Edward Snyder, dean of the Yale School of Management, plans to meet with 1,000 people this fall.
These meetings — which will take place with SOM students, faculty, staff, alumni and other figures in the business world — will inform Snyder’s future strategy for the Global Network for Advanced Management, a partnership of schools that he founded in 2012 that aims to foster ties among leading business schools and their students. The results of these conversations will determine key developments within the network, including funding, student involvement and potential expansion.
The first meeting took place in New York City on Tuesday, when administrators joined roughly 50 alumni and friends of the school to begin soliciting feedback for SOM’s future global strategy.
“My goal is to get as much feedback as possible going forward,” Snyder said. “We are in this classic situation where we feel like we are on the right track but we want to accelerate, and we want to do it well.”
After the meeting, SOM Associate Dean Anjani Jain said he was impressed with the engagement of the first group. He and other administrators present have already obtained general “food for thought” ideas as well as specific implementation ideas, he said.
SOM professor Andrew Metrick said SOM’s outreach plan will likely be successful. A global strategy, he said, is made up of more than just specific programs and is related to wider themes such as the future of management education and the needs of global leaders in the present and future.
SOM professor Fiona Scott Morton said regular assessments are important to most initiatives.
“When the environment is changing and the problem is hard, it is important for decision-makers to reach out to constituents for their views, and to information sources for data in order to adjust the strategy to achieve the best possible outcome,” she said.
Six out of eight SOM students interviewed said they are aware of the meetings Snyder had planned to gather their feedback. Out of these, seven said they appreciate the initiative and will most likely attend a meeting.
Snyder said that one basic dilemma he is hoping to solve is the question of the size of the network in the future. While he would like to potentially include more schools throughout the world, it is difficult to keep an abundance of member schools equally engaged and “activated,” he said. SOM Associate Dean David Bach said he thinks the current size of the network is optimal, although the school is interested in potentially incorporating some schools in Oceania, Eastern Europe and the Arab World.
Students had mixed opinions about expansion, though. While Stephanie Johns SOM ’16 said there is still room for expansion, Zhe Yang SOM ’16 said the danger of having too many member schools is to lose the connection among them, creating obstacles to cooperation.
Another development Snyder said he is looking at is the intensification of students’ involvement with activities within the network. Student buy-in is fundamental for the activation of each node in the network, he said.
“There is still a lot of progress that we have not realized in terms of changing the everyday experience of students,” he said. “Right now I’d say across the network, in all the member schools, less than 10 percent of students feel that the network is important to them in terms of their academic and professional development.”
But Daniel Hahn SOM ’16 said the Global Network was a major factor in his decision to come to SOM. Similarly, Ari Bildner ’09 SOM ’16 said the network is a distinguishing part of her experience at the school.
“This is a way to differentiate ourselves from other business schools, ” she said. “It’s not just words that they are using – they are backing it up with a lot of options and connectivity to other schools.”
As SOM attempts to seek feedback for the development of the network, the network itself is flourishing with bigger and more intense activities.
This fall’s Global Network Week — a weeklong program in which students in the network’s schools travel to their sister schools and participate in a special curriculum — will register a record rate of participation, with 500 students traveling to other member schools for the event.
Additionally, more of the network’s member schools are becoming involved in teaching online courses. While only three online courses were offered last year by Yale and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, many more are in the works this year, from schools such as the Indian Institute of Management and the London School of Economics.
Despite the advancements, Snyder said there is still a long road ahead to make the network a truly “isotropic” group, with all partners playing an equal role.
“We recognize this is still very much a Yale-led network, in terms of organization and infrastructure,” he said. “So the question is, how do we make the relationships and still get things done?”
This year’s Global Network Week, which will take place in October, currently has 10 schools registered to participate.
Correction: Sept. 11, 2014