School Visit – Yale School of Management

by on March 21st, 2010

One of our top community members, Richard (also known as money9111), has a written a comprehensive debriefing on his experiences visiting the Yale School of Management–a top MBA program. Check out his notes below from his day on campus:

Commute: I commuted up to the Yale School of Management from NY Penn Station on February 16th, 2010.  I arrived at Penn Station at 6:30am for my 7am train.  I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was my first real campus visit.  The train took an hour and a half, but it seemed to go pretty quickly.

Getting to Campus: I’ve driven by New Haven before, but never anything more than to catch a glimpse of it.  When I got out of the train station I thought to myself “This is an old town!”  You really get a sense of it being a New England town from the scenery.  Most of the buildings that I saw were all brick and not very tall.  I’m used to NYC building heights.  It was quaint, not much hustle and bustle but then again it was President’s Day.  The cab was about $10 from the train station to the SOM’s visitor center which had to have been less than 2 miles from the train station.

Day Begins: I was about a half hour early, so I walk in and introduce myself, get my name tag, and have a seat.  When I walked in there was another prospective student sitting there.  Turns out she was waiting to have her interview.  People started trickling in and before you know it, they moved us to another room where we all sat and waited for a couple students to come in and give us an introduction.  We were all making small chat.  You know the standard “where are you from?”  “what do you do?”  “are you here for an interview and a tour or just an interview?”  I would say that about half of the people in the group of say 20, were there for an interview as well.  Another handful were applying for R3, and the rest of us were just getting an early start on visiting schools.

Dress Attire: I was wearing a Navy blue v-neck sweater with a light blue button down shirt underneath paired with dress pants.  I had to go with the Yale colors right?  I felt appropriately, unlike some others.  Why someone would arrive to a Business School in jeans is beyond me.  There were about 3 people in jeans and button downs or sweaters.  We were mixed in with people dressed in suits going in for their interviews, so I felt that I could “hang.”

Yale Introduction: After a couple minutes, our student guides came in and explained to us the new (circa 2006) Yale SOM Integrated Curriculum.  This was definitely a high-point of the day for me, because honestly… I could not truly decipher the diagram on the website.

Well the student guides broke this down for us and it totally makes sense and energized me.  Instead of having multiple classes within each siloed discipline like Finance, Accounting, Marketing, etc…. you learn things from different organizational perspectives such as… from the Customer perspective, Investor perspective, Competitor perspective, Employee, and so on and so forth.  You do get to learn the basics of Economics and Accounting and such in the beginning of your first year, but the Perspectives are the main ways of learning.  It puts you in the position of each component to force you to look at things from a different angle, as you progress through the curriculum!

Yale School of Management

1st Class Visit: After they explained the curriculum we went to sit in on a class.  I chose to sit in on a class called Employee.  You can basically tell what it’s about… that day they were going over a case about Harrah’s Casino and how to motivate the cage workers and managers with incentives/bonuses.  It was obviously based on the case that they had read the day before.  The professor was very interactive.  No one was fighting for speaking time…it didn’t seem like anyone was worried about a Cold Call.  All answers were very genuine.  It turns out that the following day, the protagonist of the case would be be speaking at Yale.  So I thought this was very neat in that you can get inside his head to see why he made the decisions that he did.

One thing that stuck out in my head was when one student was answering a 2-part question, but couldn’t really get the answer so she said “maybe one of my classmates can help me out here” and immediately a couple other hands went up to help her out.  I thought that was very cool.  Yes there were people who just couldn’t be bothered because they were clearly tired, but that’s going to be with any school.

The discussions were not in some foreign language or uncommon business vernacular.  Some students threw in some business buzz words, but that’s to be expected.

The classroom was situated in a semi-circle of course.  It may have been slightly tiered, but it wasn’t intimidating by any means.  It was very bright with floor to ceiling windows as two of the four walls.  The professor had two pull down projection screens on each side of the blackboard.  The blackboard of course could slide back and forth.

Campus Tour: After this class we went back to the Visitor’s center and waited for the student guides to take us on a tour of the b-school campus.  The campus isn’t big, it only consists of 3 buildings, 2 of which are connected by tunnels, but considering that the total combined student population is small, 3 buildings isn’t bad.

The facades of 2 of the buildings are older, since they were old mansions, and yes the floors do creak, but the newer sections of the buildings are nice and modern.  Here is a good time to remind everyone that the school of management will be getting a new home in 2013.  It’s gorgeous and you can find pictures online.

Lunch: So after the tour, we went to lunch… standard cafeteria here… order food… pay for food… eat food… food was good.  If you do go on a campus tour though, make sure to bring your wallet for lunch time.  I thought that since we were visiting it would have been complimentary, but I was mistaken.  It wasn’t a problem since I had my wallet, but earlier in the day they told us that we could leave our belongings in the visitor’s center.  So I ended up paying for someone else that I had just met.

2nd Class Visit: After we ate, we went to another class.. the set up in this room was definitely tiered.  It was smaller than the previous classroom and the professor only had 1 projection screen.  This class wasn’t case based.  It actually seemed like there was a lot of reading that had been prescribed.  The students had a 2 question quiz at the beginning of the class.  The quiz would not be hard if they did the reading.  It was just two basic questions…  no big deal.. do the reading get a good grade.

Admissions Q&A: We went back to the Visitors center to participate in an Admissions Q&A.  When we got to this part I thought to myself “YES… THIS IS WHERE I’LL ANSWER MY QUESTIONS.”  So here are my notes from that conversation:

  • There is a real sense of community because it’s small & diverse
  • Core courses have 2 Faculty in the room @ the same time
  • Yale SOM doesn’t want to just be highly regarded in comparison to other b-schools.  They are working towards being the best!
  • AdCom goes through undergrad transcripts line by line looking for quant classes, not just overall GPA.
  • If you’re a career switcher, explain how you became interested in your future career path in the essays.
  • If you are granted an interview, the interviewers only see your resume prior to meeting you.
  • In terms of the GMAT the AdCom looks at the range of scores but they take the highest score.
  • Adjectives that would describe the quintessential Yale SOM student? GENUINE – PASSIONATE – FUN – TEAM PLAYER


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