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Takeaways From the Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program

With a background in computer science, Arvinder Kang is at home in the tech world, but when he launched a startup venture, he realized that he also needed training in business.

This June, he enrolled in Yale SOM’s two-week Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program to develop leadership and business skills and learn more about the benefits of the MBA.

Kang’s lean startup, The Turban Club, is a clothing company that creates fashionable takes on a garment that’s worn by many in his native India and elsewhere.

Arvinder Kang (center) and teammates make their
final presentation during the Global Pre-MBA
Leadership Program.

Q: Why was this the right point in your career to attend the Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program?

I have been pursuing entrepreneurship for the past two years. I have been a co-founder in a proposed ethnic FM radio station, in a behavioral-economics consulting firm, a Punjabi TV channel, and a technology-consulting firm.

Going through these bootstrap experiences, I realized how the lack of a business education can cost one a lot in terms of understanding entrepreneurial strategy and projection.

Many people think ideas build businesses. But I consider ideas a dime a dozen. Without the knowledge of how to bring ideas into reality, even the brightest ideas fade into oblivion. For example, back when I was in college, before Apple Pay or Google Wallet existed, I built a prototype and pitched a phone-to-phone money-transaction system in a business-school competition. No one took any notice.

You’ve got to know how to work with other people, exhibit leadership, market your ideas, build operations, and project economic viability before an idea becomes a product.

Q: Was the Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program effective in introducing concepts from business education in just two weeks?

A significant number of my classmates in the Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program did not have a business education background. But the Yale SOM faculty’s method of delivery—their pedagogical sensitivity coupled with the integrated curriculum—was very effective in getting the message across to students from diverse backgrounds.

Q: What were your big takeaways from the program?

The most important things I learned were about myself—my persona, my leadership style, my strengths, and my shortcomings. There were so many vehicles for this type of learning: insight reports, peer and group feedback, and late-night, frank discussions with classmates.

Another takeaway is the power of diversity. I have seen how, if you put people from different backgrounds and beliefs together and let a sense of camaraderie organically build among them, powerful and inspiring ideas arise.

View more photos from the Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program

Learn more about the Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program at Yale. In August, Yale SOM will debut Fundamentals of Management, a pre-MBA program in Beijing for recent college graduates with an interest in business.