Meet Yale SOM’s MBA Class Of 2019

Yale School of Management


Demographically, Yale SOM upheld its reputation as a haven for the fairer sex. 43% of the class of the class is comprised of women. This percentage ties the previous class’ all-time high and represents a 7% improvement since Dean Snyder’s arrival. True to form, Yale also remained a destination for international students. 46% of the class hails from overseas – a 20% jump over the past six years. North American candidates comprise nearly two-thirds of the class at 62.1%, followed by Asia (20.7%), South America (6.6%), Africa (5.7%), and Europe (4.9%).

At the same time, the percentage of underrepresented minorities slipped from 13% to 12% in the past year. That number may seem low compared to other programs. However, Yale SOM tends is more strict in how it defines underrepresented minorities, with the number for “students of color” actually being 27%.

Academically, you’ll find relative balance. 30% of the class holds degrees in the humanities and social sciences, followed by business (23%), information systems (21%), economics (15%), and math and physical sciences (11%). The largest bloc of students come out of the financial services sector. 20% of the class worked in banking before starting their MBAs, barely beating out non-profits at 19%. Consulting (16%) and technology (12%) also boast double digit representation in the class.


Considering the program’s swift growth and soaring trajectory, it might be fair to ask if Yale SOM is ready to take a breather. In a statement supplied to P&Q by Acting Dean Jain, that notion is summarily dismissed.

Anjani Jain, acting dean of Yale SOM

“Every aspect of the school’s work is imbued with an extraordinary sense of momentum and excitement,” he writes. ”We intend to continue this momentum as we focus on specific goals and priorities for the coming year, including strengthening our four current degree programs while further developing the new Master of Management Studies degree. Additionally, we will be continuing faculty development; building out the school’s research infrastructure with expansion projects throughout Evans Hall; deepening our engagement with SOM’s advisory boards and other important external stakeholders; and leveraging the many robust opportunities available through the 29-school Global Network for Advanced Management.”

All this comes on top of a banner year for the school. After the 2014 opening of Evans Hall – a futuristic architectural marvel replete with an impressive art collection and every tech toy imaginable – the school focused inward. Most recently, says Jain, the school welcomed an “extraordinary” cohort of nine new professors. Jain also notes that the admissions team now accepts recommendations in Mandarin and Spanish. Even more, Jain adds, the program has continued to build out its offerings to further enhance the program’s trademark global experience. “Yale SOM has launched its new Master of Management Studies degree, whose first track (Systematic Risk) begins this fall, and whose second track (Global Business and Society) will launch in fall 2018. Alumni engagement and participation in giving is more generous than ever.”


In fact, over half of Yale SOM alumni provide gifts annually to the Alumni Fund – 51.9% to be exact. That’s nearly double the participation of peer programs, with Yale lagging only behind Dartmouth Tuck in this measure of alumni engagement and loyalty. What’s more, Yale MBAs – past and present – describe a certain aura around the school. Claire Lee, a 2017 graduate and a member of P&Q’s Best & Brightest MBAs, talks about “something magical” in Evans Hall. She describes it as a place populated by people who “just get it” – creating a buzz of “intense dynamism and tension between perspectives and opinions that I hadn’t encountered at other b-schools.”

By the same token, Indra Nooyi, CEO and Chairperson of PepsiCo, continues to feel a great sense of belonging at Yale, even though she graduated from the program nearly 40 years ago. “Yale is a great school,” Nooyi told P&Q this summer. “What’s amazing is that when I walk into SOM, I feel like it’s my school. Every part of it. Even though we moved to a new building away from the building where I was taught, I feel like it’s my home. I don’t know why — I don’t visit it often enough —but I feel like it’s my home. I absolutely love it!”

