Yale’s Big, Audacious Global Bet

by John A. Byrne on

Yale SOM Dean "Ted" Snyder has created a unique game changing program to globalize

The big idea was hatched in 2001 on the occasion of Yale University’s 300th anniversary. Wanting to enhance the school’s global footprint, University President Richard C. Levin launched the Yale World Fellows Program. It was and is a unique and innovative leadership training program designed to bring some of the world’s most extraordinary people from around the world to New Haven, Ct.

The first cohort of World Fellows arrived on campus in the fall of 2002 and ever since then 14 to 18 highly accomplished persons at an early mid-career point come from all over the world. They spend an intensive semester exploring critical issues and undergoing leadership training, with the full resources of Yale at their disposal.

That highly successful program has become one of the most selective in the world with some 5,000 applications for those precious few seats—an admissions rate below 1%. The Fellows have helped to further internationalize the university, and many of them have ended up at Yale’s School of Management taking elective courses and rubbing shoulders with the school’s traditional MBA candidates. “Most of the MBAs have really liked the World Fellows,” says Edward “Ted” Snyder, dean of Yale’s School of Management.

A UNIQUE AND INGENIOUS WAY TO BRING GLOBAL THINKING TO YALE

The upshot? The Fellows program has inspired a new and ingenious way to help bring more global thinking to the business school. This fall, Yale is launching an innovative one-year degree program, the Master of Advanced Management (MAM), open only to graduates of schools that are part of a new Global Network for Advanced Management convened by Yale. The program is expected to include about 20 students per year, roughly one from each of the schools in the network to insure maximum diversity.

For Dean Snyder, this is a big bet on globalization that he hopes will set SOM apart from many of its U.S. competitors whose efforts to internationalize have been limited to student exchanges, joint-degrees with non-U.S. schools, and global immersion trips. “It’s a big deal for us in terms of globalizing the school,” he says. “This will be another group of unique students that Yale MBAs will get to interact with.”

To get it off the ground, Snyder had to sign up business schools all over the globe in Asia, Europe, Central America, and Africa. The list of schools confirmed as part of the network is large and growing, and they’re not always the most obvious suspects. Instead, they include such business schools as the University of Capetown in South Africa, Pontificia Universidad Catolica De Chile in Santiago, Chile, Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey, Fundacao Getulio Vargas in San Paulo, Brazil, and the University of Ghana in Legon, Accra (see full list here).

A NETWORK OF SCHOOLS FROM BRAZIL TO TURKEY WILL SHARE TEACHING MATERIALS

The schools will share and develop teaching materials, research, global management case studies, and faculty. An equivalent list of corporate partners, which already include Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and the Clinton Foundation, are being recruited to tap into the network as well. They will be likely employers of the program.

Of course, putting this network to work is hardly a no-brainer. The member schools each have their own cultures, strengths and weaknesses. Much will be dependent on the deans or directors at each school and how committed and engaged they will be to make the network a success. “It’s interesting and creative,” says Bhaskar Chakravorti, a senior associate dean of international business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a former Harvard Business School professor. “Fundamentally, universities are used to being self-contained institutions. So there is always a challenge of taking down the walls of your institution and thinking about how you operate in a larger network.”

Some of the thinking behind the idea came from Snyder’s participation in a task force on the globalization of management organized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the primary U.S. accreditation body. The task force last year took schools to task for their “fragmented and disjointed” efforts in globalization. Adds Snyder: “We haven’t figured globalization out. All U.S. business schools have done is a little bit of green field but mainly joint venture partnerships in tuition-rich markets. Wow! The joint venture model is very overused and those partnership degrees are really tricky.”

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  • Alois de Novo

    Strange

  • Anon

    I agree…strange. It all sounds overly complex. Aren’t all these top MBA programs globalized enough? Aren’t hordes of foreign students fighting for entrance into American MBA programs and universities every year? Haven’t we learned from the recession of several years ago that constant attention to globalization is not necessarily a positive?

    Yale should focus on keeping things simple. Like Stanford’s MBA, they should probably focus on personal mentoring of their talented group of MBA students and an increased emphasis on entrepreneurship, lean start-ups and venture capital. Plenty of foreign students are accepted into Yale, plus there’s a requisite foreign trip for every MBA first-year class. As you can probably tell, I am tired of kissing the ring of all things “globalization”.

  • YaleOrFail

    Yale is going to be one of the very top MBA programs in a very short time. Yale is no follower of Stanford. American MBA programs unfortunately are not yet as global as other programs such as INSEAD. Yale is now going to change that first.

    Just like Yale law school and other top Yale graduate program, people will say soon “Yale or Fail”

  • Chuck

    what is the fuss about Yale SOM’s global initiative? It sounds like a recycled plan. The entire article looks like a press release from Yale’s communication department.

  • Clint

    The whole notion that b-schools are really doing anything to “globalize” is 60% nonsense, 35% PR and 5% actual effort, with VERY few exceptions.

    Unfortunately there is still alot of arrogance and hubris in the higher education industry, and its much easier to launch a marketing effort highlighting your schools global credentials thinking you can just fake it, than to make real tangible progress in the field.

    A few schools are making real progress, but they’re certainly not the Harvards, Whartons or Stanfords. If Yale SOM does make real progress with this, then they deserve the attention.

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