Skip to main content

The application has launched!

The admissions committee walks through the application for the Class of 2026 in detail and shares their tips and advice for each part of the application.

Keith Gallinelli: Hello everyone and welcome to the Yale University MBA for Executives podcast on Application Tips Clips. My way of introduction, my name is Keith Gianelli. I am the director of admissions here at the MBA for Executive program, and this is going to be my first complete round going through the application with my wonderful colleagues, David and Emily. Would you guys please introduce yourselves?

Emily Whitehouse: I guess I'll kick it off. I'm Emily Whitehouse. I serve as one of our associate directors of admission. You might see me out on the road and you might see me here on campus. I head up our recruiting and outreach initiatives.

David Daniel: And I'm David Daniel. I'm another one of our associate directors. And I'm really excited to be here today to talk to you all in a little bit more personal and intimate of a manner about our application process.

Keith Gallinelli: Now that the application is open, we really wanted to peel back the curtain a bit and talk about the individual components of the application and give you some advice from our side of the desk. Some tips for putting together the strongest possible application. Now we do have a more formal application tips presentation. There's several of them that are on the website that you can watch, but today what we wanted to do is have a little bit more of a candid conversation about the application in each of the individual components. So as mentioned, the application for the class of 2026 is now open.

The application exists in three different rounds that all lead up to the start of the program in July of 2024. Round one is open now and we'll close at the end of October, round two at the end of January, and round three at the end of March. Now, once your application's complete and the round deadline passes, the admissions committee, we're going to get together and we're going to read very carefully all of the applications. From there, we'll be inviting a select candidates to continue with the next step in the admissions process to come to an in-person interview here on campus. Now, to get to that point, the first and most important thing is you have to complete and submit your application.

It's a relatively straightforward process, and the main components in what we're going to be talking about today are the resume, the essays. And these are kind of short essays that we've redone for this year. Two letters of recommendation, a valid exam score, and we accept the Executive Assessment exam, the GMAT or the GRE. We'll need to see your transcripts from your undergraduate and graduate institutions and the employer approval form. So what we're going to do now is we're going to break these down a little bit and give you some advice on how you can put your best foot forward. So let's get started.

David, I'm going to turn it over to you. The first kind of aspect of the application is the resume, the experience, the background. You want to give us a little bit of insight from your standpoint of what's the best thing that candidates can put on the resume and how they can address this?

David Daniel: So one of the things I'll say just to start is that we look at applications in a really holistic manner. We want to get a sense of who you are broadly, both personally and professionally. And a resume is a good way to do that. It's a good place to start. You're of course listing all of your previous professional work, you're listing your education, and sometimes people also put fun tidbits in there, like they're a downhill skier. I love when people put unique little hobbies in there and I definitely do always pay attention to them. But the idea is that the resume is a professional resume.

It's meant to be a concise picture of who you are professionally and your education and some personal details. I would say for most people I would shoot to have it be two pages or less. We do understand that for some folks, that's going to be really tough, particularly for some of our physicians or people coming in with many years of experience or with a lot of publications. I would say just be really judicious with what you put in there and try to keep it down to what you think we're going to need to know about you. Make sure your education is up-to-date, your dates are up-to-date.

That's a good way for us to get a quick glance and understand your background, your trajectory. Keith, Emily, anything that you would add?

Emily Whitehouse: One really important thing to include here is that you need to be working full-time while in pursuit of the application process and during the entirety of the two-year program. So make sure that your resume also reflects that and provides those really important details too. We'll get into talking about employer approval and things like that as well a little bit later I'm sure. But essentially those are really important details to include. And then also thinking about military experience. Sometimes folks will submit for a pre-assessment, which is a way to kind of allow us a quick bird's eye view of who you are as a potential applicant for the program.

That includes providing a LinkedIn profile or that resume for instance. But essentially sometimes military personnel, either active duty or folks who are veterans and have served our country. They will provide us with information and provide us with very little about their military experience, but we value that and we view it as work experience. So make sure you're really breaking down for us your roles and responsibilities in that space as well. So it's not just who you are in civilian life, but also the work that you've done in service to our country too.

