A Life-Changing Experience: First-Year Students on the MBA for Executives Program

We often hear from Yale MBA for Executives alumni that the program is a life-changing experience. So we asked some first-year students how the program has changed their lives, six months in. Here’s what they said:

The Yale EMBA experience has already catapulted me in my professional career.
Jamila Abston ’17

As a recently promoted senior leader, I am regularly implementing the EMBA technical teachings and new leadership principles with my staff and colleagues. The first six months have made me even more enthused about the 16 months to come!

—Jamila Abston ’17 (Asset Management)
SEC Assistant Regional Director, Securities and Exchange Commission, Atlanta, Georgia


The immense wealth of character embodied by my classmates is unparalleled.
Ketan Bulsara ’17

Over the past six months, my class has established the foundation for a lifetime of friendships and collaborations. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of this is that I genuinely feel that every single one of us is genuinely interested in helping everyone else succeed. We are a team that supports each other during tough times, celebrates good times, and together we jog our memories of math and economical concepts of our days past.

—Ketan Bulsara ’17 (Healthcare)
Associate Professor and Director of Neuroendovascular and Skull Base Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut


There is an excitement and energy that is palpable when one enters the School of Management building.
Jaques Clariond ’17

When I made the decision to embark on this journey, I knew I was joining a group of fellow individuals committed to excellence in their respective fields. Yale SOM’s vision of preparing executives for business and society has consistently been reinforced throughout the course work, which has inspired me to not only become a more effective leader, but also a better member of the global community. This ongoing inspiration has been combined with the demands that accompany balancing professional obligations with a rigorous academic calendar. While there have certainly been times when the “commute” back to Yale has been difficult, the shared experience with some of the world’s brightest and talented professors, classmates, and other staff continue to bring an excitement to the journey—something I have never experienced anywhere else.

—Jaques Clariond ’17 (Asset Management)
Director, Investment Banking & Capital Markets, Credit Suisse, New York, New York


I have found the Yale EMBA program to be a wonderful opportunity to participate in a life-changing event.
Trevor Heaton ’17

I really can’t say enough about it. By participating in this program, I have been able to rub shoulders with some of the most influential people in the nation, I have been able to develop friendships with some of the sharpest people in the industry, and I have been able to learn from some of the best professors in the world. I have never experienced this caliber of instruction in a university setting. It has changed the way that I think about many aspects of my life.

In addition, I don’t know if it is Yale’s selection process or if it is just luck of the draw, but the individuals in the program seem to all be genuinely good, friendly people who are accomplished in their careers and who are interested in helping one another through the EMBA program. One thing that I genuinely enjoy about the program is that it is structured in such a way that relationships and networks are encouraged and fostered. Through this program and through the relationships that I am developing during it, I am learning to become the leader I hope to be. My participation in this program is a great blessing and a great opportunity. It is a privilege to be part of it.

—Trevor Heaton ’17 (Sustainability)
Senior Reclamation Engineer, Rio Tinto Kennecott, Salt Lake City, Utah


My classes and classmates at Yale SOM have helped me develop a renewed source of excitement, curiosity, and confidence both professionally and personally.
Courtney Rodgers ’17

At a very large annual sales meeting last month I found myself engaging senior leaders and sharing my opinions about our corporate and social strategy, something I never would have done six months ago.

—Courtney Rodgers ’17 (Healthcare)
Interventional Therapies Specialist, Medtronic, Inc., Washington, D.C.


Six months into the Yale EMBA program, and the world is beginning to look different to me.
Caleb Wertenbaker ’17

The biggest change is that I am better at asking the right questions, because I am better equipped to evaluate situations and ask what is important. This is true in long-term planning, in short-term decision making, in so-called hard areas like finance, and in the softer, more ambiguous, areas of leadership and interpersonal communications. Bringing class learning back to work and employing my new knowledge and abilities as we learn is the perfect way to internalize it.

—Caleb Wertenbaker ’17 (Sustainability)
Owner, Stage Designer, Caleb Wertenbaker, New York, New York