The Starship Enterprise Lands On Yale’s Campus

by John A. Byrne on

The new home of Yale University's School of Management: Evans Hall. Photo by Chris Choi

The new $243 million home of Yale University’s School of Management: Evans Hall. Photo by Chris Choi

Captain Kirk would be pleased—and befuddled, bemused and bewildered.

The newest version of the Starship Enterprise formally opened today (Jan. 9) as the new home of Yale University’s School of Management. It is an ultra-modern structure that gleams rich blue colors, features mountains of reflective glass, and boasts some of the most magnificent curves ever seen in a building.

It is bigger than anything Captain Kirk has flown. The centerpiece of the 240,000-square-foot building is an expansive courtyard surrounded by a glass facade that allows people to see from one area to another across the campus. It features 16 classrooms, 22 breakout rooms, three library spaces, 13 interview rooms, and office space for some 120 faculty and 195 staffers.

FROM STATELY MANSIONS TO 4 MILLION POUNDS OF STEEL & 16 MILLION POUNDS OF CONCRETE

To complete the $243 million building that would replace the school’s stately mansions on Hillhouse Ave., it took four million pounds of steel, 16.2 million pounds of concrete, 2.25 million pounds of glass for the exterior facade alone, along with 123 miles of copper wire and 500 doors—not to mention the money of 1,400 individuals, 1,300 of them SOM alums.

The concourse in the new Evans Hall. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

The concourse in the new Evans Hall. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Architecturally, it may not exactly blend in with the red brick college and secret courtyards and gardens of Yale University. Some professors, who had moved into the structure in mid-December, were already complaining about the heat from the sun that streams into the building’s south side during the day. Others say they miss the creaky charm of the old Victorian homes.

If the building has a visible flaw, it is where SOM has placed its office of admissions. The staff whose job it is to welcome and greet applicants is hidden in a corner of the first floor, behind the most unflattering steel door, an entry way that is more appropriate for a fire escape. By mere location, it seems the most unwelcoming admissions office of any major business school in the world. The school says that applicants will be greeted at a table in the lobby of the building.

 A BOLD SYMBOL OF THE SCHOOL’S AMBITION TO BE THE FIRST GLOBAL B-SCHOOL IN THE U.S.

Still, the complete structure, erected on a 4.25-acre plot at 165 Whitney Avenue, is nothing less than a stunning work of contemporary art in and of itself. It is also a bold symbol of the school’s ambition to be the first global business school in the U.S., a strategy launched by new Dean Edward “Ted” Snyder. “I think of this as a high point event in the school’s history,” said Snyder, who was recruited to Yale after successful deanships at the University of Chicago’s Booth School and the University of Virginia’s Darden School. “High point events give an institution a sense of what it is and what it can be.”

“Breathtaking” is how Yale University President Peter Salovey describes the new facility. When Salovey and his wife snuck into the then empty and quiet building during the Christmas break for an early glimpse, he said the emotions he felt were “jealousy and envy.”

And yet Salovey was not able to take the new technology in the building for a test drive. He could not try out the high-definition video conferencing and student microphones with on/off switches in every classroom that allows lectures and class discussions to be beamed around the world. He couldn’t use the custom faculty lecterns with the tilted 3M flat screens that even include a cup holder for a professor’s coffee. And he couldn’t test the wireless screen sharing in the breakout rooms and classes that will allow students to mirror their laptop or smartphone screens on a large screen when collaborating with each other.

For all the modern gadgetry in the shiny new building, the person who stole the show at the school’s opening was a 99-year-old man in a three-piece gray suit who was pushed on stage in a wheelchair. William Beinecke, who has been called the founder of the school, received a standing ovation for a compelling speech he read aloud in the school’s new 350-seat auditorium.

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  • Mr Bean

    Yeah, the guy is right, IMD is top quality, somehow above INSEAD and LBS. What matters most is the brand anyway and to create a powerful brand I guess the size matters, this doesn’t mean there aren’t big brands with a few people, but at least for B-Schools these brands are backed by mother universities. With a larger class size you create more connections, more people from your school in companies all over the world.

