Barnes & Noble, here we come!

March 26, 2007

Hello everyone! My name is Stefan, and I’m currently a second-year MBA student at Yale SOM. You can find out more about me on the blogger bios page. I’m currently serving as president of the Yale Economic Review (YER), a student-run journal of popular economics that presents the most fascinating research from the fields of economics and finance in a vivid and easy-to-read format. The organization was founded in late 2005 by Yale undergraduates who had a simple yet compelling idea: why not create a journal similar to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), but focused exclusively on cutting-edge research from the worlds of economics and finance? Since joining the organization in January 2006, I’m proud to say that a number of students from SOM, Yale College and many other graduate and professional schools have committed their blood, sweat and tears towards our goal of transforming YER from a fledging start-up publication into a vibrant, sustainable non-profit endeavor. Fast-forward fifteen months to March 2007. We’ve now published six issues featuring research articles from professors at world-renowned institutions such as Oxford, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania. We’ve raised more than $30,000 from a network of benefactors located both inside and outside the University, including generous support from Yale SOM. We captured third place in the not-for-profit category at the Yale Entrepreneurial Society’s 2006 Y50K venture competition. More importantly, we are attracting a base of subscribers and advertisers that will allow us to slowly but surely build YER into a sustainable and successful enterprise. And that was just the beginning! Over Spring Break, we learned that less than two years after the organization’s founding, the Yale Economic Review has been picked up by retailing behemoth Barnes & Noble and will soon be available in more than 230 Barnes & Noble bookstores throughout the United States!!! Although this was a very proud moment for me personally, I think the school really deserves a lot of the credit for our success. Yale SOM has forged close relationships with a number of other colleges and departments on campus, and I can’t think of another university where students in disparate graduate programs such as divinity, economics and management would ever come together with undergraduates to collaborate on a business idea such as YER. YER has also been a phenomenal learning experience for me. For starters, I’ve had an exceptional opportunity to apply the management framework taught at Yale SOM in a real-world setting with real customers and real consequences. Running YER means running a real business – we have to attract readers, negotiate with advertisers, build and maintain robust financial projections, coordinate complex printing and distribution schedules, develop and execute strategic initiatives, identify and evaluate our value proposition, and position our product in a way that will allow us to capture the value we are bringing to society. I’m also gaining hands-on experience managing an organization that has grown to more than 25 employees on the business side, and I find myself constantly facing many of the decisions and dilemmas that practicing managers grapple with on a daily basis. What better training could a business student ever ask for? Some of you might call me old-school, but I believe that the best way to learn something is by doing it. From funding and faculty support to entrepreneurship seminars and classroom training, Yale SOM has provided YER staffers with the skillset and confidence to exceed expectations at every step along the way. Although many business schools preach the value of experiential learning, Yale SOM provides students with a platform and a network to turn their business dreams into reality – and that is something to write about!

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Stefan Lewellen