Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Charlie Crosby, Yale SOM

Charlie Crosby

Yale School of Management and Yale Law School

“Hesitant talking about myself . . . I’ve asked my spouse for help but now out of words .”

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m from New Orleans, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that I can make a mean cocktail and pot of red beans.

Undergraduate School and Major: Tulane University, Political Economy and English

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Orleans Parish School Board, Director of Inter-Departmental Strategy

The Yale School of Management is regarded as a purpose-driven program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill that mission? A core lesson that I’ve derived from my early life is that institutional arrangements matter. Traumatic events are inevitable. However, institutional and societal responses determine the magnitude and lastingness of any event’s traumas. If I had to articulate my “mission” it is this: To learn and understand the institutional frameworks that silently inform our experiences. Through such learning, I hope to address, perhaps even rearrange, in small but significant ways, the institutional arrangements that shape the conditions for life’s events and traumas.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The school’s mission: To educate leaders for business and society.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? I haven’t met many of them yet! From what I’ve gathered in the interactions I’ve had, “engaged” is a good word to sum up my classmates.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? All of the school’s social/societal impact clubs are exciting.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While I was working for the Orleans Parish School Board, we passed a piece of legislation through the Louisiana legislature. I played a major, leadership role in the whole process – from designing the underlying policy and scheme, to crafting the statutory language, advocating for the legislation through local media, and working with lobbyists and legislators.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I wanted to formalize a lot of the skills that I gained in my work experience. And I wanted to explore ways to apply those skills to domains beyond the education sector, where I worked through my early professional life.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? One challenging question I remember was whether I thought that public companies have begun to over-prioritize shareholder returns. I was a bit taken aback because I was applying to a business school – but very much felt like my opinion was not fully aligned to the “mainstream” corporate viewpoint. I wanted to be tactful while still making my views clear.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I am a joint-degree student at Yale Law School. My choice was actually whether to only pursue the law degree or the joint degree with the School of Management. To make the choice, I prioritized my professional goals. At this time, those goals are not to be a lawyer in a traditional sense but rather to be professionally engaged with government and civic society. With those goals in mind, the School of Management, combined with Yale Law School, seemed like a great opportunity.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I don’t believe that many people have a single “defining moment.” And I count myself as someone who has not had such a single moment. Hurricane Katrina was certainly a major event in my life, though. From Katrina, I began to understand that years of racial, economic, infrastructural, and other policies lay the institutional foundations that can exacerbate harm. I learned that social and government administration really affects people’s lives on a mass scale.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I don’t think that I have a favorite company.

What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer? A place where I can learn both concrete skills and contextual information about our world.