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From the Assistant Dean for Admissions: Is Now a Good Time to Apply to an MBA Program?

Bruce DelMonico weighs in on two issues that may be on the minds of potential applicants during this unprecedented time.

What happened to the summer? We’re now roughly a month away from our Round 1 application deadline and just a week away from welcoming our incoming first-year students at orientation.

I don’t think you need to hear another rundown of the unprecedented challenges this current moment has caused, but undoubtedly these interruptions are a common thread with which all applicants are dealing as they prepare for their MBA.

In the face of these challenges, one question I hear often from MBA aspirants is simply: “Is now a good time to apply to an MBA program?” This question takes on different meaning depending on the context. For some, it can be a question about the upcoming application season—will there be any seats left to fill given the deferrals from this past year and the widely speculated spike in applications? For others, it can be about the broader value of the MBA—is it worth pursuing right now given the current economic and health climates?

To the first question, I will say plainly that I have been working in admissions long enough to know what I don’t know. Many people are predicting that this year will see a large increase in applications, but that is far from a certainty in my mind, and even if an increase does happen, it will be coming on the heels of several years of application declines. Moreover, we have not seen such an increase in deferrals this year —our incoming students here at Yale have been wonderful about doing everything they can to make it here to New Haven for the start of school—that I envision them having a material effect on our admissions process this upcoming year. Given these points, I am not expecting this upcoming year to be any more competitive than the past several application seasons. It is certainly not the case that our seats will be filled with deferrals from this past year, and it is also not the case that fear of what might happen with application volume should prevent you from applying this year.

The second nuance of the question focuses on the quality of the MBA experience and the career prospects that await students who graduate into the pandemic economy. As schools plan for the coming academic year and try to figure out how to balance pedagogic rigor with public safety, potential students undoubtedly are wondering if the experience they will receive is worth the investment. This question is surely compounded by the recent news of some schools switching their mode of study from in-person or hybrid to online, which invariably has added a level of uncertainty to the equation. To be sure, this upcoming academic year will be a highly unusual one that has required careful planning and preparation, and at least early on it will look different than it did in past years. But Yale remains committed to providing the highest quality educational experience to its students; I have personally witnessed the tremendous dedication and thoughtfulness of the faculty and staff to deliver on that commitment. In addition, not only do our immediate career outcomes remain robust, but the long-term value of a Yale MBA also remains intact. Overall, these factors speak to the value of pursuing an MBA now if that timing fits with your long-term career plans.

This fall may look different than last fall, but the fundamental value of an MBA has not changed. And, despite rumors to the contrary, there is room in the Class of 2023!

Bruce DelMonico
Assistant Dean for Admissions
Admissions Office
Yale School of Management
165 Whitney Avenue
Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
203.432.5635, Admissions Office
203.432.6380, Visitor Center
fax 203.432.7004