A little secret...

If you haven't gotten the chance already, I'd recommend reading the recent blog posts discussing the International Experience. As a second-year student, I can honestly say that this 10-day trip abroad is one of the most formative, memorable and unique parts of the Yale SOM experience. As my classmates have described in their blog posts, the list of leaders that we have access to by traveling under the Yale SOM name is remarkable. However, I'd like to let you in on a little secret ... {C}{C}...the exposure to esteemed leaders is not just a 10-day ordeal, it happens every single day at the Yale School of Management. Some of the speakers come to our classes, others visit as part of the Dean's Lecture Series or simply stop by as part of a club event. Listed below is a sampling of the speakers that I have personally seen and interacted with so far during the Spring 2012 semester. I am currently taking a class called Strategic Leadership Across Sectors, which is taught by Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld. Each class features an esteemed panel that helps us dive into a specific aspect of leadership. Guests this semester include Mickey Drexler (CEO of J. Crew, former CEO of Gap Inc.), Reuben Mark (Former Chariman & CEO, Colgate-Palmolive), Ray Gilmartin (Former Chairman, President & CEO, Merck & Co.), Jeffrey Bewkes (President, Chairman & CEO, Time Warner), Shelly Lazarus (Chairman & CEO, Ogilvy & Mather) and Dominic Barton (Worldwide Managing Director, McKinsey & Company). I just received the syllabus for a class that starts on Wednesday called "Strategic Marketing Leadership," which is taught by Professor Ravi Dhar and Senior Faculty Fellow Arun Sinha (who most recently served as the Global Chief Marketing Officer of Zurich Financial). This class takes on a similar format, but views leadership through the lens of the CMO. Guests will include John Hayes (CMO, American Express), Beth Comstock (CMO, General Electric), Antonio Lucio (CMO, Visa) and Dave Calhoun (CEO, Nielsen). Beyond the classroom, I recently attended the Yale School of Management Center for Customer Insights Conference where the speakers included John Iwata (CMO, IBM), Geoff Cottrill (CMO, Converse), Gina Boswell (EVP Personal Care, Unilever) and Claire Johnson (VP, New Products, Media and Platforms, Google). Other recent guests that I have seen include Martin Sorrell (CEO, WPP Group), Roland Betts (Chairman of Chelsea Piers, former owner of the Texas Rangers), Jim Attwood (Managing Director, The Carlyle Group), Henry Paulson (former Secretary of Treasury), Stanley McChrystal (former 4-star General of the US Army) and Vince Gennaro (MLB Network Contributor). It is important to note that students are also granted the opportunity to interact with these leaders in intimate settings. In "Strategic Leadership Across Sectors," each student is allowed to go to a small group lunch with one set of panelists (I'll be lunching with Shelly Lazarus and Dominic Barton). Dean Snyder hosts small group lunches for all the speakers he brings to campus as well (I recently lunched with Sir Martin Sorrell). Additionally, as one of the leaders of the Marketing Club, I had the opportunity to have lunch with the speakers from the YCCI conference. It goes without saying that we have an incredible core that teaches us all the fundamental "hard skills" that an MBA should know, but the opportunity to test these ideas through interactions with some of the top leaders in the world is truly unique to the Yale SOM experience. Hopefully this post gives you a sampling of how special a place Yale SOM is.

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Alex Roberts