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From the Senior Associate Director of Admissions: Is the Silver Scholars Program the Right Next Step for You?

Maria Derlipanska answers questions about Round 3 admissions to the Silver Scholars Program, and current Silver Scholars discuss what drew them to the program.

In the final months before graduation, college seniors are faced with a myriad of options: going on to graduate school, taking up a service or academic fellowship, starting their first full-time job, or pursuing other interests and passions that lead to exciting careers—hopefully while making a positive impact.

With its mission to educate leaders for business and society, the Yale School of Management draws students who aim to achieve exactly thathave successful careers across industries and sectors while contributing to the greater good through the work they do. For Silver Scholars, this happens in a remarkably accelerated way and with ample flexibility along the way. An extended internship, for example, allows them to explore one or more career interests, over a year or longer, in the private or public sector, and anywhere in the world.

Since Round 3 represents the final chance in the 2021-22 application cycle to submit an application for the Silver Scholars Program, students often wonder if applying now is ill-advised. The simple answer is no. If you are a college senior or graduated in fall 2021, you can rest assured that your chances of receiving an offer of admission are exactly the same as they were in the previous two rounds. Admission to the Silver Scholars Program isn’t capped; while Silver Scholars usually make up about 5% of the total MBA class of 350 students, this percentage has sometimes gone up to 10%. The Admissions Committee exercises a lot of flexibility when reviewing applications from Silver Scholar candidates, and the goal is to admit the strongest and most diverse group, rather than to fill a set number of seats. There is no particular profile, academic discipline, or professional experience that is given preference above others. Candidates of all majors and career interests are encouraged to apply. The diversity they bring—academic, professional, geographic, and experiential—contributes immensely to the overall MBA experience at Yale SOM.

We asked current Silver Scholars to share their thoughts and offer advice to program applicants. Here’s what they had to say:

Coco Chou ’24

Coco Chou ’24

Undergraduate institution: Princeton University
Undergraduate major: Public health
Intended industry: Healthcare

“Do not be afraid to invest in yourself early on if you have a goal in mind. I want to pursue a career at the intersection of healthcare and business. With a clear direction in mind, I know that pursuing the MBA/MPH joint degree at Yale will not only provide me the certifications for my desired positions. The Silver Scholar Program makes it possible for me to develop a strong, solid professional standing very early on in my career journey.”

Helena Heckschen ’24

Helena Heckschen ’24

Undergraduate institution: Ludwig Maximilians University
Undergraduate major: Finance
Intended industry: Sports management

“I applied to the Silver Scholars Program to learn from and with smart, driven, experienced peers and gain a U.S. perspective. The opportunity to discuss business topics with friends and classmates who have been in the workforce for much longer than I have is unique. The experience is elevated by the fact that I am completely integrated into the “traditional” MBA cohort and the majority of my friends are not Silver Scholars. To anyone considering the Silver Scholar Program, I would recommend having a clear goal for the time at SOM as well as the gap between first and second year. Start building a network early to achieve these goals. The Silver Scholars Program allows you to shape your path, but that means you must be willing to put in the work to pave the way.

Katja Gilman headshot

Katja Gilman ’24

Undergraduate institution: Duke University
Undergraduate major: Public policy and visual arts
Intended industry: Education

“I went to Duke for undergrad, where I studied public policy and visual arts. Although I enjoyed my majors, I knew I was missing the core, foundational knowledge to pursue a career in entrepreneurship post-graduation. Working for a startup was an option, but I knew it would take a long time for me to build the skills and understanding I needed to embark on my own venture. I applied to the Silver Scholars Program because I knew what I wanted to do, and I wanted a faster way to accomplish my goals. Choosing to go back to school was not an easy decision, which is why I waited until the final round. Ultimately, I understood that an MBA, and Yale SOM more specifically, was the right steppingstone for my journey, and I decided to pursue the opportunity. My advice to college seniors is that it’s not too late to apply. The third round may seem daunting, but what’s scarier is not trying in the first place.”

Ashleigh Garrison ’24

Ashleigh Garrison ’24

Undergraduate institution: Columbia University
Undergraduate major: English language and literature/journalism
Intended industry: Media

“I studied English and did journalism throughout undergrad, so I was a bit nervous applying to MBA programs—especially at such a young age. I wondered if my humanities background would put me at a disadvantage, but I actually found that it gave me plenty to talk about in my application. If you have a nontraditional background, it’s OK to talk about that and be honest about your aspirations. Use your unique experiences to your advantage! Especially since business school is a major commitment, my biggest piece of advice is to simply talk with people: current students, recent graduates, people who work in your field(s) of interest, etc. 

“I chose Yale SOM over other programs because of the integrated curriculum and the opportunity to attend business school with people from such diverse backgrounds. I was hesitant to apply in Round 3, but I decided to do so because I wanted to make my application as strong as possible. Applying later gave me more time to work on the essay, talk with recommenders, and learn about the program. Moreover, I had time to really make sure I wanted to pursue business school. I know that it’s intimidating to apply in Round 3 because you think your chances are automatically lower, but I strongly encourage people to apply when they are ready.”

Maria Derlipanska
Senior Associate Director, Admissions
Yale School of Management
Edward P. Evans Hall

165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06520

Telephone: 203-436-9338
Fax: 203-436-8901