As the second day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland drew to a close Thursday, School of Management Dean Jeffrey Garten said the event is generating ideas that will help shape the school’s development in the future, as well as providing an invaluable opportunity to raise the SOM’s international profile.
The five-day forum includes dozens of panel discussions and debates, as well as larger events such as Wednesday’s opening speech by former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73. Yale’s representatives include University President Richard Levin, former Mexican president and Center for the Study of Globalization Director Ernesto Zedillo GRD ’80, economics professor Robert Shiller, and SOM professor Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes.
Garten said he has already participated in a discussion concerning the future of global corporations, particularly with respect to leadership.
“I get a lot of ideas about the future of leadership,” Garten said of the event. “It helps me to talk to our students and to our faculty and participate in the shaping of the school’s future strategy.”
The international representation at the forum is particularly helpful because of the administration’s efforts to “give the SOM a global focus,” Garten said.
Garten said a discussion on corporate governance he will moderate today will include approximately 150 people from all over the world. The group will discuss issues including regulation of corporations, changes to boards of directors, and executive compensation, with particular focus on steps to be taken over the next year.
In addition to gaining new insights on issues of global concern through participation in panel discussions and debates, SOM administrators said another benefit of participating in the event is the opportunity to promote the University and the SOM in particular.
SOM professor and Deputy Dean Stanley Garstka said the forum will not contribute to his specific research, but he believes SOM representation is important.
“It’s a great networking opportunity,” Garstka said.
Garten, who is attending the forum for the ninth time, said he has used the event as an opportunity to meet potential speakers and invite them to the SOM.
“[Once they are invited,] then 90 percent of the battle of getting them [to Yale] is over,” Garten said. “The rest is logistics.”
Garten said the forum has also provided many opportunities for him to talk with business leaders about the SOM and what he believes makes the school exemplary. For instance, he said the SOM’s links to other parts of the University are unique among partnerships between business schools and the larger institutions with which they are associated.
In one of the World Economic Forum’s most high-profile events, Clinton spoke Wednesday about his belief in the systematic globalization of efforts to combat worldwide problems such as disease.
Garten said the speech was well-received.
“People feel very warmly towards him because he’s delivering a message that’s actually quite optimistic,” Garten said.
Today Garten will moderate a session on corporate governance and on Saturday he will participate in a debate concerning China’s changing position in the world economy. Garten will argue against the suggestion that China’s economy will experience unprecedented growth in coming years.