Hooks

January 28, 2010

So us first years are now more than a quarter of the way through the MBA programme already and the second years have less than a quarter left. It’s no less true for being a cliché – time flies. The first semester was nothing if not a little on the busy side* – a flurry of cases, problem sets and, for many of us, a great deal of new material. Early on, Dean Oster – while teaching a portion of our introductory microeconomics class – mentioned that one of the faculty’s main goals in both the design and delivery of the integrated curriculum was to arm us with an internalised library of ‘hooks’ on which we can draw when we return to the working world to put our education into practice. Now that I’m a fair way through the course, I’ve really begun to understand exactly what this means. Winter break for me was a mixture of work and play (mainly play) and – after hopping on a plane a day after finals ended – it took me a good few days to switch out of ‘school mode’. Shortly after landing in the Austrian Alps and strapping my snowboard to my legs, I found myself looking around and seeing problems and opportunities everywhere. Whether it was considering competition amongst the various means of transport available to get guests from four different airports to the resort, thinking about new ways of marketing my brother’s travel company through new media channels or trying desperately to map out a better way to manage issues associated with the ever-irritating continental European aversion to queuing for ski lifts, clearly that internalised library of ‘hooks’ was subconsciously being rifled through. One of my major reasons for coming to business school was the expectation that I would be able to leave well-versed in what I had termed the ‘language’ of business. Now I’m a quarter of the way through, I realise that I had misinterpreted both the expectation and the reality of this. It’s not a case of switching on or off – the Yale curriculum, in its content and intensity, instills in us a commercial mindset that encourages a problem-solving approach that can be applied unanimously across sectors, borders and in almost any context. It’s more than just an expanded vocabulary – for me the reality to date has been the stimulation of a new way of thinking. * understatement of the year

About the author

Mark Butterworth