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A Suggested Application Checklist for Round 1 Candidates

Candidates often ask us when the best time to apply is. The Yale MBA for Executives program has three deadlines, the first of which is in November. While there is no “best” time to apply, we usually recommend that candidates submit in the earliest round possible, as long as they don’t compromise the quality of their application.

 The main benefit of applying early is the long lead time between your acceptance letter and the start of the program in July, which will allow you to prepare academically, professionally, and personally for the intensity of the program. If you’re interested in applying in Round 1, you can follow our suggested checklist, which will keep you on track for the November deadline.


  • If you haven’t already submitted a pre-assessment request, do that now. A member of the admissions team will provide detailed feedback on your résumé and let you know if the program is a good fit for you at this point in your career.


  • Schedule the GRE, GMAT, or the Executive Assessment. This is a required element of the application. The first step should be determining which test is best for you. You may be familiar with the GRE or GMAT already, in which case, you might opt to take either of these. However, if you’re only applying to EMBA programs, the Executive Assessment may make most sense. For tips on how to study for standardized testing, you can check out this blog post, written by members of the class of 2019.


  • Start reaching out to alumni from the program. Their perspective will help you better understand the level of commitment necessary to undertake the program. They can also share their experience with the admissions process and share advice about how to balance all your competing priorities.
  • Keep studying for your test.


  • Talk to your employer about your interest in the program. This can be a difficult conversation, so prepare by thinking about your personal and professional goals, how they line up with your organization’s strategic goals, and how the EMBA can enable you to both grow professionally and to contribute to your organization’s growth. Check out advice from Yale EMBA students on how to pitch the program to your boss.
  • If you haven’t been to campus, come and meet us in person, sit in on a class, and meet our current students. We’ll be planning a series of events on the Yale campus in the autumn and would love to host you here.


  • Open the application and familiarize yourself with the different sections. Make sure you understand what is required and start collecting some of the required elements. We accept unofficial copies of your transcripts, but even these can take some time to acquire.
  • Update your professional résumé. The right length for a professional résumé is one to two pages, so if you currently have a 10-page academic or medical CV, think about how to cut it down while still highlighting your skills and accomplishments.
  • Get your referees on board. Make sure to choose individuals who are familiar with your professional work. Take some time to explain why you’re interested in pursuing an EMBA and how their candid feedback about your performance will help your application. Give them plenty of time to complete your letter of reference.


  • Start drafting your essays. You’ll be asked to write two 500-word essays, plus a third, shorter essay on your choice of area of focus. These are read by at least two members of the admissions committee, so you should ensure that they’re well thought out and an honest reflection of your voice. Read some tips on nailing the essays.


  • You’re nearly there! Since you’ve been planning well in advance, you’ll have plenty of time to proofread your application. Typos and grammatical mistakes will detract from the messages you’re trying to get across, so triple check all of the sections and have an eagle-eyed friend look over your essays and résumé.
  • Submit—and celebrate! To learn about what happens after you submit your application, read this blog post.
  • Take a well-deserved nap. If you’re called for an interview, you should rest up before you start preparing.

Silvia McCallister-Castillo
Assistant Dean for the Executive MBA