Is Yale The ‘Most Distinctively Global’ U.S. Business School?

Senior Associate Dean Anjani Jain at Yale School of Management

Senior Associate Dean Anjani Jain at Yale School of Management

It’s an alluring morning in New Haven, Ct. Under a brilliant sun, the air is crisp and cool. The leaves on the trees are beginning to transform into a kaleidoscope of colors. And Dean Edward “Ted” Snyder of Yale University’s School of Management is strolling the halls of the school’s brand new $243 million complex.

Huddled on chairs and sofas in the lobby are a group of young people—a dozen or so would be applicants to SOM—who are waiting for an admissions official to give them the pitch and a tour of the building which looks so modern it could be the Starship Enterprise. Dean Snyder moseys on over to the group and asks what interests them most about Yale’s School of Management.

The first and second people who answer his question causes him to nearly wince. One earnest looking young man immediately says that it is the school’s non-profit slant. Another says it is relatively small size of Yale’s MBA program which this fall enrolled just 323 students, a little more than a third of the totals at Harvard, Columbia, Wharton, Kellogg, or Booth.

MAKING YALE ‘THE MOST DISTINCTIVELY GLOBAL U.S. BUSINESS SCHOOL’

What Dean Snyder had hoped to hear was that these potential applicants were keen on Yale because it is, in the dean’s own words, “the most distinctively global U.S. business school.” That is, after all, what Snyder has tirelessly worked to do in repositioning the school since his arrival as dean in mid-2011. There are only two other answers that he would have preferred to hear this morning: that they’re keen to look at SOM because it is among the most integrated business schools with its home university or because it is the best source of leaders for all sectors and regions.

Those are Snyder’s three aspirations for the Yale School of Management. Becoming a truly global business school, however, has required the most reengineering of the school’s mission and purpose. And as the answers from the young professionals suggest, going global may well be easier than gaining recognition for being global.

After all, despite years of effort by rivals to rid themselves of the narrow definitions placed on them, too many people still consider Harvard the school for future CEOs, Stanford for entrepreneurs, Wharton for finance, and Northwestern for marketing. Undaunted, Snyder is plowing full speed ahead with his global strategy for the school and has made remarkable progress in just three years, notwithstanding the cluelessness shown by the applicants in the hallway.

‘IF WE SUCCEED, IT WILL BE A FUNDAMENTAL REPOSITIONING OF THE SCHOOL’

“If we succeed,” proclaims Snyder, “what’s going to happen is we are going to get students who respond to the call. They will already be über global or aspiring to be global and that will be a big difference. We see this becoming a bigger part of the pool. It’s a fundamental repositioning for the school.”

Snyder’s global thrust is at the center of SOM’s transformation which includes a new modern building, significantly increased scholarship money to get the best MBA students, a new focus on entrepreneurship, and far more outreach to what Yale University brings to the game. The school’s rankings in both The Financial Times and Bloomberg Businessweek are up dramatically. In Businessweek, SOM climbed 15 positions to sixth place, the highest rank ever achieved by the school in any major ranking. Round one applications have risen by 10%, with 55% of them coming from outside the U.S., slightly better than the more traditional 50-50 split.

“Right now there is an incredible sense of excitement about the growth of the place,” says Andrew Metrick, a finance professor who also serves as deputy dean. “It has really taken us a while to grow up. We’re only 30 years old and that is really young for a business school. But we have really turned a corner. We used to be in other people’s buildings. We didn’t have an endowment. We had an allowance where the university would just write a check. We now have a physical space that matches the quality of the faculty and the students. We really look like a 21st Century business school, and there has been a lot of positive momentum.”

For most other business schools, going global has meant increasing the percentage of MBA students from outside the home country, recruiting faculty with foreign passports, boosting international case studies and examples in classes, and adding a few exchange programs with other schools. Few schools have fundamentally overhauled their curricula, however, and fewer have genuinely partnered with other universities in deeper ways.

