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Yale admissions plans to incorporate Emotional Intelligence testing

May 20, 2013 by

Boccioni_Dynamism of a Soccer PlayerOne’s level of Emotional Intelligence (EI), sometimes referred to and measured as an Emotional Quotient (EQ), not to be confused with one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ), is gaining more and more importance in the minds of psychologists, sociologists, human resource professionals, and, now, business school admissions officers – at least at Yale anyway. The Yale School of Management will begin testing its 2013 MBA cohort on their ability to both manage and understand emotions, according to a recent article. The testing is being initiated with the expressed intention of one day including such EI evaluations in the admissions process at the school. From the article:

“It is our goal to more closely tie the Leadership Development Program and admissions process together,” writes Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean and director of admissions, in an e-mail. “We feel it would be a natural complement to the more quantitative elements of the admissions process (test scores, previous academic performance) and would help us gain a fuller sense of our students’ leadership abilities, but we are still evaluating the best way to integrate it into future admissions cycles.”

Interestingly, according to the Wall Street Journal, Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business has been using a 206-item online questionnaire for the last three years it calls the Personal Characteristics Inventory to further assess its applicants. As per the WSJ article, applicants are bifurcated into “recommended” and “not recommended” categories. Being placed in one category or the other does not ensure acceptance or declination, respectively. In fact, the senior associate director of MBA admissions at Mendoza claims the inventory is used primarily to “identify diamonds in the rough.”

Yale and Notre Dame are not alone. Dartmouth and MIT’s b-schools have and continue to incorporate some aspect of EQ testing in candidate and/or student assessment and the University of Ottowa have studied the EQ of their med school applicants. Yet, a leading theorist on Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, cautions that business school may well be interpreting EI inappropriately if they are selecting for it. Since EQ can be increased over time, experience, and training, “It should be the task of the business school itself to help people develop strength in emotional intelligence,” says Goleman in the WSJ article.

Misperceived or not, EQ metrics appear to be gaining ground in the b-school admissions process. If you are interested in learning more about your emotional intelligence quotient, tests abound. And, may this be a warning: caffeine has been called the “silent killer of emotional intelligence.” So, if it’s Yale you want, perhaps consider cutting java out of your life.


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