOT involved in the admission’s process.”

All in all, the weekend was interesting and informative. Again, if you’re interested in Yale, or any other school for that matter, there’s usually no better way to get a feel for the place and the admission’s process then dropping in on events like these.

For similar such events, be sure to check the calender in your BC student account or the News link on the Bell Curves homepage.

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