A Day in the Life of a Yale EMBA Student

Daniel Rhee, a 2016 Yale EMBA candidate in Asset Management, shares a typical weekend on campus as a Yale MBA for Executives student.

February 24, 2015

Thursday

6:00 p.m.: Trying to wrap up a few tasks at the office before heading up to New Haven. When I’m not up at campus, I serve as the Chief Technology Officer for a leading hedge fund/alternative investment firm that manages $14 billion in assets. Like a handful of other classmates, during class weekends I elect to check in on Thursday night (instead of on Friday).

7:00 p.m.: I use the hour and a half train ride up to map out any last minute tasks and reading assignments due for the upcoming class weekend. Breezing past rush hour traffic on I-95 takes most of the stress out of the commute.

8:30 p.m.: After a quick stop at the hotel to check-in, I head up to Evans Hall (a.k.a. SOM) to run through a few pre-assignments for our next set of classes. This weekend marks the start of our second semester, which brings with it three new classes (“State & Society”, “Employee” and “The Global Macroeconomy”, in addition to “Sourcing & Managing Funds” which carried over from the first semester).

The innovative British architectural firm Foster + Partners designed Edward P. Evans Hall (new home to the School of Management) in January 2014. In addition to the environmentally responsible footprint of the building, there are also a number of symbolic features nested throughout Evans Hall. Pictured below is the view from the Ross Library into the courtyard.


Friday

8:45 a.m.: Back on campus after a quick continental breakfast at the hotel. The full-time MBA students do not have scheduled classes on Friday but the library already starts to fill up before 9 AM.

9:00 a.m.: We start our State & Society course (taught by Professor David Bach, Senior Associate Dean for our program) by breaking into groups to play against each other in a Lake Simulation. State & Society explores the relationship between firms and “nonmarket” actors globally. I start feeling a bit of nostalgia as I remember it was around this time last year that I was sitting in on one of the State & Society classes as a potential applicant to the program.

12:00 p.m.: We normally would grab lunch downstairs at Charley’s, but this weekend both Class of 2015 and 2016 cohorts have a prescheduled workshop (“Presentation Skills for Life”) with guest speaker Tim Koegel.

12:15 p.m.: One of our classmates, Dr. Michael Rolen ’16 (pictured), grabbing a quick bite to eat before the workshop. Mike is in the Healthcare track of the program and a radiologist at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

12:30 p.m.: Tim Koegel (pictured) has written a number of books and programs on presentation and communication skills. Today, he helps illustrate why non-verbal communication can often be just as important as what you say during a presentation.

2:30 p.m.: “Sourcing & Managing Funds” picks up right where it left off two weeks ago. SMF builds on the fundamental skills we learned in “Basics of Financial Accounting” while tying in a few elements from our “Investor” course and setting up the trajectory into corporate finance and how firms raise and manage their capital.

4:00 p.m.: During the break two of my study group teammates review a few concepts from the first part of class. Study groups are setup during the first two weeks of the program and consist of four to six students from all three areas of focus (Healthcare, Sustainability, and Asset Management).

Logan Yonavjak ’16 (pictured, left) is a dual-degree candidate also pursuing a Masters of Forestry at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Eric Lemieux ’16 (pictured, right) sits on the board of a publically traded company listed on the NYSE. Both Logan and Eric are also in the Asset Management track with me.

5:30 p.m.: On Friday nights there are always plenty of different social events taking place around campus. The MBA for Executives Student Affairs team* was kind enough to setup an informal group dinner at Charley’s before some classmates head out to catch the Yale vs. Cornell men’s basketball game.

Photo: Logan Yonavjak ’16

*The Student Affairs and Program teams have been instrumental in helping us get re-acclimated to the learning environment and juggle the school/work/life balance. David, Will, Howie, Paul, Ian, Vani, Hillary, Dianne, Dolores, and Elaine have literally been the lifeblood of the program.

A few of our classmates also chose to drive up north to watch the Bulldogs take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats in men’s ice hockey.

Photo: Aaron Smith ’16

Another handful of us head over to the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 15th Annual Winter Ball, where we mingle with students from Yale’s other graduate and professional schools. Pictured are Alex Esparza ’16 (left), an Executive Director covering equity sales and trading at Oppenheimer & Co. and also in the Asset Management track, and Richa Pandey ’16 (right), a Manager in the Forensics Practice at PwC and in the Sustainability track.

Photo: Alex Esparza ’16

Saturday

8:00 a.m.: Classes start and end earlier on Saturday; many classmates from out of town appreciate this as they can catch an earlier flight back home. After a quick introduction, Professor Peter Schott dives right into “The Global Macroeconomy” by discussing labor markets and the different approaches to calculating GDP. Laid out in the syllabus for every session, Professor Schott includes a number of [optional] articles that relate to our study of macroeconomics and business and society. For me, the supplemental articles really help to cultivate a better understanding of the subject at hand.

11:00 a.m.: Quickly grab a boxed lunch to head into one of the breakout rooms for an informal Q&A with prospective candidates that are on campus during a MBA for Executives Information Session. The lunch session provides an open forum for potential applicants to field any questions and network with current MBA for Executives students.

11:30 a.m.: Professor Jim Baron starts our “Employee” course by reviewing the key organizational alignment and human resource consistency takeaways from a Southwest Airlines case we were assigned. LCDR Tim Rhatigan ’16 (pictured) provides insight on what benefits may potentially be important to pilots in the airline industry. Tim is a MH-60S pilot on Active Duty in the U.S. Navy and in the Sustainability track.

2:30 p.m.: A few people hang around after class to field their questions with Professor Baron. We all say our routine ‘goodbyes’ and look forward to seeing each other again in two weeks!

4:09 p.m.: A group of us collectively (the “409 Crew”) kick back and enjoy the ride back home.

Pictured are Alex Esparza ’16 (middle left), Christian Balderrama ’16 (middle right) who is currently an Associate Director at Scotiabank and in the Sustainability track, and Ryan Galloway ’16 (right) who works as a Special Assistant to the Director at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and is in the Healthcare track.

Not pictured are Mark deVry ’16, a Maritime Lawyer in the U.S. Navy with the JAG Corps and in the Sustainability track, Thiago Kallas ’16, Chief Operating Officer for Kallas Inc. and in the Asset Management track, Ben Goldstein ’16, a Public Relations Director at UnitedHealthcare, and Dr. Vibin Roy ’16, a Faculty Physician with Thomas Jefferson University. Both Ben and Vibin are in the Healthcare track.

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About the author

Danny Rhee

MBA for Executives, 2016