Explore Diversity Introduces Prospective Students to Yale SOM
"In a few years, you're going to be a leader in an organization, or a sub-unit in an organization," Professor Jacob Thomas told a roomful of prospective students. "You may come from a marketing background or a finance background, but you'll have to start thinking in terms of all the different players that you have to interact with as a leader."
Thomas was describing the thinking behind the Yale integrated MBA curriculum, as part of a panel on academic life at Yale SOM's annual Explore Diversity event. The two-day program, which took place on November 6 and 7, is designed to introduce prospective students to all aspects of life at the school.
Thomas, who teaches the Sourcing and Managing Funds course, was joined by Gabriel Rossi, senior associate director for curriculum and academic services, and Professor Lisa Kahn, who teaches the Employee course. Kahn explained that like many of the courses in the integrated curriculum, Employee is team taught by faculty members from different backgrounds: she is an economist, and she collaborates with George Newman, who studies organizational behavior. "Sometimes I take the lead; sometimes George takes the lead; sometimes we debate," she said. "But more important, we designed the course together, and thought about the best way to play off our disciplines and strengths."
Rossi noted that Yale SOM's courses put particular emphasis on putting technical and analytical skills in the context of an increasingly complex world. "There's a really strong emphasis, in the way the curriculum is designed and delivered, on context. Assignments are contextualized by real-life situations." These include, Kahn added, Yale SOM's innovative "raw" online case studies, which are designed to simulate the open-endedness of real-world business problems. "There's no narrative to point you in a particular direction," she said. "There's no right answer."
The audience peppered the panel with questions, asking about the accessibility of faculty members at Yale (faculty live locally and have an open-door policy, Thomas said) and the sort of students who do best at Yale (those who are ready to engage in highly participatory classes and work in teams, Rossi responded).
Participants in Explore Diversity also had the chance to ask questions of panels of students and alumni, discussing student life at Yale and the benefits of the alumni network, and got information on the admissions process. They socialized with current students at events hosted by student clubs, experienced a mock class with Professor Constance Bagley, and heard from the director of the Yale SOM Career Development Office and Jeanette Gorgas, the senior associate dean for the MBA program.
In tours of Yale SOM and the rest of the university, the prospective students got a sense of all of the opportunities at Yale—a point that Thomas emphasized as well: "Just as there is a lot of interaction across the faculty at Yale SOM, there is a lot more interaction between Yale SOM and other schools at Yale," among faculty as well as students, who interact with joint-degree students in the classroom, take courses elsewhere at Yale, and participate in cross-university programs and organizations. Thomas has spent time at many universities, he said, "and I've never seen anything like it."