For business education in the United States, MBA programs are still king, but some challengers are on the rise. In particular, specialized master’s degrees — especially business analytics degrees — have blossomed across the B-school landscape as safe ways to secure highly compensated employment. Now Yale School of Management is betting on another segment, and making a move toward the market’s inside track.
David Bach, deputy dean and professor in the practice of management at Yale SOM, says master of management programs are primed to take off in the U.S., which is why Yale SOM is partnering with four global schools this fall to launch the M2M, a portfolio of double degrees giving recent university graduates the opportunity to complete two master’s degrees by attending two top business schools in two different countries over two years. The programs are available as of September 2017 for student applications.
“The early-career segment is by far the fastest-growing segment of management education,” Bach says. “The MBA market is flat, other markets are being challenged, there’s some movement in the specialized master’s degrees — but really it’s younger people looking for management education earlier that has been growing the most globally.”
MANY YOUNG PEOPLE ‘DON’T FIT INTO A TRADITIONAL MBA PROGRAM’
Besides some notable programs at Duke Fuqua, Michigan Ross, and Notre Dame Mendoza, master of management programs “really haven’t taken off yet” in the U.S., Bach tells Poets&Quants. But what Europe figured out long ago, the U.S. is now catching on to, he adds, if market trends are a reliable indicator.
“We’re seeing that there are just terrific young people looking for management education earlier that don’t fit into a traditional MBA program, and we haven’t been able to add a lot of value to them and to give them the Yale perspective on management and leadership,” Bach says. “And so we’ve been thinking about how to best do this, and rather than moving in a fairly traditional way into this segment by offering a Master in Management, we’re leveraging the global network and saying, ‘Let’s work with some of the best schools outside the U.S. — schools that have a lot of experience with this — and we’ll team up with them to offer something that is truly distinctive.”
The other schools in the M2M program are FGV Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo, in Brazil; HEC Paris; Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School (HKUST); and Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Yale SOM will partner with each, with its program available as a “year 2” option for dual-degree students from the other four schools — which avoids some of the adverse selection and career placement challenges “that we think have held back other schools, plus we launch with a much more global program than any of our U.S. peers,” Bach says.
4 PARTNERSHIPS FOR YALE SOM
Through the M2M, students choose master’s degrees from two of the six schools. They’ll complete coursework at each institution in which they enroll and participate in cross-school programs that build relationships across the M2M cohort. Among the highlights: virtual teamwork and collaborative exercises as well as discussion of issues of worldwide import with experts convened by the participating schools.
The aim, Bach says, is for students to gain both a foundational business education and the perspective that comes from studying and living outside their home countries. Graduates will have two master’s degrees, one from each school they attended, and will be alumni of both schools with access to the schools’ career resources and networks.
While the M2M is certainly a partnership, Yale is clearly the driver, the only school to partner with each of the other four members (HEC Paris has two partnerships, with Yale and with FGV). “HEC played a really important role,” Bach says. “They first asked if we would be interested in something like this. We had been thinking about what we could be doing in this segment, and we thought, ‘Let’s be a little bit more ambitious and bring in top schools essentially from all continents.’ HEC took that first step, but then we said, ‘Let’s bring in more top schools and create this set of dual-degree programs.'”
PART OF A GLOBAL NETWORK
The five schools have more in common than the M2M. All are members of the Global Network for Advanced Management, a five-year-old network of 29 schools whose goal is “the development of innovative initiatives that leverage the schools’ comparative advantages.” So as it pertains to the new partnership, what are the advantages of each school? HEC Paris specializes, famously, in management education and research; Sauder School of Business is one of the world’s leading academic business schools. HKUST, ranked by Forbes No. 5 among foreign two-year programs and No. 11 in Best Foreign Business Schools, is a finance and accounting powerhouse that has risen to international prominence in the last five years. And FGV is one of the premier B-schools in Latin America.
Attending two of these schools means that “whatever pathway students choose, young leaders who are interested in having impact throughout their careers will quickly develop skills that set them apart in the global marketplace, while building a deep network of like-minded peers around the world,” Bach says. “The world needs more globally minded leaders, not fewer, and with this initiative we seek to positively impact organizations confronting challenging issues at the nexus of business and society.”
Adds Peter Todd, HEC Paris dean, in a news release announcing the M2M: “The innovation here is to go to the market with a range of world-class academic partners sharing joint admission processes and aiming at recruiting together a significant number of students. We are convinced that this offer meets the demand of growing numbers of extremely talented and globally-mobile students who target prestigious double degree programs as passports for international careers.”