Yale administrators hope that a new curriculum, campus and a dean with a proven track-record will push the School of Management to the next level.
SOM, which is currently ranked 11th in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report, redesigned its curriculum in 2006, is building a new campus on Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street, and will welcome a new dean — who is respected for his prior leadership at the top-ranked Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago — next year. Incoming Dean Edward Snyder said he wants to strengthen SOM’s ties with the rest of Yale to improve its reputation.
“This particular school at this particular juncture has a great opportunity that no other school has, and that is to leverage an eminent university at a time when that is what is really needed,” Snyder said.
Snyder, who described himself as a “business school junkie,” said he will focus on strengthening SOM’s faculty, student quality and reputation, as well as integrating the school into the rest of the Yale community. Hiring, developing and retaining faculty will be his primary priorities, he said.
SOM students should increasingly collaborate with students from across Yale to study and solve global management issues, he said.
“I think that having students at SOM potentially work with students at the forestry school, Law School and College is what will make the school really distinctive,” he said. “The catch I would like to make to perspective students is that they are joining Yale, and that’s what’s going to be the exciting opportunity.”
The best business schools have both taught students about markets and competition as well as about networks and leadership, he said, adding that students should graduate with a sense of how they fit into a larger global context. He thinks studying at a large and eminent university like Yale gives students this opportunity.
School of Management Dean Sharon Oster said Snyder will benefit from being a dean at Yale, since SOM receives much administrative support from University President Richard Levin.
“It is a privilege to be a dean in a school where the president really values the business school,” she said. “It has been a great privilege for me to work with Rick, and I think [Snyder] sees this as a tremendous advantage to connect with Yale.”
Snyder served as dean at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business from 2001 to June 2010, in a time during which the school nearly doubled its number of endowed professorships, established a new campus in London, and received the largest donation ever given to any business school in the world. Levin called Snyder “the most successful business school dean in the nation” last spring, adding that his decision to come to Yale was very exciting for SOM. In a recent e-mail to the News, Levin said he is confident in Snyder’s ability to strengthen the school’s faculty and its visibility in the national and global business community.
Though Snyder said he does envision a new direction for the school, most of his work will be to strengthen existing programs and facets of SOM.
The construction of a new campus is underway, and Oster said the facilities will make it easier for the school to implement its new curriculum, which was introduced in 2006. The new curriculum, which emphasizes practical aspects of business management, was created to train students for the changing global economy, she said.
“The new curriculum puts demands on the way we teach — classes are more interactive, and we sometimes have multiple faculty teaching a single class,” she said. “That, along with other things, highlighted some problems with our current facilities, which, though beautiful in many ways, are not great at delivering world-class, innovative curricula.”
The new space will also be more conducive to integrating information technology into the classroom, said SOM Deputy Dean Stanley Garstka. The new electronic library will help bring technology into the curriculum, he said, adding that there will also be more rooms where students can work collaboratively on projects.
Oster said the new campus will bring faculty together in a single space, as many are currently spread apart in different buildings. Having the faculty in the same space will increase their interactions and will benefit them “intellectually,” she said.
Once everyone moves onto the new campus, the old buildings will likely be used to house academic departments in the social sciences, Levin said.
In addition to its pedagogic import, Oster said the new campus will have more space for students and faculty. The current campus is already too small for the school’s 225 students, Oster said, adding that she hopes the school will someday have 300 students.
“We think the building will have symbolic significance as well,” she said. “I think it will be the most beautiful modern building at Yale, and being in a beautiful space is an affirmation of what we are.”
The school recently received a $10 million donation from Wilbur L. Ross ’59, which will help finance the new campus library.