David Daniel: And just generally, I would say we definitely encourage you to be as brief as reasonably possible. We try to encourage you to keep this under two pages, although for some of our people, particularly like the physicians in our program, maybe with lots of research, that might be really challenging. But I would say keep it as succinct and brief as possible while also giving us a full picture. So if you maybe were in the military before you ever went to college, definitely include that. Don't leave gaps. Don't leave questions for us.

Definitely keeping it brief is important, but sometimes we want to know if you had that couple year jaunt where you decided to hike around Europe or whatever it is that you're going to put in the hobbies at the bottom. We want to know what it is you are doing. So definitely have it be complete. That's a big thing.

Keith Gallinelli: And I think that's really important. When you look at the full picture of someone, it's their experience, it's their leadership, it's things that they've taken on, it's their career trajectory, how a person has grown. And definitely I agree with the hobbies and kind of the other section is always kind of the most fun. So don't feel that you shouldn't include that. We really do like to get a full picture of the potential candidates that are coming into our program.

Emily Whitehouse: One last quick note on that front, regarding doctors and residency, et cetera. We've seen some very lengthy resumes for folks who are in the medical space. And so I have seen in recent years individuals that will give us a slightly abridged version. They might provide us with the whole 60-page resume with all of their amazing published work, et cetera. But then they will also provide us with a three-page kind of high level overview of their experiences. And while we will review everything you send us, it is really nice for someone to break it down for us as well.

We are admissions professionals after all, certainly not doctors. So it's really helpful when someone does that, I think.

Keith Gallinelli: That's very true. I want to move on to the next aspect of the application. And these are the essays. Now this year we streamlined our essays a little bit. As a result, we really want to seek responses that are a little bit shorter and to the point. And collectively between us, I think over the years we've read literally tens of thousands of admissions essays. So Emily, would you mind giving us your thoughts in general, what makes a good competitive essay for the program?

Emily Whitehouse: That's a great question, Keith. And it's one that I get quite a bit when I'm on the phone with prospective applicants. And essentially I would break down the three essays. First of all, for reference, for those that have not reviewed the application, let me just share that. So essay one is now 250 words maximum is what we're expecting for the response. And it asks, at this point in your life and career, why do you wish to pursue an executive MBA? So that question is really meant for a succinct answer. We are wanting to understand kind of where you are at this moment in your life and in your work and why you might want to pursue an executive MBA period, anywhere.

Essay two asks, in what ways is the Yale School of Management uniquely positioned to help you achieve your goals? And again, we're looking for 250 words here. You'll see the difference between essay one and essay two is we're wanting to understand why Yale? Why do you want to do this with us at Yale? Why are we the school that you are choosing to apply to? And how is our program, our curriculum, our community, going to prepare you to achieve your goals? So that's what we are hoping you will answer in that question. And the third question is, the mission of the Yale School of Management is to educate leaders for business and society.

What is an issue that you are passionate about and how would the MBA for Executives program help drive your impact? And this is a little bit longer. We're looking for maybe 350 words maximum here. If you applied in the past, we had two essays, they were 500 words each. And we just found that people were kind of meandering a bit in their response and wanting to fill the space, but not really getting to kind of the crux of the question at hand and what we were really looking for. And so in hearkening our mission, we really want individuals to understand that that is really core to everything that we do as a school.

And so we want to understand what drives you, what are you passionate about, what interests you? What are issues that you're solving for in your daily life and in your work? And how do you think that our program will help you get there? The best thing I can say is please just really read the question, answer the question, have someone read your response that doesn't know what the question is, and then ask them maybe to guess what the question was supposed to be. Because that might help you to make sure that you're really zeroing in and answering the question fully in a clear but brief way. Any other thoughts?

David Daniel: I would throw a couple of things out. So some of you may have looked at the application last year and notice that we had two essay questions. Now we have three. It's actually a little shorter this year, even though we have three essay questions instead of two. Now they're short essay questions. And for some of you, that's great. For some of you that might be a little daunting. You might feel like, I already thought I had such a hard time telling my story in the space that we had. What I'd say is trust the process. Trust us that we are really trying to get to know you fully as candidates.

