Yale SOM Celebrates 35th Commencement
For his first Yale University commencement, Dean Edward A. Snyder stood before the assembled crowd on Old Campus and said: "Mr. President. I have the honor to present candidates for degrees in the School of Management." Among the crowd that filled the iconic space, 241 Yale SOM graduates, including 16 from the MBA for Executives: Leadership in Healthcare program, cheered.
Roughly an hour later, Dean Snyder stood in front of a smaller group and led the more intimate Yale SOM celebration, which he insisted wouldn't be dampened by the occasional downpour. "It's great to have you all here on this wet, but exceedingly hopeful day," he said, before introducing Sharon Oster, Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship and the former dean, who promised to make her remarks even briefer than usual.
"In the future," Oster told the graduates, "when you're faced with hard leadership and values questions, as soon you will be, I know you will make the right choices and make us proud."
Despite the weather, the ceremony proceeded smoothly, complete with traditions old and new. For the third year, student a capella group Economies of Scale sang a humorous ditty about life in the MBA program. Later came the ritual of self-graduation, which dates to the first Yale SOM graduation, in which each student picks up his or her diploma and then announces the next student in line, often with great fanfare.
Two students spoke to the crowd, one each from the full-time MBA and MBA-e programs. Daniel Magliocco reminded his fellow students of many of the fun things they did together as a class, the odds and ends that make business school a "truly strange and wonderful place." But he soon grew more serious, parsing out what makes Yale SOM unique among business schools. Yale, he said, teaches its students not just the skills of the business world, but also the importance of empathy. "It's the key differentiator—it's the spirit behind the school's eminence and the force behind its purpose," he said. "We've been taught that transparency is better than secrecy and alliances are better than enemies… It forms the backbone for a smarter way to compete. It's our greatest advantage."
Michael Hudson noted the incredible demands that earning a degree put on his executive MBA classmates' families. "I'm looking forward to going back to be a family man," he said.
Snyder closed the commencement by reminding students that they're headed out into a rapidly changing world, where few careers will be "straight lines." But because of their time at Yale, he said, the new graduates are uniquely qualified to tackle complex problems and adapt to an increasingly globalized world. "You know how to analyze things; how to listen to diverse voices," he said. "You'll take off your regalia later today and proceed to engage with a world full of risks, opportunities, and challenges."