As a community of individuals from diverse backgrounds, sexual orientations, and cultures, we had the opportunity to showcase our stories—what makes Yale SOM a welcoming home to all—on September 17 and 18 during Yale SOM Communities: Discover Diverse Perspectives.
Prospective students from across the country who identify with Out of Office (LGBTQ) (OOO), the Black Business Alliance (BBA), and the Latino Leadership Association (LLA) visited us to hear more about diversity at our B school. In showing them true Yale hospitality, our community stepped up to welcome many overnight guests into our homes during the two-day event.
The first thought that comes to mind when hosting prospective students is my experience when I was applying. I remember I was anxious, worried I wouldn’t fit in with the culture. I remember thinking: What if they don’t fancy that I don’t have experience in business? What if they think I don’t belong here, that I wouldn’t be able to make it through? I went through the usual broken record of self-doubt we all experience in some way or another when we’re vulnerable, evaluated in the process of vying for a spot. I came out of my visit as a prospective applicant knowing SOM was my number-one choice. That’s how strongly a part of SOM I felt during the visit. It didn’t hurt that my host’s roommate invited me to Woolsey Hall for a Yale Symphony rehearsal of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. A one-audience-member rehearsal, it was just me and them, and the epic organ. It still gives me chills.
I immediately signed up for hosting two prospective applicants visiting us for Yale SOM Communities. This was my opportunity to show a little of the generosity I’d been shown. This time, a marginally less classy, “tight and bright party” at GPSCY (a bar for Yale grad students) was the closing event in lieu of Mahler. Yet, the highlight of the two-day event was meeting some of the talent that could be joining us in the coming years. I hosted Alex, who joined us from Teach For America, and Ralph, who joined us from Lockheed Martin. Their inspiring stories of how they’ve made the journey to consider an MBA, their in-depth questions, and their excitement about Yale were not only moving, but also invigorating. It’s wonderful to see so many talented candidates wanting to make their mark here.
D’Andre Carr ’16, Paul Minnice ‘16, and I presented to the group about our clubs’ professional, social, and academic programs and happily answered personal questions during individual office hours. I saw a lot of smiling faces and non-stop interaction. We also hosted panels led by some of our club members and leaders to give prospective students a chance to hear about recruiting and social life and ask questions directly to current students.
My favorite moment: I walked past a small break-out room and saw 15 of our guests huddled around in a great conversation with D’Andre Carr ’16 (Black Business Alliance Club leader), laughing and clapping included. They looked like SOM students already! I know they felt like it, and that’s part of why we host these events.
There was a great sense of community. We received so many thank-you emails; I know the simple gesture of hosting, let alone hosting an inclusive and immersive event, is a statement about our culture of support. I’m moved by the wonderful people I met, by the future of our school as it grows with diversity at its core, and am reminded of the positive, generous, and welcoming energy that led me to chose Yale. Thank you to OOO, BBA, and LLA for supporting the event, and to Tiffany Gooden and Lauren Chelli for making it happen.