In the first test of School of Management Dean Edward Snyder’s unconventional and much publicized Global Network for Advanced Management, 20 MBA graduates from leading schools across the globe have descended on campus to participate in a new degree program.
Through the newly created network, which has brought SOM together with 21 business schools from around the world to collaborate on curricula and other initiatives, the Master of Advanced Management students are pursuing a one-year degree designed to allow them to explore electives they may not have had access to at their former institutions. As the students learn an American perspective on business at Yale, they increase the proportion of international students at the roughly 475-student school by about 4 percent.
SOM professor Stanley Garstka, who oversaw admissions for the new degree’s first class, said the students’ arrival will bring perspectives from developing countries into the school. Twelve of the 20 students earned their MBAs in developing countries including China, Venezuela and Indonesia. Other countries represented include South Korea, Spain and Ireland.
“Management is like the portal for all that’s going on in globalization, and all we do is listen to Western powerhouses tell us about how people in developing economies should do and how they should behave,” Garstka said. “One of the purposes of having the students here is to tell us what they need, what’s specific to them, what they think.”
Garstka recalled speaking at an information session for SOM students about the global network where he asked the audience to state the population of Indonesia. The students’ answers, he said, ranged from 20 to 40 million, while Indonesia’s population is actually over 240 million, an example of a fact he said he expects to become better known at SOM given the arrival of MAM students from Indonesia and other developing economies.
Six MAM students interviewed said SOM’s electives allow students to approach business disciplines from more angles than were available at their previous institutions. Though the students are based at SOM, they are permitted to take courses throughout Yale’s schools.
Sojung Lee SOM ’13, a South Korean MBA graduate of Fudan University in Shanghai, said she is shopping courses at the School of Forestry & Environmental Science, adding that she decided to focus her degree on sustainability — a term she described as unfamiliar given her educational background.
“In China, they always talk about profit and growth,” Lee said. “But here, everyone talks more about sustainability.”
Four of the MAM students interviewed said Yale’s prestige outweighed the risks of enrolling in a new program when they were considering whether to matriculate. David Bach ’98, SOM senior associate dean for executive MBA and global programs, said access to Yale’s resources is a primary benefit for students enrolled in the degree.
“Two brands are better than one, two alumni networks are better than one, two different perspectives on management strategies are better than one,” said Bach, a former dean of programs at IE Business School in Madrid, who took office at Yale on Sept. 1. “Very few people can say that they have two degrees from two top institutions in different continents.”
Though the students described their transition to Yale as smooth overall, they all said adapting to classes taught exclusively in English is difficult. Joan Garces-Duran SOM ’13 said he sometimes has trouble understanding when professors use slang or unfamiliar phrases, even though he earned his MBA at the English-language IE Business School in Madrid.
Tony Xiong SOM ’13, an alumnus of Renmin University in Beijing, said he felt part of the effectiveness of the MAM degree is its language immersion component, since he said he and some of the other students have previously been exposed to English only in contained classroom settings.
Garstka said he interviewed applicants to the new degree before admitting them in order to ensure they had advanced English skills, but he said professors at SOM should still make greater efforts to use a level of English that would more effectively cater to the school’s international student population.
“We are negligent as a faculty, and it’s not just for the MAM students but for the full-time MBA students too,” Garstka said. “For us to go in and speak where every other sentence is a baseball idiom or analogy, that’s not quite right, and we’ve got to break ourselves of that habit.”
The MAM students arrived on campus in August and participated in an extended orientation program before classes began.