Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Yale SOM Interview

My first interview was for Yale. We did not manage to cover everything in the interview, so we finished it one day later over the phone.

Yale School of Management is a second tier school in USA, and its class is relatively small. The school has recently adopted a new innovative curriculum. Not a lot of students from Israel go there each year (maybe one), and the school does not participate at events in Israel. Yale (the university) is a well-known name in Israel, and has a good reputation.

My interviewer was an Israeli alumnus of Yale School of Management who was a partner in a hedge fund. In his company's website I found his picture, so at least I had an idea how he looked like.

Part I
I arrived to his office in Tel-Aviv 15 minutes ahead of time, and waited for him for over 30 minutes. We were scheduled for the interview in 13:30, and it started in 13:50. Actually the interviewer had a "crisis" in the office, and a scheduled meeting in 14:00, so we had less than 15 minutes!

The interview was in Hebrew. He asked me where I worked. I listed my resume very very briefly. He asked me (in that order more or less):

  • Where do you work?

  • Why did you choose to work for companies in the military-high-tech industry? What is interesting about it?

  • Why do you want to change your career from engineering to management? (kind of "why MBA" question). Why do you want to do it abroad and not in Israel?

  • How do you stand out among your peers?

  • Do you have someone working under you?

  • Can you describe the business structure of Elbit, your current employer?

  • What do you want to do after the MBA? ("short-term goals" question)

  • What are your expectations from Yale? (kind of a nice "Why Yale" question)

  • Do you worry about studying in English? (He then realized that he should have interviewed me in English and not in Hebrew - oops).

At that point he saw that he was out of time and suggested we continue the interview over the phone (scheduled for the next day afternoon) - probably in English.

The interview in Hebrew took me by surprise, but once I realized that it will not switch to English I adjusted accordingly.

It was more a conversation, less an interview, and he was very friendly. He told me about himself, and even offered to provide tips about how to adjust to the American culture. He did not let me develop a topic to more than two sentences, but rather jumped from one question to the other in an order that made sense (like a conversation).

I understand that crises can occur in a stressed business like his, but I did sense a little disrespect by him not allocating more time for the interview and starting the interview very late. I had not expressed my feelings out loud of course, but was very polite.

Part II
I had the phone interview in the next afternoon, and it lasted 20 minutes. He started by apologizing for the other day, and immediately continued the interview. The entire interview was in Hebrew.
  • Tell me again why you want to go to Yale? What specifically attracts you to Yale?

  • What is your GMAT score? What was your average in your first degree? What were your weaker courses? Did you take courses in Economics?

  • Are you focused on a specific subject in business school? What are your thoughts of the internship?

  • If you are not accepted to Yale what would you do?

  • What other schools have you applied to?

  • Do you like working/studying in team or alone?

  • What is the business potential of your current workplace?

  • What do you think can be improved in your company (with regards to business)?

  • Do you think it will be difficult for you to present yourself in English?

  • Anything else you think is important for me to know?

He ended the conversation by inviting me to contact him if I have more questions.

I must say that the second interview was not as good as the first. First thing, it seemed that he had a lot of work between the two sessions, and he did not remember much from the first interview. It is clear that some questions he repeated. The good impression that I may have made during the face-to-face meeting was at risk, because it seemed that the interview started all over again. Second, his phone call took me a bit off guard (I did not know the exact hour he would call), so I did not have a couple of minutes to relax and adjust my thoughts. Also, the conditions in which the phone interview took place were not optimal, because I had people over at my house.

Phone interviews are very different from regular interviews, and you need to take that into consideration.

I was not admitted to Yale, and I have no idea if the interview was to blame or other aspects in my application.


Danny Sam said...

Sorry to hear that u were not selected.. gud article.. wish we knew why you were not selected. Might be that he was for Hebrew and dint like u prefering English over it.. Good luck next time..

conservatories said...

A very good experience of interview shared.