Letter from Dean Edward A. Snyder [July 2015]

July 15th, 2015

Applying a tagline for a whole year is precarious, but 2014-15 can be safely called a year of deepening engagement

While it took Yale about 270 years to decide if it wanted a school of management, now, after fewer than 40 years, it is clear that our school is central to the enterprise. In 2014-15, a majority of our masters-level students again took courses in other parts of the university.  More striking, is that we attracted over 1,000 enrollments in SOM courses by students from other Yale graduate schools and Yale College, a doubling over the last four years.  FYI, Yale eschews the notion that “tuition should follow the student.” This decoupling of tuition flows from course registration, and based on my experience, encourages more exploration of the university.  As alumni you may be interested to know that that our “balance of trade” has turned such that we “import” almost twice as many students as we “export” in credit hour terms. My view is that the balance of trade is a second order issue to the first objective of increasing cross-university enrollments.  

Edward P. Evans Hall is also a frequent venue for collaborations involving multiple Yale academic units. A particularly high-profile example is the Global Financial Crisis course taught by Andrew Metrick, our star deputy dean and the Michael H. Jordan Professor of Finance and Management. Andrew gathered an amazing lineup of faculty contributors from the Law School and the Department of Economics, as well as former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. This course, which will be offered again in the fall semester, attracted scores of students from all corners of Yale.

Our Program on Entrepreneurship supported students interested in entrepreneurial ventures from SOM and around Yale, connected the school more closely with the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute and researchers throughout Yale, and brought back many alumni to serve as advisors to student entrepreneurs. Kyle Jensen, the inaugural Shanna and Eric Bass ’05 Director of Entrepreneurship, and his team have created a portfolio of programs for students launching ventures, including a slate of courses, frequent guest speakers, a workspace for student teams, and opportunities for mentorship. Kyle was recently named an associate dean of Yale SOM.  Kyle, David Cromwell, the mainstay of the entrepreneurship program for decades who was recently named the Eugene Williams, Jr. Lecturer in the Practice of Management; and others are in a strong position from which to continue this progress.  Of note, Yale SOM added seven new courses on entrepreneurship in 2014-15, drawing more than 75 students from Yale College and other graduate schools.

In the fall of 2014, our MBA for Executives program, a general management degree featuring our Integrated Core Curriculum, our Leadership Development Program, and global options, expanded to three broad verticals:  asset management, sustainability, and healthcare—all at the nexus of business and society.  In building the pedagogical structure for these programs and adding to our community a group of accomplished mid-career professionals, we are also deepening our connections with other parts of Yale University.

All of our programs extended their global reach in the last year. Our students’ diversity—in terms of geography, educational experience, and work background—is truly remarkable. Yale SOM students in the MAM, MBA, MBA for Executives, and PhD programs bring a wealth of experience and connections to campus. We have further leveraged the Global Network for Advanced Management, with record numbers of students setting out on Global Network Weeks or working in distributed global teams through a Global Network Course.

All of these developments at the school are motivated by our conviction that the only way to understand the complex challenges of the global economy is to approach them with intellectual curiosity and rigor, and with an appreciation of the leverage that comes with a diversity of viewpoints. We think this approach is essential to educating leaders who can make a positive difference across regions and sectors.

This past year we had a tremendous demonstration of how our alumni remain engaged with the school and with our ongoing mission. More than half of our graduates provided financial support to the school through the Alumni Fund. This is a remarkable number—the highest the school has achieved in more than 20 years and far surpassing other Yale units. This financial support was a critical component in the school’s push to finish the fiscal year in the black for the seventh straight year. It is also only one of many ways alumni support the school—others include volunteering for admissions events, mentoring students, and returning to campus to share your experiences.

I want to thank all of our alumni.  We had two reunions this year, as we shifted our scheduling from the fall to the spring—meaning that we had the pleasure of seeing twice as many former students. Away from campus, alumni attended nearly 150 events in 15 countries and 38 cities, which gave my colleagues and me the opportunity to hear from many of you. I look forward to many more such events in the coming year and the enriching and helpful conversations they promote.

Very Best Regards,
Ted