How I got to Yale School of Management: Part 1
Is it possible to get admitted to a top school in R3? What are the trickiest interview questions? How to fund your MBA within a short timeframe? Learn answers to these and other questions from Nataliia, Yale SOM MBA Candidate, and MBA Strategy client.
The idea of getting an MBA came to me about two years ago. Having acquired theoretical foundations, I desired to learn more practice-oriented things, not only graphs and formulas that no one encounters in the real world. In such a manner, my primary motivation to apply for an MBA was based on the goal to supplement my solid knowledge base with the practical experience provided by MBA.
In 2015 I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in International Economic Relations from one of Ukrainian universities. I was overwhelmed by preparation to State Examinations, writing my graduation thesis, and Master’s Studies entry exams. Nowadays, after finishing the first year of my master’s studies, I can state that those times had truly set myself for an MBA.
Many people stated that it was impossible for me to get admitted since I was still doing my 2-year masters and had to transit from one university to another. My case was also unique because I did not possess any full-time work experience, but only part-time internships, which was not enough to impress a top-tier business school. Nevertheless, I managed to find programs at Harvard University and Yale SOM, where work experience is not a must – the programs for college seniors.
Although I consider myself a competitive candidate, my chances were low. In addition to everything stated above, I applied in the Round 3, since I had not been prepared earlier. Of course, there were plenty of other options in Europe, but not a single one was that appealing to me than studying in the US. The risks were extremely high, but I could not help trying, as I had finally prepared my application pack. If I failed, it would be a pity of course, but at the same time I would receive priceless experience and apply for the next year, keeping in mind my mistakes.
I need to mention here that initially I was not allowed to apply for the Silver Scholars program (for college seniors) directly. Therefore I had to compete with applicants with substantial work experience. Nevertheless, after reviewing my application, the Yale SOM admissions committee forwarded the documents to my first choice program.
Why Yale School of Management
The first reason for me to choose Yale was its reputation: the university is well-known worldwide, and Yale SOM is undoubtedly among the leading business schools, providing with vital knowledge. Besides, I aim for a career in consulting, and Yale has a solid expertise in this field. Next, Yale seemed to be the perfect match for my interests and priorities. Another advantage is its close-knit cohort with only 325 students, whereas Harvard, for instance, invites about 970 students to their MBA class.
As for other options, I was interested in Columbia Business School. Although the school’s profile is different from my preferences, I was captivated by the essay question about “being in the very center of business”. Indeed, CBS location in New York is a significant advantage, as there are lots of companies around and therefore many internship opportunities. Regarding Harvard Business School, which also offers a program for college seniors, I decided to apply there in autumn, in case I failed in the Round 3, even though the school’s culture did not resonate with me as much as Yale’s.
Financing and Accommodation
As I mentioned, my timetable was highly compressed during the application process. Getting to Yale was hard, but financing my education was a great challenge as well. Being notified of the final decision in May, I had to be fully prepared already in August, which included a visa and the first tuition fee payment. Round 3 applicants usually struggle to make it on time, however the Admissions Committee is quite helpful and even agrees to extend the deadlines a bit. As for me, I was granted an extra month, therefore I managed to prepare the documents both for the visa and a Ukrainian national grant.
When it comes to accommodation, there are three options: dormitory, apartments and a private house. The difference between the first two choices is whether a shower is shared between 4-5 rooms or not. You should apply in R1 or R2 to secure your place in dorms, although there were few spaces left for R3 applicants too. Many MBA candidates find more comfortable to rent a house with 2-3 rooms, which is more expensive, but not that much: you will have to pay extra $150-200 per month.
Stay tuned for the next part, where Nataliia will share her tips about the whole admissions process.
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