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发表于 2003-9-12 11:44:00 | 显示全部楼层


A Chat with Yale's B-School Admissions Director

James Stevens, director of MBA admissions at the Yale School of Management, and second-year student Terry Martorana with application tips
James Stevens is director of MBA admissions at the Yale School of Management (No. 19 on BusinessWeek's 2000 Top 30 B-School list). Before arriving at Yale in 1998, Stevens was senior associate director of admissions & financial aid and chairperson of the admission committee at New York University's Stern School of Business. He also worked in admissions and student services at the University of Michigan Business School -- his MBA alma mater -- and in financial aid at American University, where he earned his BA in international relations and French. Terry Martorana is a second-year MBA at Yale School of Management.

Stevens' and Martorana's comments came during a live BusinessWeek Online chat on Jan. 30. They were responding to questions from the audience and from BW Online's Jack Dierdorff and Mica Schneider. The following is an edited transcript of the discussion:

Q: Jim, we've heard a lot about dramatic application increases in late 2001. Is there any sign that applications to B-schools are tapering off in later rounds?
Stevens: We had a huge increase this year in our first round. Applications are up over 60%. Right now, with the second-round applications here, they're up over 40%, and we expect to receive a record number this year.

Q: Terry, can you put the application process into perspective now that you've been at B-school for about two years?
Martorana: The application process was very time-consuming.

Q: Would you have applied to more B-schools? Was Yale the right choice for you?
Martorana: I applied to about five schools, and Yale was the best decision I ever made!

Q: Does a student with a 600-650 GMAT, good recommendations, and eight years of work experience stand a chance at getting into Yale?
Stevens: Absolutely! We look at a lot more than just the GMAT scores when we're evaluating candidates.

Q: What factors do you weigh most in admitting a potential candidate: college GPA, GMAT, professional experience, or personal essays? And is it detrimental to have a recommendation letter from a former teacher/professor?
Stevens: There's no single factor that weighs most. Most of all, we're looking for a record of success in all areas, and we are looking for demonstrated leadership in all of our candidates. We look at all parts of the application and balance them off to enroll the strongest group. As for the second question, it's not detrimental. We specifically ask for an academic recommendation, so a letter from a professor or a teacher is entirely appropriate.

Q: How does Yale SOM view people who were waitlisted in prior years, and who reapply to SOM this year?
Stevens: Each year we're looking at candidates in the current pool. For reapplicants, we're obviously looking for improvements over the last application, and some of our most successful students are those who reapplied. Reapplicants may take additional coursework, gain more experience, or refine their career plans.

Q: How will first-round decisions be announced? Will the school use e-mail, phone, or snail mail? And have you released any first-round decisions yet?
Stevens: I will personally call each admit, and the rest of the decisions are communicated by regular mail. As of Feb. 1, if a candidate hasn't heard, they can call our office.

Q: How many of the slots have been filled from the first two rounds?
Stevens: At this point, we've filled no slots in round two -- the deadline was two weeks ago. But to really answer your question, we review applications in a batch, and your chances of admission are the same whether you apply in round one, two, or three.

Q: You mean that about one-quarter of the class of 2004 is filled?
Stevens: Actually, at this point we have just made first-round offers, and we won't know how many offers we will ultimately need to make until much later, so it's premature to give a percentage.

Q: How does the school view career changers this year in the context of such a competitive environment?
Stevens: The same as we always have. Many students come to Yale to make a career change, but regardless of whether a candidate is changing careers or continuing in their current career, what we're most looking for is evidence of leadership, a clear plan, and strong evidence of past success in whatever field.

Martorana: [As a career changer,] I have found a tremendous amount of support and resources here at Yale.

Q: How is the placement going for the class of 2002? Have the recruiters been active on-campus?
Martorana: Although the number of recruiters on campus has decreased this year, the career development office has done a wonderful job to help us find unique avenues to locate jobs. The focus this year is on networking, and Yale offers a tremendous alumni network.