No one who applies to this program is just a number. We really do seek to get to know you really well. And we do provide other opportunities through the process where we can get at things that might not come out otherwise. We do have a short optional essay that you can add some context to your application with. We also have an interview process where if you're invited to interview, you have the opportunity to express more to us there as well. And then of course, we generally seek to be accessible and provide feedback and answer questions. And so if there are any things about you or your story or your candidacy that you have questions about upfront, reach out to us.

Do a pre-assessment like Emily mentioned and connect with us and we're happy to guide you there. But for some really, it may feel daunting. That you feel like 850 words is a short amount of real estate for you to put your story into. But trust us that we have a lot of experience here. Keith is not exaggerating when he talks about tens of thousands of essays, but that we know what are the data points that we're going to get from those that are going to help us craft a really solid, diverse, wonderful community like we have. So the other thing I would say is just answer the questions that we're asking as part of that.

Trusting the process also means trusting that the questions that we ask are ones that are important and meaningful for us. And so answer the questions that we're asking, not the ones that you think that we need to know. And the other thing I would just say, and this is just from my role as an operational perspective, is this is a really important area for you to be really careful about how you proceed. You're welcome to share your essay with someone to get their feedback on it. No one else should be writing this for you or submitting anything. Really, this is meant to be your personal experience, how you personally align with this program. Keith, any thoughts?

Keith Gallinelli: I mean I think that everything you said is very, very true. Emily, I really liked your comment about having somebody take a look at your essay and figure out did you really answer the question? Don't tell them the question and say, did I address what was asked? The other thing too, and this is more just from a kind of a functional way, is please spell check. Please make sure you have the name of the university correct. You would be surprised as sometimes these things happen but definitely use the tools that are available.

I know there's a lot of things out there right now or can assist you with writing essays. I would strongly advise against these things. Really tell your story from a personal perspective, and that's what we're looking for. Very, very short, very succinct. And again, thinking back to your high school days of how do you write a good essay, you have an opening, you have a middle, and you have a closing. And that's really important when you look at these essays.

David Daniel: Got to have your topic sentences in there. For sure.

Keith Gallinelli: It is true. All right, the next aspect of the application is the recommendation letters. Now, David, we do require two professional letters of recommendation and we suggest that at least one of the recommender should be in a position to assess your performance at your current job. So can you give us a little bit of advice on how to approach the whole process of getting a professional recommendation letter?

David Daniel: Definitely. So I think one of the best things that you can do is have really candid conversations early because you're not going to be able to do this program without the support of your stakeholders. And that's true now, and that's going to be true in a year and a half when you're in the program. You're going to need your network, you're going to need your organization. You're going to need whoever your stakeholders are to be willing to support you. So it's good to have that conversation early and we'll talk about that a little bit more later as it relates to the employer approval.

But it's important to have that conversation early as you think about soliciting these letters of recommendation. You're going to want to have conversations with them to explain why you want to do this program. What is it about you and your candidacy that you're hoping that they're going to be able to share with us? Now, I will say a couple of things. As I mentioned with the essay, you should have no part in the drafting of your letters of recommendation. And so if your recommender comes back to you and says, "Well, just write something for me and I'll sign it and submit it." And I'm sorry, but you need to find another recommender, but we're really looking for people who are going to speak very candidly and honestly about you and your candidacy.

A couple of suggestions that I would make, don't just shoot for the top of your organization thinking that we might be impressed by star power. It's a lot more important that it be someone who knows you, who can speak really candidly about your work. And ultimately, we're trying to get a good picture of you. So it doesn't need to be someone just with an impressive title unless you work at a family organization, would not encourage you to ask your mom for a recommendation or your spouse. Really would encourage it to come from someone who can speak about you both personally and professionally. What about you, Emily? Any thoughts on recommendations?

