Can “Ted” Snyder Work His Magic On Yale’s School of Management?

A visualization of the new Edward P. Evans Hall under construction at Yale.

A visualization of the new Edward P. Evans Hall under construction at Yale.

So his plan to gain Yale the recognition he believes it long deserves is rooted in fixing the underlying fundamentals of the school and charting a new bold course. Snyder says he plans to increase the size of the school’s class to 300 from 225, increase the size of the faculty to the low 80s from roughly 65 professors now, and to increase scholarship support to about $3.2 million from $1.4. Scholarship funding will become the new priority in fundraising. “We lose a lot of our great applicants. I want to win more of these people,” he says.

He also wants to have an advertising budget that better promote the school and dispel enduring perceptions that SOM is a non-profit school, largely focused on soft skills. “We need to market ourselves better,” he says. “We spend more time doing than amplifying. I want to change the ratio of doing to telling people about what we’re doing.”

PLANS TO INCREASE SOM’S INTIMATE EIGHT-TO-ONE STUDENT FACULTY RATIO

The new dean also wants to slightly increase the ratio of students to faculty. Currently, Yale SOM has one of the lowest ratios of any major business school, with eight students for every one professor. At what he calls the “full scale, full scope schools,” such as Wharton, Columbia, Chicago and Kellogg, the student to faculty ratio is closer to 20-to-one. He wants to retain the school’s intimate culture but get more value out of the faculty by upping the ratio to about 11-to-one, still below MIT Sloan’s 14-to-one ratio.

The bigger strategy is to more closely align the school with the university and to drive bold stakes in the ground on both globalization and entrepreneurship.

Most business schools, he believes, are isolated from their universities. The separation has been a consequence of their desire to build better facilities, have the most up-to-date technology, and pay faculty significantly more than in other disciplines. “That is now a manifest mistake for our business schools to have done that,” says Snyder. “But it’s a huge opportunity for us given what the world needs.”

THE BIG STRATEGIC BETS ARE ON TIGHTER INTEGRATION WITH YALE, GLOBALIZATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Snyder forcefully argues that the demands on business and leadership in general have changed, requiring “broad mindedness, understanding of diverse markets, the ability to connect the dots, highly competent, bright people.” Tapping into the full resources of the university, he believes, is the best way to meet those market needs.

“We will be the exact opposite of the standalone business school,” he insists. “We will be part of this place. That’s the world needs. When someone goes to Wharton, you are going to be joining Wharton. When you come to Yale SOM, you’ll be going to Yale University. Yale MBAs are going to meet the leadership needs of the market.”

Dual degrees and joint faculty appointments are one part of the strategy, but Snyder is especially attempting to promote other cross-school interactions in and out of the classroom. SOM students are more likely than MBAs at other schools to take classes across the university. They serve as associates for the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute and contribute to the university’s Climate and Energy Congress, a large energy conference run by students annually. Snyder is working to set aside course sections specifically for non-SOM students and increase the number of non-SOM speakers the school hosts.

The most ambitious of his many ideas has to do with the B-school topic du jour: globalization. Snyder believes most U.S. schools are well behind the curve, playing catch-up mainly with their European counterparts. Most U.S. schools have attempted to “globalize” merely by partnering with other non-U.S. schools to deliver joint-degree programs.

“We’re the most decentralized industry in the face of globalization,” he says. “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!”

LAUNCHING A NOVEL NETWORK OF GLOBAL SCHOOLS ACROSS THE WORLD

His solution? A new and ingenious program modeled after the university’s Yale World Fellows, an initiative that allows international students to study at Yale for a full year in a non-degree capacity. It’s one of the most selective educational programs in the world, with some 5,000 applicants for just 14 to 18 seats.

Snyder’s version is quite different. He has organized a network of some 16 business schools outside the U.S. and plans to use this group to put SOM at the forefront of globalization by accelerating the sharing of research, case studies, students, graduates and faculty. As he puts it, “The joint venture model is very overused and those partnership degrees are really tricky. Networks are better than partnerships because it provides more immediate and deeper access to existing resources.”

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