“U.S. business school deans have not globalized,” insists Snyder, who believes that if you put aside the long-standing student semester exchanges and partnerships over Executive MBA programs, most of what has occurred is changes in the markets for faculty, applicants and graduates. “Those changes have been thrust upon top schools. There are so many interesting places in the world that have been left out of business schools.”

GAINING THE ‘NETWORK EFFECTS’ OF AN ENTIRELY UNIQUE 27-SCHOOL CONSORTIUM

In contrast, Yale has upped the game considerably, creating a network of 27 top business schools from every corner of the globe, including the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Launched in April of 2012, the Global Network for Advanced Management schools share unique programming, from on-campus network weeks to small network online courses or SNOCs. They develop global case studies, facilitate faculty partnerships, and hold events with such major speakers as Google’s Eric Schmidt and micro finance pioneer and social entrepreneur Sir Fazle Hasan Abed.

Member schools are adapting programs to sync with the global network. Technion in Israel recently launched a full-time MBA program in English called the Startup MBA and built its academic calendar around the global network groups. “Schools are adjusting their strategies to take advantage of it,” says David Bach, senior associate dean for global programs at Yale. “It’s cool to see how the network effects are kicking in.”

The global initiative has become central to Snyder’s strategy to make Yale SOM a Top 10 business school. “That really is a very important unifying theme for what Ted is trying to do,” says Fiona Scott Morton, an economics professor at the school. “And the way Ted is going about it makes an enormous amount of sense. We’re not opening a far-flung campus or doing a partnership. Those are expensive and very 20th Century solutions. Ted puts this network together and waits for these ideas to bubble up and they do.”

  • don-johnson

    I don’t understand why Jain winced at the non-profit slant answer from the applicant. The Yale SOM ‘about’ section is very clear about it:

    “The school’s students, faculty, and alumni are committed to understanding the complex forces transforming global markets and using that understanding to build organizations—in the for-profit, nonprofit, entrepreneurial, and government sectors—that contribute lasting value to society.”

    Nothing in the article made me want to apply to Yale. SNOCs sounds like a MOOCs — it’s frustrating to collaborate remotely. To me, the semester abroad sounds valuable if I can build a network of contacts in another region — either in Europe (LBS/INSEAD/etc.), South America (FGV/etc.), or Asia (NUS/INSEAD). It’s hard to achieve that without developing meaningful relationships over time and regular in-person interactions of reciprocity. International flavor sounds like a top ramen flavor packet.

    Brain drain + H1-B Lottery System = Bad Career Stats. Talking to other applicants, people from emerging markets seeking a western MBA generally want to migrate to a country with a better standard of living. I am working for a large multinational and we have trouble recruiting good talent in Eastern Europe and Asia because everyone talented wants to move to Western Europe or the USA. Just had a discussion about a current IMD student from an emerging market who would probably be a good fit but he won’t work in his home country. There is no desire to bring him into a local US or western Europe business unit. Students that are able to find the employers seeking to add diversity and willing to sponsor them aren’t guaranteed a spot in the states now that H1-B Visa demand exceeds supply. This won’t stem the supply of qualified applicants — but honestly I don’t want to go to school with a bunch of people who want to get jobs in the states but won’t be able to succeed because the US government won’t give them the chance. Poor networking opportunity.

    I applied to over 10 schools this year and the real reason Yale SOM wasn’t on it was because I looked at LinkedIn and most consulting alumni work at Deloitte/BearingPoint/PwC/EY. Weak in MBB and weak in industry jobs as well. Forget banking — no point of going to a case study school for finance.

    If Jain wants to carve out a speciality of developing talented MBA grads that want to work in emerging markets for multinationals / non-profits / gov’t — he may be on to something. But I don’t see that sort of specialty school making its way into the top 10.

