Tips and Tricks from EMBA Travelers

At least 40% of our executive MBA students travel long distances every other weekend in order to earn their MBAs at Yale. They fly back and forth from cities across the U.S. or ride the Amtrak train up and down the East Coast.

February 9, 2016

Prospective students are increasingly asking us for information about how these deeply committed individuals plan their travel and fit it into their lives, and what tips and tricks they pick up along the way. Our students happily volunteered the details of their commutes and some insider tips:

Elizabeth Heng ’17

Elizabeth Heng ’17: Washington, D.C.

How do you travel to/from Yale?
Train and plane! Typically, I will take the Amtrak from Washington, D.C., to New Haven on Thursday evening. Since there’s Wi-Fi on the train, I finish any last-minute reading or class prep during the commute.

Upon my return, I fly from Hartford Bradley Airport back to Washington. There’s a group of us that carpool up. There are classmates that live in Hartford that I can catch a ride with, or I can ride with other classmates that are commuting by plane (e.g., the Atlanta and New Orleans crew). That way, I am back by 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night.

What are the exclusive, time-saving, efficiency tips that you’ve learned in this process?
Since starting school, I’ve definitely learned how to be more efficient with my life in general.

Looking back now, I wonder what I was doing with all of my free time prior to juggling work and school.

Anything else that candidates from your geographies should know/expect?
The commute isn’t bad. It’s either a 40-minute flight or a five-hour train ride where you can get a lot of your work done on the train. If anything, I always look forward to leaving the Washington, D.C., bubble. Although I love my job in politics, it’s nice to get a breath of fresh air!

Why is the Yale EMBA worth so much effort?
I find the course curriculum and community invaluable. In each Yale weekend, I typically pick up one to three new ideas from textbooks, lectures, and classmates that I can apply to my professional development. It’s truly rewarding to see the new ideas successfully implemented.

Craig Greene ’16

Craig Greene ’16: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

How do you travel to/from Yale?
To New Haven:
I leave my office in Baton Rouge every other Thursday about 3 p.m. I drive 60 miles to the New Orleans airport. There I meet two classmates and we board a Delta flight direct to New York. Upon landing, we take turns renting a car to drive to New Haven. We usually arrive at the Omni Hotel New Haven around midnight.

From New Haven:
On Saturday, we depart straight from class and take the same trek back to New York for a departing flight around 6:30 p.m. We usually arrive in New Orleans about 9:30 p.m., and I get home about 10:30 p.m.

I have four children between the ages of 5 and 14 and they are usually waiting anxiously for me to arrive and we go straight to Waffle House to catch up on the two nights of what I missed!

What are the exclusive, time-saving, efficiency tips that you’ve learned in this process?
I try to commit 45 minutes to an hour a day to this educational venture. While sometimes it requires more time than that, I certainly can see how this discipline will spill over to a continued habit of learning, even beyond graduation.

I also listened to audiobooks to and from airport (there is an app named Voice Dream that will read PDF files). I also work on the plane, both from and to New Orleans.
One other efficiency tip is to get your group to use Google docs, Google sheets, and Google slides for projects. Each person's contribution is made in real time and this is far more efficient than emailing drafts around.

Anything else that candidates from your geographies should know/expect?
Several folks asked me why I did not do an MBA program closer to home. I chose this one because of the healthcare influence and because of Yale and I have no regrets!

Why is the Yale EMBA worth so much effort?
Most things that are hard in life are worth it! This is a deep dive for sure. I have done hard training in the past (medical school, orthopedic surgery residency, trauma fellowship) and this program is indeed difficult. When I look back at my endeavors, I often think that it was the best thing I ever did and was difficult enough that I could not do it again.

I have no doubts that the Yale EMBA is the same. If it were easy, everyone would do it. I already sense that my MBA from Yale will open doors that I could not have entered and will allow me to process problems I could not have otherwise have conquered.

More than anything, I feel adopted into the Yale family and have 52 brothers and sisters in my class!

Matt James ’17

Matt James ’17: Atlanta, Georgia

How do you travel to/from Yale?
I typically fly directly from Atlanta to Hartford, Connecticut, and then rent a car for the approximately one-hour drive to New Haven. I then fly out of Hartford on Saturday after class. The Hartford airport is easy, uncrowded, and generally on-time. Hartford also has Ubers available if a car rental isn't suitable.

Other flight options back to Atlanta also include NYC airports JFK or LaGuardia on Saturday, as well as options out of Boston if suitable. My classmate Jamila and I are now "regulars" at the Hartford airport restaurant.

What are the exclusive, time-saving, efficiency tips that you’ve learned in this process?
Global Entry/TSA Precheck is key for Atlanta, and can definitely help for busy weekends in Hartford or an NYC airport.

Make sure to book the rental car ahead of time—Hertz at Hartford offers Hertz Gold service that doesn't require a visit to the counter. Dropping the car off at Hartford on the way home is easy; hop off an exit early for the airport, fill up the tank, drop the car, and hop on the shuttle to the airport.

