One of the questions I am most frequently asked—and I know the same is true for my fellow deans at other top business schools—is how we are responding to the disruptive force of technology. My answer has two parts: (1) technology offers top business schools tremendous opportunities; and (2) the question of how to best leverage technology has to start with fundamentals: our mission, our value proposition to students, and how to enhance the latter in support of the former.
Today, I am excited to announce a new feature of the Yale MBA for Executives program. Leveraging state-of-the-art classroom technology in Edward P. Evans Hall, our home on the Yale campus, we will now enable students to occasionally join class from their home, office, or a hotel room during a business trip. We call it the Extended Classroom.
Why use technology in this fashion? The Yale MBA for Executives is a rigorous and demanding program. For almost two years, students come to campus every other weekend while remaining fully engaged in their careers and balancing family time or other personal commitments. Due to our unique offering—the innovative Yale integrated curriculum, comprehensive leadership development, and a deep dive into healthcare, sustainability, or asset management—we are attracting more candidates than ever. A growing number of our program participants reside far from New Haven, including abroad, and many are constantly traveling for work. The Extended Classroom gives all Yale EMBA students a measure of flexibility and reassurance; they know they can keep up with the program even if circumstances prevent them from coming to campus for a given class weekend. And this, in turn, is good news for families and employers.
The Extended Classroom allows students to be present without being physically present – they are able to see, hear, and engage with their classmates in real-time. They can raise their hands and contribute to discussion as if they were sitting in the room. Students on campus can see their peers on dedicated screens, as can the professor. And if the professor sends students to breakout rooms for a small-group discussion or to work on a team project, a dedicated classroom media coordinator makes sure that any student in the group using the Extended Classroom is already connected, ready to participate, when his or her teammates have completed the short walk over.
We have been evaluating and fine-tuning the Extended Classroom in a pilot program this year, and we are confident that it is ready to go live. The pilot has also confirmed that the Extended Classroom does indeed enhance the value proposition to students in support of our mission, to educate leaders for business and society. Thanks to this innovation, busy executives who are often on the move can commit to and benefit from a highly structured, rigorous, on-campus program. And by attracting and educating the best aspiring leaders for business and society, we deliver on our mission.
Most importantly, we are not changing the character of our program. We’ve created policies to ensure that on any given weekend, nearly all students will be on campus. Specifically, students cannot participate in the Extended Classroom on two consecutive class weekends and the number of Extended Classroom spots per weekend is limited. This means that the Yale MBA for Executives continues to be what it is known for—a Yale program, delivered on campus by extraordinary faculty, that builds an enduring community of purpose.
If you have questions or comments about the Extended Classroom or any other aspect of the program or our school, please reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Senior Associate Dean for Executive MBA and Global Programs & Professor in the Practice of Management