As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States, and with a little over a month to go before our January 6, 2022, application deadline, now is the time that many of you will begin to turn your attention in earnest to your MBA applications. With that in mind, I’d like to offer some advice for things to do over the next month and a half—a checklist of sorts in the run-up to the application deadline, so that you can make sure you’re prepared to submit your strongest application in January.
I’m certain that you’ve already been planning for this stage for quite some time: studying for the GMAT or GRE, reflecting on your career ambitions and how the MBA will help you achieve those goals, and attending virtual events to get acquainted with your target schools. And you’ve already successfully applied to your undergraduate institution, so you don’t need me to tell you the basics of how to apply to a school. But I can offer some thoughts on how to approach the application that hopefully can help you develop a schedule between now and the upcoming deadline.
First, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to ask your recommenders to write a recommendation on your behalf. You should select people who know you well and have had time to observe your successes and growth in your professional role.
If you can, it’s good to schedule some time in the coming weeks to speak with your recommenders about your application. This will be a chance to talk through your goals for an MBA program and the schools to which you’re applying. In addition, after you request in the application that the recommendation link be sent to your recommenders, you should check with them to confirm that they received it. (By the middle of next month, it’s a good idea to check in with your recommenders if they haven’t submitted their recommendations, just as a friendly reminder of the impending January deadline.)
Now is also a good time to request transcripts from all schools and universities you’ve attended if you don’t already have them. We allow applicants to upload scanned transcripts in our application; you don’t need to arrange for official transcripts to come directly from the school. This process makes things quick and easy for most applicants—you likely already have these transcripts in hand, but if not, you should request them now. Many of you may also need to have your transcripts translated to English if your school doesn’t provide a translated copy, which is another thing you should do now if you haven’t already. Getting your transcripts now is an easy item to cross off your checklist!
You can read a little bit about our essay topic in this blog post. The topic is unique to Yale SOM, so it may require a little more of your time to complete than essays for other programs. You likely have already spent some time brainstorming ideas for your essay. This upcoming month is when you should be writing and editing it. A tip I like to offer students is to ask a friend to proofread your essay, not just for errors, but also to ensure you’ve remained on topic. Don’t tell them our prompt, and if they can guess it after reading, you’re conveying your story.
This is an often-overlooked element. You should take some time to update your résumé with your most recent professional achievements and any activities or interests you’d like represented. Make sure your résumé is current and accurate. Many applicants simply upload the last professional résumé they used without looking at it, but you’ll want to make sure to give your résumé some attention before uploading it. And unless you have more than 10 years of work experience, you should keep your résumé to one page.
At this point, if you haven’t taken the GMAT or GRE, or if you’re contemplating taking an exam again, I imagine you’re already signed up to take the exam in the coming weeks. If not, now is the time to do so. You don’t want to feel as though you’re rushing to take the exam, which is just one element of our application but obviously an important one. Some schools have started to make exceptions for requiring the test. We continue to investigate the circumstances under which we can do so, but at this moment we do still require it; we find that it does help us gauge your preparation for our MBA program and don’t want to sacrifice that element of our process without having something else to stand in its place. When you do take the test, if you haven’t designated Yale SOM as a score-report recipient, be sure to have your test scores sent to us.
It does not take a great deal of time to complete the application form itself—we have taken great pains to try to make it as efficient as possible and not to ask for lots of extraneous things that are not relevant to the application review process—but you should still go through the application itself well in advance of the submission deadline. You do not want to rush through the application or get caught off-guard by a question. Much of it is straightforward information entry, but there are a handful of short-answer questions that you’ll want to answer with thought and attention. You’ll also want to make sure you have time to review the form before submitting, just to make sure you haven’t made any typos or other errors that are easy to correct. I always recommend leaving the week and a half or so before the deadline to do some last-minute proofreading of your application and essay.
I hope this general guidance is helpful. There will be a number of opportunities to learn more about our application and get additional advice from the Admissions Committee between now and the Round 2 application deadline. We have a series of Application Workshops coming up between now and December 15 for you to ask questions and get our best advice, as well as an Application Tips Panel that I will host on December 10 at 12 noon U.S. EST, where admissions officers will share more in-depth tips for completing your application and will answer your questions live.
We wish you all the best as you prepare your application for the Round 2 deadline. My parting advice to you is to be yourself throughout the process and to convey your individual story. We look forward to receiving your application and reviewing it after January 6!
Assistant Dean for Admissions
Yale School of Management
165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
203.432.5635, Admissions Office
203.432.6380, Visitor Center