SOM launches online courses

This fall, over 65 MBA candidates around the world are tuning in to two selective online courses offered by the Yale School of Management.

The courses, one on mobile banking and the other on antitrust law, are offered to schools within the Global Network for Advanced Management — a group of 23 international business schools that the SOM Dean Edward Snyder officially created in 2012, during his first year in office. The courses are run by the SOM professors, who teach in the SOM classrooms and stream their course sessions to students at the other schools. All students enrolled in the courses — both students from SOM and students from the other schools — will participate in the courses from their computers rather than in person, and students from different schools will work together on projects.

Senior Associate Dean for Executive MBA and Global Programs David Bach ’98 said the SOM is blurring the academic boundaries between the Global Network schools by offering the online courses, adding that professors try to maximize diversity within the groups that work together on class assignments.

“The benefit for Yale students is that they get to work very closely with students in other parts of the world, and by working with them on various virtual projects, they learn about what is happening there,” Bach said. “Students learn to work across space and time zones in an organized way, and many recruiters tell us that they need young managers who can work in collaborative environments. Regardless of what they learn substantively about the topic, students taking these classes are acquiring useful skills.”

In order to stream the courses internationally, Bach said that the schools decided to use an Internet software provided by IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, a Global Network member, because the school has a long track record of organizing online initiatives, and its software is “proven and robust.”

Snyder, who is co-teaching the antitrust law course, said he is still getting used to teaching a group of students who attend class virtually. Students who are participating in Snyder’s course and the other course also said they are learning to work within the new format.

Bukky Olowude SOM ’14, who is enrolled in the mobile banking course, said she has occasionally found it challenging to remain focused throughout the class and avoiding succumbing to distractions — a challenge that is particularly pressing when students attend class online rather than in person. Olowude usually tunes in to the course from home and then walks over to SOM for her next class, she said.

“What makes the class compelling is that you are taking classes with other business school students from around the world — in my group, I have a guy who goes to school in Madrid and one who is in India, and even the SOM students have different backgrounds,” Olowude said. “When we are working on a case, we use many different perspectives and learning styles.”

The antitrust law course, which Snyder teaches with the SOM professor Fiona Scott Morton, attracted over 50 applicants from students at Global Network schools, and 34 were selected to attend. For the mobile banking course, the IE Business School in Madrid and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore preselected 10 candidates from their schools, and those students were then joined by seven students from the SOM.

Bach and Snyder said they hope the initiative will grow, adding that they would like to see other Global Network schools offer online courses.

The Global Network includes schools on every continent except Antarctica.

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