Student Profile: Leadership and Inspiration
Chris Sanger '08
Internship: Merrill Lynch, Investment Banking Division
Co-leader, Real Estate Club
I think everyone here is ambitious in his or her own way. Some want to be masters of business. Some want to go out and do nonprofit work. But at some point, everyone sees himself or herself in a leadership position, or at least in a position to make a lot of big strategic decisions, whether in politics, business, or something else. And the new curriculum really focuses on that aspect. You get the basic skills that will help you in the first few years of your career, but it also really teaches you how to make leadership decisions.
Part of being a leader is inspiring others ó inspiring others to follow you, inspiring others to take on a new strategy, to do a merger. But there has to be inherent trust there. And that's built on you standing behind your word, doing what you say you will, making the right choices. I think that SOM gives you the education to make the right business decisions and to make the right ethical decisions. Ethics isnít just a half-credit class that you pass through. Itís really ingrained in what they teach you every day.
When I applied to business school, I knew I wanted to work in investment banking at one of the bulge bracket banks. I had a very strong finance background. And the thing that attracted me to Yale SOM wasn't its finance or accounting, though they do a good job teaching them, but my sense that they were going one step above and beyond with a focus on leadership. The integration of the new program is for leadership. The focus on ethics is for leadership.
All the classes spend time on the perspective of top management when they make major decisions. Our Employee course is about how you make an HR system work internally, but we also look at how it can be your competitive advantage. Is that something you think about when you're doing an M&A deal? I think in a lot of schools, if you study an M&A transaction, it's going to be from the purely finance perspective. We think, "Hey, do these HR systems mesh? Do these cultures mesh? Who stays on to be the CEO? If we make someone who was the CEO just the president, how's that going to affect him and his people?Ē
Interviewed on April 30, 2007.