Second SOM Global Network Week fosters connections

In its second run this year, the Yale School of Management’s Global Network Week last week focused on bolstering the school’s international profile and also sparking new channels of networking for visiting students.

Taking place from Oct. 14-18, the biannual program — which was held for the first time in spring 2013 — invited students from around the world to study at SOM. Six total participating schools from Mexico, Ireland, China, Spain and Israel sent students to SOM for week-long studies on behavioral economics, and in turn, 45 SOM students went abroad to take classes in the major fields of study at these six schools. The Global Network itself consists of 23 management schools around the world, and roughly 300 total students among the seven schools participated in the week of academic exchange.

“The first Global Network Week in March of last year was a pilot, we wanted to see if we could make it happen,” said SOM Senior Associate Dean David Bach, who spearheaded the program’s organization. “Emboldened by its big success, we tried it again [this year], reaching out to more schools.”

Bach said he aims to eventually have Global Network Week built into the calendar of a wide range of top-tier business schools, and for the program to become a fundamental part of each school’s MBA curriculum. The expansion and implementation of Global Network Week at a large group of schools would benefit SOM by making it “the most distinctively global U.S. school,” Bach said, as prospective students would be presented with various opportunities to take classes outside of Yale’s campus.

SOM Professor Ravi Dhar, who gave a lecture called “Consumer Insights in the Marketplace,” said that the program sets SOM apart from other U.S. business schools because it looks beyond the “traditional business-school model” of studying abroad for a semester. Instead, he said, the program allows students to experience the different cultures and academic styles of other countries without taking more than a week away from their time at Yale.

“The program creates the opportunity for students to say, ‘Yes, I want to sample what is happening in Asia for example, but I don’t have time to do it for a whole semester,’” Dhar said.

Students have the opportunity to be taught by world specialists in different fields, Bach said, as each school designs a program around its strongest discipline. But students interviewed said that what they found most valuable about the program was the chance to make connections and build personal global networks with other students.

Belisario Velazquez, a student from the EGADE Business School in Mexico, said that the “multicultural interactions” of the program helped him learn about different business environments, which will be important to his future career.

SOM professor Daylian Cain, who taught a lecture called “Leadership Mind Games: Overconfidence and Trusting Your Gut” said he was impressed by the students’ eagerness to make connections.

“One of the things that were striking is that they’re building LinkedIn profiles, exchanging information,” Cain said. “This is really networking on another level.” ”

Between taking classes on behavioral economics and networking amongst themselves, the students also prepared final presentations for the last day of the program that focused on the psychological strategies that weigh into economic decisions.

Bach said that the next Global Network Week will be held in March 2014, and that several schools from the Global Network have already signed up. The next challenge, Bach said, is to coordinate schedules and standardize credit transfers for the program.

Visiting students celebrated the end of the week with a karaoke night on Thursday.

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