    I say he should embrace the non-profit / public service reputation Yale has developed. I tell people considering an MPA to look at the Yale MBA instead. If I wanted to go into the non-profit world, I would apply to Yale and pitch my application the other way about returning to industry because apparently Yale SOM is trying to make an about face.

  • knights

    Wharton is, by most accounts, the clear frontrunner in terms of global presence and influence – both in the private and public sectors, and beyond dispute in the world’s financial centers.

  • knights

    The fact that so many people can see through the fabricated hype around what amounts to such an inconsequential ‘initiative’ should clue you in.

  • knights

    All of John’s posts or articles seem to have an ulterior motive of obscuring the fact that Wharton has, and is poised yet again, to dominate and reclaim its #1 position in the global community.

  • knights

    Yes, we all know Byrne is biased against Wharton. Heaven forbid he write a positive piece about Wharton, which would’ve been the perfect candidate for such an article on global prominence.

  • DubaiUAEvp

    John,
    Is this article some kind of a joke? I’m not trying to be too blunt here, but it’s pretty clear by all measures that Wharton is the world’s most global school, with over 92,000 alumni across 150 countries. They also hold MULTIPLE global conferences and alumni forums around the world each year. Past locations include Milan, Jakarta, Tokyo, Paris, San Francisco, Madrid, Seoul, Dubai, Bogota, Lima, Ho Chi Minh City, Cape Town, Hong Kong, San José, Zurich, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Mexico City, Singapore, London, Panama and Beijing.

    Regarding your bias against Wharton (go ahead and deny it yet again), it shouldn’t be sufficient to warrant overlooking the school that accounts for the majority of influential alumni abroad for a school with such a small, largely localized alumni community. Wharton also accounts for the vast majority of Central Bank governors and finance ministers abroad.

  • UmNoJustNo

    Again, no one cares about your admits. That’s the point. You have nothing to brag about. If you got into your favorite program then congrats – so did plenty of other people. But you shouldn’t be going around bragging like you’re the only one who got into those schools. This isn’t like you won the lottery.

  • AC AC

    Yep you got me Sherlock. I’m sadly moving to round two. Man, how’d you get so good at knowing about me??

  • AC AC

    You got me good Boothboy! You’re right – I didn’t get into SOM! In fact, I’ll do you one better. I didn’t even apply. I figured that I should just stick to the safety schools of H/S/W and not go for those huge reach schools like Booth/Kellog/Yale.
    The only reason I criticized SOM is not because of where I’m going. It’s because of the school SOM is. So relax. No one’s going to take away your coveted Booth spot. In fact, with acceptances of people like you who write extremely immaturely, I’d suggest that Booth’s brand is only being damaged by your childish comments. Good luck in HR after you graduate!!

  • Norbert Weiner

    Thunderbird is to terminate all its MBA programmes following its takeover by Arizona State University. Yale SOM, on the other hand, is steadily expanding its global reach. Google Yale SOM International Influence

  • FStratford

    Thunderbird was the most global once upon a time, wasnt it? So Yale wants to be the new Thunderbird. Thats not a very lofty goal. What happened to Snyder, has he lost his touch?

  • FStratford

    That in itself does not make them the most distinctively global business school. Besides, being global in and of itself does not make a business school good. Google Thunderbird.

  • Norbert Weiner

    You are mistaken; Google Yale GNAM

  • Norbert Weiner

    More than 5 schools; google Yale GNAM

  • DeeFan

    By extensively I mean several years, not a semester abroad program. Do you mean to say that it is typical of American SOM students to have spent several years abroad?

  • kuma

    If you ask any SOM student about the US students there, you’ll find that they are exactly what you’ve mentioned, especially the latest class.

  • Maximus

    As long as the US-schools are so overly focused on the GMAT, they will always lag the European (and maybe now Asian?) schools when it comes to being global.

    And a second thing, its funny to observe how US-people talk about “global”. As a small European country (where I’m from) you are forced to be global to adapt to the world, while USA (this does not mean all americans) on the other hand puts itself in the center on the map and believe everything moves around it – how “global” is that?

