At the School of Management, where a third of the students come from outside of the United States, it is only fitting that a month has been devoted to international students.
SOM students from the Far East and Southeast Asia invited a Korean drum troupe, performed elaborate skits and conducted Power Point presentations yesterday in the second event of SOM’s International Month, which runs this year from Feb. 6 to Feb. 23. Throughout the next week and a half, students from countries across the globe will host events focusing on their countries of origin.
But International Month is not just fun and games. Organizers hope events will demonstrate how understanding other cultures plays an important role in the corporate world.
“International Month ultimately goes back to business being about cultural values and understanding people — not just about transactions,” SOM Deputy Dean Stan Garstka said. “Transactions don’t happen in vacuums.”
International students compose a large component of the SOM student body, with American residents born in other countries pushing the number of students of foreign backgrounds up to 40 percent of the school’s population. The percentage of international students has been on the rise over the past decade, moving from one-fifth of the student population 10 years ago to around one-third today.
Students are recognizing the importance of getting an American business education as the United States is developing into the world’s dominant economic force, Garstka said.
While SOM’s percentage of international students is similar to that of other business schools, foreign students comprise more than 40 percent of the student body at the Wharton School or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But Yale’s management school has never had a problem attracting foreign students.
“The Yale cachet is very strong around the globe,” said Irina Filippova SOM ’02, one of the student coordinators of International Month.
SOM’s financial aid policy, which offers need-based and merit-based aid to foreign applicants, is also an attractive feature of the business school, SOM admissions director James Stevens said.
And events such as International Month help maintain a global perspective in the study of business at SOM.
Following yesterday’s presentation by East and Southeast Asian students and last week’s event on Africa, students in the next week-and-a-half will lead activities about Australia, Latin America, South Asia, Europe and even North America. Festivities will conclude Feb. 23 with a school-wide pot luck dinner.
“We are showing how strong the presence of international students is,” said Filippova.
Currently, SOM’s international students hail from a wide spectrum of the globe, with Asian and Western European students composing the biggest groups in the international student population. Recently, more Latin Americans have been applying and matriculating at SOM, Stevens said.