Meet Yale SOM’s MBA Class Of 2022

Some head to business school to learn something. Others go to become someone. At the Yale School of Management, the purpose is to do something.

This call to action is ingrained in the school’s mission: “To educate leaders for business and society.” By leaders, Yale SOM means long-term impact. By society, the school means a world wider than commerce. Here, business is an instrument to make lives better, to close gaps, level hurdles, create opportunities, and drive change – to make the best more accessible. That requires a philosophy that looks beyond short-term spikes, shareholder whims, and bottom-line results. And it demands a 360-degree view that’s informed by the humanities and integrates various business disciplines, scientific fields, and cultural experiences.

That’s the Yale SOM difference – a program that stokes passions, instills purpose, and fosters community.

ENTERING A “LIFE LABORATORY”

“Purpose-driven” is often the term that comes to mind about Yale SOM. That’s because it attracts a certain type of MBA candidate – the kind who is dissatisfied with the status quo and driven to make a difference. More than that, they are seeking kindred spirits who share their values and focus on making a similar impact. This collective talent – and commitment – inspired Matthew J. Archuleta to move to New Haven and join the MBA Class of 2022.

“I think business students can use their talent and acumen to shape business to create change,” he explains. “Yale will help me to connect with a network of people that also believe in the importance of addressing social issues through the private sector. I believe that it takes a village to accomplish major change and I believe that the heart of the Yale SOM village is without compare.”

A Green Beret before business school, Archuleta is a career switcher who aspires to enter public service. He considers Yale SOM to be a “life laboratory” – a place where he can safely fail so he doesn’t the same mistakes later on when he pursues his mission. That mission, he says, is preventing homelessness for military veterans like himself. As an officer, he notes, his job was to bring his soldiers home alive. Now, his purpose is help these men and women find and keep a home.

Edward P. Evans Hall. Photo credit: Paul Coco

“I believe that a career in real estate development is the first step to making a difference,” Archuleta writes. “Understanding land acquisition and local governing policies will give me the best understanding of combining economic opportunity with social impact. My background as a Special Forces Green Beret and Latino from a low-income, minority community has given me the perspective and passion to address the critical shortage of veterans’ housing. I intend to leverage my experience and the Yale School of Management MBA to create affordable housing for homeless veterans.”

FIGHTING BURN OUT IN HIGH TECH…AND THEATER

Indeed, the Class of 2022 is approaching purpose from many angles. Daniel Mendoza, formerly the deputy chief economist at Scotiabank Mexico, hopes to revolutionize education in Latin America through educational partnerships and study abroad financing. This contrasts sharply with Zeynep Yekeler, who holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown and served as a researcher for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Her passion is food – and producing products that are “healthier, nutritious, delicious, sustainably-grown, responsibly-produced, and accessible.” In India, Bhargav Viradia intends to elevate automotive manufacturing and operations.

“My drive to contribute to India’s economy aligns with Yale SOM’s mission to create leaders for business and society. The MBA will help me expand my knowledge in key areas such as strategic thinking and decision-making that play a critical role in successfully running businesses, irrespective of their geographical location.”

Before business school, Anna Lincoln-Barnes boasted a background equal parts poet and quant. A “theatrical stage manager turned robotic software program manager,” Lincoln-Barnes worked on Broadway shows before moving into tech to help develop the Roomba line of vacuum cleaners. Turns out, the theater and tech industries weren’t all that different: high demand and high pressure environments where chaos is the norm and burn out is the result. These experiences served as a calling to re-imagine company structures and work flows.

“I want to approach this problem at the intersection of product strategy and organizational design—help leaders make good decisions so their teams have what they need to build amazing things,” Lincoln-Barnes writes. “My mission is to help companies deliver awesome products and do so in a way that serves their employees as well as their customers. An SOM MBA will help me approach these problems with quantitative rigor grounded in empathy. I know I will carry that strong sense of purpose and ethics with me wherever my post-MBA career takes me; I consider it the most valuable part of my SOM education.”