    Even thought the brand is still the strongest among the US Schools and the academic level is uncontested, I am truly happy I did not accept going to any of the 2 Ivy League schools I was accepted to, and instead chose a leading European school.

    If you are best in class you got 40% with international passport, and that includes a big portion of “americans” with dual passports.

  • FStratford

    The answer to the question posted by the title is clearly “No”. Yale is not the most distinctively global school. It is trying to, sure. but the competition is fierce int this arena. Schools like Booth has international campuses and centers. Harvard has international immersion programs. Every top school has a strategy for continuing to be the most international or trying to be the most international. So far, Yale’s attempts, based on this story has mixed success. Distinct, yes. Global, maybe. most disticntively global, definitely no not yet.

  • Boothboy

    He He.. “large” number of distinctly global schools? be specific.. Examples? Oxbridge??! WTF

  • Boothboy

    Hundreds get into M7 (H|S|W|Booth/Kellogg/Col/Sloan) and thousands get Rejected!! It is worth flattering as long as he/she is ‘anonymous’.. Tell this to someone who is placed in wait-list by these schools.. They would give their arm to get off the wait-list.. You surely got a bad experience this week 😛 Move on to R2.. Don’t be bitter…

  • Boothboy

    He He! You’re a sure loser.. Definite DING of SOM.. Cheer up brother! Comparing Yale SOM with Oxford/Cambridge…?? He He He He He!!!! IF you’re a H|S|W admit, you won’t be targeting Booth/Kellogg/Yale.. You sound like an SOM ding w/o interview….

  • Josh

    My cynical friend! Who is Flattering?!! “Hundreds” getting accepted to these schools? I say THOUSANDS.. So? What’s your point? HSW sends 2,000 every year out, so? For that matter no MBA admit deserves boasting.. It’s no lottery worth $1 million to brag about.. Rather student debt of $200,000.. every year we have 5% without jobs even after 3 months of graduation from HSW and illiterates becoming Prime Ministers/Presidents in emerging markets.. If sharing an admission concern (especially something so ‘common’ that matters to ‘hundreds’ of people like you said) in an MBA blog is an issue to you, what are you doing here?! I got admits from some very good schools though I come from an overrepresented geography and these schools (Booth, Kellogg & Yale) can get me where I want to reach in next decade.. So I am ‘happy’ with my admits. Sorry if that pinches you..

  • AC AC

    Um, critical comments are not always “dings”. This is Yale b-school, we’re talking about, not Yale undergrad…

  • AC AC

    Not entirely sure I agree with this. Yale is still like Oxford/Cambridge. Decent b-schools that get by largely on their name rather than the business educaiton they provide.
    There are a large number of schools more “distinctly global” than Yale…

  • Stephen

    Interesting point on the loan forgiveness, since I’m not an international student I don’t know all those guidelines. I know for domestic students looking to enter public service it’s not based on the program but rather the loan type — e.g. Direct Federal Loans, and I’m surprised it isn’t the same for internationals.

  • Josh

    Not MPPA – MPPM it is! And the CEO of PEPSI has an MPPM… For your info even Kellogg and MIT Sloan starting granting “MBA” degrees just few of decades back!! Kellogg shifted to an MM degree in 1969 (continued it for two decades) and Sloan started with mid career sloan fellows before thinking of MBA degree.. So that’s fair for Yale.. But I do accept that it’s not a Yale JD.. We are not comparing Yale MBA with Harvard/Stanford MBA degree.. One must accept that SOM was underperforming till now..