Yale SOM isn’t for everyone – and that’s the point of the program. Like Haas, it is a community whose members may differ widely in background, but shares a common passion for inclusion, making an impact and doing right. The program also includes some unique wrinkles. For one, it boasts one of the smallest student-to-professor ratios at 8:1 – meaning students get plenty of personal attention from faculty. The school is also a master of “raw cases,” a model that shifts away from neatly manicured case studies to one that relies heavily on original documents and raw data. This enables students to evaluate situations beyond what the author shares and examine events closer to real time.


However, one of Yale SOM’s biggest draws, say students, is its emphasis on all things global. Notably, it features a global studies requirement, where students can choose from a menu that includes an international trip, a semester-long school exchange, or week-long mini courses with partner schools (i.e. Global Network Weeks). In 2012, Yale also founded the Global Network for Advanced Management, which has since grown to 29 members that include INSEAD, Oxford and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. This partnership fosters student and faculty exchanges, competitions, and virtual courses and case studies.

Students working together at the Yale School of Management

This proposition was hard to beat for Christopher Shen, a former investor and “values-driven problem-solver” from Michigan. “Yale SOM really takes its mission – “educating leaders for business and society” – very seriously,” he explains. “Part of how Yale tackles this is through its commitment to preparing its students to be effective leaders across the globe. Opportunities like Global Network Weeks and Global Network Courses, where I’ll have the chance to interact with political leaders, thought leaders, and students at 28 other top business schools around the world, really drew me in.”

Beyond its widespread international connections, Yale SOM has also forged relationships with disciplines across campus. Yale offers what students call an integrated curriculum, where the business program encourages students to take courses at other Yale schools. This flexibility and freedom, says Zurita, enables students to get a “clear perspective on how the different areas of business are interconnected, and helps you visualize the whole picture.” To her, this structure shows a confidence in the students – and a commitment to integrating ideas to create lasting solutions.


“It allows for those concepts to be put to the test in practical situations where they can add value to our communities,” she adds. “To me this is critical, because I believe we have responsibility over the influence that our actions can have beyond our direct area of focus.”

Where does the Class of 2019 go from here? How will they define success over the next year? Milano’s goals could be considered rather modest: she hopes to take some baby steps with Excel beyond “=sum(A1:A4).” Shen cracks that he hopes not to gain 15 pounds “despite the existence of Pepe’s, Modern, and countless other pizza joints in New Haven.” At the same time, he hopes to pick up a stick and knock around a puck in his spare time. “Learning to play ice hockey would be kind of neat, too (hockey is a big deal at SOM!).” For Sierks, the hope is to “absorb” as much as she can, with the goal of becoming “a new, improved version of the friendly, sustainability nerd I am today.”

Ha-andza Young also came to Yale to become a better version of herself. A petroleum engineer and newlywed, she ties success to greater self-awareness.I am a work-in-progress and I am looking forward to learning more about myself. If I can learn something new about myself, or discover more effective ways of addressing different situations, that would be a successful year.”

To read profiles of incoming Yale SOM MBA students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.



Name Hometown Alma Mater Employer
 Ashutosh Khetan  Kathmandu, Nepal  Singapore Management University  Houlihan Lokey
 Britt Milano  Long Island, NY  Colgate University  Uncommon Schools
 Andrew Mulherkar  Seattle, WA  Tufts/New England Conservatory  Greentech Media
 Ifeanyi Okafor  Anambra, Nigeria  Federal University of Technology  Schlumberger
 Lisa Robinson  San Ramon, CA  University of Southern California  Walmart
 Will Ryan  Bloomfield Village, MI  U.S. Military Academy  U.S. Army
 Rakesh Saha  Bangalore, India  NA  Make a Difference
 Clara Schmitz  Kempen, Germany  Maastricht University  Peek & Cloppenburg KG
 Christopher Shen  Novi, MI  University of Michigan  The Kresge Foundation
 Katie Sierks  Minneapolis, MN  Harvard University  Cargill
 Ha-andza Young  Giyani, South Africa  Texas Tech University  Aera Energy LLC
 Andrea Zurita  Cartagena, Colombia  DePaul University  J.P. Morgan Chase

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