March 16, 2009
Dear Yale SOM Graduates:
The new year has brought renewed attention to the growing financial crisis and to the ways in which that crisis is affecting all of us, not only graduates of the school, but also those of us here at Yale SOM. President Levin recently announced that Yale is facing greater budget challenges than first anticipated. SOM is rising to the current financial challenges in a number of proactive ways. We are paring our operating budgets and exploring other ways to make our operations more efficient. At the same time, we are continuing to refine our innovative integrated MBA curriculum, ensuring that it is even more responsive and relevant to todayís business climate. We are reaching out more broadly and expanding our programmatic efforts in the CDO to help our current students identify and land their top-choice internships and full-time positions. We are redoubling our efforts to raise the necessary funds to begin construction on our spectacular new campus.
These efforts require hard work, and, in some cases, sacrifice. But Iím pleased to say that we are undertaking all of these efforts in the spirit of community, a community unified by a shared commitment to the mission and aims of SOM.
Even as we have come together as a community, weíre taking steps to continue to build and strengthen that community. For example, we are strengthening the connections between faculty and alumni by taking the classroom "on the road." Just last month, Fiona Scott Morton took a group of Boston alumni through one of the multidisciplinary cases we currently teach. There was homework beforehand, and Fiona did cold call. Alumni reported that this was no less unnerving than if it had happened in one of the pizza huts back when they were MBA students.
Similarly, I hosted an SRO alumni event at the Yale Club in New York City with four behavioral researchers from Economics, Organizational Behavior, Finance, and Marketing (Keith Chen, Daylian Cain, Nick Barberis, and Nathan Novemsky), who discussed their work. Professor Doug Rae accompanied me to talk politics with alumni in Washington, D.C., and Professor Ravi Dhar will join me at an alumni event in San Francisco to talk about some of his research on how wine labels can affect sales.
Weíre also at work strengthening faculty/student connections through a series of faculty research presentations developed for SOM students. Three of our faculty are making these presentations over the course of the spring term. Just last week, faculty and students participated in a thoughtful roundtable discussion with the newly-appointed Business Affairs Minister of Iceland, a Yale Economics PhD, who has been charged with helping to resolve the collapse of Icelandís financial sector. We are stepping up our efforts to provide video and materials from these and other events on the SOM website so that you can connect to what's happening at SOM.
I am traveling extensively to broaden my own school connections, as well. Although I have only been Dean for four months, I have already been to Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, and California. Last week, I was in China taking SOMís message to more alumni and friends of the school, and continuing to strengthen the SOM community abroad.
So, even in these challenging times, we continue to focus on our community, building connections that can sustain us in the weeks and months ahead.
Sharon M. Oster
Dean and Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship