Silver scholars adjust to life at SOM

The majority of Yale School of Management students have a couple of years of business experience under their belts, but at least eight students have never analyzed earnings statements or consulted investors.

To strengthen ties with Yale College, the SOM inaugurated its Silver Scholars program last year, picking eight recent Yale College graduates to join their crop of first-year students. The program — which pays the scholars’ tuition for the first year of business school — seeks undergraduates who otherwise would not have considered attending business school.

“We’re looking for students who are willing to change the world, people who have passion and compassion,” said SOM professor Barry Nalebuff, one of the program’s designers. “We’re not necessarily focused on individuals who have wanted to go to business school since they were six.”

Silver Scholar Regina Sieber ’02, who graduated with degrees in environmental engineering and international studies, said she would have waited to go to business school had she not been chosen as a Silver Scholar.

“I thought maybe a couple of years later [I would attend business school],” she said. “But I wasn’t really thinking of it as an option until I heard about the program.”

Sieber said she is concerned with the responsible stewardship of natural resources, and thinks her business degree will help make her solutions to environmental problems economically viable.

“You can’t talk about the environment without talking about the economics of it,” she said.

Although most of the scholars live together off campus, their interests diverge. Former Ethics, Politics and Economics major Adam Goldfarb ’02 said the interests of SOM students are generally more varied than those of Yale undergraduates.

“The SOM students are amazing,” he said. “[SOM students] are a lot more diverse than [those in] a Yale College class.”

David Stewart ’02, formerly a double major in Latin American and international studies, said he is interested in international strategy and marketing, but is waiting until he finishes his business degree to decide his exact career plans.

The master’s degree in business administration takes two years to complete at Yale, but the Silver Scholars intern for 12 to 15 months between their first and second years to make up for their lack of work experience. The amount of time allotted allows the scholars to intern at a number of different companies.

“[SOM] has been extremely helpful, helping us line up potential jobs,” said Stewart, who is interested in interning abroad.

The scholars said although they miss their friends from Yale College, they welcome the change and enjoy meeting new people. They do not feel isolated from Yale College either, they said.

“SOM encourages sampling at other schools,” Goldfarb said. “In fact, many students have joint degrees [at other professional schools]. SOM is a part of Yale.”

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