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Yale SOM Dean Taking A One-Year Sabbatical

Yale SOM Dean Edward ‘Ted’ Snyder in white shirt

After a highly successful six-year stint as dean of Yale University’s School of Management, Edward ‘Ted” Snyder is taking a break. On Aug. 1, he is starting a one-year sabbatical from the deanship to focus more attention on the global network of schools he helped to create five years ago.

Anjani Jain, senior associate dean for MBA programs, will become acting dean in Snyder’s absence, while David Bach, senior associate dean for Executive MBA and global programs, will be named deputy dean. Both Jain and Bach were recruited by Snyder to SOM from Wharton and IE Business School, respectively, and could easily serve as full deans of any major business school.

The announcement of the sabbatical, made today (May 17), is something of a surprise. It’s rare for the dean of a highly ranked school to take time off from the job. The most recent example of a sabbatical by a dean occurred at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business when then Dean Garth Saloner took a two-month time out in early 2015.

SNYDER HAS BEEN DEANING BUSINESS SCHOOLS FOR NEARLY 19 YEARS

But Snyder, 63, is now deep into his third successful deanship and his second five-year term at SOM, having arrived at Yale during the summer of 2011. Already, he is the second long-serving dean in SOM’s history behind only Jeffrey Garten who led the school from November 1995 to June 2005. Snyder, moreover, has been deaning business schools for nearly 19 years since July of 1998 when he became dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He held the top Darden job until July of 2001 when he took over the deanship at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, a job he held until the end of June of 2010.

“I’m due one and most people take a sabbatical at the end, but I’m going to do it now,” he says. “We have such a strong team and I have been at this for a long time. The satisfying part of the job is not the day-to-day or week-to-week stuff, it’s the progress you make. Some days are good and some days are not so good. That hasn’t changed. I’m going to be based in New Haven. I’m not going to Acapulco.”

Indeed, it’s not merely taking a sabbatical from a deanship that is unusual. It’s also what Snyder intends to do during his so-called sabbatical. For his “time off,” Snyder says he will devote part of his time to the Global Network For Advanced Management, the network of 29 top business schools that has significantly expanded the global reach of SOM and brings brings together students and faculty in virtual courses, weeklong excursions, and multi-school case studies all over the world. He also plans to work with a nucleus of donors on fundraising for scholarships and program innovation, and he wants to dive into some academic research on what he calls “divergent legal regimes” which he believes is “part of the friction in the global economy and it ties to my academic expertise.”

WILL SPEND ‘A GOOD CHUNK OF TIME’ IN THE FALL ON THE GLOBAL NETWORK

In an interview with Poets&Quants, Snyder says that moving out of the day-to-day grind will allow him to focus more on things he is passionate about. “I would like to actually spend a good chunk of the fall on the global network and focus on the advanced managemnt part of it. It’s in the title but I think what’s really interesting from a management education perspective is that globalization is going to continue to provide opportunities but the frictions are increasing.

“I think it’s a good time for me to make a push,” adds Snyder. “What I found is that the network takes a lot of effort. The innovations come from all over but one of the implications of that is you have to work to make sure that new people coming into the schools are up to speed. Personal relationships end up being really important. I probbly underestimated the challenge of keeping the network at the front of the brain for all the deans and directors, partly because we turn over so much. I am going to be really busy.”

Before starting at Yale SOM, Snyder also took a year off, a time when he conceived a revolutionary idea that he brought to his new job: the Global Network.

While Anjani and Bach are more than capable to run the school, Snyder boasts a remarkable record of achievement as a dean of three of the best business schools in the world. Named Dean of the Year by Poets&Quants in 2015, Snyder has worked magic wherever he has gone. At the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, where he gained his leadership chops, he was senior associate dean in charge of the MBA program and part of a team led by B. Joseph White, when the school rose to the No. 2 spot on the BusinessWeek rankings. While at Virginia, Darden reached No. 9 in BusinessWeek. When Snyder arrived at Chicago in 2001, the school never had had a No. 1 ranking and was ranked No. 10 in BusinessWeek. In 2006, during his tenure at Chicago, the school moved to No. 1 in BusinessWeek and also gained No. 1 rankings in the Economist during his tenure.