Client: Yale School of Management
To create new admissions material that exemplifies the Yale SOM spirit
As the Admissions team travels around the world recruiting students, they found themselves wanting a print piece that would show prospective students how Yale SOM is different from other business schools. Put simply, the goal was to make students realize, “this is where I belong.”
We began by conducting user interviews, during which we met with current students and recent MBA applicants—including those that chose not to apply to Yale—so at to obtain a more holistic picture of the position and perception of SOM at large. The goal was to understand what role, if any, Admissions materials might play in students’ decisions to apply to Yale. and to this end which materials resonated most with students. We focused on two primary questions: which materials resonated most with prospective students? And, more crucially, what motivated these candidates to choose (or not) to apply to Yale SOM?
Based on our user interviews, several themes emerged: authenticity, diversity, rigor, and mission.
Next, we crafted “How might we” statements along these broader themes. This technique helped us direct our brainstorming and generate several ideas for how to capture these specific values in our final product.
We then started prototyping ideas. This part of the process was quick, rough, and often unfinished, but nonetheless conveyed our intent. The Admissions Office, our contacts at Pentagram, and both current and prospective students gave us feedback on these imperfect prototypes. Changes and edits were continually made. I solicited contributions from the SOM student body of favorite memories, photos, advice, schedules, and even swag. These primary source materials helped lend even more authenticity and vibrancy to the output. In the end, these additions yielded a print piece truly for students, by students.
Iteration continued for several weeks. As we honed in on a clear, compelling “student crafted message.” With content crystallized, Pentagram began drafting layouts to bring our prototype to life. We brought our teams together to further refine and finalize the piece, with a special emphasis on ensuring it was intriguing, fun, and different—above all, it had to invite students to take a closer look.
I found the process of working with classmates to put together this brochure rewarding as we were able to share the student voice, and speak to prospective students in an authentic and unfiltered manner. It was an incredible opportunity to collaborate with passionate classmates and a world-class design studio to create a powerful piece that communicates the unique spirit of the school.