  • Josh

    Thanks Stephen! Good luck with your decision.. I have long term political aspirations too.. So MBA is more than an immediate job need for me.. You’re right Booth n Kellogg are solid business schools with decades of history and alumni network.. I am just pulled by the momentum factor of Yale and its academic rigor together with its greater brand name.. And loan forgiveness options of Kellogg and Yale place them higher than Booth in my list.. Esp with Booth there is no coverage if I want to shift into Public Sector/Government later.. Thats a big minus.. All HSW Kel Yale Col Duke Ross has loan assistance for internationals.. Don’t know why Booth not entering this territory.. But truly I have a tough decision to make!!!

  • DeeFan

    Agree insofar as at most schools it is a slogan attached to a two week ‘innocents abroad’ tour.

  • Stephen

    Congrats on these admits. I’m also deciding between Kellogg/Booth (declined NYU’s) but I don’t see how Yale should be thrown in the mix. I strongly believe it will be a T10 school within 5 years but I don’t see the brand power of Yale surpassing that of Booth/Kellogg (in a traditional MBA career the MBA Brand matters more than the university brand). Personally I think the semester exchange will be more than just a few mons of vacation abroad and for someone who travels extensively (52 countries and counting) it’s a good way to really dive into a place and I’m disappointed there’s so few partner schools at SOM. Good luck on whatever you decide!

  • eddysham

    whatever you say, it remains MPPA from SOM, totally different than JD from Yale!

  • Josh

    Thanks John! Awesome article! Sorry to see so many Yale haters (probable dings) targeting your good intentions.. Undoubtably Yale is on the rise, because –

    1) It’s significantly difficult to get into Yale – this year we found 2+ people accepted by HBS/Wharton but dinged by Yale. Average GMAT 722! N they dig deep into your undergrad institution’s prestige/GPA grades along with your company/sector
    2) Too many people are stuck on the Kellogg vs Yale decision this season.. I wish you put an article on that (this might be due to similarity in application/video essays)
    3) Yale has gained steepest increases in its rankings this year 2014-15 – both FT (Global top10), BW (US rank 6) and PQ composite ranking
    4) Yale’s yield increased by nearly 10% points over last 5 years – for other schools it’s more or less constant (still its generally low due to HSW & Columbia ED cross admits)
    5) Instead of offering ONLY “picnic/tour” type 1-semester exchanges (to Barcelona, Europe, London and Paris), Yale ALSO offers GNAM courses where people learn from the US classroom (especially for internationals it’s good – we are only here in US for 21 months – no point taking 4-5 months off to go to Europe when we came to US for MBA)
    6) Facilities are top-notch. Classroom experience matters a lot for the perfect MBA experience. In 2nd year you can opt for wide range of courses at Yale Law, Environment, Public Health and Econ departments – all amongst the best in the US
    7) Yale brand is UNBEATABLE and the Student/Faculty quality is unparalleled when u compare it with other “”NON-M7″” schools. Yale is too popular in China/India/Asia and also Europe.. Esp if you want to work in those places at some point, Yale helps. MBA brand matters a lot.. Even after a decade if you want to run for a political office for e.g.!!!!

    That’s what puts me in soup! I have received admits from Yale (last week), Booth and Kellogg (today!! with no money in all). Still its not a smooth decision – had it been a Duke/UVA/Ross/NYU even a Tuck/Haas instead of Yale, I would have been seeing at a Kellogg vs Booth decision.
    But now it’s Booth vs Kellogg vs Yale…….

  • Orange 1

    I think it is more about John delivering information about schools for which people are most interested. With the near obsession about H&S, John features them. Yale has a high profile dean so John writes about the school.

  • JohnAByrne

    Shawna,
    All those schools have received plenty of coverage–usually quite positive–from P&Q in recent years. Our first Dean of the Year award went to UVA’s Bob Bruner and have reported that Darden has the best MBA teaching faculty of any school in the world. We have done extensive, in-depth coverage of the changes at Kellogg under Dean Sally Blount. When Duke was named the No. 1 school, we immediately carried an interview with the dean. And we have written fairly extensively on Duke’s excellent career management stats over the years. We’ve also done a good deal of coverage of Tepper, including its online MBA program.

