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From the Associate Director of Admissions: Securing Your Employer’s Buy-in

María Stutsman y Márquez shares tips on talking to your employer about the MBA for Executives program and gaining formal approval for the time away from work.

One of the most critical components of the admissions process is gaining formal approval from your employer for the time away from work required to complete the MBA for Executives at Yale SOM. From start to finish, our program requires 63 workdays within the 22-month period, with its alternating Friday and Saturday schedule and four separate residence weeks. While the actual Employer Approval form within the application is quite simple (you provide the name of the person who provides the OK, and then an email is generated to them during the interview process), making this request of your employer requires more nuance. Here are few things to consider in approaching your supervisor.

  1. Know your “why.” Consider sharing how the application process has solidified your short- and long-term goals, and has helped you gain clarity around purpose and meaning. You don’t have to go that deep, but definitely take time to outline your goals, both personally and professionally. If you end up answering the deeper part of this question, consider that a gift—you’re welcome!
  2. Timing is everything. A cliché, but there is truth in this statement. Get clear about the year you wish to start a program and the application deadline that fits that timeline. Then, firm up the amount of lead time you’ll need to have these conversations with your employer. If you’re applying in Round 3 for classes beginning in July 2019, now is a good time to start these discussions. If you hesitate, it can make for an awkward conversation when you receive an invitation to interview and did not notify your employer before the Employer Approval email sends. Yikes. 
  3. Connect with allies. The executive MBA format has become increasingly popular, and there are likely folks within your organization or network who have completed an EMBA. Schedule time with them and get curious about their experience and the value the degree afforded them, both personally and professionally. Learn how they balanced commitments to family, community, outside interests, entrepreneurial hustles, and their careers with the rigors of business school. Ask about their road to gaining employer approval and the path to remaining productive, effective, and high performing while in school—all of this will be helpful as you plan ahead.    
  4. Identify the unique value proposition. Affirming this for yourself is one thing, and discovering the value for your team and organization is another; ideally, there should be some alignment. An appealing part of an executive format is that you apply what you learn in the classroom at work immediately—it really does translate that quickly. Do research on the learning outcomes from Yale SOM’s unique integrated core curriculum and areas of focus, investigate faculty and their research, and identify resources and opportunities through the Yale network that relate to your employer’s objectives. Ultimately, how does your gaining knowledge, skills, and insight better your organization?
  5. Extra benefits. Going through the process of gaining employer approval can provide clarity of purpose, and expanding your network can lead to new possibilities. You can learn from those who came before you—colleagues who have accelerated their careers within the organization, created allies in support of continued education, and transitioned into a rigorous and intense educational opportunity. Some applicants have found unanticipated funding through benefits policies within their organizations. For those who have come up against some resistance, they found it valuable to understand the culture of their organization and received valuable feedback toward a future application. Keep an open mind!

As an admissions team, we coach many applicants through this process to ensure the very best experience as MBA for Executives students. If you started an application and would like support regarding the employer approval process, please reach out and connect with a member of our team at If you are considering applying to a program this year (or next), we invite you to complete a résumé pre-assessment to help you determine if the MBA for Executives at Yale SOM aligns with your aspirations and career evolution.

Best wishes as you reach out to your employer—you’ve got this!

María Stutsman y Márquez
Associate Director of Admissions