Dean Of The Year: The Three-Peat Change Agent

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by John A. Byrne on

Yale School of Management Dean Edward 'Ted' Snyder

Yale School of Management Dean Edward ‘Ted’ Snyder

Yale SOIt is not an overstatement to say that when Yale University announced that Edward ‘Ted’ Snyder would become the new dean of its School of Managment expectations were extaordinarily high. After all, Snyder would be coming to his position with two successful deanships already behind him, at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and the University of Virgina’s Darden School of Business.

Just four and one-half years into the job at SOM, Snyder has not merely met those high expectations. He has clearly surpassed them. On virtually every single metric of quality—from application volume and average class GMAT scores to MBA rankings and starting compensation for graduates—Yale SOM can boast major improvements. For bringing Yale SOM new prestige and prominence, the 62-year-old Snyder has been named Dean of the Year by Poets&Quants. It is an honor that has been bestowed on only four other business school deans since 2001.

The facts speak volumes on his accomplishment. This year’s entering class of 326 students—up from just 231 when Snyder took over—claimed a class average GMAT of 721, up two points on the previous year. the school’s acceptance rate has dropped three full percentage points to 20.7% from 23.7% in 2014. And for the first time since Poets&Quants has been ranking the top MBA programs, Yale became a Top Ten U.S. school this year, up from a rank of 14th when Synder arrived. indeed, the school’s rankings from The Financial Times, Bloomberg Business, and The Economist have all substantially improved in the past five years. It also helped that Snyder opened the doors to a new $243 million ultra-modern home for the business school, once scattered among several creaky mansions on campus.

THE BIG IDEA: ‘MOVE US FAR AWAY FROM A STANDALONE SCHOOL’

Mostly, however, the school’s gains have come from a major repositioning as a business school that is more deeply connected to its home university and one that is the most global of the U.S. business schools. “We had a big global brand at the university level, but not at the school level,” says Snyder. “The organizing idea was to move us as far away as possible from a standalone business school. Being at Yale made that relatively easy, and that was the big idea coming in.”

The full embrace of all that Yale University offers has worked like a charm. The most recent academic year saw some 1,030 non-business school students come to SOM to take electives, while as many as 900 MBA students went out to take courses at other Yale schools and departments. Some 72% of SOM students now take at least one course outside Yale, and SOM is reserving 10% of the seats in elective classes for students from such Yale schools as law, medicine, public health, divinity and drama.

Most notably, Snyder has led the development of the first global network of top business schools, a group that leverages faculty and students across 25 countries. The latest school to join the network is UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, giving the group a strong West Coast presence in the dynamic Bay Area. Snyder also introduced a one-year Master of Advanced Management degree for graduates of the Global Network for Advanced Management.  This later program gives SOM a far more global flavor than it would ever have had, putting an extra 65 graduate business students on campus each year.

A 25% JUMP IN APPS LAST YEAR; A 29% RISE IN ROUND ONE

The changes have made the school far more attractive. After a massive 24.8% increase in applications to its MBA program last year, the school says that the number of candidates in this year’s round one pool rose by 29%. “What’s driving the increase is the clarity of our strategy, the new building, better rankings and job placement, but also the activation of the global network,” says Snyder, who is now going through the reappointment process.

His previous experience helped. Coming in, he knew he had to have more firepower at the top so he recruited two highly accomplished deans from Wharton and IE Business School in Spain, respectively Anjani Jain and David Bach. As senior associate deans, Jain runs the MBA program, while Bach leads executive MBA and global programs. Both of them could just as easily serve as business school deans themselves.

But their agreement to work selflessly as a team with Snyder has allowed the triumvirate to accomplish far more than otherwise would be possible. Asked if the trio have any disagreements, Bach says the arrangement has worked well. “Ted starts every conversation thanking people,” he says. “A lot of what we’ve done benefits from each other’s areas. In nearly four years, we haven’t had a single conflict.”

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  • aguirrestom@aol.com

    It’s certainly not an easy task to have raised the class size from mid 200’s to around 330, while raising GMATs and lowering the admit rate. For those who bicker that SOM is following in the footsteps of other schools–hence not differentiating itself–there is a reason the top M7 schools follow a certain pattern/strategy that other schools cannot just “copy. The more applicants, the better talent, the better talent, the better job prospects, which likely means higher salaries. More successful alumni means the school has more money to raise funds from, which leads to better facilities, more money to hire the best faculty, more scholarships, etc.

  • Guest

    Yale University students are protesting its mental health policies again after a business school student suffering from depression was expelled when he missed his required course load by a half credit.

