SOM breaks into top 10

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Photo by Alex Schmeling.

For the first time in seven years, the Yale School of Management has entered the top 10 in the Financial Times’ MBA rankings.

SOM was ranked 10th in the FT’s 2014 list of the best business schools in the world, released last week. This year, SOM overcame well-known American business schools such as Berkeley, Kellog and Tuck, and international institutions like the HEC School of Management in France and IE Business School in Spain. Over the past five years, SOM has ranged from 14th to 20th in the rankings. Though SOM students interviewed all said they thought the school’s brand-new campus was a large factor in SOM’s rise in the rankings, SOM administrators said Evans Hall did not play a direct role in this year’s rankings. Still, alumni, faculty and students interviewed said they were glad their school’s unique character and mission is gaining recognition, both in business school rankings and in the general business world.

The FT’s list is one of several rankings published each year. Though each system uses a different set of criteria, the FT measures two broad categories: current data about the school and data about how well graduates who left the school three years ago are doing in their jobs. Assessments in the second category are based on graduates’ pre-MBA and post-MBA salaries, seniority and company size.

SOM Dean Edward Snyder attributed SOM’s rapid rise in the rankings to the school’s global strategy.

“It’s simple,” he said. “We are becoming the most global business school in the U.S.”

Snyder said SOM’s partnership with business schools around the world has made the school a pioneer in the global business field. This partnership has enabled SOM to institute initiatives such as week-long exchange programs between the schools and shared online course modules, he said.

These global efforts gave SOM an advantage in the FT’s “Diversity and International Reach” component, which accounts for 25 percent of the total assessment, Snyder said.

SOM Associate Dean David Bach agreed that Snyder’s global efforts are to be credited for this year’s success in the portion of the rankings focused on the school’s current status. Snyder executed his goals in a remarkably short period of time, Bach said.

Anjani Jain, SOM associate dean, said the global projects are giving the school great momentum. The data from the FT rankings gives external recognition to Snyder’s statement that SOM is on the way to being the most global business school in the U.S., she said, adding that the recognition reinforces the school’s momentum.

Still, Bach said it is also important to look at the portion of the data focused on the performance of students who graduated three years ago. This year’s success is a testament to the projects of past deans, he said.

“The institution has been graced by very strong deans,” Bach said. “Most rankings are retrospective. The first half is the work of Dean [Jeffrey] Garnten, and Dean [Joel] Podolny and Dean [Sharon] Oster — the work they did hiring faculty, integrating the core curriculum [and] galvanizing the commitment of the alumni community.”

Snyder was able to come to the school with a great vision and to enact it quickly because Oster had dealt so skillfully with the financial crisis and left the school with no deficit, SOM professor Andrew Metrick said.

Bach said the school’s success is not the result of a sudden change. Rather, he said it comes from the buildup of long years of hard work.

SOM professor Rick Antle said it is important to take a long-run view to see just how far SOM has come in roughly three decades. Though SOM is a small school by choice, Antle said there was a time when it was indeed too small.

Bach said the brand-new SOM campus did not play a direct role in this year’s ranking — but added that Evans Hall reflects a long-term commitment of alumni and of the University to the school.

Four students interviewed said they thought the construction of Evans Hall was one of the main positive changes to SOM in recent years.

“It’s the new building definitely, plus the expansion of our global presence,” said Tiffany Morris SOM ’15.

One hundred fifty-three schools took part in the 2014 FTA ranking of the world’s best full-time MBA program.

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