Yale SOM Interview Recap

Stress-Relief1My Yale SOM interview did not start out well. Not well at all.

First off, I had been battling the start of some kind of stomach bug for a couple days beforehand, so I was all around tired, sore and worn out. I also had the beginning of a painful eye infection in one eye, and the lower lid of my OTHER eye was twitching nonstop (I heard this can happen when you’re overtired or stressed. It was driving me nuts! And it was actually visible to others–I probably looked like some kind of twitchy madwoman). Oh, and I also had a big canker sore going on on my lip, ya know, just to round out the whole picture.

To add to that, I left for my interview super early, but traffic STILL killed me. It was like every possible thing that could go wrong went wrong. Construction shut down a major street to just one lane, car accidents, random backups for no reason…it was all there. So despite my leaving with a ton of time to spare (I was planning on getting there at least 30 minutes early to review my notes beforehand), I ended up DASHING into my interview at the EXACT start time that was scheduled for me. My brain was fried from the last 1.5 hours of built up stress and clock-checking in the car, and I was simply not mentally ready for an interview at that point.

That was my big mistake. I’m a punctual person (especially when I’m meeting someone else; I hate to hold people up), but I really should have just sat and decompressed for 2-3 minutes and been late by 2-3 minutes. It probably would have helped me out a lot. So, note to others: Don’t run into your interview all hyped up like I was!

So we started with a regular resume walk-through-type question, and I tripped over my words and incoherently said…things…or at least I think I did. By the time that one was over, I had calmed down a bit, and the rest of the interview went okay (I think). But altogether, I left feeling very disappointed in myself. I think I could have hit that one out of the park, but I set a poor image right at the beginning that probably affected my interviewer’s perception of the rest of my performance. (Oh, by the way, I interviewed with an adcom member in Los Angeles.)

I’ve been posting all the questions I can remember from interviews I’ve had with other schools, but I haven’t been for Yale. And I think that’s because I have the distinct impression that the school does *not* want us to share these things with others. In fact, the person I interviewed with basically said so…she acknowledged the fact that everyone can find past questions online, so Yale really goes through the effort to formulate questions that applicants have not seen before. Knowing that makes me believe a couple things about Yale SOM: 1) They might weigh the interview more compared to other schools, and 2) Maybe they’re less into collaboration (??) I’m not sure. These are complete guesses. But, either way, their attitude about the whole thing makes the competitive side of me flare up (I also just don’t want to do something that they are explicitly trying to avoid). So I’m not going to share the specific questions I received, but I can say that they were DEFINITELY BEHAVIORAL. Actually, I’m not even sure if “behavioral” is the right word…when I think of “behavioral,” I think, “Tell me about a time when…”. And while there were a couple questions that followed that pattern, some questions were more about belief systems and relationships. They definitely favor people who are introspective and people-oriented.

Anyway, that wraps up all the interviews I have lined up so far. Still no word from Stanford or Berkeley. I’m assuming Stanford is a ding (I’ll know for sure next Tuesday), which isn’t a surprise. I would have been surprised if I *had* been invited for an interview, but I had to apply anyway. Though I wish I could get my $275 application fee back. Theirs was the highest fee I’ve had to pay, and it was painful. No one talks about application fees, but they hurt. A lot.

I still have hopes for an invite from Haas, though. I would love-love-love to hear from them!!

Clear Admit’s Yale SOM Interview Guide [REVIEW]

Clear Admit Interview GuideClear Admit was kind enough to offer me their Yale SOM interview guide for free in exchange for a review on this blog. My interview with Yale is coming up in about a week, so I was more than happy to take a look.

Clear Admit’s 30-page guide helpfully points out how Yale’s interview model recently changed from resume-based to behavior-based (“Tell me about a time when…”). I think this will pose a challenge for me; I tend to feel that behavioral questions can be “trick” questions. With resume-based questions, I have single straightforward answers. I’m not the kind of person who just finds herself in situations; I always have a reason behind each choice I make. So it’s easy for me to explain my professional history, my career trajectory and my goals. But with behavioral questions, I have to grasp for one example among many from my past and choose one on the spot, and I sometimes regret the choice I made afterward (“Shoot, I should have talked about THAT leadership example, not THIS one!”). So I have a lot of preparation ahead of me in terms of pre-determining  answers to typical behavioral questions.

And I’m in luck, because Clear Admit’s guide supplies almost 50 questions that Yale has consistently asked applicants in recent years. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get through all of them, but they do give me a solid sense of what to expect. And, for me, personally, knowing what to expect is invaluable because it really eases my nerves and increases my confidence . The guide also gives helpful tips on how to prepare yourself along with in-depth analyses of very common questions (“Why MBA?”, “Why Yale?”).

Their guide also highlights the benefits of interviewing on campus in New Haven. I am definitely sad that I’m unable to be there in person for this interview, but I’ve decided to believe Yale adcom members when they say an on-campus interview does not give you a better chance for admission than on off-campus one. But, really, I don’t have much choice in this matter. I just bought plane tickets to see family for Christmas, and that set me back almost $700! That might not be a large sum for some, but it is for me. I’ve decided to do as many interviews locally as I can, and see if I can possibly visit campuses after I’ve received decisions.

Altogether, the guide is a great summary of what to expect and how to prepare for an interview with Yale SOM. I definitely learned information that I did not know, despite my Google-fu. I’ve been able to compile past Yale SOM interview questions myself from various forums and boards, but having them all in one place is a HUGE time saver (and I haven’t been able to compile even close to the number of questions the guide has). If you have $20 to spare, and ESPECIALLY if you’re short on time, I’d say the guide is totally worth it. You can purchase the guide online at Clear Admit’s website for $19.99.

My first interview invite: Yale SOM

Yale SOMI was SO excited today when I received my first bschool interview invite! And I am SO-SO-SO excited that it came from Yale SOM!!!

I was having a mini mental crisis up until today. I’m probably blowing my weirdness out of proportion, but I was really starting to doubt myself and my entire philosophy of just being honest in my apps. I was beginning to think that I had alienated the folks who were reviewing my materials, despite trying my best to demonstrate my practical and strategic side along with my idealistic one.

This interview invite means so much more to me than just a chance at admission. Even if I don’t get that ultimate offer, it is so gratifying to know that I’m being considered and not immediately tossed aside as a misfit (and that my horribly poor video performance didn’t scare them away!). I didn’t realize how stressed out I was about this whole thing until I saw that invite email on my screen. I felt like the vise squeezing my rib cage was suddenly loosened and released. I can breathe again!

Yale, in a lot of ways, seems like a perfect place for me to go to bschool. I even kind of like that it’s not a top 10 program. Not that I’m against going to a highly ranked bschool–that is completely untrue. But Yale is well known for its socially responsible program, and I doubt that those ranking systems put a fair amount of weight on that fact. And I’m not particularly interested in surrounding myself with peers who put an undue amount of importance on things like reputation, prestige and rankings. Not that everyone who goes to those schools are all like that, but it’s just more probable that I’d find more like-minded folks at a place like Yale. But I’m not going to get ahead of myself here; I haven’t even scheduled my interview yet.

And that brings me to my next set of questions. It would put a huge strain on my finances to fly around the country for on-campus interviews, and interviewing via Skype seems like an awkward and uncomfortable proposition. Luckily, it looks like Yale is sending out adcom members to certain cities to conduct in person, off campus interviews, so I’m hoping to take that route (I’m super grateful for that option, btw). Hopefully that will work out!