SOM pre-MBA program builds membership

The School of Management’s pre-MBA program will expand with 20 new slots reserved for students from schools in its new international network.
The School of Management’s pre-MBA program will expand with 20 new slots reserved for students from schools in its new international network. Photo by Sharon Yin.

With the School of Management’s new international network set to launch Thursday, SOM is creating 20 new spots in its pre-MBA summer program for undergraduates from member schools.

The two-week summer program, which launched in 2007 and is designed to introduce college students and recent graduates from minority groups to the basics of business education, will admit roughly 20 international students from business schools in SOM’s new global network this year. SOM Dean Edward Snyder said international students from the network — a partnership of roughly 20 international business schools that will collaborate on a range of projects — will bring a global perspective to discussions of business issues, and also add a “completely different dimension” to the partnership by including not just MBA students but also undergraduates affiliated with member institutions.

“Having participants from the network schools could position us to better explore issues of diversity and develop a better understanding of business issues,” Snyder said.

Heidi Brooks, an SOM lecturer and faculty director for the pre-MBA program, said expanding enrollment from an average of 40 American students to include 20 international students will increase the diversity of the program. She said working with students from institutions abroad will expose the program’s typical American participants to international perspectives on business.

Sergio Rosas, a former Stanford University undergraduate who participated in the program last summer and is also helping establish a new alumni association for graduates of the program, said building relationships with international students will be beneficial for the program’s participants, given that business is becoming increasingly internationalized. Brenda Castillo, a University of California, Berkeley, graduate who enrolled in the program in 2010 and is also involved in creating the alumni association, said meeting international students might help the other students adapt to future career changes, as many who pursue business need to travel and move abroad.

As the program prepares to increase enrollment by about 50 percent, organizers said they will work to ensure that all students become acquainted with each other during their two weeks in June.

Jim Baron, an SOM professor who helped run the pre-MBA program in previous years, said the program will try to create a “broad climate” that accommodates all students.

“In an intense program where people are thrown together, there are going to be cliques that form,” he said. “I think that the best you can do is to try to identify themes that are of broad interest and incentives for people to want to get to know as many people as possible.”

Brooks said program organizers have not determined methods for shaping this summer’s group dynamic. She added that the new student composition of the program will be similar in size to that of an SOM “cohort” — a group of first-year students who take core classes together. As a result, she said teaching the pre-MBA group of students will “feel very familiar” to faculty involved in the program.

Former participants said they did not think the program’s growth in size from roughly 40 students would impact students’ experiences this summer.

“When you’re expanding a program, the curriculum is bound to change,” Rosas said. “But Yale does a great job of paying very particular attention to our needs and understanding our needs.”

The 2012 program will take place from June 10 to June 23.

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