  • PARIA

    I think the main reason is that the flagship of IMD business is the executive education programs not the degree programs. IMD is in fact the world’s best executive education provider, and their MBA is somewhat a side business, However, yes it is a unique and excellent quality program.

  • IMnotD

    I can attest to IMD: I applied and interviewed, it’s a great school and a great culture no doubt. However, I have spoken with a number of alums from the full-time program who haven’t been able to find a job. Worse, they say recruiters often have never heard of the school. Who really cares about rankings, what we care about is will the time and effort open future doors? IMD is a phenomenal executive teaching program, lots of C-level execs take classes there. The full-time MBA, unfortunately, is designed to attract as many nationalities as possible and not necessarily the highest quality applicant pool. My personal opinion is Insead just lures high gmat scores and tries to put as many butts in the seats as possible. The only global MBA brand outside the US that holds water compared to the top US schools is LBS. Period.

  • P&Qreaders_reallynow?

    somehow I felt like the above IMD vs INSEAD/LBS talk seems like two undergrad jr/sr arguing about a school they have yet to be in. I’m probably wrong, but the internet does ‘great’ things…

  • Federal_Reserve

    that was very nice of you…than you very much..

  • Fabian

    since you have been at IMD, I’d love to have your thought on how to compare it with Cornell AMBA, the one year MBA program offered by Cornell University in Ithaca Campus. I’d like to know your opinion about those two programs? thank you in advance..

  • DukeBlueDevil

    *you’re

  • YaleOrFail

    People regard INSEAD and LBS as the top schools outside the US. Period.

  • rly?

    Hey! Still baffled by this…doesn’t quite click for me because they’re top 1 or 2 in every area they play in (UG, law, med, env) except MGMT! I am applying to SOM and really do hope I get in, but their cross-admit with anyone in, say, top 10 isn’t favorable, let alone dominant. I just don’t see it. What’s your industry that it’s fast tracked you so severely? Are you sure you can attribute it to SOM – I see it if Healthcare…Thanks!

  • Fede65

    compared to Cornell , IMD is away better and more prestigious for both two and accelerated MBAs.

  • IvyAddict

    cornell is an ivy league and very prestigious university, just like Harvard and Yale. IMD is an executive short courses institute. no question, Cornell is away better …

  • Suzliz

    When can we get some Yale SOM vs. other top school comparisons published on p&q? Those are super helpful, thanks!

  • OpenEyes

    Not true at all. I went to IMD and 80% of my classmates who applied to INSEAD got in. Those who applied to LBS got in and chose IMD. People who get in to IMD go to IMD. In my year, 5 went to Mckinsey, 5 samsung, 3 google, 3 siemens, 2 bain, 2 jnj, 2 hilti, 2 amazon, etc. List goes on. Highly doubt other schools can match the recruiting that goes on at IMD.

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks for sharing those details. Will be very helpful to our readers.

  • OpenEyes

    Another tidbit too while we’re on the subject. In case people forgot, IMD was ranked in the top in the late ’00s; in fact, it was ranked #1 in the world rankings by FT, I believe. Yes, new schools came in and shook up the rankings a bit, but the old stalwarts back then are still hanging around the top (or near top) today…except IMD. Guess what? Many of the IMD professors who were around back when IMD ruled the rankings know exactly why it slipped to its current position, as does the new director. His strategy will turn the program around, I guarantee it. John, you might want to prep yourself because the IMD turnaround story will be one you’ll want to watch.

  • JohnAByrne

    IMD is a great school, but it has never been ranked first by The Financial Times. In fact, the best rank it has ever achieved in the FT global MBA ranking is 11th place. It has been as low as 19 (in 2013). See the FT’s historical rankings here:

    http://poetsandquants.com/2012/04/23/financial-times-historical-mba-rankings/

    And the last two years here:

    http://poetsandquants.com/2014/01/26/harvard-retains-no-1-ft-rank/

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