Meeting in Two Dimensions – SOM Alumni Advisory Board Edition

The opening bell for the Zoom-based meeting of the SOM Alumni Advisory Board (AAB) quarterly meeting rang at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on May 14, but of course that’s only part of the story. It was 9:00 p.m. for the members in Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila; 6:00 a.m. for the gang in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley; and a range of other times for those from Istanbul, Lagos and other sites. Yes, your AAB is as global as the school itself.

zoom meeting screen grab
May 28, 2020

Here are three quick things you might want to know from this meeting.

State of the School
Dean Kerwin Charles and other administration leaders briefed the AAB and presented the confounding environment in which they must now make decisions. Yale overall has committed to opening for classes on time this fall but has made no decision yet about what “opening” means. Commitments to enroll at SOM this fall are running slightly ahead of last year, but how many students may request deferrals is uncertain. Disturbingly, the yield from women applicants so far has dropped noticeably compared to previous years. The school anticipates a financial hit from lower tuition revenue and endowment payouts, but the degree of financial pain is another variable. Planning is understandably fraught. As Dean Charles commented: “I have to know how bad things might get, even as we hope (and have a plan) for outcomes that are better than worst-case.”

Suffice it to say that as of this writing (late May), far more is unknown than is known due to these unprecedented circumstances.

Student Concerns
As is customary, the current student representatives to the AAB presented to the board and answered questions. It was a sobering conversation with the students—Ariana Baurley (’21), Omar Ben Hamin (’21) and Adriana Ortiz (’20)—who described a student body that is resilient, but nevertheless in pain, as a result of the school’s sudden shift to online education and the cancellation of many activities and traditions, including commencement. They also expressed some disappointment regarding the timing and frequency of communications to students regarding decisions and planning since the onset of the pandemic.

Beyond these losses, the students also face a radically altered market for full-time jobs and summer internships. While many employers followed through on their hiring commitments, many others did not, and some students had not yet secured job or internship offers even before the pandemic shut down the global economy. 

One message came through clearly: any SOM alum who can hire a current student or 2020 graduate should do so if at all possible. As alumni, we must try to take care of our own. A number of AAB board members and other alumni have already posted jobs for SOM students on the Yale SOM Career website (https://som-yale.12twenty.com/hire; account setup required). Rebecca Stekloff, Deputy Director, Employer Partnerships for the CDO, would be happy to help if you need any assistance (rebecca.stekloff@yale.edu).

Lastly, the students shared a short video with 2020 graduates reflecting on their fondest memories of their time at SOM.  It’s fun and more than a little inspiring. Check it out here.

New AAB Members and Leadership
The May meeting is the occasion for hellos and goodbyes for board members.  The board said farewell and thanks to Vinice Davis (MBA ’06), Gunhan Karakullukcu (MBA ’93), and Ed O’Connor (MBA ’11) at the conclusion of their terms of service.  The board also bade a special farewell and gave profound thanks to outgoing AAB Chair Jon Rubin (MBA ’86).  Jon served for six years on the AAB and held officer roles throughout his tenure. He set an example of leadership and commitment that his fellow AAB members will strive to match. 

Stepping in to AAB leadership roles now are the new Chair Jeff Juger (MBA ’11), new Vice Chair Sojung Lee (MAM ’13) and new Secretary Matt Broder (MBA ’87).  The Board also welcomed seven new members:

  • Jill Govan Bauman (MBA ’87)
  • Joseph Brandofino (eMBA ’18)
  • Mandy Krumnow (eMBA ‘18)
  • Babasoji Maurice-Diya (MBA ’10)
  • Victor Padilla-Taylor (MAM ’15)
  • Gilbert Santa Maria (MBA ’91)
  • Maya Sudaharan (MBA ’14)

The AAB is the collective voice to the school administration of SOM’s 10,000 alumni worldwide. If you have a question, a concern, or an issue you’d like to raise with the school, please feel free to drop us a line at ysomaab@gmail.com.

Thank you and our best wishes for good health!

About the author

Matt Broder