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Why Yale SOM Is Opening Its Doors To More International Students

The Yale MAM Class of 2022. Next year’s cohort will be open to students from schools that are not members of the Global Network for Advanced Management. Yale photos

Diversity of viewpoint. Diversity of experience. These days, business schools value these above nearly all else (or claim to). Now one elite B-school is taking steps to boost the diversity of applicants to a popular program that for nearly a decade has already boasted almost unmatched breadth in talent and experience.

Yale School of Management is making one of its most popular programs more accessible to a broader range of applicant, expanding the Master of Advanced Management beyond its current confines within the group of schools that comprise the Global Network for Advanced Management. Yale wants more top MBA graduates from around the world to come to New Haven, Connecticut for a year of leadership study led by Yale SOM faculty.

It’s a move that is long in coming for the nearly 10-year-old program, says Camino de Paz Espiago, assistant dean of global network programs at Yale SOM. But with the expansion comes an important caveat: Candidates for the one-year MAM — even those from GNAM schools — will now need to provide a Graduate Management Admission Test or Graduate Record Exam score with their application. Other tests will no longer be accepted.

‘WHY ARE WE LIMITING OURSELVES?’

When it was founded in 2012, Yale’s Master of Advanced Management program was open only to students from schools in the Global Network for Advanced Management, the brainchild of former Yale School of Management Dean Ted Snyder. The network allows member schools to co-develop and share teaching materials, week-long immersion trips, online classes, research, global management case studies, faculty, and more: Students who go to network schools have been able to take short classes in topical subjects that may not be available at their own institutions, work together in virtual teams, and dissect unique global case studies created by network faculty. GNAM originally had 21 members; now, nearly a decade later, the total number of network members is 32 institutions on six continents.

Yale’s Master of Advanced Management brings top MBA graduates from around the world for a year of leadership study at Yale — to date, the program has welcomed 544 students from 71 different countries. The curriculum is centered around a required course called Global Leadership that is designed to foster students’ ability to think holistically about global trends and the role of business in solving social problems. Eighty percent of the curriculum is electives, taken both within Yale SOM and across the university, enabling students to tailor their experience around broad areas of interest or deep technical expertise.

Now, for the first time, Yale will consider applications to MAM from students in other top MBA programs, not just those that are GNAM members. The move, says Camino de Paz Espiago, was sparked by support from Dean Kerwin Charles when he succeeded Snyder in 2019.

Camina de Paz Espiago

When Dean Charles came on board,” Espiago tells Poets&Quants, “he was very much supportive of the global strategy that we have in place. He recognized everything we’ve done, and he said, ‘Why can’t we broaden the impact that we have had with the program and attract incredible, bright students that align with our mission statement and don’t have just the constraint of the global network? Why can’t we bring students from other parts of the world?’

“So that’s what triggered the expansion. Why are we limiting ourselves?”

‘THE MORE THE MERRIER’

Already, the MAM program offers a rich vein of international diversity. Among the MAM Class of 2022, 27 citizenships are represented, 45% of the students are women, and the average age is 32. MAM students speak 22 languages, and the average years of work experience among the group is eight years. Fifty students hold a passport outside of the U.S., and almost half of the class has worked in a country outside of their home country.

“The MAM program has been one of the key contributors to Yale SOM’s expanding global footprint,” say Espiago, who joined Yale as director of global initiatives in 2014 before taking on her current role last December. “Over nearly ten years, MAM students have contributed distinctive global perspectives to the classroom experience and extended the school’s alumni network into new regions and new companies. The changes we are making now will do even more to spread the school’s mission of educating leaders for business and society around the world.”

GNAM alumni will still have preference through the first two rounds of MAM admission; deadlines are January 6 and February 22, respectively. Applicants from non-GNAM schools will be able to apply in the third round, with a deadline of April 12. The goal is around 68 students in the program, Espiago says; the last to years the MAM has had between 55 and 57 students.

“I would love to have students from the Arab world,” she says. “We don’t have a school there. I would love to have more students from Eastern Europe. Africa is huge continent. We have four schools in Africa, but we have a lot of countries that we haven’t had any presence in the program. We have had students from 71 countries, if we can grow that up as much as possible, that would be great. There are a lot of countries from Asia that we don’t have people from, like Thailand. The more perspectives, the more experiences, the more cultural awareness, it enriches the discussion. The more the merrier!”

GMAT OR GRE SCORE WILL BE A REQUIREMENT FOR ADMISSION

Key to appealing to a wider talent pool, particularly those in under-developed or developing regions: increased financial support for prospective students.

“Part of the commitment of our new dean is to increase scholarship funds for students,” Espiago says. “Because this program attracts people from so many countries, some students come from really developing countries, and they do need help. And so we are now going to be able to support them even more.”

The scholarships will be merit-based, she says, adding: “Dean Charles is making a huge effort in increasing the scholarship budget in all our programs, but in this particular program it’s very much needed. That gives us a lot of push to actually go and open up the program, and helps us to expand the program.”

About needing a GMAT or GRE score, Espiago says the requirement is about ensuring a competitive cohort and consistent admissions standards across Yale SOM’s program portfolio. In the past, she says, applicants to the MAM could present a GMAT or GRE or any other entrance exam that they would have taken at their home schools. Now, to be fair, the school will only accept scores from those two tests.

“We want to be consistent with all the other programs,” Espiago says. “I’ve been working with GNAM schools for eight years, so I know them very, very well. I know their processes, I know their people, so I’m very familiar with the GMAT, I’m very familiar with the GRE and all these tests that these schools have. But I’m not familiar with all the tests in the world. Right? So if we’re going to be opening up the program to other schools, we want to be consistent in the test requirement.”

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