Alumni mag Q(n) debuts at SOM

The Yale Alumni Magazine has been published since 1891, but the Yale School of Management, roughly a third as old, is just getting into the magazine business.

The school released its new community magazine Q(n) — the “n” in the name will be replaced by the number of each issue — last week. Published biannually, Q(n) is divided into two sections: One contains updates about the school, its alumni and research, while the others features answers to a discussion question from professors and alumni. Released to the general public for barely a week, the magazine has elicited generally positive reviews from the SOM community.

The inaugural spring 2007 issue, Q(1), was distributed to students and alumni late last week. In the first section, SOM community members including SOM Dean Joel Podolny, professor Rick Antle and venture capitalist Anne Glover SOM ’78, along with academics from other management schools, debate the question “Can We Make Management a Profession?” The answers to the question are presented in the form of dialogues, essays and vignettes. On the magazine’s Web site, readers can discuss the questions alongside the magazine’s articles.

SOM Strategic Communications Director and Q(n) editor Jonathan Weisberg said that above all, the magazine addresses SOM’s previous lack of an alumni magazine. At the same time, its format and content aspire to move beyond that of a traditional alumni periodical, he said.

“I think there are alumni publications that publish interesting, thoughtful stuff, but I don’t think there are any I know of that put complete school news to the side in one section and have a another section that focuses on intellectual exploration,” Weisberg said.

Rather than an erudite alumni magazine, Weisberg said, Q(n) aims to engage the entire SOM community by combining the expertise of faculty members and the practical experience of alumni. In addition, the magazine will actively encourage students to post commentary and reaction on the Q(n) Web site, bringing more perspectives into the discourse, he said.

Podolny said he began discussing the idea of a magazine with Associate Dean for Communications & Strategy Elizabeth Stauderman over a year ago. Discussing SOM’s external relations and then consulting with a design company, the two realized the need for a periodical to demonstrate SOM’s “identity and aspirations,” he said.

“One of things I think has been important for the school is to have a publication that represents our distinctiveness and our aspirations,” Podolny said.

So far, the reaction to Q(n) has been overwhelmingly positive in the community, especially among alumni, SOM officials said. Podolny in particular noted a presentation to the SOM board of advisers about the magazine, which he said resulted in a “wildly enthusiastic” response to the uniqueness of its format and content.

Students said they were generally impressed by the magazine and the relevance of the debate presented in Q(1). Angela Li SOM ’08 said she was excited about the prospect of having an official school periodical.

“I really liked it because [before Q(n)] we didn’t have formal publications for SOM students,” she said.

Roger Goldberg SOM ’08 said that although he found the topic of management as a profession relevant to his dual MBA/MD degree, he thought the magazine was generally more oriented to the alumni audience.

“It also might be geared towards alumni to keep them in the loop to what’s going on at SOM,” he said.

The next issue of Q(n), due out in October, will discuss the question “Can we manage with(out) markets?”

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