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Dean Of The Year: The Three-Peat Change Agent

Evans Hall at Yale's School of Management

Evans Hall at Yale’s School of Management

‘SOM WAS WELL POSITIONED TO WORK ACROSS CAMPUS’

Out of Snyder’s sabbatical thinking came other aspects of his strategy. “We teach competition and cooperation and that is why business schools have done so well,” he says. “But what was missing was connectivity and increasing the understanding of opportunities that come from complexity. I thought SOM was very well positioned to work across campus and to connect with other global institutions.”

The school launched the Global Network for Advanced Management in April of 2012 with 22 members, ranging from the London School of Economics in Britain to Technicon in Israel. It was and is a highly novel idea and not one easily implemented given the number of players in the network and the logistics of making it all work. Since the launch, however, a half dozen other schools have joined the network, including HEC Paris in France and Lagos Business School in Nigeria.

So far, more than 2,000 students across the network of schools have participated in Global Network Weeks in which subsets of schools offer a week-long course that leverages its faculty expertise. Nearly 300 more students have taken what Snyder calls SNOCs (small network online courses) across the network schools. This fall, nearly 90 students enrolled in one of three of the online courses, and this spring the network will serve up five different SNOCs.

‘WE COULD DO SOME REALLY COOL THINGS WITH THIS’

“”We’re just really figuring out how to bring the network into the lives of students and faculty in a deeper way,” says Snyder. “We are in the single digits in making this work. But there is great comonality of purpose among the schools than I first thought possible. We could so some really cool things with this.”

Indeed, the latest innovation to leverage the global network is the advent of a new required course in the core curriculum next month. Global Virtual Teams will give every first year student in the MBA program a real taste of what it is like to work on a team across time zones, languages and cultures. After MBA students are grounded in team dynamics, they will be thrown into a virtual team to work on a project with students from partner schools in Mexico and France. The experience will be integrated with the school’s core Operations Engine course. “Teams in the real world are increasingly distributed,” says David Bach. “You have to work with people around the work across time zones and cultural barriers. This is to develop a set of skills in students that the market is demanding.”

A welcome, though unexpected, result from the network is also occuring. The dean’s team believes that it has contributed to the school’s surge in applications. While GMAT test taking volume has fallen by 5.6% in the three-year period between 2012 and 2015, applicants to Yale’s full-time MBA program have risen by 35%. The biggest increases, however, have come from countries where a global network business school is located. In global network countries, for example, GMAT volume is up 14.6%, but SOM’s applications from those nations are up a whopping 51.6% (see below).

SOM BELIEVES THE NETWORK HAS RESULTED IN 1,000 MORE APPS

“We’re getting students who are applying to be global or are already uber-global,” says Bach. He estimates the school has gotten about 1,000 applications more than it would have as a result of the increased exposure of the SOM brand due to its alliances with global network schools. Yield—the percentage of admitted students who enroll—is also up. Bach says yield is up four percentag epoints despite the school’s increase in enrollment. “Yield is up in almost all the countries where there are global network schools,” adds Bach.

Snyder has also put in place a new, required Leadership Development Program for all Master’s students,  vastly expanded the school’s entrepreneurial offerings to a dozen courses, and forged yet stronger programmatic relationships with other Yale professional schools. One very compelling example is SOM’s dual-degree program with the university’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Bradford Gentry, who teaches in both schools, gives the new dean plaudits for revitalizing the dual-degree program between the two graduate schools.

“We were down to two or three dual-degree people a year and the program was on life support,” says Gentry. “It was benign neglect. When Ted and his team came in they saw it as embedded with their values. We focused on it and the effort included coordination with admissions, scholarships, connections with alumni and faculty collaboration. We now have 25 dual-degree students and that is our sweet spot. We have a whole bunch of people in the program who think that business is the enemy and a whole bunch who think that business is the solution. We’re having powerful and important conversations as a result.”

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.