Saturday Workshops: The EMBA Program’s Best-Kept Secret

Saturday afternoon workshops lead by academics, professionals, and leaders in a variety of sectors help to round out the EMBA experience, complementing the academic curriculum with opportunities for professional and personal development.

June 7, 2017
By: Michael Hund ’18 and: Barjdeep Kaur ’18 and: Melissa Medina ’18

Melissa Medina ’18, Focus: Sustainability

For me, class starts Thursday evening at 6 p.m. and runs all day Friday and Saturday, so once the clock hits 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, I am physically and mentally ready for a break. However, even after nearly 25 hours of stimulating curriculum and activities, I make the decision to stay after class ends on Saturday. Why? Because of the workshops—I’ve gone to all that have been offered so far. From “Executive Voice and Presence” with Grace Zandarski, lecturer at the Yale School of Drama, to “Agile Project Management” with Professor Kyle Jensen, associate dean and Shanna and Eric Bass ’05 Director of Entrepreneurship, these out-of-class sessions provide me with unique experiential learning that I am now applying at work.

During the workshop with Professor Jensen, we built a Lego city following agile project management principles. At the time, playing with Legos and city planning just seemed like part of a playful exercise with my classmates. However, it soon became clear that following the iterative process based on continuous feedback made building the Lego city more productive and efficient. As co-founder of tourtrackr, a civic tech startup, agile development is applicable (and arguably the most critical) to my company’s operations. Sharpening my knowledge on agile management and following the process with the tourtrackr team has helped refine product development and team operations, making us more responsive to our target market’s needs.

Additionally, as the Congressional affairs director for the Congressional App Challenge, a national nonprofit working to connect today’s Congress with tomorrow’s coders, I have numerous speaking engagements ranging from livestreamed information sessions to public panels on the importance of STEM education. While I’ve gone to many public-speaking workshops before, what Zandarski taught us during “Executive Voice and Presence” gave me a different perspective. She helped me work on developing a commanding presence to truly engage any audience, whether a group of 10 or a crowd of 500.

Overall, these workshops have broadened my perspective and added great value to the core curriculum at Yale SOM. That is why instead of heading straight home after class on Saturday, I choose to stay and learn. These workshops are worth it!

Michael Hund ’18, Focus: Healthcare

The Yale School of Management’s Saturday workshop series provides tremendous value in developing us as leaders. It deepens the school’s commitment to the integrated core curriculum—which builds leadership by introducing us to and tying together key business perspectives such as The Executive, Competitor, Customer, and Innovator—by taking that framework for understanding leadership to new heights. The workshops offer a deeper dive into the peripheral skillsets, the skills that, while not always taught at traditional business schools, are equally as important to developing leaders with authenticity, innovation, and vision. Great leaders have the ability to pivot between and balance the functions of the left brain (analytical, strategic, logical, scientific, realism) and the right brain (creative, artistic, intuitive, passionate, imaginative). It has been my experience that the Saturday workshop series expands the right brain training. It is truly a gift to be able to walk out of a Global Macroeconomics class with renowned economist Lorenzo Caliendo and into an Executive Voice and Presence session with renowned acting coach Grace Zandarski from the Yale School of Drama. The ability to spend an afternoon with distinguished investing entrepreneur and author Roger Ibbotson in his Investor course, then join distinguished design entrepreneur and author Jessica Helfand for Visual Identity, Institutional Identity is an unparalleled experience empowering leaders with multi-dimensional insight and perspective. Nowhere else will you find the opportunity to explore 360 degrees of leadership not only academically, but individually.

I am a father, a real estate entrepreneur, and a healthcare professional dedicated to overcoming the obstacles standing in the way of delivering more treatments, longer lives, and eventually cures for cancer patients. All three roles require leadership rooted in a deep understanding of the different perspectives seated at the table. My focus area, healthcare, is such an electrifying area right now and ripe for entrepreneurs, leaders, and disruptors of all kinds. It is a field primed for innovation, and what better incentive than to know your ingenuity could save a life?

Yale SOM’s commitment to broadening perspectives with programs like the Saturday workshop series makes the school stand apart from our competitors and is rooted in a mission that permeates all facets of our being: Educating Leaders for Business and Society. The “and Society” piece is what makes the community and culture different; it sets an objective that as leaders in business our job is to not only think about shareholders, but to also think about stakeholders, specifically society at large and how we have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world around us in the pursuit of success.

Barjdeep Kaur ’18, Focus: Asset Management

As I evaluated Executive MBA programs nearly two years ago, one of the questions on my mind was how I would satiate my broader desire for learning while juggling full-time employment and a full MBA course load. I commuted from off campus as an undergraduate, so, in my MBA experience, I wanted to immerse myself in the broader surroundings of the school as much as practically possible. During an admissions event at Yale, I learned about the Saturday afternoon workshops and I was instantly hooked. This was another feather in Yale’s cap as I evaluated MBA programs for enrollment.

Since the beginning of my MBA studies at Yale, I have participated in every Saturday afternoon workshop. As each high-intensity class weekend wraps up, many of my peers and I stay for an immersion into the broader Yale community and a convenient opportunity to engage with faculty beyond those teaching in the EMBA program. The topics for each workshop are relevant to both professional and personal enrichment. As part of the presentation skills series, Professors Taly Reich and Grace Zandarski delivered key insights about how to use elements of storytelling to more effectively express one’s executive presence in engaging and high-impact formats. As part of the innovation module, we learned hands-on agile project management skills as we constructed a model city within small teams.

The Saturday afternoon workshops are one of the many ways that the EMBA team at Yale SOM goes above and beyond to deliver a best class MBA experience within an executive track format. This aspect of the program is truly unique and served as one of the many drivers in my decision to enroll at Yale.

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