10 Business Schools To Watch In 2024

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

Yale School of Management

Time plays a funny trick on us. What seems normal now was once viewed as revolutionary. Take the Yale School of Management. In 2011, Ted Snyder was named the Dean of a school that he says operated like a “family business.” It boasted an Ivy League pedigree, but lacked an identity that distinguished it form other MBA programs. Thankfully, he only needed to look at the larger Yale University for answers. His vision involved an interdisciplinary, international, and mission-driven MBA program. It would focus on leveraging the Yale community, become a truly global extension, and establish leadership development across all sectors and regions.

That’s now the SOM DNA: a future-centered, globally-focused, socially-conscious MBA program that’s heavily informed by the liberal arts and STEM disciplines. Its mantra says it all: “Educating leaders for business and society.” At Yale SOM, students are learning more than frameworks and formulas. They’re here to use business to tackle the complex and enigmatic issues that keep the best minds awake at night. That means MBAs come to New Haven with passion and purpose, always balancing big picture goals with small constituent needs.

“The Yale School of Management is a place for people who want to have a positive impact on their organizations, their community, and the world more generally,” explains Bruce DelMonico, the assistant dean for admissions, in a in a 2023 interview with P&Q. “Our founding mission to educate leaders for business and society continues to animate everything we do at the school, from our integrated core curriculum to our distinctive global offerings to our deep programmatic connections to Yale University. We attract students who have the broad-mindedness and intellectual curiosity to leverage the many interconnected and interdisciplinary opportunities available to them at Yale SOM; the humility to lead teams effectivity in a diverse, global context; and the optimism to believe that they can make a difference in the world and that this is a worthy goal to which to aspire.”

That sounds like the mission of every modern MBA program…with varying degrees of success achieving it. A decade ago, the societal element often took a backseat to profit-and-loss, with the ‘why’ rarely explored. At Yale SOM, these commitments have become a cornerstone – a vocation even – that drives decision-making and has filtered into every corner of the curriculum. Just ask graduates like Elizabeth Varughese, who earned her MBA at Yale SOM in 2022.

“I realized upon coming to SOM is that we are all in search of the intersections of social impact and business through various mediums and industries, including sustainability, energy conservation, technology, resource accessibility, etc.,” she tells P&Q. “We all find our own places where we want to make a difference that are unique. I knew that SOM was diverse, and it is—not only in terms of ethnicity and background, but also in terms of passions, interests, and opinions, all of which add a lot of value to the classroom.”

Yale SOM’s Evans Hall

And it has turned Yale SOM into a Top 10 staple across the major MBA rankings. This year, Yale SOM climbed three spots to 5th in the 2023-2024 P&Q MBA ranking. Before that, the school placed finished 10th (Financial Times), 8th (U.S. News), 10th (CEOWorld), 8th (LinkedIn) and 4th (Fortune). Yale SOM also notched the top score for its Consulting programming In the Princeton Review’s 2023 survey of MBA students and recent alumni. As usual, business school deans and MBA director rated the school as the top school for Non-Profit programming in the annual US News survey.

Many times, in business or education, innovators are punished. The outside world – from customers to stakeholders – just don’t know how to evaluate their success. That’s one reason why Yale SOM’s consistently highly rankings – regardless of methodology – is so striking. After all, the school is among the handful that isn’t afraid to be different. For example, the first year opens with the integrated core. After a quick brush up on the fundamentals of individual disciplines, the core weaves into a multidisciplinary medley. Here, students study business from the perspective of stakeholders like customers and investors, see how disciplines like marketing and finance work hand-in-hand across various levels of an organization and every constituency it serves. What’s more, the program relies heavily on ‘raw’ case studies. Think a normal case study – only supplemented by resources like videos and source materials. Such elements add context to the issues at hand and expose students to the greater uncertainties and inconsistencies involved.

At Yale SOM, you’ll also hear students use the term “intersectionality.” In many ways, it is an ivory tower term for cross-curricular or multidisciplinary – but it extends beyond cases and courses to Yale SOM’s structure overall. For one, it reflects the school’s robust joint degree program, whose cross-campus partnerships cover connect disciplines like Public Affairs, Architecture, Public Health, Global Affairs, Law, Drama, Medicine, and the Environment. During their second year, MBAs can take as many courses as they want outside the SOM.

“A key draw of Yale SOM’s MBA curriculum was the flexibility to take elective courses across Yale’s various academic programs,” explains Eunjee Koh, a second-year MBA. “This is especially true for someone like me, who is interested in exploring the intersection of sustainability and well-being. The ability to attend classes at Yale School of Environment, Yale School of Public Health, and Yale Center on Climate Change and Health will broaden my understanding of the health impacts of sustainability.”

This past year, Yale SOM has been busy expanding its options. Thanks to a $20 million dollar gift, the school has established its Swensen Asset Management Institute. The institute will complement its joint MBA-Master In Asset Management, one of the SOM’s most popular new offerings in recent years. By the same token, the school has launched a range of new courses according to Deputy Dean Anjani Jain, such as Rapid Prototyping in Tech Entrepreneurship, Building a Metaverse Strategy, and Understanding and Reducing Bias in Organizations. That doesn’t count the rollout of another recent hit course: Large Language Models: Theory and Application., Coming this fall, Yale SOM will also be launching a new Master’s degree in Technology Management. At the same time, the school is slated to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the opening of Evans Hall – a building that feels as futuristic as the day it was opened.

In the end, these additions aren’t just about meeting marketplace needs, adds Bruce DelMonico in a 2022 interview with P&Q. Rather, they are efforts to fulfill greater mission of applying business tools serve the greater good.

“Another important aspect of this defining mission is not just how it encompasses diverse fields such as education and asset management, but how it shapes and transforms them as well. It brings heart to a field such as investment management that could otherwise tend toward the technical and impersonal, training leaders who understand the impact their investment decisions have and who steward that responsibility with thought and care. And it allows educators who are passionate and purposeful about their work to approach it with heightened rigor, amplifying the impact they can have in their classrooms and communities.”

With a commitment like that, you have to wonder what Yale SOM will cook up next. This creativity, coupled with a track record for raising the bar and setting the pace, makes SOM a program to watch in the coming year.

Next Page: Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.