Emily Whitehouse: I guess a question that comes up oftentimes when I'm talking with prospective applicants is they might be wondering about how to navigate this as an entrepreneur or as somebody who maybe recently changed jobs. So just a couple of notes on those fronts. So from an entrepreneurial perspective, hopefully your endeavor is very successful and you've got clients and mentors and individuals in your life that see this as a great path forward for you and would be open and willing to submit a letter on your behalf. So we understand that if you're kind of the head of your own organization, there's no one above you to ask.

So we do understand in those cases. And in the case of someone who maybe recently changed jobs, if that was something that happened within your current organization, I was actually talking to someone pretty recently who said, "Hey, I'm joining a new team, but in the same organization, what should I do?" I recommended to that person that they maybe... Because really the program starts roughly a year from now, so they will have about a year under their belt with their new supervisor. So asking that individual, making sure that that expectation is there, that that individual will be supportive of this person's application.

I think that it's good to have them write a letter, but then also their past supervisor in that same organization. Hopefully you have some bridges intact and you can ask some individuals from your recent past work history to prepare letters on your behalf as well. So those are some people to tap. And I know it is a little bit of a sticking point. It is a little scary to make this known and to ask someone that you work with for a letter like this, but it's the sort of thing where you miss 100% of the chances that you don't take, right? Wayne Gretzky.

Keith Gallinelli: Michael Scott.

Emily Whitehouse: And also Michael Scott. But essentially that's very true. You kind of have to stick your neck out a little bit here. And we'll get into that more later in our conversation, but that's just one thing I would recommend doing is making sure you're going to have someone who's great, really excited for you and will prepare an impactful and thoughtful letter. And it's just a different perspective for us to hear from just a third party, and that's something that we don't get anywhere else in the application really. So it's good to get someone really great.

Keith Gallinelli: And I think it's important too, that we do read them very carefully. And if it's a boilerplate kind of standard response, that's probably not the best. So you really want to find somebody that knows you well, that can speak to your leadership capabilities, your abilities to perform in your job. And as we get through this podcast, we will definitely be talking about the entire employer approval process, and this is kind of part of that as well. So we're going to move on to the next section of our podcast right now. And this is one of the things that I think when we're meeting with people, talking with people, seeing them on campus, it's one of the most frequently asked questions, and this is about the exam requirement.

Now, personally for me, I had not taken a standardized test in 25 years, and it was a bit daunting. And I think even for David and Emily, one of the things I said, I think it would be good for us to actually have the experience and sit and take the test. Again, we accept both the EA, the GRE and the GMAT. We do find that many people working professionals do prefer the EA. And so we all had the opportunity to take that exam very recently, in fact. And so a couple of things to think about, but why, first off, do we use this exam in the first place? Now one of the reasons that we do this is we want to give us an indication of how ready you are to launch into a very quantitative program.

The MBA for Executives program is quantitative, and you do need to have some of these mathematical skills that if you've been out of school for a number of years, you may not be using these on a day-to-day basis. The other thing that we found in talking to students that have enrolled in the program is that when they took the exam, they actually found themselves a bit of an indication of their readiness to jump into these quantitative aspects. And I can tell you myself included, for somebody who had done a lot of math in my previous degrees, but I don't use it on a day-to-day basis, I also found this to be true.

So we all took it recently and maybe we'll just offer a little bit of our experiences and some of our suggestions. We did have a very recent webinar with GMAC who runs the Executive Assessment, so definitely check that out. But Emily, you're smiling at me. You can't see that usually in audio, but why don't you tell us about your experience. Now I know there's a lot of things that you have to do if you're going to take it at home and on your personal computer, and what happened?

Emily Whitehouse: Well, I'll tell you that I didn't have a personal computer available to me. So I attempted to use my work computer, and I had a little bit of a firewall snafu. I actually logged on quite early for the online Executive Assessment, and I was slated to take the test at 7:45 in the morning, and I logged on and was trying to clear things and clear my cache and get everything situated. And it kept saying that there were certain things blocking my ability to take the test. So I reached out to Keith and I said, "I don't think it's going to happen for me today."

I mean, it is definitely a little bit daunting, like Keith said, to take a standardized test after a really long time, no matter how smart you are. Unless you are someone who enjoys test taking, it might be something that you really want to take your time and prepare for in a way that I did not. So I'm a bit of a cautionary tale here among the three of us.

