Yale School of Management

Advice from an Alumnus

Recent grad Sri Muthu ’16 shares some hard-won wisdom with first- and second-year students.

September 9, 2016

If you’re reading this, you’re already slightly ahead of the game. The EMBA team always does a great job of keeping students informed, whether it’s by email, newsletter, or other means of communication. Thanks to Vani Nadarajah, EMBA director of admissions, I am gratefully tasked with sharing with you some of the hard-won wisdom I gleaned while in your shoes over these past two years.

Tip 1. It’s about the community.

I will repeat: It’s all about the community. You are active participants in creating, shaping, and enjoying the interactions with your peers, other students at Yale SOM, the faculty, the staff, and alumni.  Step out of your comfort zone, reach out and speak to the quiet student, ask the question you always wanted to of the amazing professor. Engage with the larger community: The IT staff is ready for you; they can totally help you when that specialized software package hangs (just wait…). The person looking lost is likely a rock star “MPPM” Yale SOM alum in awe of the new building. Help with directions and if you do nothing else, just introduce yourself and ask for his or her name. Our entire community is both expansive and close-knit and is welcoming of those who choose to participate. So come out and play!

Tip 2.  Take advantage of the various academic, club, and social programs offered.

I know from experience that juggling work, family, travel, and homework feels like more than enough to handle. Getting to campus early on Thursdays might seem like a luxury, but it is totally worth it. Just attending the Closing Bell on Thursday evenings will provide engaging interactions with the full-time MBA and MAM cohorts. Many of the graduate schools at Yale offer events on Thursday afternoons and evenings with amazing speakers. If you need a break (and you will), gather some classmates and head to the Yale Cabaret for a late-evening show—you just may see a future Oscar winner.  Join the academic clubs you always wanted to learn more about. Even if you can’t make the regular meetings, they will keep you in the loop about speakers, conferences, case competitions, and opportunities. Also, see Tip 1.

Tip 3 .  Technical stuff

Here are some technical tips, and I will keep it simple:

1. Use Google Docs or Office 365 so that in group assignments, all of you can see the collective work in progress (or lack of).

2. Have a backup conferencing system and make sure that each of you can start the bridge—not just the leader.

3. If you have printer issues, just go straight to the IT staff (see Tip 1). Do not print using the downstairs printer; it is always busy. If you use the shared computers, remember to delete your files, downloads, and personal documents when you log off.

And finally, to round this off, here are my personal top three final tips:

1.Take part in as many Global Network Weeks as you possibly can (especially if you can get your classmates to go with you). You will thank me.

2. Reach out to Master of Advanced Management (MAM) students; they are the cream of the best global B-schools. These folks are the hidden gems of Yale SOM (like the EMBAs).

3. Make time to meet with faculty outside of class. Just like you, they are busy professionals, and just like you, they appreciate real conversations with smart, talented, and accomplished folks.

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Sri Muthu