SOM’s new institutes aim for business elite

With two new institutes, School of Management Dean Jeffrey Garten hopes to woo the corporate world’s elite to Yale’s business school.

The Chief Executive Leadership Institute, which started this summer, will try to gather business executives on a regular basis for workshops and conferences on leadership. The International Institute for Corporate Governance, which Garten hopes will begin research this spring, will conduct research and teach new courses on corporate governance topics ranging from how individual companies should be run to how governments should regulate corporate structures.

Both institutions are examples of SOM’s newfound emphasis on the importance of management and interpersonal skills in the corporate world, Garten said.

“The cutting edge of business education is not just the ability to do hard-nosed numbers, but to understand the broader context in which organizations and new ventures operate,” Garten said.

Compared with traditional powerhouses like Harvard or the Wharton Business School, SOM’s brief 25-year history makes it difficult for students to network with top business executives. The Chief Executive Leadership Institute, which will be based in Atlanta, Ga., is part of SOM’s campaign to increase its name recognition in the business world. The new initiative will be headed by former Harvard University professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who was recently appointed SOM’s associate dean for executive programs.

Garten said the institute’s first conference is going to take place in early October, and participants will discuss how firms and agencies build long-lasting reputations.

“We all want to know how organizations leave great legacies — any kind of organization, from government agencies to non-profits,” Garten said.

SOM already regularly invites business leaders in its much publicized Leaders Forum, which is scheduled to bring the chief executive officers of Nokia and 3Com, and the president of the World Bank, to Yale this year.

While the Chief Executive Leadership Institute will complement SOM’s curriculum, the International Institute for Corporate Governance will become an integral part of the school’s academic offerings.

Located at the International Center for Finance on Hillhouse Avenue, the Institute will start out with a small team of researchers helping businesses restructure themselves to take advantage of e-commerce. In addition to research and designing new corporate governance courses, Garten also said that the new institute will try to conduct workshops and seminars to train foreign business leaders.

“We’ve hardly even announced it, and there is already a groundswell of executives already interested in signing up,” Garten said.

Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, a new senior professor at SOM this year, will head the corporate governance institute. Prior to joining SOM, he taught at Harvard for seven years and worked as a consultant on corporate governance for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

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