Meet Yale SOM’s MBA Class Of 2025

It isn’t easy being a first-year MBA. For the poets, business is learning a new language – an alternative way of thinking rife with exceptions and contradictions. Quants find comfort in precise formulas and consistent patterns. In the end, they can struggle amid the human element: fear and hubris, politics and precedents. Each can see an isolated part, but not an interconnected process.

Learning by living may the most expensive of educations, but discovery through division is a fool’s errand. Students simply grow confused, fall behind, tune out – and can’t apply the current lessons to the next stages.

INTEGRATED CORE

That’s one reason why the Yale School of Management developed an integrated core curriculum. Interdisciplinary and holistic, the SOM curriculum is designed with the big picture in mind. Call it a ‘Perspectives’ curriculum, which examines the point of view of practitioners as much as the fundamental concepts and tools inherent to various disciplines.

Technically, the core opens with discipline-driven courses like Accounting, Economics, Management Theory, Statistical Modeling, and Negotiations. Soon enough, the programming veers into ‘Organizational Perspectives’, where students complete cases, projects, and discussions centered around stakeholders within an organization. Translation: silos like marketing, operations, and finance are replaced by functions like customer, investor, and competitor. Along with understanding these constituencies’ underlying interests and behaviors, MBAs learn how they impact decision-making at every level and function in an organization. Even more, they complete thematic courses that expose them to the ever-evolving dynamics involved in regulations, global economics, innovation, and workforce management.

Co-taught by faculty from different disciplines, the integrated core represents the best of Yale’s liberal arts mindset. It is an interactive space designed to hone creativity, communication and critical thinking, often incorporating narrative devices and dipping into disciplines like psychology, history, and the arts. Notably, Yale SOM assigns raw cases – case studies supplemented by additional press clipping, videos, and data reports. Like traditional cases, MBAs learn how to formulate solutions that address uncertainties, constraints, risks, and tradeoffs. By including additional elements, students can sharpen their ability to identify material that’s germane or contradictory.

Yale SOM Interior

“EDUCATING LEADERS FOR BUSINESS AND SOCIETY”

The Class of 2025 has found this distinctive ‘integrated’ approach to be quite attractive. That includes Luisa Locatelli, a senior product manager from Brazil. “It really resonates with the mission of Yale SOM, “Educating leaders for business & society”. It is crafted in a way to give us a deep dive in the perspectives of all the stakeholders involved in and impacted by business decisions. This creates in the students a critical view and understanding of the whole organization. Even more, it gives to us the skills and frameworks that are necessary to navigate leadership roles while having a positive impact in the society.”

That multidisciplinary approach doesn’t stop with the core. After all, the MBA program offers ten joint degrees, including partnerships with Yales School’s for Public Affairs, Architecture, Public Health, Global Affairs, Law, Drama, Medicine, and the Environment. Even more, MBAs enjoy the freedom to take courses outside the SOM.

“Yale was a natural place to pursue the intersection of business and environment; few schools can offer a joint degree program that blends the two domains so intentionally,” says Henry Ritter, an economics major at Brown University. “Beyond that, I was quite drawn to the academic openness of Yale’s graduate education; while at SOM, I can easily take courses across Yale which allows me to do things like take an Intro Psych class with a bunch of excessively nervous 18-year-olds.”

Club Fair: Our 50-plus student clubs are an integral part of the Yale SOM community. Clubs provide forums for discussion and opportunities for action, and they foster students’ leadership and business skills via consulting engagements, workshops, roundtables, conferences, and fundraisers

FLYING ALONGSIDE FUTURE ASTRONAUTS

Cross-disciplinary would equally describe the backgrounds of the Class of 2025. Ritter, who is earning a dual degree with the Yale School of the Environment, previously enjoyed stints at McKinsey, the New York Times, and Google. However, he says his best time came when he spent the summer at Hut Croo for the Appalachian Mountain Club in New Hampshire. Here, he helped hikers who were operating off-the-grid. While many MBAs would list what they’ve done among their biggest achievements, Ritter would counter that it was what he didn’t do that mattered most.

“I am most proud of the moments when I’ve walked away from opportunities that didn’t feel aligned with my value set — and towards those that do. Early in my career, I declined a return offer to McKinsey following an internship which left me questioning the path (despite having sunk many, many hours casing!). More recently, I spent considerable effort shifting towards a more mission-based role within Alphabet, moving from Ads at Google to climate work at X.”

