“Eminent and Purposeful Yale”
After only a couple months being in New Haven, I have been amazed by the wealth of resources that comes from being at an institution like Yale. Yale SOM is trying to fully integrate itself with the broader Yale University, leveraging the full breadth and depth of resources at Yale. One of Dean Snyder’s goals is to collaborate and utilize connections between SOM and Yale’s other leading programs including Law, Forestry and Environmental Science, Medical, Divinity, Global Affairs, and of course Yale College. Having come from a management consulting background with a more recent focus in international development prior to SOM, I am interested in how business can be used to achieve social change, particularly in the developing world. With so many opportunities here at Yale, I am excited to learn more about the complex nature of doing business in a developing world context and the delicate balance between doing social good and seeking financial and sustainable return on investment. Yet, Thursday cemented the reality that I am at the broader Yale institution, not just the School of Management. As my classmates can attest, sometimes it can be easy to stay within our “business school bubble”, nestled in the comfort of familiar surroundings. However, Thursday, I had the opportunity to hear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma live from Sprague Hall.
A Memorable Nobel Laureate Speech
Presenting my ticket to enter the hall, I was impressed by a diverse audience from students, faculty, and alumni, eager to hear Burma’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech. Daw Suu is best known for her work promoting international humanitarian rights and a democratic government for her home country of Burma, eventually receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She is currently a member of the Burmese parliament where she chairs the National League for Democracy in Burma. I remember reading about her work in the Economist earlier in the year while I was in Cairo, thinking about how amazing it would be to hear her in person discussing her resilience and vision in ushering in Burma’s political transition. And now, she was right in front of me - a woman who has been the powerful, non-violent force for democracy for Burma and the world, sacrificing many years in house arrest for the cause. Her grace and poise was even more radiant as she stood dignified among the audience of 300 on-lookers and many more watching online. Her public address focused mainly on the need for rule of law within Burma as the foundation for democracy. “The process of democratization will only be successful once rule of law is re-established with due process and democratic and just laws,” she remarked. Yet her articulate rhetoric was coupled with personal recollections of incidents and people, including herself, who had experienced the repercussions of a lack of rule of law, making this “larger than life” figure real and down-to-earth. Daw Suu’s fortitude and rock solid commitment to her ideals and values are awe-inspiring. When asked “what kept [her] going,” she gave some advice that I will take to heart. To paraphrase Daw Suu’s wise words, she remarked “we must not be shaken by external circumstances (bad or even good fortune). We must detach from the immediate and look at the broader picture of the person we want to be and strive toward being that person.” I walked out inspired and thankful for being at Yale! It is experiences like these that I would not have found at many other business schools and I hope to continue to take advantage of more and more of these opportunities in the future.