Interview Prep Tips

Yale SOM MBA video question prep

Yale’s School of Management has been using video as part of the application process at their prestigious MBA program for many years now.

Yale SOM made video a part of the admissions process back in 2014 and sources indicate that the relative importance of a candidate’s video essay has increased over time.  Therefore, prepping thoroughly for Yale SOM’s MBA video questions is a key part of a successful applicant’s journey to admission.

Admissions staff at Yale SOM value the video questions greatly since it allows them to get a better feel for the candidates are, in an environment that is not as staged as a written essay (which some candidates even outright hire ghostwriters to pen them a perfect essay) or relentlessly drill for as the face to face interview.

What to expect

Questions on the video questions tend to mix up classic MBA application questions (for example, “why do you want an MBA from Yale”, “what is your greatest achievement”, etc) with questions that would probably never make it to a formal face to face interview, such as “where do you want to travel to?”.  This gives credence to what admissions has publicly stated as the purpose of the video interview – to simply get to know the applicant.

Recording the Yale video questions is a relatively straightforward process.  The interview is run on a platform managed by a company called Kira Talent.  You have to answer three questions.  Those questions are delivered in the form of a video recording, one at a time.  For the first two questions, the applicant has 20 seconds to prepare an answer after listening to the question and 30 seconds to respond.  The third question has a prep timer of 60 seconds and the response time is 90 seconds.  There are no retries!

2020 Yale video questions

Yale’s first two video questions are fairly typical of MBA application video submissions, but the third is decidedly unique.

The first question revolves the question of why you chose to pursue an MBA.  This can be phrased in several different ways but the question is essentially the same – make sure to have that answer ready to go.

The second question is typically a behavioral question.  If you’ve ever been through an interview that asks you about “your greatest challenge” or “a time you had to resolve a conflict between two teammates” – those are behavioral questions.  You should always answer those questions drawing from your past experiences.  Give them context, tell them what do you did improve the situation, and what was the result of those actions.

The third question is more complex and draws on Yale’s use of “raw” and “cooked” case studies.  “Raw” case studies are when the information is presented to you in an unstructured, unconsolidated way – much like you’ll find information in the real world!  On the third question, you will be presented with some information and you need to demonstrate the ability to handle complex issues quickly and convincingly.

MBA Video Interviews are becoming increasingly important, but finding the right setting can be a challenge.

To be absolutely clear: You only have one chance to record those answers!  There are no retries!  Once you’ve recorded your answer there is no way you can record again.  The only exception is if there is a legitimate technical issue and the Kira staff verify that video was not captured or there was some other sort of problem.  If you ask Yale admissions to redo the video interview without a valid technical reason, your application will probably be flagged and not in a good way.

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How to prepare for the video essay

A good way to avoid stressing out due to technical issues is testing the Kira platform before you start answering the Yale questions.  Kira has a helpful section on their website that explains in great details the technical step-by-step of recording video and what to do in case there are any technical issues.

Another big thing to look out for when preparing for the video interview is how unnatural it is to record yourself talking into your camera.  Everyone does selfie videos but this is quite a different experience!

Make sure you do lots of practice runs to familiarize yourself with recording video without anybody else on the other end.

Get ahead of the competition

Voomer is a great way to get that practice since it was built from the ground up with this scenario in mind.  When it comes to doing well on interviews, there is only one way to improve and get ahead of the competition – practice, practice and more practice.

Questions on Voomer match what you’ll get on the Yale video interview and after going through a set of questions, you’ll get an artificial intelligence powered report on your results with specific, actionable steps you can take to improve your performance.

Your response is broken down into multiple components and analyzed individually and then as a whole.  From delivery to content to body language and camera settings.