Yale SOM’s 5,000th Graduate
Seth Brown was recognized as the 5,000th graduate in the history of the Yale School of Management. But perhaps every member of the Class of 2006 deserves to be recognized. Below are short profiles of five of the potential 5,000th graduates.
The most visible member of the Class of 2006 on Commencement Day was commencement speaker Nick Brod. Brod devoted part of his speech to a discussion of the mission of the school: to educate leaders for business and society. “I believe that each and every one of us has the ability to design and to implement changes that will positively impact each and every one of the business and society changes that we will come to face in the coming years. And it is to these challenges that I raise my head and say we will be leaders of both business and of society.”
Brod’s career plans changed substantially in his two years at Yale, in part because he thought seriously about how to be a leader for business and society. Brod had worked for nine years as a multimedia producer before coming to SOM. He was the multimedia manager for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, using technology to improve the visiting experience, and he rebuilt the website of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Brod originally decided to get an MBA as a way of moving into museum management. “In orientation where you meet everyone, I would say that I had the clearest career plan, which was museum management.”
However, during his first year, Brod says, “I came to the realization that if I was going to have a socially aware career, for the sake of doing something interesting and good, that I would rather do that in the region of the environment.” He learned more about the sector—by talking with classmates who were doing a joint degree with the Forestry School and by taking courses such as Public & Private Management of the Environment. He narrowed his interest to renewable energy and did a summer internship with a socially responsible investment firm, finding that it was the field he wanted to pursue after graduation.
“I used to laugh at people who went to business school,” says Brod. “I would now recommend it to anyone and everyone. And I would do it all over again.”
Before graduating Raegan LaRochelle went to the New Haven Ikea store and picked out a desk, a chair, and a bookshelf for her new office. She was preparing to start work with a two-person startup consulting firm founded by a 2005 Yale SOM graduate. The firm does public and nonprofit consulting in New Haven, including managing the economic development of the area where the New Haven Coliseum used to be. “It’s a real startup,” says LaRochelle. “It’s exciting, because I’ll be able to learn all aspects of the business as opposed to going to a firm that would just hand me a project and tell me to work on it. This fits me better.”
La Rochelle says she feels ready for such an undertaking. “SOM has prepared me well--given me frameworks and tools--and I think I took a good range of classes. So, I’m not worried, just excited.” In particular, LaRochelle spent three semesters and a summer working in Community Development Financial Institutions, a clinical course for both law students and business students devoted to creating a new community bank in New Haven. LaRochelle researched what products the new bank might offer to small business owners in some of New Haven’s under-developed commercial corridors. She says she learned not only about the City of New Haven, but about a wide variety of approaches to economic development.
She’ll put that knowledge to work immediately in her new consulting position. Long term, LaRochelle plans to continue to develop her expertise in this area and eventually to move back to her home state of Maine and work in economic development there. She says that her work at Yale has positioned her well for her long-term goals by exposing her to a variety of models for economic development and teaching her real-world skills at the same time. “I’ll be able to use all of that in the future,” says LaRochelle.
Alex Krasavin traveled through fifteen countries and four continents en route to his MBA. He climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, he organized a class trip to London, he visited Cuba, he worked over the summer in South Africa, and he interviewed for a job with a telecommunications consulting firm in Dubai. Not only did that last trip add one more country to his list, but he took the job.
However, Krasavin says that one of the greatest strengths of Yale SOM is that he never had to leave campus to find a healthy diversity of opinion. “What is fantastic about classes here--and to me this underscores the very spirit of the school--is the diversity of the student body and how proactive the student body is. It wasn’t just listening to a renowned lecturer talk to you about how you should look at a problem, how you can use these strategies to overcome these difficulties, it was the fact that they were getting the whole class to participate and getting the diversity of opinion that helps us all understand things.”
Krasavin himself is an example of diversity of background. He is from Russia originally, but lived in both the U.S. and Europe for a number of years. He has worked in management consulting and in the non-profit sector. This movement between sectors and countries is typical of the approach to business education at Yale, according to Krasavin. “It doesn’t have to be black or white. You don’t have to be non-profit. You don’t have to be for-profit. You don’t have to say I’m going to specialize in telecom in the States and be oblivious to the changes in the rest of the world. That’s the whole point of globalization.”
Similarly, he is looking forward to his work in the telecom industry in the Middle East for both the business challenges it will present and for the possibilities for societal improvement. “What’s happening right now with telecom is that where a lot of these countries initially had monopolies and were quite content with them, now they’re thinking of how they can integrate with the world community…. Technology can have such a fundamental impact and help these countries start developing.”
Dawit Kibreab describes his classmates: “I could not have been happier with the people I met here. Everyone has been very friendly, everyone is helpful. A lot of smart people that are very down to earth and have various interests.”
Kibreab was first attracted to Yale SOM in part for its small size, since he wanted to take an active role in his business school community. He participated in the Marketing Club and the Consulting Club, but he might have been most devoted to the SOM United Soccer Club. “I’m a big fan of soccer,” Says Kibreab. “I get very passionate, and the more I play the more I enjoy it.” He helped the club organize and host the Yale cup, which drew soccer teams from Spain and England, as well as about a dozen other U.S. MBA programs. “I think clubs are a great way to be involved in something that you are passionate about and to get to know people outside the classroom.”
What position does he play? “I’m a midfield and forward, depending on what the team needs,” he says.
Kibreab, who was born in Eritrea and grew up as a refugee in Sweden, also takes a passionate interest in how multinational corporations are responding to globalization. “I see how the world’s getting smaller and smaller, and you see all these big conglomerate companies that have operations in nearly all the countries in the world. As the world gets smaller, people are more aware what goes on in other countries, and a lot of unfairness is ongoing. So there’s a lot of pressure for corporations to not just add to their bottom line, but also to make sure that they have responsibility for developing these countries that they operate in. As a leader, you’re not only responsible to the shareholder, you’re responsible to the society.”
Reetika Motwane describes her experience as co-coordinator of the Internship Fund as a “hands-on leadership experience” and “almost a full-time job.” The Internship Fund provides financial support for Yale MBA students who work as summer associates in the public and non-profit sectors. In the first year, Motwane and the other co-coordinator of the group oversaw a number of fund-raising activities that later benefited their classmates and managed the fund and a host of other student volunteers. The year was a great success for the Internship Fund; among other things, the group raised over $150,000. Says Motwane, “It was amazing to see that school spirit come together for so many functions.”
The experience of running the Internship Fund was also a benefit for Motwane. “I learned so much about myself and about leadership. You can listen to it in class but when you’re working with someone on a regular basis and when you have them giving you feedback, that’s how you really learn.”
Motwane also undertook a strategic planning project for the fund in her second year, and she is looking forward to staying involved with the organization as a graduate. “There were times when I would actually sit back and say, ‘I wish I could do this full time, this is just so much fun.’”
Meanwhile, in her other full-time job as a student, Motwane enjoyed classes such as Designing & Managing Organizations and Competitive Strategy. And, after doing a summer internship with Yale University, decided she wanted to work in internal consulting. “I found my niche within the MBA,” she says.