McKinsey Director Matt Rogers '89 Delivers Orientation Keynote
One of the highlights of orientation at Yale SOM is the keynote address. Students get to listen to an inspiring speaker talk about his or her career, and provide concrete advice for how to accomplish their goals. This year, the school asked Matt Rogers '89 to speak, choosing an alumnus who perfectly exemplifies the Yale SOM mission of educating leaders for business and society.
For two decades, Rogers, who spoke to students on August 15, worked in the private sector, eventually becoming a senior partner at McKinsey and Company. When Steven Chu, the Nobel laureate who would become secretary of energy in the Obama administration, approached Rogers about coming to Washington with him, he hesitated. But he saw an important challenge: to take what he had learned in the private sector and apply it to managing the department's portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It was Rogers' job as a senior advisor to Chu to oversee the process of finding worthy projects for $36.7 billion in stimulus funds and to do so in about eighteen months, far less than the usual appropriations cycle time. "A lot of people want to go to Washington and create great strategy," he said. "But what Washington needs most of the time is disciplined management."
Rogers' career moving between private and public sectors (he has since returned to McKinsey as a director) exemplifies what makes Yale SOM unique. Since its founding, the school has excelled in creating leaders with the skills and expertise to work across sectors and tackle the kinds of messy problems that confront innovative global organizations. During his talk, Rogers noted that not only did he have four SOM alumni to help him at the Department of Energy, he worked with fellow alums in key positions throughout the federal government.