I want to wish everyone the best for 2016. At Evans Hall, where our green grass in the courtyard strikes me a bit like a photoshopped image, we are deep in various processes—our admissions cycle, supporting our current students looking for the right internship and permanent positions after graduation, faculty recruiting, and curricular innovations. Regarding innovations, I have no idea how our Global Virtual Teams will perform during the spring semester, but I am particularly excited about the new requirement that all first-year students in the full-time MBA program will work on required projects with counterparts at EGADE (Mexico) and HEC (France). For those who want to know more, check out this video. I want to thank my faculty colleagues for being willing to take this bold step with member schools in the Global Network for Advanced Management.
Many of you have expressed positives recently about the school. We are building on the work of many over recent decades. We now can connect more effectively across campus and globally to better understand the big issues facing business and society. On a personal level, I am pleased to continue as dean after June 30 of this year when my initial term ends. My sense of privilege in being part of SOM has only increased with the generous gift from Indra K. Nooyi ’80 to endow the school's deanship. Indra is widely known in the Yale community, as well as around the world, for her remarkable performance as the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. Indra exemplifies the kind of leadership for business and society that the school has always stood for. You can read more about Indra’s generous support of the school in this announcement. It is worth noting that Yale SOM is now the only top business school with its deanship named for a woman—and that Indra, our most generous graduate, was born outside the United States and currently runs a global company.
I recently had the honor of visiting with William S. Beinecke YC ’36. Mr. Beinecke was, of course, the driving force behind the creation of SOM in the 1960s and 1970s, and has always kept a keen eye on our progress. (I highly recommend reading his account of the founding of the school.) I asked him for his thoughts on the current state of the school, and he responded:
Some 38 years ago the School of Organization and Management was born. It began humbly with a few students in some available space in some old buildings on Hillhouse Avenue. The name, it turned out, was too cumbersome. It soon became SOM. Despite its humble beginnings the school grew, prospered, and succeeded in its mission. As I look at it today, I remember that in my time as an undergraduate and for years as a graduate, Yale offered very little or nothing in terms of business education. Yet today it is one of the leading institutions of its kind. I salute the dean and his predecessors and I say again I am proud to be a Yale alum.
Mr. Beinecke’s comment encapsulates the history of the school. Our mission and our high level of ambition have remained constant.
I don’t want to miss the opportunity to comment on the remarkable support from our alumni – helping students with their professional development, engaging in our academic programs, keeping up to date on the school’s progress, representing us well in your work, helping with admissions, and contributing financially to the school. Regarding your financial support, you set a new benchmark of 51.5% for participation in the Alumni Fund last year. This financial support was critical to our finishing the 2015 fiscal year with a modest operating surplus and continuing to launch innovative programs and expand the reach of our mission.
Credit for the school’s progress is due to the SOM team—internal and external—that is aligned around our mission and objectives. Thank you for being part of our team.