Stevens: The strength and enthusiasm of our alumni network has always been a key advantage, and all alumni play a role in this. However, the career development office has launched two exciting new initiatives -- alumni industry teams and also hiring four alumni, specifically as job developers. They leverage the work that the CDO already does to expand and enhance job and networking opportunities for students. The CDO refers to this as "uncovering the hidden job market."

Q: What kind of alumni-support services does Yale offer? Does the school have a wide and global network of alumni?
Stevens: We actually have two networks that our students tap into -- we have the Yale SOM network, which is fiercely loyal, and our students also have access to the entire Yale University alumni network, which spans the globe. And in fact, many of our career opportunities come through that broader network.

Q: Yale SOM has been shying away from its image as concentrating on nonprofit management. Is this wise considering that it was a unique feature of the school?
Stevens: Actually, we are firmly committed to the school's mission of educating leaders for business and society. And we recently announced the Yale SOM Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures -- it's a $4.5 million gift from Goldman and the Pew Charitable Trusts, and we'll launch a pioneering business-plan competition for nonprofits. So our commitment to public and nonprofit [management] remains strong.

Q: What does Yale [ranked 19 on BW's Top B-School list] lack that other, better-ranked schools have?
Stevens: My quick response would be that the youth of the school affects this [ranking], and in the last couple years, we've seen tremendous recognition of the school's efforts by recruiters, alumni, prospective students, and the senior faculty. We're coming to the end of a hiring campaign to increase the senior faculty by 60%. The philosophy is that star faculty draw star students.

Q: Terry, if you have friends at other B-schools, what do you hear about them in comparison with your experience at Yale SOM?
Martorana: Over the summer while I worked at Goldman Sachs, it was really a very level playing field. I think much of the difference is a matter of fit.

Q: How would you view a couple who are applying to Yale together?
Stevens: We would look at each candidate. Each year, we have several couples who apply, and the good news is that in most cases they are comparably qualified. However, I can think of at least one case where the decisions were different. We're looking at each person as an individual -- we're looking for them to bring strength on their own.

Q: Terry can you comment on how intertwined SOM is with the rest of Yale?
Martorana: As students we are very encouraged to take classes at other parts of the university. I am currently enrolled in a joint class with the Law School. We are also very aware of speakers and events that go on in other parts of Yale.

Stevens: We have almost 20 joint-degree programs with other schools at Yale. Those range from law to environmental studies to medicine to drama -- we've got the full range. About 5% to 8% of our students are joint-degree students, and the joint programs go beyond dual degrees. For example, professor Garry Brewer runs the joint MBA-MEM [business/environmental management] program, which is a joint appointment between the two schools. He's drawing on the resources of both schools. That creates a lot of opportunities for students at both schools to interact, and I think probably the most visible "entwinement" with Yale -- I think that was the term they used -- is the International Center for Finance and the International Institute for Corporate Governance. Both entities draw on faculty and resources from the entire university -- from the economics department, from the math department, from the Center for International Relations, as well as the SOM faculty.

Q: Should joint-degree applicants apply for both programs before they begin an MBA, or can they do so after their first year at SOM?
Stevens: I always recommend that joint-degree candidates apply simultaneously. However, you can certainly apply in your first year at SOM.

Q: While consulting and finance appear to be the most common work experience, how does technology sales compare? Is sales experience a positive or negative in the eyes of admissions?
Stevens: It's neither positive nor negative. The admissions committee is less concerned with the field and more concerned with the impact that the individual has had on the organization. In other words, have you made a difference? We also like to see demonstrated leadership and teamwork as part of a person's professional experience.

Q: Do you have any special concerns when you receive an application from an attorney?
Stevens: No. Just as with any other candidate, we have found that our most successful students are those who have made a decision about their next career step, determined that they need the MBA to take that step, and can articulate how their past experience relates. So, for example, with a lawyer -- somebody who already has another graduate degree -- we would be interested in knowing how that experience fits with their plans.

Q: What does Yale SOM offer for operations and technology management? Does it have such a concentration or major, or is it a purely a general-management degree?
Stevens: The school is first and foremost a general-management program, although we have particular strengths in finance and strategy. Technology is integrated throughout the curriculum -- and, in fact, throughout the school. We do also offer a concentration in operations management.