Keith Gallinelli: No, I also had a very similar experience. I decided to take it at home. I wanted to find out what the in-home experience would be like. I went through the whole thing. I went through all of the preliminary practice tests and the practices exam. Try to get myself ready. I did all the tests with my computer. And of course on the day of the exam, there was a lot of people at home in my house and you have to find someplace that's very quiet. So I was down in my basement sitting on a ping pong table and there's no air conditioning. It was a very hot day.

There's a lot of checks and balances to make sure that you don't have any materials around, but sometimes it can be a little bit daunting when you're going through that whole process. Because remember, the ultimate goal is to assess your readiness to take a program. And when you're doing it at home, sometimes there are things that you just can't control. The dog is barking, people are going in and out of the house, the garage door is going up and things like that. So I went through it, I did it. I got through the whole experience. But I definitely would say that maybe David had you had a bit of a different experience because you went to a test center, correct?

David Daniel: I will confess. I'm the strange one here and I had a great experience, not just that the test was great, but I had fun, which is probably not people's normal experience taking the Executive Assessment. I will confess as well, I was quite daunted. It's been some time for me since I've taken a test like that. And while I do have some quant in my background for sure, I was a little intimidated by that. And so I, like Keith, worked through the EA premium package, I think is what they call it. GMAC has it available on their website. And actually if you check out that webinar that we referenced, while this may not be true several months from now, depending on when you listen to this.

There was a voucher in that webinar for a discount on the premium package. So definitely would encourage you to check that out. So I worked through that for a while. I will say I spent most of my time focusing on the quant. I took a couple of practice tests and then I got into the test center. And I have to say a couple of things I would note about that. So first of all, it did take me some time to find a time in the test center. One of the things I didn't realize in all my years of working with candidates taking the Executive Assessment, is that when I was taking the Executive Assessment in a test center, there were people taking a variety of other different tests at the same time as well.

So for me, getting an EA slot was not just a matter of competing against other people wanting to get EA slots, but people taking the GMAT or people taking various other exams that the testing center was offering at that time. So I found the time I actually had to reschedule a couple of times. One of the things about the EA that they advertise is that you can reschedule for free in unlimited number of times as long as it's more than 24 hours out of your appointment. And I will confess I had to do that three times, I think. And so when I actually finally got there on the day of, my experience was really good. I read the instructions very carefully.

I had to empty my pockets and literally flip them inside out to show them I didn't have anything. But I got to the computer, it just worked. I put on these ear muffs, so I blocked out all sound and I really was able to just focus. And at that point, even though I'd been really intimidated, I felt good. I knew that I didn't have to worry about any of those other things. I really appreciated that I'd taken the time to go through those materials. And I just really enjoyed going through the test, I will say. Which I have to imagine honestly is probably not the experience that you're going to have because you might be a little intimidated.

But I would say definitely would encourage you to take those steps that I did. I would say unless you have a really good reason to take it online, I would encourage you to try to find a spot in a center, get a date on there early. If you need to move it, you can. But go through those preparation materials, those practice tests, it's super helpful. GMAC offers a lot of tools where you can not only see as you go through a question, you're not just marking an answer and then seeing how you did.

You also can mark your level of confidence on that question so you get a sense of not only how prepared are you, but how confident are you in the material that you're covering. So anyways, that was my experience of the EA.

Emily Whitehouse: I just have one quick thing to add here. So I just wanted to acknowledge we're discussing the Executive Assessment, the EA, otherwise known as quite a bit, but we truly are test agnostic. So you can certainly present us with a GMAT or a GRE as Keith previously said. It's just that we see the Executive Assessment so much more frequently with our particular population of potential applicants. Because it is a 90-minute test, it is something that is a little bit less time intensive to prep for and to sit for as opposed to a GMAT or A GRE.

We tend to see GMATs and GRE scores for folks that maybe took it within the last five years, and they're very happy with their score and they don't wish to take another test in the near term. But I just wanted to make sure I said that too.

