Alumni Welcome New Students to SOM Community
Each August, new students spend 10 days getting a crash course into life at Yale SOM. They learn basic facts such as how to interface with the computer system and how to tackle a case study. But a key function of orientation is to acquaint the new class with what it means to be at SOM. They learn about teamwork, the schoolís unique community, and its mission. Alumni play an integral role in this.
Former students speak to new students about what SOM means to them, act as judges for orientation contests, and provide a crucial link between SOMís earlier days and its future. "Volunteering to come back to the school and serving in this way is a wonderful gift to the students," said Sheri Scully, director of student and academic services. "It highlights the caring of our engaged alumni, offers the students a unique personal perspective, and also demonstrates to the students the array of outstanding careers possible to our graduates."
Alumni played three distinct parts during orientation. Some, such as Richard Freedman '90, Suzanne Francis '80, Bruce Becker '85, and Jon Rubin '86, participated as judges for the Audubon Street Project, the annual business plan competition in which students come up with proposals for filling an empty storefront in New Havenís arts district. Two alumni, Andrea Levere '83 and Chris Granger '99, spoke to the entire class about their experiences at Yale and in the work world since graduation. And during the class trip to New York that marks the formal end of orientation, numerous alumni welcomed students to their offices to discuss potential careers.
For Jonathan Beauford '12, meeting alumni was a highlight of orientation. "You could tell they were really connected to the university," he said. "And they were really passionate about helping us get the most out of our education and our careers. Itís a sense I get whenever I interact with alumni, going back long before I was even accepted."
Granger, senior vice president for team marketing and business operations for the NBA, spoke to the class during their lunch at the Yale Club as part of the New York trip. Granger, who calls himself the "worldís biggest cheerleader for the SOM experience," tried to focus attention away, even if for just a few minutes, from the career aspect of the day. He focused on the diversity of experiences within the student body, the intellectual challenges provided by faculty and fellow students, and the fun of living in New Haven. He said his goal is to get students excited about jumping fully into the Yale SOM community. "I want people to know they are in for the time of their lives," he said. "They will make lifelong friends and will forever view the world differently on the way out. And, as an alumnus, it's hard not to always want to be a part of a family like that."