MBA Success Story: Yale SOM
MBA Strategy shares another success story in an interview with Sergey Dudko - MBA Candidate of Class 2018, Yale School of Management
Why did you decide to apply to МВА at Yale SОМ?
First, Yale School of Management has substantial focus on non-commercial, non-profit and political management. That means its applicants are those who not only strive to grow in business, consulting, investment banking, but also want to develop non-profit and political sectors. I am one of them. Politics has been my passion since my teenage days. I enrolled in a political party and participated in political events, when I was a Financial Academy student.
Second, Yale SOM offers an opportunity to attend any classes at Yale University for free. I am excited to take this advantage to visit Yale Law School lectures and seminars, which are ranked as one of the best.
Third, Yale SOM high ranking has also impacted my decision on which school to choose.
Last factor to have my choice on Yale was my campus visit. I was lucky to meet many students and make friends far before I got admitted.
What do you consider to be the most difficult task during your application process?
So each step had challenging goal. First, GMAT preparation: I was to spend 60% percent of my time and efforts during the application process to it. I had passed it 3 times. At first, it showed 580-score result. Next, it was 620 scores, and last time I achieved 710, which was sufficient for Yale. From my experience, I’d recommend just one thing for all GMAT takers: practice, practice and practice. This will not only help you master solving its typical problems, but also kill all your fears.
The next stage of my application, which was documentation package preparation took 1 month. I needed to edit and polish my CV and essays, and contact my recommenders to get recommendations.
What do you think became a turning point for AdComs to make a positive decision?
Yale strongly focuses on diversity, and my unordinary background would have attracted the AdComs’ attention. In addition, I’m an international applicant, and Yale has been keeping increasing its international percentage of MBA classes.
What was also important is the fact that I was ready to come for in-person interview. This proved my strong motivation and assured the AdComs in my intention to stick to my plans. So I’d advise all applicants, who get interview invitations, choose in-person option.
What academic achievements in your profile could be appreciated by AdComs?
For Yale, it’s important to witness your academic excellence and activities. I have 2 degrees, one of which is Honors Degree from a Financial Academy. Besides, I was a Students’ Council Member and active political player. I organized political discussions in one of the Moscow cafes and substantially advanced my leadership skills there. My second degree was from Moscow State University, Law Major. My two degrees and active student’s life showed I could excel with rigorous top-MBA program.
What good advice can you give MBA applicants towards CV editing? What is the best way to show achievements and interest AdComs?
OK, first it’s worth to accent on a good brand/reputation/position of your current employer. For example, I mentioned that had worked for a leading bank in Russia. Second, your professional growth should be obvious: show your dynamics in responsibilities during the last 4-5 years. By your results prove your knowledge and skills have been advanced and your area of responsibility has been expanded. Next, your teamwork, communication and leadership skills are of great importance, so your professional experience must demonstrate these skills as well. Choose cases, where you have proved your impact and contribution to a teamwork and an organization as an excellent mate, communicator and negotiator. There is also one more important thing, which is your quantitative results. Numbers help evaluate your real impact, and can be one of the criteria to have you stood out of a pool of other applicants. Imagine your are an AdCom member and you read hundreds of CVs, showing advanced skills and positions in leading companies. What help you to stand out is clear factors and results that can easily be evaluated. AdComs would pose their screening on those CVs, whose authors are great achievers and prove this by numbers and percentages. Show your value!
The next application process step was an interview. Do you have a good piece of advice on how to be successful at an interview?
Let me just remind you my previous advice, which I think to be the best one – schedule an in-person interview, even if it is expensive and take 15 hours to fly. My next recommendation is to explore all possible questions available online. I divided them all according to their topics: professional background, leadership, extracurricular activities, family and goals. Then I designed my answers to get prepared for the real interview. Next, I kept in mind to focus on my strengths, whatever questions I got to answer during an interview. Of course, come in a positive mood, relaxing and smiling: this will help you be more open and say as much as I can for 30-minute conversation.
Can relaxing and positive mood be practiced beforehand?
Communicate more to practice your answers and develop your intuition. I was interviewed by a 2-year student from Germany. As it happened, he was very interested in politics and we had a lot to discuss, indeed! This topic helped us develop very friendly and intimate conversation. I was talking about myself and didn’t notice how our 30 minutes ended. The most important task is to keep your interviewer interested in what you are saying. This helps him or her better understand your thoughts and mind.
What is the secret of successful application to Yale?
I believe the success lies in common rules: good GMAT scores and strong application package. Both are possible due to determination, persistence and commitment to your goal!