Yale School of Management

EMBA Liftoff: Mark deVry '16

How do you fit the MBA for Executives into your busy life? Four new EMBA students share their perspectives on transitioning to a new normal during the first month at Yale SOM.

After our two-week SOM “boot-camp,” I collapsed into my Amtrak seat looking forward to a few hours of sleep as I headed home from a jam-packed weekend of learning. I felt exhausted, humbled, and had a strong desire to rejoin my family – all predictable. As Connecticut vanished outside my window, I pondered how I could best fit this program into my already busy life? And why

I suspect every Yale SOM MBA for Executives student asks themselves these same questions during the first few months.  I wondered how my 51 classmates might answer.  Classmates with large families, new babies, commutes from places like Brazil and San Francisco, and smart-phone exploding professional schedules. My short answer during boot camp was commensurate with the experiencejust do it and reflect later.  But now, with boot camp and a couple of weekend sessions under my belt, I can reflect.  

Fortunately, the Yale SOM team put together a unique bargain, a carefully selected class and community driven by what our Leadership professors recognize as “internal” or purposeful motivation.

On that first train-ride home, another, more unpredictable feeling emerged. Disappointment. I was going to miss Professor Swersey’s endearing probability anecdotes. I was going to miss breakfast at the Omni with the “regulars.” I was going to miss late-night entrepreneurial discussions. Most of all, I was going to miss learning with an unrivaled mix of talented classmates, professors, and staff. However, my disappointment quickly turned to excitement once I remembered I would take the same train back to school in two short weeks. I spoke with other classmates and they had similar feelings.    

In the short-term, some may “fit” long train rides, homework, and late nights into their lives. But approaching the program as a series tasks to compartmentalize seems unsustainable. More to the point—you do not miss tasks. Fortunately, the Yale SOM team put together a unique bargain, a carefully selected class and community driven by what our Leadership professors recognize as “internal” or purposeful motivation. When you package this group together with the commute, homework, and late nights, you do not get a series of tasks. Instead, all the components combine to form the Yale SOM Experience.  People miss experiences.  

But this doesn’t seem to completely answer the question. Perhaps I could channel advice from a few of our SOM professors. 

Professor Novemsky may suggest that “fitting” the SOM Experience is a set-up for failure.  You need to “reframe” the question. How will you merge this experience with the rest of your life? 

Professor Kolev might suggest an accounting approach. If you credit time and money, you must balance the accounting equation with a debit to the asset SOM Experience

Professor Swersey would of course insist on using the “sincere” method to determine the conditional probability of a student achieving equilibrium, given exceptional classmates surrounded by a community of purpose.  P=1.   

In the end, for me, the answer remains straightforward.  There is no set formula, but the how and the why are correlated parts of the same question.  A community of people driven by an internal purpose, converts classes, homework, plane rides, late nights, and mental exhaustion into an experience to be anticipated and shared. How does one merge the SOM Experience into their busy life?  They want to do it.

About the author

Mark deVry

Partner and Director of SaluteHealth, Equilateral Ventures