One of the distinct pleasures I have in my role in the Office of Admissions is the opportunity to interact with the many impressive individuals who make up our current student and alumni community. I recently caught up with alumna Logan Yonavjak ’16. Logan currently works as an independent consultant to investors and companies looking to create positive impact. The MBA for Executives program was Logan’s second experience with Yale, as she also studied at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES), located just down the street from SOM’s home, Evans Hall. Logan had a number of valuable insights to share with me about her experiences with Yale, both as a student and an alumna.
With her professional background in NGOs and some time at FES already under her belt, Logan wanted to pursue an MBA to help her develop both her business and financial acumen. Since graduating from SOM, Logan has been able to leverage all of these skills to focus and target her efforts on projects that align with her professional goals and personal mission. “Most of what I do is consult around ways to structure and finance land investments for investors, funds, and companies,” she said. “ It’s basically everything I’d hoped I’d be working on at this point in my career, and this MBA program was instrumental in getting me where I am.”
As Logan reflected on her time in the MBA for Executives, a few things stood out for her: As a student in the asset management area of focus, she was able to leverage both the curriculum and her peers’ experience to expand her knowledge of different forms of finance and investing. At the same time, she found value in the opportunity to learn from students and faculty from different backgrounds, she said. “I liked the way that the program was structured, with cross-pollination between asset management, healthcare, and sustainability, as well as other programs across campus.”
One example of this was Logan’s collaboration with Professor Todd Cort, the current faculty director of the sustainability area of focus. Cort is also a faculty co-director for the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY), a partnership between the Yale School of Management and FES. Logan and Cort worked together on research that qualified for a CBEY grant, and they subsequently published a journal article together, “Data-Driven Green Bond Ratings: A Market Catalyst,” in the Journal of Investing.
Beyond relationships with the faculty, Logan valued the intimacy of the program and the relationships that the small cohort size enabled her and other EMBA students to develop. “I thought the size of the program was ideal for me,” she said. “My undergraduate institution was large, and while I found my own niche, it was a massive institution. I’m glad I got to have the experience of a smaller program like the MBA for Executives. It was really intimate, and I felt like I got to work with most of my classmates on some project or another. I also liked how the Fridays and Saturdays were so concentrated.” These relationships went beyond transactional interactions: “There were days where there would be something that kicked off a joke, and I just remember the whole group laughing. I have these great memories of really funny moments where people were authentic and just really enjoying themselves.”
For Logan, the partnerships with her peers didn’t end once she graduated. “I’m in pretty regular contact with a lot of the people I met,” she said. “I have this network now that I can call if I have a question about something I’m working on. If I need some advice on how to think about a real estate transaction or whether to take on a new consulting client, I have a direct connection. The alumni network is extraordinary, and there’s never a situation where I wouldn’t be able to get information that I needed from the right person.”
At the end of our conversation, Logan shared a few reflections for those considering applying to the program: “I think it’s a great time to take a pause in your career—not a pause from working, but an opportunity to fill in some of gaps and spend time with a group of people that are super motivated and thoughtful from a variety of really interesting backgrounds. You can’t leave this program not being changed in some important way.”
For more information on Logan and the work she does, be sure to check out her website.