Pre-MBA Leadership Program Introduces College Students to Business Education
The Pre-MBA Leadership Program, now in its third year, brings more than 40 college students to the Yale SOM campus each June for an intensive taste of the first-year MBA curriculum. The initiative is aimed at developing the leadership potential of underrepresented minority students and helping them to gain a better understanding of the benefits of a management education. From June 12 to 25, the students, who came from all over the United States and Brazil, experienced what it's like to be an MBA student.
Soon after checking in, the students took part in team-building exercises and prepared for their first course, State and Society, taught by Constance Bagley, professor in the practice of law and management, and Douglas Rae, Richard S. Ely Professor of Management. The course, one of the nine Organizational Perspectives for first-year students, examines the intersection of business, government, and society. Over the following two weeks, the students participated in three-hour versions of much of the core curriculum, learning how to approach difficult management problems from a variety of perspectives. They worked on accounting with Stan Garstka, deputy dean and professor in the practice of management; took the Customer course, with Dina Mayzlin, associate professor of marketing; and learned about operations with Art Swersey, professor of operations research.
But the program isn't just about getting a taste for an MBA curriculum. The two weeks are also filled with career and leadership-building exercises. Students participated in leadership development exercises taught by Heidi Brooks, lecturer in organizational behavior and the program's faculty director; learned how to better market themselves to prospective employers; met with SOM alumni; and created hypothetical business plans for a storefront on New Haven's Audubon Street.
This year, with support from Goldman Sachs Gives—a donor-advised fund available to partners and former partners of Goldman Sachs—the program included a one-day trip to Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York City, where students got an inside look at one of the world's leading financial companies and met with the firm's executives. Goldman Sachs personnel also hosted a resumé review session for the program's participants. In addition, the support from Goldman Sachs enabled Yale to provide travel assistance for all Pre-MBA students to get to and from New Haven.
Heidi Brooks says that the central thrust of the program is to provide students who otherwise might not apply to SOM—or business schools in general—an opportunity to judge the benefits of management education firsthand. Program participants were recruited from a variety of colleges and universities around the country with particular emphasis on historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges.
Brooks adds that the program showcases the quality of teaching at SOM. Faculty put in a lot of time and energy, something she said students really appreciate. "I had a student come up to me at the closing ceremony and say, 'People like me don't usually get to do things like this,'" she says. "We are changing people's trajectories—they come here, have a great experience and many go back to their schools and early jobs with the intention of crafting the kind of experiences that will make for a strong MBA application. Hopefully we will see some of these wonderful students at SOM and other strong MBA programs in years to come. The program is a nice example of the school mission and it is a pleasure to be part of it."