A Message to Alumni
from the Dean's Desk, Alumni E-Newsletter
March 23, 2006
Dear Yale SOM graduates,
I write with exciting news from the Yale School of Management. Yesterday, the School’s senior faculty voted unanimously to approve a proposal to design and implement a new MBA core curriculum in the 2006-2007 academic year. Yale is prepared to break new ground by delivering a management education that remains true to SOM’s founding mission of educating leaders for business and society while providing an even more effective preparation for the challenges of contemporary management careers in every sector.
This new curriculum is being developed in response to the fact that while the demands of the management profession have experienced profound change in recent decades, management education has not. Thirty or so years ago, the vast majority of managerial careers were characterized by vertical advancement through a large, functionally divided corporate bureaucracy, and the vast majority of managers needed to understand only one function very well for almost the entirety of their careers. Today, successful managers must be truly entrepreneurial in their ability to synthesize disparate information, analyze competing functional priorities, identify challenges, and frame problems in ways that the organization can act upon them. Today, managerial careers must unfold across the boundaries of function, organization, industry, sector, and country. SOM’s innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum model will provide the cross-functional perspectives that will enable Yale MBAs to work effectively and lead across the functional silos of organizations.
The attached diagram provides a prospective view of the structure of the new core curriculum. Divided into three segments, and including a required international experience in the middle of the year, this course of study will continue to deliver the key elements of a rigorous MBA education, but will do so in a wholly new way. The details of the curricular components remain to be worked out by a design committee of Yale SOM faculty; we will be posting regular updates on the curriculum design process at http://mba.yale.edu.
The new SOM curriculum…
…represents a concerted effort at innovation, challenging the perception that the academic arena has been too traditional, and too slow to adapt to the changing realities of the world economy.
…is designed for students with the highest aims: leaders who will head up Fortune 50 companies, start businesses that change society, manage the world’s most important non-profits, and serve in the highest echelons of government.
…has been developed in broad consultation with SOM faculty, staff, and alumni; current SOM students; business executives; and recruiters to ensure that the new curriculum both meets the needs of the MBA marketplace and continues to affirm the School’s mission.
….will require the development of entirely new pedagogical material, including multimedia material, especially video and simulations; a planned Managerial Perspectives book series; and cases highlighting issues surrounding the values and ethics associated with each of these perspectives.
…will result in the reduction of the incoming Yale MBA class size from 220 to 180, in order to free faculty resources for course and material development, and to ensure effective implementation.
…represents Yale SOM’s desire to create a model of management education that systematically links rigorous foundations and values-based considerations with meaningful aspirations, and to define for ourselves and for others what management education can and should be.
Organizational change is difficult, even for an institution that teaches it: our goals are ambitious, and our timeframe challenging. But my experience over this past year has convinced me of the commitment of our community as we move forward. I am deeply grateful to the faculty and students who worked so diligently to develop this new curricular model, and to the Yale SOM alumni who provided their feedback and suggestions during the development process. As we move into this critical design phase, I welcome your feedback, as well. Working together, we will realize our vision of transforming Yale SOM into a leader in management education.
Joel M. Podolny
Dean and William S. Beinecke Professor of Management