From the Assistant Dean for the MBA for Executives: A Richly Diverse Student Body, United Around a Singular Mission

April 5, 2017

After my first visit to the Yale School of Management last spring, I immediately felt a connection. The idea of joining SOM someday would pop up from time to time, intensifying during moments of homesickness for the U.S. or while the drama of Brexit unfolded in my backyard. A year later, I was packing up my belongings, canceling the lease on my London flat, and saying goodbye to my colleagues over my final proper pint of British ale as I prepared for the transatlantic move to New Haven. I have yet to cease wondering at my good fortune.

My career in graduate management education, which took me through positions at the London Business School and IE Business School, started only after years of working in nonprofits. I worked at the Adolescent Health Center at Mount Sinai and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which have nothing in common apart from exceedingly strong missions. After seven years in higher education, I have joined a school with the singular mission, no less strong, to educate the leaders of business and society—a mission strong enough to lure me back to the U.S. after many years abroad.

The mission brings candidates to Yale, and our students and faculty are united around this mission. What I love specifically about working with executive MBA students is that students arrive at orientation only after rich and purposeful journeys. They were born in many different countries and have thrived in many different industries. They learn from each other and create together. And after graduation, the students will once again start to journey around the world, achieving different kinds of successes and profoundly impacting the worlds of business, government, and society in different ways.

But for 22 months, the uniqueness of the program and the dynamics of the community combine to leave a profound mark on all its members—myself included. Here at Yale, students do not study the administration of business by functional area, but instead by examining different challenges and opportunities through the lenses of different stakeholders and learning to see beyond job functions. Here at Yale, professors don’t teach cases neatly wrapped in a bow, but instead present “raw” cases, with real data, as messy and ambiguous as a real-life situation. And finally, here at Yale, students are inducted into a lifelong network of friends, future friends, future bosses, and future business partners. Once the last exam is sat, the final Excel sheet produced, and the concluding PowerPoint presentation is delivered, the journey still continues. It slows down, it speeds up, it takes scary turns and exalting arcs through uncertain territories, but now, with a community to advise, support, and celebrate every milestone.


Silvia McCallister-Castillo
Assistant Dean for the Executive MBA

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Silvia McCallister-Castillo

Assistant Dean for the Executive MBA