Yale School of Management

Ten Questions from Prospective Students

Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico answers questions about the incoming dean, the admissions process, and the benefits of the integrated curriculum, among others.

1. What changes can students expect with the incoming new dean, Ted Snyder?

Dean Snyder is arguably the most experienced and successful business school dean in the world (Read the announcement of Dean Snyder's appointment), and he will no doubt put his stamp on the school. One of his top priorities is to continue to develop the connections between Yale SOM and the rest of the university in ways that produce value for SOM students. He is also committed to increasing the school’s prominence and influence around the globe. But there are some key ways in which Dean Snyder’s arrival will not change the school. Yale SOM’s mission has always been to educate leaders for business and society, and it has drawn a community of people who take this mission very seriously. Dean Snyder has also made it clear that he wants Yale SOM to continue to develop its distinctive integrated curriculum.

2. How much do standardized test scores factor into the admissions evaluation process, whether the GMAT or GRE? Do you have a preference in terms of which exam to take? 

Standardized tests are just one component among many in what is really a holistic review process. They are strongly correlated with success in the first year core curriculum, so for that reason they are an important data point. That said, there are many skills that are key to success in business school and beyond — work ethic, motivation, team skills, and many others — that standardized tests do not measure, which is why we look at all aspects of a candidate’s profile in making admissions decisions. In terms of GMAT versus GRE, we do not have a preference, and our admissions record shows that we admit candidates who have taken each test at the same rate.

3. How accessible are the faculty at Yale SOM?

Our tight-knit community is a hallmark of Yale SOM. One product of this small, supportive environment and the very favorable 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio is the fact that SOM students have unparalleled access to faculty both in and out of the classroom. This access can take many forms, from academic discussions to research projects to career advice to (increasingly) a game of ping pong at Donaldson Commons.

4. What do employers say differentiates Yale SOM students in internships or full-time work?

Employers consistently recognize Yale SOM students for their analytical abilities, creative problem-solving skills, and high ethical standards. The integrated curriculum has been and continues to be praised by recruiters for its ability to deliver interns and graduates who can see around corners, make connections that may not be obvious to others, and work effectively across organizational boundaries. I think this feedback is also a testament to the kind of intellectually curious and nimble individuals who are drawn to Yale SOM in the first place.

5. While at SOM, would a current student have the opportunity to engage with the greater Yale community, whether academically or socially?

Yale SOM is probably more closely connected to its parent university than any other major business school. From an academic standpoint, SOM students can take electives anywhere in the university. This year, students have taken courses such as Faith and Globalization, taught by Tony Blair, and classes taught by senior fellows at the Jackson Institute, including the former chief economist of Morgan Stanley and former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, as well as courses at the Law School, the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students are also deeply involved in programs like the Law School’s legal services clinic, as well as university-wide organizations like the Yale Entrepreneurial Society and Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. From a social perspective, there are a number of opportunities to interact with other graduate students, whether through club involvement or just hanging out at GPSCY (Graduate and Professional Student Center at Yale), a popular on-campus graduate student pub. There is even a Graduate and Professional Student Senate, the mission of which is expressly to foster connections among the various Yale schools. Many SOM student clubs regularly hold events in conjunction with student groups from other parts of the university.

6. What is the benefit of the integrated curriculum versus a typical MBA curriculum?

The Yale integrated curriculum is designed to help you see whole problems and draw on all the resources necessary to solve them. The perspectives-based approach prepares Yale SOM students to look across functions within a particular organization, as well as across organizations, industries, and sectors, when making strategic decisions. At a time when the lines between roles and disciplines are increasingly becoming blurred, Yale SOM believes that the most successful professional managers need to have this kind of broad, integrated mind-set.

7. Since the curriculum is more broad-based, would it be a detriment to a student who is looking to specialize in a particular field such as finance or marketing?

We have not experienced SOM’s general management curriculum as being a hindrance to students interested in specializing in a particular field. The integrated core curriculum is meant to give students a firm footing from which they can launch a successful career in any organization, regardless of industry or sector. From there, Yale SOM students can use their many electives to shape their learning as they see fit. The curriculum is designed to build off the core curriculum in many ways — by doing deep dives into particular areas of interest; continuing the broad, interdisciplinary approach of the core; or (most commonly) some combination of the two. The faculty provide guidance about which electives to take for students interested in particular post-MBA careers.

8. What opportunities do I have to study abroad?

There are a number of opportunities to study abroad at SOM, beginning with the International Experience trip in the first-year curriculum. In that trip, which is led by a faculty member, students travel in small groups to one of roughly 10 destinations around the world. In addition, students can study abroad in the first semester of their second year as part of our international exchange program; or take part in one of the international trips organized by the school’s many clubs, such as the spring break consulting trip run by the Global Social Enterprise Club. Finally, a number of SOM electives have travel built into the delivery of the course itself.

9. Every MBA program has a different way of course grading. Can you describe SOM’s approach to grading?

Yale SOM does not have traditional letter grades. Student performance is instead rated on a four-point scale: Distinction, Proficient, Pass, and Fail. Other than limiting the number of Distinctions to at most 10% of the students in a class, there is no forced distribution among these grades. In addition, Yale SOM does not have GPAs, class rank, or grade disclosure to recruiters. The intent is to foster an environment of cooperation and support, and to make the classroom experience less about the grade and more about the learning. Despite — or, perhaps, because of — these facts, students are held to a very rigorous academic standard.

10. As a first-year student, can you take elective classes?

Yes. Yale SOM students take at least four units of electives in the spring semester of their first year. The second-year curriculum consists entirely of electives.

Admissions Office
Yale School of Management
135 Prospect Street
Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
203.432.5635, Admissions Office
203.432.6380, Visitor Center
fax 203.432.7004