MBA teams working together outside class

LEARN SO YOU CAN DO

Rachelle Clark admits that finance might be a dirty word in some corners. After all, it is often associated with cutthroat profiteering and padding wealthy accounts. After serving as a corporate strategist at Citigroup, Clark views finance as something quite different: a means to pursue growth and equality.

“I have seen the critical role banks play in emerging markets. I have seen countless deals where banks create development opportunities and stabilize economies in some of the world’s most fragile markets. I want to merge my interests in social impact and finance to help promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty around the world.”

Patricia Daniel also worked in finance as a Goldman Sachs associate. On one hand, she is still finding her mission. That said, Daniel has already bought into the central premise of the Yale SOM culture.

“Simply put, my mission is to learn as much as I can, so I can “do” as much as I can,” she asserts. “SOM’s purpose driven program complements this mission in that the common and ultimate goal of making an impact or being of service to others permeates every single aspect of the program. I believe that SOM will allow me to fulfill my mission by way of: 1) its integrated curriculum that uniquely applies the core tenets of business from different perspectives to real life matters; and 2) its vast global opportunities that will set us on a path to maximize our potential and scale our impact.”

DOING WHAT’S RIGHT, NOT EASY

She could add a third point: classmates who are there to support each other. That’s one impression that the Class of 2022 holds for each other. Elisse Roche, a Google product manager, lauds her peers for being people who “prioritize doing what is right — not what is easy.” Bhargav Viradi plays a variation on this same theme when describing his classmates.

“As business models, organizational structures, and corporate finance get convoluted, it is tempting to lie to skirt by difficult situations and conversations. However, my classmates are guided by a strong moral compass that helps create an open and truthful environment where everyone’s focused on growing as a leader.”

Another quality? Try “Driven but practical” – courtesy of Anna Lincoln-Barnes. “Yes, these are people who are very passionate about something—but they’re people who’ve committed to learning the practical skills that will help them drive the change they want to see. These are not pie-in-the-sky dreamers; they’re here to get things done!”

Student making a point in a class discussion

IN THE SAME ROOM AS THE MOST POWERFUL BANKERS

That was certainly the case with Charlie Crosby, a dual JD-MBA who headed up strategy for the Orleans Parish School Board. There, he helped shepherd a bill through the Louisiana Legislature, handling everything from drafting the language to making his case before lobbyists and legislators. At the Central Bank of Mexico, Daniel Mendoza developed a policy framework that adapted new investment vehicles to Mexico – ones with a combined $4.4 billion dollars in capitalization. At the same time, Elisse Roche launched a Data for Good program to tackle issues like unemployment.

“In collaboration with the Google for Nonprofits, Google Earth Outreach, and Google Sustainability teams, we were able to provide credit grants to hundreds of nonprofits,” she explains. “We also launched two global contests – Visualize 2030, a data storytelling contest for students, and Circular Economy 2030, a sustainability contest for social entrepreneurs – with leading organizations like the United Nations Foundation and The World Bank.”

The Class of 2022 is early in their careers, averaging 5.6 years of work experience. While many haven’t yet produced impact, they have certainly wielded influence. Take Zeynep Yekeler. She has advised the U.S. Congress and State Department on Turkish foreign policy and economic issues, not to mention the state of affairs in Syria and Libya. At the International Monetary Fund, Ethan Everett Boswell helped Christine Lagarde, the former chair of the IMF, develop global policy presentations to finance ministers and central bank governors, including Jerome Powell – the chair of the Federal Reserve.

It was cool just to be in the room with the world’s economic policymakers and help shape the dialogue on the global economy. In fact, Mario Draghi, the former president of the European Central Bank, called the presentations “fantastic” and “done with a professionalism I’ve never seen in any other institution,” so it feels good to know they were memorable.”

Page 2: Class Stats

Page 3: Interview with Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean for Admissions

Page 4: In-depth profiles of 12 members of the Class of 2022

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