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From the Assistant Dean for Admissions: Tips for Tackling Our Video Questions

Assistant Dean Bruce DelMonico offers four pointers to help you master the MBA application’s video questions.

With the Yale SOM application going live earlier this month and our Application Tips Panel set for this Friday, July 27, many of you likely have been thinking quite a lot about the journey you’re embarking on. As I discussed in my last post, the work that goes into an MBA application is considerable, and even after you hit submit, your Yale SOM application isn’t quite finished.

In fact, when I talk to prospective applicants, many questions tend to be about a piece of the process that occurs after you submit your application: the video questions.

While I can’t give you the questions ahead of time (what fun would that be?), below are some tips that will hopefully put you at ease with the platform, the types of questions asked, and how you can prepare.

1. Get comfortable with the platform.

Once you’ve submitted your application and paid your application fee, you will receive a link on your status page to complete your video questions and you’ll have a few days after the Round 1 application deadline to do so. When you’re ready, you will have the opportunity to complete a practice question first. I highly recommend taking advantage of this option. Beyond helping you get comfortable with the platform, completing this step also offers you the opportunity to adjust your microphone and camera angle after watching the recording of your practice answer. Feel free to complete the practice question more than once; the admission committee will not have access to your practice recordings.

You are probably familiar with Skype, which is broadly analogous to the platform we use for our video questions. As further preparation, you may want to have a friend ask you some practice questions over Skype, but have them turn off their video so you can’t see them—this will make the experience even more similar to the one you’ll have with our video-question platform. You can then practice answering questions on an online platform without receiving any verbal cues, similar to a recording.

2. Be prepared.

Our video questions will resemble questions you could be asked in any standard interview. My biggest piece of advice is to practice answering basic behavioral interview questions. In your answers, we’re looking to assess your potential for leadership and your communication skills.

You will receive three video questions, to which you will have 60 to 90 seconds to respond, depending on the question. If you aren’t familiar with answering questions in this specific timeframe, this can be challenging, so when you practice your responses, be sure to time yourself.

Last, try your best not to leave the video questions until the last minute. They only take 15 minutes to complete, so they won’t require a huge amount of your time, but there is more opportunity for error when you feel rushed. Leave yourself time to ensure you have a quiet, clean space to complete the questions, and limit your chances for interruption. Be sure your internet connection is strong. Although the video questions do not take the place of an interview, it might be helpful to treat them like one: dress professionally and be sure to speak clearly and concisely.

3. Be yourself.

You’ll hear this advice time and again, and for good reason. It is excellent advice.

Speak to your own experiences, successes, and shortcomings. Your story is very different from those of others we will see in the application process, and it is your story we are looking to learn about.

4. Relax.

Finally, and perhaps most important, relax! Don’t feel that your responses need to be perfect. We know that your answers are spontaneous, and we know that your candidacy comprises much more than brief responses to three short questions. So of course take this part of the application seriously, but do not feel that your entire application is riding on it. This is just one aspect of our overall review, and not something that will outweigh other parts of your application.

Remember the video questions were initially developed as a replacement for a test of English language proficiency, which is why we no longer require any applicants to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or any other, similar test. The questions you will be asked are not brainteasers or riddles; rather, they represent another medium to get to know you better.

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare to complete the video question portion of your Yale SOM MBA application. We look forward to learning more about your experiences!

If you have more questions about the video questions or any part of your application, tune into our Application Tips Panel on Friday, July 27, at noon ET.

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