SOM degree builds off World Fellows

As the School of Management creates a new degree program for international students, it is building on a model of global education established by Yale’s World Fellows program.

In 2001, University President Richard Levin launched the World Fellows program, which brings roughly 20 “rising leaders” from around the world to Yale each year, trains them in leadership and allows them to audit courses at Yale’s various schools. SOM Dean Edward Snyder said the school has looked to the University’s World Fellows program in designing an international initiative specific to SOM: a Master in Advanced Management degree that will bring graduates of roughly 20 partner international business schools to New Haven to take classes at SOM. While SOM has worked with the World Fellows program in the past to bring international perspectives to issues in business education, Snyder said the new master’s program will be more integrated with the school’s regular curriculum.

“These will be students interested in business and entrepreneurship, whereas the World Fellows obviously have broader interests,” Snyder said. “I’m not sure that in any given year the World Fellows program will necessarily get students from countries like the Philippines or Ghana, and I hope that we will be able to do that through our network.”

Though World Fellows can audit classes in any part of the University, SOM has been among the most popular destinations for fellows, World Fellows Director Michael Cappello said. Fellows often find topics covered in SOM courses more applicable to their backgrounds than those offered in Yale’s other schools, Cappello said. SOM professors call on World Fellows to provide a “real world” perspective on issues, he said, and SOM students look to the fellows for mentorship and advice.

But both Snyder and SOM professor Victor Vroom, who has taught parts of the core curriculum for World Fellows, said they think the international students who arrive through the new SOM degree program will be more closely integrated with the school. Vroom noted that all students in the new SOM master’s program will be more like regular SOM students, as they will have already earned MBAs from international business schools and will take courses for credit. Though students in the new program will be able to take classes outside SOM, they will still be based at SOM, unlike the World Fellows, who come from a range of professional and academic backgrounds and audit courses University-wide.

“SOM […] incorporates global ideas and material into the subject matter of courses,” Vroom said. “But it’s even more powerful to have a person sitting next to you in an elective course respond to ideas and bring to bear their own international perspective.”

Vroom said the new SOM program will likely attract students from the nonprofit, public and private sectors. The majority of World Fellows, by contrast, come from the nonprofit and public sectors, said Leslie Powell, director of communications and alumni affairs for the World Fellows program.

The students who pass through the new degree program will also become SOM alumni, which Snyder said will build and diversify the school’s relatively small 6,300-person pool of graduates.

“We’ll be able to start adding a flow of alumni who are from all over the world to our alumni base,” Snyder said. “This will be their academic home within Yale, and I think that’s just going to be great for us.”

Cappello said the start of the SOM degree program will not cause changes to how the World Fellows program collaborates with SOM, adding that he and Snyder are working to strengthen connections between World Fellows and the school.

World Fellows are admitted each spring and spend the fall semester at Yale.

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