Keith Gallinelli: And I think that it's important, we were talking a lot about the logistics of the exam. Definitely give yourself about four weeks or so for any exam that you're planning on taking. It does take some time to get yourself prepared for it, to schedule that either in person or online exam. And you want to make sure you're thinking about that if you're planning to apply in a certain round and the deadline's coming up. And again, I think the other thing just to kind of note about the exam is really again, why do we even require this?

It really is to give us a level of comfort in assessing your readiness to kind of get back into a very academic setting where you're going to be using quantitative methods. And I think it really does give the candidate themselves a little bit of a knowledge of where they stand and what they may need to do to get up to speed in order to start a program like this. The next aspect of the application are the transcripts. Now these are fairly straightforward, but I do think it's worth talking about quickly. David, a little bit about transcripts, what we'd like to see the process, how it works.

David Daniel: So one thing I should say, when we look at the application, academics are really important, but perhaps not in the way that you would expect. When we look at a candidate's profile and we look at academics, the academics are really sort of the initial bar. We want to know that everyone is going to be able to be successful in the program. And then we really base our selectivity around your professional profile. So for academics, we of course look at test scores, which we just talked about, but then we also look at all of the work that you've done previously at an undergraduate or graduate level and beyond.

And so as we look through those, we look really carefully. We've read tens of thousands of essays. We've read maybe an order of magnitude more transcripts it feels like sometimes. But we read really carefully. We look through line by line. We're not just looking sort of a bottom line for GPA. We're looking at what are the types of courses that you took? How did you do in them? Do you have quant preparation? That's a big one. And so we take this in concert with your test results to really get a sense of can you do the work? Because that's ultimately what we're looking for here.

We want to make sure that we are setting you up for success, that you are setting yourself up for success. That when you get into this program that you're going to be able to be really successful with a lot of the rigorous content that an MBA entails. A couple just sort of quick logistical things. We are happy to accept unofficial transcripts. So you do not have to have official ones reported to us at the time of application. If you are admitted and then enroll in the program, you will need to report or have your official transcripts sent to an organization that we work with to verify documents.

But really try to make it very straightforward for the application process and then for any work that you've done at a undergraduate or graduate level. And that doesn't necessarily need to be degree seeking, although we would say that it should be for credit. So we don't need to see transcripts for a certificate that you took. But if you did take courses, for example in pre-med after you graduated college, to then go to med school later, we would want to see those. So it doesn't have to be degree seeking, but any for credit undergraduate and graduate transcripts that you have.

Emily Whitehouse: I think David kind of set it all on that front. But I guess something that I would also say is that a lot of folks have what they need at home, probably sealed in an envelope in a desk drawer somewhere. So don't be too worried. And also, I mean transcript seeking is a lot easier these days, I think. Through things like online portals, you can contact your previous university's registrar's office. So there's a few different ways to go about getting the unofficial transcripts, but we need to see your name, we need to see the courses you took, the grades that you earned. So as detailed as possible would be beneficial.

David Daniel: And I guess I would also ask, Emily, what about someone who maybe didn't do as well previously as they had hoped?

Emily Whitehouse: That's a great question. And I think one thing I'll say is that I don't want to be judged for the student I was in 2009, and I don't think you should be either.

Keith Gallinelli: I mean, again, many of the people that are applying for an executive MBA program have had quite a life after their undergraduate experience. Some people have come to us with 20, 30 even more years of experience. And so again, as we look at the entire application, we really are looking holistically. So it's not so much things that happened 20-30 years ago are going to be weighted as heavily, especially for somebody that's done quite well for themselves, has worked, has really built an enterprise, has been working in an organization and it really wants to take that next step in their career.

Emily Whitehouse: And one other thing I'll say on that front as well is that we are looking closely at these transcripts, as David said, but that test score is kind of helping to bridge the gap between then and now as well. And we are looking at that work experience and that work trajectory really closely in your resume too. And those letters of recommendation, I mean everything is coming full circle. This is a holistic review process. There's no one piece of the application process that we weigh as more important or as heavier than another. And I think that it's just really important to say that we are truly looking at the whole applicant here.

