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A Positively Positive NPV Project.

Just shy of two months ago, I sat cross-legged on the floor of A-74 (the largest lecture hall at SOM) and watched The Wizard of Oz for the first time in more than a decade. Finals had ended, three weeks of precious vacation unfolded before me like a sunlit valley; my classmates had taken off--either to toast the end of the semester at New Haven's finest pubs or to board planes, trains, and buses bound for all parts of the world; and I was watching Dorothy incredulously inform Toto that they were "not in Kansas anymore".I enjoy my first moments of freedom just as much as the next girl--especially when those moments trail four months of Excel, problem sets, Powerpoint, and small group meetings. Only something really, really important could have kept me in a classroom while the eager masses dispersed. The SOM Internship fit the bill. On the off-chance that SOM's crown jewel has escaped you, allow me to explain. In 1979, before any other management school in the country, a group of SOM students established the Internship Fund to support their classmates' pursuit of summer internships in the nonprofit, public, and social enterprise sectors. Although it's undergone a few transformations over the years, the Internship Fund continues to advance SOM’s mission to train leaders for all sectors of society by financing low or unpaid internships dedicated to resolving some of the most pressing social, economic, and political issues today. This year, the Internship Fund hopes to raise at least $200,000 to support more than 45 members of the Class of 2011. To accomplish these ambitious goals, we've organized a Student Pledge Drive (Student Fundraising Week kicks off this Monday, February 1), a talent show benefit, and a silent and live auction (April 15). Although this sort of campaign understandably takes a lot of time and effort from a lot of people, the SOM Internship Fund is a positive NPV project for sure. For me, it was one of two reasons that I came to SOM (for the second reason you'll have to wait with bated breath for my next blogpost!). When so many business schools were touting their support of the social sector but not necessarily following through, it was reassuring to see that SOM put its money where its mouth was--encouraging its graduates to lend their skills to "business and society" and making it its mission to instill a spirit of cooperation and social responsibility across the community. Heck, even Dean Oster is in on the action, promising to donate $25,000 to the Internship Fund when our class achieves 100% participation. As you probably have already deduced, the theme of this year's Internship Fund is "There's No Place Like SOM," a sentiment I enthusiastically endorsed even before I had brushed up on the 1939 classic that served as its inspiration. Although this is contrafactual (which, as we learned in Competitor, means it's difficult to know with certainty), I would conjecture that few schools live their mission everyday the way Yale SOM does. As the Internship Fund proves, this is a community of individuals who support public service as wholeheartedly as they support one another, a community that measures value in more than just dollars and cents. Did you ever think it could be true of an MBA program??? We really aren't in Kansas anymore; we're in New Haven, CT. To learn how you can support the Internship Fund this spring, please visit our new and improved website: