The Yale School of Management is set apart from its peers by a central tenet in the school’s mission—the commitment to engage with, contribute to, and benefit from the home university.
Yale College and SOM are integrated through culture, academics, and mission, but it is notably the charge to educate and develop leaders, more than any class, that unites the two schools.
However, shared aspirations do not automatically translate leadership theory into practice and there is surprisingly little emphasis placed on the development of practical leadership and management skills at the undergraduate level. Perhaps the answer of how we can turn Yale into an incubator for the best leaders in the country lies at the intersection of Yale College and the School of Management.
RevYale was founded upon this vision. The program offers students opportunity to take these shared leadership aspirations and implement them in real time, on the ground, through partnerships between MBA candidates and undergraduate leaders of organizations. At the heart of RevYale is a belief in the power of engagement and connection between individuals—the undergraduate leaders of organizations and their MBA counterparts.
In a one-year partnership, MBA students, or “RevPros,” are matched with undergraduate leaders of organizations in a partnership built around taking these organizations from good to great. The strategies RevPros employ to solve these organizational issues look similar to those of management consulting but the relationships between the undergraduate and graduate students are far richer, embracing aspects of coaching, mentorship, and friendship that cut across the divide between schools. Through RevYale, MBA candidates and undergraduate leaders also get access to a year of workshops, speakers, and other resources designed to provide leadership and organizational skills and build a community between the two schools.
The benefits to MBA students are many. The program gives the RevPros the opportunity to hone their consulting skills by challenging them to identify real organizational problems and implement solutions on a limited budget and timeframe but with an exciting potential to effect change.
It also gives them the opportunity to translate the classroom lessons from the Leadership Development Program into practice by coaching and leading future leaders. It is a low-risk and high-reward opportunity to catalyze the personal and organizational development of those around them and effect long-lasting and widespread change in their immediate community within their two short years at SOM.
There is no shortage of undergraduate organizations to match with the diverse skill sets and interests of the MBA students. Yale College has 274 registered organizations, each with aspiring leaders, committed members, and powerful mission statements. But among the multidisciplinary classes, liberal arts focus, and flexibility of coursework, the College lacks a concrete focus on leadership development or organizational management. Student leaders are not armed with the skills and tools they need and as a result it is difficult for most student leaders to feel as though they are maximizing their impact within their organization and surrounding community.
But, by bridging the divide between the two schools, this weakness can be turned into an opportunity to harness the skills and expertise of MBA students in project-based, goal-oriented organizational development. Undergraduate leaders finally have the opportunity to translate their vision for the club into reality and make a lasting impact upon their immediate community while developing the skills they need to serve as leaders when they leave Yale and go out into world.
By pairing the excitement and ambitions of undergraduates with the experience and skillset of MBA candidates, RevYale offers an opportunity to develop leaders, build organizations, and bridge the two schools and contribute to Yale’s overarching mission of educating its students for leadership in scholarship, the professions, and society.