David Daniel: And I would also just add back when we were talking about the essays I mentioned that we really are seeking to get to know you fully. And that's one of the things that I've mentioned with transcripts. If there's a story there to be told about your previous academic experience that doesn't immediately come through on a transcript, tell us. That's why we have the optional essay. Sometimes people had things happen. Maybe you had a family situation or an illness or maybe, like Emily mentioned, I know when I was an undergrad I was not the super mature individual I am today of course. Keith just made a face.

But with that though, if there's more to be said, it's been a long time. And so we don't want to suggest that this doesn't matter and it isn't important. And really the worst thing for you to do is leave us with questions that we have unanswered. But we're not looking for reasons to disqualify people in the application. We're looking for strength so that we can view your overall candidacy as a potential member of the MBA for Executives class. So if there's a piece of that story that doesn't come through in the transcript, tell us. That one semester such and such happened and that's why. Or here's how I've reflected and grown in my time since then.

Emily Whitehouse: And you can just bullet point it. Optional essays are your friend in that case.

Keith Gallinelli: Definitely. All right, as we move on towards the final aspect of the application, it's the employer approval. Now, we talked about this when we were talking about recommendation letters a little bit. But it's really, really important for you to have buy-in from your employer when you're thinking about pursuing an executive MBA program. Including the residency weeks, the global experience week, the week in between the first year and second year and every other Friday-Saturday format. We expect that you'll be out of the office for about 60 days over the entire 22-month duration of the program.

So it's important for you not only to have buy-in from your superiors and from your organization, but also as you start thinking about the people that are working for you and your family and your personal life as well. These are all important aspects. So Emily, I know that you've written a really good blog post that I use often when I'm talking with people or doing one-to-ones meetings with them about how to approach the buy-in. How do you even start the conversation with your employer when you say, "Hey, by the way, I really want to do this executive MBA program and I need to be taking off quite a lot of time and it's going to be a lot of responsibility on my part." How does somebody go about that?

Emily Whitehouse: So for an employer approval, this is a question that I get all the time, hence the blog post that I wrote on the subject. I think it's really important, first of all to be thinking about employer approval very early in the process because without the approval of your employer, it's impossible to do this program, quite frankly. You certainly need the buy-in of those on your work team and your supervisor and everyone should be very well aware of the time commitment that this is going to take and what it's going to mean for you to be taking this time to pursue this program.

Something else that I think is important to think about when you are thinking about having that initial conversation. Hopefully you're having this conversation early and often and not doing it just as you're about to submit your application. It is putting yourself out there a little bit. But I think that it is something that is super valuable, a really valuable conversation to have. And I just want to kind of flip the script a little bit on that as well. I think that a lot of folks come into that conversation thinking that they're making this huge ask and it's only going to benefit you.

When in actuality I think that your employer will realize that there's such value in having someone on their work team who is pursuing an executive MBA while they're working in that particular place of employment. So let me just say that approaching this from a space of how this is going to benefit you, but also how it's going to benefit your employer and your work team and help you to grow in the moment. I can't tell you the amount of stories that we hear every class weekend about an individual learning in a classroom context and then bringing that learning back to their workplace.

And that just helping to solve a problem that maybe has been ongoing for a number of weeks, they've solved for it in a matter of a class weekend. So this is something that's adding value in the moment. So I just kind of wanted to say that first and foremost. And from a technical perspective, the employer approval piece is one in which you will be providing us with the contact information for that individual. Now, it might not be your direct supervisor, it might be an HR generalist. You're going to want to find out who in the chain of command would be approving your time away from the office.

But what you'll do is you'll provide that individual's name and contact information. And then if invited to interview, that will lead for an email to come from us to that person. So at that time of interview invitation, you need to be prepared for that person to be receiving this email. So you do not want that email to be a surprise. So I think that that's really important and in order to interview, you do need to have that in place. And it's a very simple form, but they do need to submit it themselves.

And this might be the same person who's writing a letter of recommendation for you where they can share more details or their excitement about you pursuing this. But just understand that that is something that we will need at the time of the interview, but it is something that you provide when you apply to the program. But guys, anything to add here?

David Daniel: I would just say one thing that we strive to do is make the requirements and the elements of the program really open and clear to you upfront. And part of that is that we put together, and I say we, it's really our colleagues in the program team who do so much work. Put together the academic calendar for your class and it'll be ready I would say in a month or two. And that's going to be the academic calendar for your entire 22 months here. It's going to include all of your residency periods, your global network week, your class weekends.

And really start to finish from the program, when are you going to need to be out of the office. Share that with your employer early, candidly so that they understand that you are going to need to be out of the office often and that you are potentially going to need to travel quite a bit. We do have an extended classroom, but it's not guaranteed that you're going to get the extended classroom every other weekend. You're going to really need to be here most of the time. And so setting those expectations clearly, early, like Emily said.

And being able to show them and chart out, "Okay, this is one this class weekend would be, oh, we were going to have that deliverable due by then." Let's amend that timeline slightly. Or maybe someone else can help stand up or at this point, I'm not going to be available, so I'm going to train up someone on my team to help with clients who have these needs then, whatever it is. Walking through that academic calendar, both yourself with your family is also a really good idea, but with your employer early is going to be really, really valuable.

Because the point of the employer approval is to serve you and your employer and us so that in a year and a half when things get really busy at work, you're not then having to have the conversation to say, "Well, hold on a second. I'm supposed to be doing this executive MBA now." You want them to know and to understand and to have agreed early on. Academic calendar, that's my plug.

Emily Whitehouse: Absolutely. And one other thing I'll add there I think is that once again, this is a mutually beneficial arrangement and I think that if you approach it as such, you're going to have a better time of it. And I think that for individuals I've talked to who have said their employer is really psyched about this and they're really interested and motivated by the prospect of someone on their work team doing this, I think that that's a really good signal that that's a good place to work because they're putting value toward their employees.

They are valuing your continuing education. And those are individuals who are very happy during this program and may go on to achieve even more at that particular company and be loyal to that company. You might not be looking for another job after completing your executive MBA. And this is also a great point in the process to talk about potential, not just time approval and time sponsorship as we sometimes call it. But also if they can support you in any way with regard to affording this program. Opening up that conversation, seeing if there's a well trod path for potentially getting some financial support for this process. That's kind of where that conversation can begin as well.

And perhaps there is someone who's pursued an MBA on your work team and they can explain what that process was like. Maybe you're the very first one and you're creating that process along with your HR department. So these are some thoughts about that. But then also maybe it's not a financial sort of a sponsorship. Maybe they are prepared to promote you a year into the program, or maybe there is some other benefit to the end of this, or they're going to assist with some sort of tuition deferment or reimbursement. Everyone's got different connections and capabilities I think in that space, but it never hurts to ask. That's definitely the case.

Keith Gallinelli: That's very true. And I think that definitely a couple of the things that you were saying where people are finding, even when they start these conversations, there are others in their organizations that have already gone through an executive MBA and they're very supportive of the process. Other things that I've heard from some people too is as they've started thinking about maybe possibly changing jobs. They make this part of the conversation to say, I'm really thinking about pursuing this, and they make it kind of the new offer contingent upon that.

So there's a lot of ways that people can approach the employer approval process and really trying to not just think of it as a benefit to yourself, but also to your employer or your company or your organization as a whole. So in closing, I definitely thank you guys very much for peeling back the lid, if you will, and taking a look more at the application. Again, we have a lot of resources that are available online. Definitely if you have questions as you're going through the application process, reach out to us.

You can reach us at One of us will definitely get back to you. If you have not yet already submitted a pre-assessment, please do that. And then we're going to be having a number of opportunities for you to connect with us, whether it be virtually, coming here on campus, and we'll be going out to a variety of cities in the near future where you can meet with us and kind of meet some of our current students, our alumni, ourselves, and we are always happy to help out with the entire process. So thank you very much and we hope to see your application in the very near future.

David Daniel: Thanks everyone.

Emily Whitehouse: Thank you.