We introduced video questions this season as a way to get a fuller, more complete sense of all applicants, rather than only being able to hear directly from those applicants we invite to interview with us. After reviewing this year’s first-round applications, our sense is that the video questions have helped applicants present their candidacies more effectively than they would from a purely “paper” application, and we have heard from applicants themselves that they found the process to be quite positive, despite concerns about their familiarity with the format (if you’ve ever Skyped, you’re familiar with the format).
For Round 2 applicants who have yet to complete their video questions, I offer a few thoughts and insights. You will be asked to answer three questions: first, an open-ended, introductory question about yourself; next, a “behavioral” question similar to what you would be asked in a business school or job interview that asks how you handled a certain professional situation; and finally, a “thought” question that offers a statement and asks if you agree or disagree with it, and why. The questions are meant to give us a better sense of who you are, how you act, and how you think.
The questions themselves do not take long to answer—you can complete them in a single 15-minute session, and all you need is a webcam and an internet connection to do so. Each question gives you 20 seconds to think about the answer and up to 90 seconds for the response (although you don’t need to use all 90 seconds—something I think some Round 1 applicants wished they knew!). And they do not require extensive preparation; the time you spent preparing your application and thinking about yourself and your academic and professional experiences should serve you well for the video questions. I would especially emphasize that we do not expect perfection with these questions. We know that they are unrehearsed, extemporaneous, in-the-moment responses. We are more concerned about the thoughtfulness of your responses than the “polish” of the presentation. (That said, please do dress appropriately.)
For the first and third question you’ll be given 20 seconds to think about your response and then 60 seconds to answer. For the second question you’ll be given 30 seconds to think about your response and then 90 seconds to answer. Additionally, you’ll have time in-between each question, as you are in charge of selecting when you’re ready to move on to the next question.
From BusinessWeek: “To Be a Yale MBA, You Have to Look Good on Video”
MBA applicants to the Yale School of Management will soon confront a new wrinkle in the application process: Their answers to some questions will be videotaped.
Admissions Director Bruce DelMonico says Yale, which experimented with video in 2011 and again this year, is making it part of the application for all applicants starting with the 2013-14 application cycle. The move would make Yale one of very few MBA programs that incorporate video into the application process.
DelMonico says one-on-one interviews, while important, do not do the best job of gauging an applicant’s ability to think on his feet. Responses are polished, and one interviewer’s impressions may not be shared by everyone on the admissions team. Video responses can be compared with those of other applicants and reviewed by multiple team members. Since the questions are not known in advance, responses can’t be scripted, he adds.
“Obviously being able to think and speak in the moment is an important quality for business leaders and the people we want to bring into our program,” DelMonico says.
While Yale is still working out the details, DelMonico says applicants will likely be directed to a website via which they will receive three questions. After each opens, they will be given 10 to 20 seconds to think about their response, and a further minute or so to answer the question. The questions, chosen randomly from a list, will probably include a behavioral question asking about a past experience; a thought question asking the applicant to respond to a statement; and a data interpretation question.
The results will be used, along with the rest of the application elements, to evaluate the candidate and to determine if he or she should be invited for an on-campus interview. The addition of the video component will likely be accompanied by a decrease in the number of essay questions. During the 2012-13 application cycle, Yale asked four essay questions. DelMonico says the number of essays will likely be cut in half.
Yale’s approach is very similar to that of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, which added a video component to its MBA application process last year, citing the difficulty of getting an “authentic” view of applicants from essays. At New York University’s Stern School of Business, applicants have the option of answering one required essay question, using video, artwork, or other media in place of the traditional essay.
Possible video questions for Yale:
• Where do you want to travel in the world and why?
• Explain your hobbies
• What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
• What are your personal steps to conflict resolution?
• Do you think technology divides or unites us?
• Most significant accomplishment
• Time when you face resistant
• “leaders do not search consensus but molder of consensus”
• What qualities would your friends use to describe you.
• How would your friend and coworkers describe you?
• Please respond to the following statement: “Without Arts, an education can not be accomplished” Do you agree or disagree? why?
• What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses.
• Please respond to the following statement: “As businesses become more global, the differences between cultures decrease.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
• Tell us about a challenging work experience and how you handled it.
• Tell us about how you engaged with a community or an Organization.
• Tell us about your leadership style.
• How did you contribute to your company/organization?
• Please respond to the following statement: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Do you agree or disagree? why?
• Do you agree or disagree with the notion that chief executive’s first priority should be a profit for shareholders?
• What accomplishment are you most proud of?
• Tell us about a difficult decision and how you handled it?
• Tell us about a creative solution you designed
• Tell us about a shortcut you and a team could have taken, but decided not to
• If we asked your colleagues about your weakness and strengths, what would they say ?
• How will you resolve a conflict with your future classmates at the program?
• Why is now the time for you to pursue an MBA? / Why have you chosen to do your MBA now?
• Tell us about a time when you fell behind on a task/deadline. Why did you fall behind, and what steps did you take to catch up?
• “The People who we remember most are the people who break the rules.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
• Tell us about a time when you had to exert extra effort to complete a task. What was that task and what steps did you take to be successful?