Business school, for all intents and purposes, tends to be a heavily left-brained undertaking. Armed with our toolkit of Excel models, storyboards and GANTT charts, we’re pretty much always predicting, analyzing, optimizing, proofreading or managing something—a case, a group project or a problem set.
Even pure leisure such as parties and group dinners gets mapped out on Google spreadsheets. In other words, if our left brain and right brain could arm wrestle, there is no doubt which one I’m putting my money on.
Once a semester, though, the Arts & Culture Club at Yale SOM hosts a coffeehouse that unfetters our right brain to have its day, and the evening simply dazzles with an array of color, music and laughter. A low-stakes, high-comedy event, the coffeehouse becomes a haven where we can shed our two-piece suits, our veneers of perpetual professionalism and our fear of failure. Anyone and everyone who wants to can perform, and no, for once, we need not optimize for perfection.
Last week’s coffeehouse proved no different. True to our global mission, the night featured the stunning debut of the Chinese pipa as well as a Latin Pop performance, “Ojalá Que Llueva Café,” from a trio of classmates now dubbed “The Three Amigos.” SOM’s premier a cappella group, the Notes Payable, cracked us up with its enthusiastic rendering of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” and another classmate literally brought tears to my eyes with an original piano piece that he had composed for his son.
With graduation coming up in a month, I find that the coffeehouse is one of those SOM traditions that I will miss the most. It embodies many of the things I love about SOM: the incredible talent of the student body, the diversity of backgrounds, the sense of community and, most importantly to me, the ability to not only be serious when the occasion calls for it—but also to let loose when the occasion doesn’t.