Update from Dean Kerwin K. Charles

Dear Yale SOM Alumni and Friends:

It is a sign of the enormously challenging and somber times we are in that I must begin this message, like so many others, with my sincere wish that you and your loved ones are well and may pass unscathed through this time of illness. 

Like all of you, we at Yale SOM have seen our daily routines upended and have adapted our work and personal lives to the new reality of social distancing, while beginning to ponder the lasting and far-reaching impact this pandemic is sure to have. Our faculty and staff worked hard to pivot, in just two weeks’ time, to 100% online instruction in March, and we are now delivering more than 100 courses online. I am deeply grateful to all who contributed to this effort; across the board, the school is run with caring and competence. Students are joining virtual classrooms from around the world and are proving both adaptable and creative. They are also inevitably disappointed at the loss of in-person community and many of the highlights of the spring semester—including industry conferences, and most notably, this year’s Commencement ceremony—as am I.

There is much we do not yet know: how many people around the world will have their health impacted or watch their loved ones suffer; when we will emerge from the restrictions on our activities; how deep a hole this cataclysm will create in the economy; and what long-term impact it will have on the way we work and the way we relate. 

But we have seen that the better aspects of the human spirit can shine through—in small gestures, moments of generosity, and acts of collaboration and solidarity. I have been deeply heartened that so many alumni have reached out to me and my colleagues at the school to ask how they can help. 

For those who have the capacity to think about helping others, I’d like to suggest some of the following actions: 

  • You likely already saw a note from Senior Associate Dean Joel Getz about donating personal protective equipment to local hospitals. Medical workers around the world, including many of our graduates and students, are at the front lines of this battle and need our support. Many of you have already reached out about this. If you want to donate to Yale New Haven Hospital, you can send an email to donationsPPE@ynhh.org. Other medical centers around the world are similarly accepting donations.
  • If your organization is hiring for full-time or internship jobs, please consider posting appropriate roles for Yale SOM students. This is a trying time for many companies and for our students who are seeking employment, and we hope that the support of our community can make a positive difference. You can directly access our recruiting system or reach out to either Abigail Kies, assistant dean, or Rebecca Stekloff ’98, deputy director of employer partnerships, to discuss your hiring needs.
  • If you are looking to make a career change yourself, the Career Development Office offers lifelong career support including resources, alumni job postings, career coaching, and webinars. Visit the Career page on the alumni site for details.
  • This challenging era is also a time when leadership makes a profound difference for communities and organizations of every scale. As a school we want to continue learning through this experience and to facilitate the sharing of insights among and across our communities. We plan to create an online series exploring leadership challenges associated with the response to COVID-19. We ask you to help us start this initiative by providing examples of the unprecedented challenges you are facing right now. You can do so by answering three simple questions.

This moment should powerfully remind us all of what is special about SOM. The problems spawned by this crisis will cut across many sectors and regions, in both business and society, and will be best tackled by people with the broad perspective that characterizes SOM training. I have every confidence that we will all rise to the challenge before us and will look back with pride at how we all comport ourselves during this time. 

I look forward to being in touch with you all again next month.

Be well,

Kerwin K. Charles
Indra K. Nooyi Dean | Yale School of Management
Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Economics, Policy, and Management