    Grant Mao, a former student at Yale’s School of Management, fell short of the requirements to stay enrolled last spring after, among other things, his fiancée broke off their engagement and his mother suffered a heart attack. Mao says he was struggling with clinical depression, which made it impossible for him to complete assignments. He says he presented documentation of the diagnosis to Yale, but was turned away.

    He appealed the decision and lost. Now Mao is helping to lead a growing movement of students who demand that the school change its approach to mental health problems—and allow him to continue his studies.

    “I don’t think my experience is unique,” Mao said. “This is a big issue at Yale. I don’t want what happens to me to happen to anyone else.” In fighting his expulsion, Mao has teamed with the Graduate Employees & Students Organization—a group seeking to be formally recognized as a union of graduate teaching assistants at Yale. On Dec. 8, Mao and fellow students delivered a petition demanding his reinstatement and staged a rally outside the School of Management. The same day, the union filed a collective grievance—including a list of specific demands for improvements in psychological care—stressing what it called inadequacies in mental health services at Yale. They complained of long waits for students wanting to meet with a therapist, the limited time students say they can spend with mental health professionals, and the loss of medical coverage when students take a leave of absence.

    This isn’t the first time Yale students have criticized the university for how it handles mental health. Earlier this year, they publicly demanded the administration do more to support students suffering from depression after a student died in an apparent suicide. In April, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway announced several changes to university policies that were intended to make it easier for students suffering from mental health problems to take a temporary leave of absence.

    In the case of Mao, Anjani Jain, an associate dean of Yale’s MBA program, confirmed he was no longer enrolled at the business school but declined to offer any more details, citing confidentiality.

    Mao, who is Chinese, says he experienced deep culture shock the moment he set foot on Yale’s New Haven, Conn., campus in the fall of 2014. Over the next few months, things would get even more unbearable, he says.

    First his fiancée broke it off. Then, in December, his mother fell ill. Mao was unable to fall asleep at night, and when he did, he slept for only short periods. That left him exhausted during the day, adding to a growing reluctance to leave his room for activities that involved interacting with other people, including going to class.

    Mao says he spoke with officials at the School of Management in January, explaining that he wasn’t handling his mother’s condition well and that the stress of applying for summer internships was making things worse. He says he was never offered psychiatric help.

    Jain said the school tells every MBA candidate about “psychological counseling and mental health resources” during a mandatory orientation at the beginning of the year.

    “The reason I chose Yale is that Yale School of Management was known for nonprofit and social business,” says Mao. “I naively thought they cared about society, that they cared about people, that they cared about their students. But my experience didn’t tell me anything about that.”

  • Guest

    Yale Triggers Protests After Expelling Depressed Student

    Article on Bloomberg worthy of notice

  • C. Taylor

    Thanks, and no problem.

  • aeom

    To be honest, I don’t think this is an incredible achievement. Please comment if you think I am wrong. (No feelings attached, I just want to discuss how this can happen and how much a difference one person can make)

    1. Chicago and Yale are both prestigious schools already itself. So there is no issue with its name and brand, which I believe is one of the main factors a person would look at when they choose a school. For this, Ted doesn’t need to overcome.

    2. GMATs and GPAs, since all top 20 schools have relatively strong candidates who are applying, he could easily choose the ones with good looking stats -> GMAT and GPA. In many countries, especially China and India, where applicants have high scores (eg: getting a 760 but still going to a 15-30 ranked school happens frequently) but have less competitive working background, interpersonal skills and essays. These are the people the school would target.

    3. Many finance background candidates already have a high salary compared to industry candidates and the pay will likely rise after the degree is granted.

    A good combination of Brand name + High GMATs/GPAs + Salary will contribute to a better rank.

    Please let me know if you believe there is something else unique about Ted’s strategies, I would really like to share it with the faculty from my school.

    Thanks a lot!

  • Sonny Tai

    This is a blog, not NPR. Don’t like it? Don’t read it.

  • Sonny Tai

    You should be proud of your school and your accomplishments. Getting into and graduating from a Top 20 MBA is a great accomplishment and provides employment prospects that place you in the top 5% of young Americans. Don’t bother feeding the troll, you don’t owe him an explanation.

  • Sonny Tai

    Considering that a Top 20-25 school such as Emory University’s Goizueta has a job placement rate of 97% to lead all business schools, and a median first year pay package of around 120k or so, such institutions clearly still provide value to its graduates. Your argument has no merit. I can only hope that you are not actually an HBS alum and simply are a wannabe running his mouth on an online forum.

  • Sonny Tai

    That was the rudest comment I have ever read on here, clearly uncalled for and untrue. Go away.

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