    So I’m not sure where you are coming from. Rest assured, we bend over backwards to be fair and reasonable–and we don’t write “puff stories.” The Yale story goes into the problems that the school has faced in trying to go global: The conflict between full-time MBA students and MAMs, the lack of resources by some partner schools in the global network to fully participate, the fact that most full-time MBAs are not benefitting from it because they already have full dance cards and little time left to take advantage of it, and the inability of the network to produce a full portfolio of global case studies. Not to mention SOM’s struggle in getting recognition for what they are trying to do instead of just being pigeonholed as a school for non-profit and social enterprise types. Where is the “puff” in all of that?

    Seriously, I do respect the observations and opinions of our readers here and don’t want to go to a commenting system where everyone is clearly identified and can’t hide behind the Internet’s anonymity. But I’d rather keep it open.

  • JohnAByrne

    Matt,
    But that’s the point of the story. Yale is not doing what everyone else is doing, simply signing a semester exchange program with another school.
    Best,
    John

  • JohnAByrne

    I can assure you that Yale’s global strategy is unique and innovative. No school in the world is doing the same thing.

  • Shawna

    Good to know that I am not the only person who believes PQ publishes puff pieces for kick backs. Yale SOM receives unfair favourable coverage. Dean Snyder at work. Pity as Duke, UVA, Kellogg and Tepper do impressive work without receiving creidts.

  • halo

    It’s a puff piece. It reeks of a “sponsored content material”. At least when I open up a Politico they have enough integrity to put a little disclaimer saying so.

  • mickey

    because every other school is doing the exact same thing. Mixing International MMS students with MBA students? Go to UCLA, Chicago, MIT, etc: all doing the same thing.

  • mickey

    This “story” smacks of advertising for Yale because (1) almost every top 15 school has a Global Program, (2) which is supported by said universities field offices in Dubai, Shanghai, Delhi, Paris, London, etc., (3) Many Top 15 schools participate in like networks (CBS-LBS-HK), (4) a number of schools have deep investments in foreign countries and student recruiting, and (5) Yale doesn’t really stand out in this type of education format … since many schools are doing the same thing. So… this is an advertisement for Yale SOM, right? We don’t mind if it is… just tell us up front.

  • Matt

    Not so much that I disagree with it, just seems like a marketing piece for SOM. For a program looking to go global why not question why there are only 5 partner exchange universities — apologies in advance if I missed where you did?

  • JohnAByrne

    Don’t be silly. Why not tell us your substantive reasons why you disagree with the story and my conclusions?

  • DeeFan

    One suggestion to Yale: recruit US students who have already lived, studied or worked extensively abroad. MBA schools might find these ‘third culture’ types know more about global conditions than the professors who consult for a foreign company.

  • Keep it up!

    John,
    Ignore the haters, trolls, and shills.
    Keep on posting articles like this, and helping bring transparency to the MBA app process. People read so much into your article, that they honestly start making stuff up to fit the narrative they have created in their own fictionalized world.

    BTW Yale really does have a unique curriculum. Yale really relies on the strength of their “Yale” brand to entice applicants. The new building is very nice and fancy, but bells and whistles can only take you so far before the obvious comes to light….

  • Matt

    Do schools pay you to do these type of pieces?

  • JohnAByrne

    As the story says, these are other things that have been done to bolster the school’s position. The global strategy is central to all this but no school does just one thing if it wants to improve. It’s just not that simple.

  • bwanamia

    That global thing is just so annoying.

  • halo

    What do “new modern building”, “increased scholarship money” and focus on entrepreneurship” have to go with being “Global”? Where are some tough, thought provoking follow-up questions to this obvious nonsensical statement?

    John, when you first opened up this website, you were a journalist. These days, this site seems to project nothing more than propaganda spewed out by the “brightest” minds out of New Haven, Cambridge and Palo Alto.