Before business school, Nick Callegari worked for SpaceX as a design engineer. Here, he was responsible for “designing, analyzing on structures manufacturing, and testing a novel Dragon 2 spacewalk structure to be utilized for Extravehicular (EVA) activities on the upcoming Polaris Dawn mission.” And Callegari wasn’t just adjusting calculations to boost performance in his role.

“I have flown on a Zero-G flight with future astronauts to assist with training operations for one of my Extravehicular Activity (EVA) structure designs. It was a riveting experience that led to some valuable insights for the structure currently slated to fly on the upcoming Polaris Dawn mission!”


Junior Achievement: Many Yale SOM students build bridges to their neighbors in New Haven by pitching in with a variety of local organizations and nonprofits. Every year, student clubs and course projects offer opportunities for students to make an impact on the community by putting their business skills to work—and to learn by doing.

BRINGING SCIENCE TO SATURDAY MORNINGS

From SpaceX to Amazon, Adrian James Peters earned a spot on the Amazon Prime Wall of Fame – not to mention earning the company’s Star Performer Award in in 2021. Rachel Harmon started a non-profit, still operating, that continues to place high school graduates in colleges across Alabama. At the same time, Emmanuel K Cudjoe, Jr. co-created “Saturdays with Scientists”, an afterschool program targeted to Black middle school students in Richmond, Virginia.

“The program involved coordinating and supervising practical and fun scientific lab experiments (mainly physics and chemistry) on Saturdays,” Cudjoe explains. “At the same time, it provided examples to students and a representation of Black scientists. Through the program, kids developed increased interest in Chemistry and Physics with some kids indicating their desire to pursue engineering in college.”

Tim Mamrol is a study in perseverance. Following a hip injury from parachuting, he managed to return to the U.S. Army, eventually being deployed to East Africa in the Civil Affairs Office. “Getting back on my feet and having been able to participate in humanitarian missions is my biggest and proudest accomplishment. My team and I were able to create real positive impact through projects such as facilitating the establishment of a Mobile Field Hospital at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our other projects included ensuring villages had clean drinking water, combating malaria, and running English Language Discussion groups and cultural exchanges.”


Orientation: New students in Yale SOM’s residential master’s programs arrived on campus on August 14 for a weeklong orientation.

THE MISSIONS AHEAD

Yale SOM draws a different type of student: Globally-minded, future-focused, mission-driven. Creative and capable, these Yalies have spent their pre-MBA days to build coalitions, stretch budgets, and tackle big issues. To join the SOM, it is less about what candidates have done but where they are going. The what, where, and how still matter, but Yale SOM is all about the why – why you want it, why it matters, and why you’ll make it happen. It is this why – this vision and calling – that will ultimately push MBA past the rejections and setbacks to get results that actually make the world a little better…and inspire others to pursue their own missions.

Each member of the Class of 2025 brings their own vocation to New Haven. For Isabel Milton, the goal is an energy transition that balances equity and planetary needs. Nick Callegari also intends to tackle climate change, Yale SOM’s focus on connecting society and business as the difference-maker for his aspirations. By the same token, Reika Ishii, a Morgan Stanley investment associate, plans to move into impact investing or venture capital to help ventures in Femtech and women’s health.

“My goal is to help open a new path that empowers and gives voice to underrepresented groups to advance their cause. In Japan, women are an undervalued minority, and the lack of representation can be felt in the absence of fundamental female healthcare products and services. I plan to become a venture capital investor to increase affordable feminine hygiene products by supporting start-ups in FemTech and women’s health. I hypothesize that if more products were available, it would help remove stigmas and replace forced silence with dialogue.”

Growing up in Accra, Emmanuel K Cudjoe, Jr. was exposed poverty and inequity. In the United States, he witnessed similar gaps in higher education for the sciences. These experiences pushed him to pay his fortune forward with those who are more vulnerable.

“I would like to play a part in normalizing the existence of Black folks in these spaces I now find myself in and increasing Black representation in corporate America. Yale SOM will provide me with tools and resources including an understanding of society and appreciation of organizational structure and behavior that will help me to leverage my technical skills and expertise in solving some of the most complex problems in today’s society.”

Next Page: Q&A with Yale SOM Leadership

Page 3: Profiles of Yale SOM First-Years

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