One of our favorite roles as admissions consultants is helping people shape their list of schools. There's nothing more rewarding than working with someone dead set on Wharton, only to realize "hey, you are perfect for Kellogg" ... and then have that person wind up at Kellogg, happy as can be. We pride ourselves on our ability to be more than "yes men" or even "campaign managers" who shape results. We also believe we are true counselors who simply have more information than most of the people we are counseling. It's a a key element of college admissions counseling that often does not make its way into the MBA landscape, which is a shame. One school that we find ourselves "introducing" to candidates often is Yale SOM. There are many reasons why Yale is off people's radar screens, but the biggest reason is short sighted vision. Yale is a great business school *right now* but I don't think many people would argue that Yale stands above Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, or MIT, to name just a few. Fit is important and there are aspects of Yale that might move it higher on someone's list, but I can't blame an MBA candidate for seeing it as outside the truly elite.
Where we often try to shape perspective is not by focusing on relative merit, but by encouraging a long-term view. ROI is a big factor in a b-school decision and part of figuring that out is understanding that your first job out of school won't be your last and that the return on your MBA investment won't be a 3-year calculation or a 5-year or a 10-year. It's a long-term play and you have to project the value of your degree for a lifetime, not just a graduating year.
It is in this long-term calculation where we feel Yale is wildly undervalued. Consider the reasons for heady optimism in the years to come:
- Yale SOM has a new, state-of-the-art building on the way. The funds are being raised (initially a concern, but not so much now that a $50 million naming gift from Ned Evans has bolstered the project), the plans are gorgeous, and it can safely be assumed that in a matter of years, Yale will go from one of the worst MBA facilities to one of the best, if not THE best. You don't think that will impact recruitment, yield, future fundraising, faculty retention, and over other key aspect of building a program?
- Yale SOM is young. It's a relatively new business school (and it's small), so the alumni base is tiny, compared to MBA powers. That has been a problem for deans who try to raise money and build awareness, but it's a problem that will naturally be abated as Yale SOM grads go out and do great things. The flip side of having a small alumni base is that virtually all of the 6,000 or so alumni of the program are still active in their careers and fall within just a few generations of Yale classes. Better to have a nimble, active alumni base than a bloated, dormant one. Plus, too much is made of alumni size from a student's perspective, as it often comes down to ratios: are there enough alumni contacts out there to help ME? Either way, this alumni base is growing every day as more people graduate and very few - frankly - retire or die.
- SOM is at Yale. I know, duh. But never forget the value of a business school being in the warm embrace of a powerful university, especially in the age of interdisciplinary learning models. SOM's Yale address allows the business school to be aggressive with specialties and with the raw case method, because world class learning is available just down the block in every field. When you don't have to strain for multi-disciplinary learning models, the education flows more smoothly and people can be great at what they are great at.
- Ted Snyder. When Ted Snyder first left Chicago Booth and announced he was joining Yale, the prevailing opinion is that Yale had it made in the shade. But as with everything else in modern society, the backlash soon kicked in and op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and other publications started to question whether the Ted Snyder magic will work again. Our opinion? Yes, it will. The guy builds powerhouses, he raises funds, he takes advantage of hidden values (like hiring the best *staff* and not just the best faculty), and he leads. Yale SOM is going to be better - much better - for having him.
All told, Yale is a school to really watch - a blue chip stock. It's great now, for the experience, especially if you want a smaller class size, great career services, strength in health care, the rigor of the raw case method, and top notch finance. But it's going to be even better as a value play for down the road, when your degree keeps soaring up the rankings.
When you start planning your MBA search for this fall, be sure to give Yale SOM its due.
If you are interested in having a free consultation to discuss Yale SOM or any other school, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.