SOM grows its campus-wide courses

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Photo by Blair Seideman.

The Yale School of Management, after opening its new building this year, is throwing its doors open to the entire Yale campus.

In efforts to become more integrated with the University, SOM is offering an expanded menu of courses that are open to all students, undergraduate and graduate. These include foundational courses — introductory management classes specifically for non-SOM students — as well as entrepreneurship courses and SOM courses that are cross-listed with other departments on campus.

This year, an expanded “Introduction to Accounting” and a new “Introduction to Marketing” course are being offered as foundational courses. Six new entrepreneurship courses are being launched as part of SOM’s recently introduced Entrepreneurship Program. Among the new cross-listed courses, a new course offered by both SOM and the Jackson Institute called “Global Financial Crisis” is being taught by SOM professor Andrew Metrick in collaboration with ex-U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

SOM Dean Edward Snyder said the school is offering these courses to broaden its involvement with the rest of Yale. But it is up to other schools, especially Yale College, to fully integrate these courses into their curriculums, he added.

“I don’t think there are obstacles with students from other master programs taking our courses, but it will be up to Yale College to decide to what extent they will let students avail themselves of these courses,” he said.

Snyder said SOM is working to increase its offerings and to establish a number of foundational courses that will optimally serve the rest of Yale.

Because the traditional MBA core curriculum has a tight structure and is designed to be taken in its entirety, SOM Associate Dean Anjani Jain said the foundational courses allow students from other disciplines to gain exposure to functional domains of management.

SOM professor Rick Antle, who taught an introductory accounting course last year to the entire Yale community and is now offering a section exclusively for Yale College, said it is important to cater teaching to one’s audience. In his current class, Antle said, he may appeal to the liberal arts backgrounds of his students and talk about the importance of an accounting system in civil society.

But Antle cautioned against trying to impose certain materials or courses on students.

“We have to be sensitive to the fact that what we do should fit into the college experience,” he said.

Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at SOM Kyle Jensen said he thinks it is beneficial that SOM’s entrepreneurship courses are open to the entire Yale community. Entrepreneurship is inherently interdisciplinary, he said, and having classmates from different backgrounds makes the experience better.

“You don’t start a company with ten MBA’s,” he said.

Alexander Saeedy ’15, an undergraduate who is taking Jensen’s seminar “Start-up Founder Studies” this semester, said the courses fill a much-needed gap.

“Yale College is designed for an education in the liberal arts — and SOM has much greater resources for those interested in entrepreneurship and business,” he said.

SOM professor Andrew Metrick, who is offering a course cross-listed with Jackson Institute, said cross-listing the course helps drum up interest and accessibility for undergraduates.

“I’m not trying to teach tools. This is more like a course on a topic,” he said. “It just ended up at SOM but it just as easily ended up at Jackson, or the College.”

Four Economics majors interviewed said they had not heard about the SOM courses, but three said they had considered them.

Ruchita Gupta ’16 said the courses offered by SOM are useful to acquire skills often required for internships and jobs in the business field. Taking these classes may help Yale undergraduates compete with applicants from peer institutions, many of which offer business-related courses and majors, she said.

Kimaya Abreu ’15 said SOM courses can also provide some variety to the curriculum.

“SOM courses may inject some energy into the usual set of Yale College economics offerings,” Abreu said. “I’ve found many of the standard [economics] lectures to be quite dry, even when the material is very interesting.”

Among the classes SOM will integrate into the Yale community is a class cross-listed with the Forestry School and another cross-listed with Yale Law School.

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