Q: What are the key mistakes applicants make when applying to Yale?
Stevens: I've worked at several different schools, and probably the worst mistake that I've seen is having another school's name appear in your essays! Another mistake is getting recommendations from your family, such as your mom or dad, from your college buddy, or your next-door neighbor. And probably the most valuable advice I can offer is to really think through why you want to come to Yale, and communicate that to us in your essays and in your interview.

Q: How has the slower economy affected the admissions process? Have you seen an increase in applicants with a background in biotech?
Stevens: We have a very strong biotech industry presence in New Haven, and one of our most active student interest groups (SIG) is the biotech SIG. We've had historically a number of applications from people with biotech and other high-tech backgrounds. What I have seen is more people in general who are between jobs or who have less traditional work histories, meaning more job movement. As far as biotech goes, there is a biotech lab at the Yale Medical School that is a pipeline for our students.

As for the economy, I think the increase in applications is part of the effect, although we've been on an upward trajectory for the past several years in applications. I've also noticed just in the first round of applications that I've read an increase in the number of college seniors who are applying.
 楼主| 发表于 2003-9-12 11:44:00 | 显示全部楼层
Q: Terry, what common complaints do you and your classmates have about Yale SOM?
Martorana: That the program isn't long enough! There is so much going on at Yale, and two years is hardly enough time.

Q: How does Yale cultivate leadership? Would leadership skills be enhanced by attending Yale's program, as opposed to another program?
Stevens: The first step for us is in the admissions selection. We also offer a concentration in leadership. The Leaders Forum brings a steady stream of CEOs, such as Michael Dell, Rupert Murdoch, Jack Welch, Earl Graves, and Susan Berresford. We recently acquired the Chief Executive Leadership Institute, which is a combination think-tank and corporate management education center. It's central to what we do -- our mission is to educate leaders for business and society, and we take it seriously.

Martorana: On the subject of leadership, being at Yale is all about having impact. A student can really make a difference here. If you want to start a group or are interested in a class or want to see someone come to campus, you can make it happen.

Q: Yale is known for its excellence in the finance curriculum. Should I still consider Yale if I have no interest in pursuing a career in finance?
Stevens: Definitely! As I mentioned before, we are first and foremost a general-management program, and the truly amazing thing is the really diverse array of careers and opportunities that our graduates pursue. We have alumni such as John Thornton at Goldman Sachs, Indra Nooyi at PepsiCo, and Thomas Krens at the Guggenheim. They're each leaders in their fields, but those fields are very different.

Q: Do you think marketing the school as one educating leaders for society without having a complete representation of society in the classrooms is a weakness?
Stevens: The rich diversity of backgrounds of our students has always been a strength of the school -- however, we would like to see more women and minorities in graduate-management education.

We've launched a diversity initiative this year. Some highlights include a women's summit this past fall at the Yale Club in New York and a series of eight Minority MBA Workshops around the country, specifically to educate minority candidates about the opportunities that an MBA can create. We also have two networking receptions scheduled for February, one for women and one for minorities. And in fact, for minorities it's our fifth annual networking reception. We also have some specific scholarship opportunities -- we launched the Megunticook Scholars program for Hispanic, African-American, and Native American students. We also offer competitive scholarships for historically underrepresented students, including women and minorities.

Q: With the overwhelming number of applicants, are you even considering those from the third round?
Stevens: We definitely are! We will definitely be admitting candidates from the third round because we review candidates in a batch for each round. Your individual chances of admission will be the same for each round. We do have a late round in May, and that is on a space-available basis. But for the three regular rounds, your chances are no different.

Q: How does Yale utilize the waitlist? And how can an applicant make it off the waitlist and into the classroom?
Stevens: Quite honestly, we used it very little last year. And essentially we have more qualified candidates than we have places for, but as spaces open up, we want to be able to offer those spaces to candidates on our waiting list.

We have a comprehensive Web site (, and if anybody wants more information about anything we've talked about today, that's a great place to get more information. And we also have a monthly electronic newsletter that we send to all prospective MBA candidates, which highlights things that are going on at the school each month. You can sign up for that at the Web site.

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