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

Professor Fiona Scott Morton at Yale's School of Management

Professor Fiona Scott Morton at Yale’s School of Management

Consider the Global Network Week, which gives students a chance to travel to another member school for a weeklong module taken with students from throughout the network. The host school for network week offers a course leveraging its faculty expertise, often on a topic that is especially relevant to business in its region. The themes have ranged from “Global Strategies for Emerging Economies” put on by EGADE Business School in Mexico to “Doing Business In China” hosted by Fudan University’s School of Management.

Some of the issues explored tend to hit the sweet spot of the hosting schools. Technion-Israel Institute of Technology did a week on “Start-up Nation,” exploring what cultural and public policy attributes have helped to make Israel a welcoming place for new business ventures. Yale has weighed in with “From Madison Avenue to Wall Street–Everything You Need to Know About Behavioral Economics,” building on its faculty expertise in the area. After all, it was Yale Professor Robert Shiller, who won the Nobel Prize last year. He teaches Behavioral and Institutional Economics.


Of course, many business schools offer MBA students the chance to visit a foreign country for a short one- or two-week experience. More often than not, however, these visits are organized in collaboration with a partner school. But students generally experience the foreign country with students form their own school and rarely interact with other students in a meaningful way. Yale’s network weeks, as well as a series of online courses, are meant to disrupt that model.

The first time out, five schools and about 240 students participated in March of 2013. Next year, in March of 2015, Snyder expects at least 18 schools and as many as 900 students to participate, up from 12 schools this year and 469 students.  “That is roughly 10% of the entire student pool across the schools,” says Snyder. Yale alone plans to host four global network weeks during the 2014-2014 academic year, each with budgets of $50,000 to pay for faculty, student advisors, and program materials.

Then, there are the SNOCs, Small Network Online Courses offered by faculty at member schools where students work in cross-school teams in real-time class sessions as well as via online class work. The current 2014-2015 academic year will feature six to eight SNOCs, attracting up to 300 students across the network. These range from “Inclusive Business Models” by IIM-Bangalore and “New Product Development” by Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to Management of Humanitarian Emergencies” by the London School of Economics and “Value Based Leadership for Business Model Innovation” by the University of Cape Town.

Fiona Scott Morton, the econ professor, is teaching a SNOC called “Analysis of Competition Law and Enforcement Across Countries.” Formerly the deputy assistant attorney general for economics in the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice, she had 25 students in her online class. Watching her teach in a modern classroom at Yale  filled with video screens of students from all over the world is a surreal experience. There are little more than a handful of students in the largely empty room.

“It’s hard because the students are not in the room,” she concedes. “But I had a couple of great students last year who were not from Yale and they got a lot out of the course and wrote fantastic final  papers. We record the classes so students can look at them again and repeat the slides and the lectures. And this is a course offering they cannot get at home.”


There are Global Network weeks for faculty, and network-developed case studies on issues in Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, and Ireland. In the spring of this year, Yale’s Leadership Case Competition attracted teams from a half dozen network schools.

For Yale, going global also has meant introducing a new master’s program, the Master of Advanced Management Program, that brings recent MBA graduates from the network schools to Yale for a one-year program where they mix with current students in the full-time MBA program. This year, some 62 students are in the program, up from 20 in the 2013 inaugural class and 38 in the Class of 2014.

As Snyder describes the program, “it is a Yale degree program and not a global network initiative though we have agreed to recruit only from network schools. It is part of the strategy of pulling the schools closer together. This year, we had more than twice as many applications as the year before. We were hoping to grow from 38 to 48 and expected some melt. We ended up with a 97% yield and 62 students, from 32 countries. We are beginning to get students who decided to get their MBA at a particular school so they could apply to the program at Yale.”

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