Also, if you're flying out of Atlanta and parking is full, hit the new international terminal and go through security there. Precheck isn't always open but there are no lines, with easy access to the plane train.

Oh, and having a fun travel buddy helps too!

Anything else that candidates from your geographies should know/expect?
Anyone traveling from Atlanta knows the airport can be difficult, so bring plenty of reading for the plane ride and any delays. Worth the effort: Delta Platinum.

Seriously, though, I think Jamila and I are excited for class weekends. Not only do we have airport time to catch up and discuss our thoughts for the upcoming classes, but it also provides a clear break from the work week, to move into "class mode."

Why is the Yale EMBA worth so much effort?
Everyone is sharing the same experience, some traveling from even further afar, in order to be here. Anyone who puts in that amount of effort for the program is there to get as much as they can from the classes, networking, speakers, etc. The environment is warm and inviting, and our classmates are intelligent, successful, full-time professionals with unique perspectives on difficult problems.

David Robb ’17

David Robb ’17: San Antonio, Texas

What are the exclusive, time-saving, efficiency tips that you’ve learned in this process?
When you decide to pursue an executive MBA, work-life balance becomes work-life-school balance. Think of it as a three-legged stool and understand that it is incredibly important to make sure you are keeping all three stable.

Time is a precious commodity in this program and every minute you can shave off your travel time is potentially a minute you can be spending with your family and friends.

The first four months were a test-and-learn process of trying different airlines, airports, trains, shuttles, rental cars, and Ubers in order to bring my 12-hour-each-way commute from San Antonio, Texas, to New Haven, Connecticut, down to 7 hours. Make sure you are utilizing your most valuable asset, your peers, since they live and commute in the area regularly.

Learning at one of the greatest academic institutions in the world and being able to share that experience with your friends each class weekend make the trip worth it. And for the sake of your life balance, maximize those credit card rewards—you’re going to deserve that two-week international vacation you’ve accrued when it’s all over.

Sri Muthu ’16

Sri Muthu ’16: San Francisco, California

How do you travel to/from Yale?
There are two distinct flight options for travel between California and New Haven:

To New Haven:
1. Take the red eye from California to NYC airports and either shuttle or train to New Haven (train is great for catching up on reading).

Downside: tough on Friday mornings, weather can be tricky in winter, and less chances to socialize on Thursdays.

2: What I ended up doing:

A) Take red-eye on Wednesday, arrive Thursday, and work remotely (three-hour difference helps).

Upside: You are rested on Friday and you get to catch up Thursday at SOM with classmates and profs.

B) Take the day flight on Thursday. Work on the plane and arrive in the evening in New Haven via NYC. I did this couple of times but it was tough to be on {Wi-Fi) calls while on the plane.
From New Haven:
1. The latest flights to California are around 6:00 p.m. and there is one at 8:00 p.m. from Newark on Saturday. I typically take a shuttle to LaGuardia or JFK or the train to Newark.
Downside: sometimes a bit of rush to get to airport.
2. Stay over on Saturday night either in New Haven or New York (lots of classmates in both towns)

Get to do a ton of homework on Saturday
Get on an early morning flight from NYC and you get to be in California with plenty of daylight left

The return options are also doable from Boston via Amtrak.

Donna Lecky ’16

Donna Lecky ’16: Cincinnati, Ohio

How do you travel to/from Yale?
On flight options between Ohio and New Haven:

To and from Hartford from Cincinnati:
I travel to Hartford less often than I do to Newark International. At least there are several options.

When traveling to Hartford, there is one direct flight from Cincinnati in the afternoon. That flight is around 2:00 p.m., which is a little early for me to leave on Thursdays. The later flights connect generally through Detroit. So I generally get in at around 10:00 p.m. A cab ride from Hartford to New Haven is $120 and Uber is approximately $80.

By 10:00 p.m. it is too late to take the Connecticut Limo shuttle, which is $50, or the Amtrak train. If I catch the 2:00 p.m. flight, it gets in at 4:00 p.m., I catch the shuttle, and get to the Omni Hotel New Haven by 6:00 p.m. at the latest.

The return from Hartford leaves either at 3:30 p.m. during the summer, which is not feasible because we don’t get out of class in time. During the winter, the flights may leave around 4:30 to 5:20 p.m., again all via Detroit. The schedule constantly changes. The flight gets to Cincinatti between 8:30 p.m. and 9:50 p.m., depending on Delta's schedule.

To and From Newark International Airport from Cincinnati:

Newark for me is more convenient as there are more flight options and Amtrak is at the airport. (If your schedule is a challenge sometimes you have to be creative with JFK or LaGuardia, or even White Plains, New York, or Providence, Rhode Island. I just have to coordinate with classmates. Typically someone is coming from one of those airports late.) There are more flight options to Newark so you can leave fairly late from Cincinnati and if you miss the last Amtrak, usually there is the Metro North that can get you to New Haven, via Grand Central Station.

I typically get to Newark around 6:00 p.m., catch the 6:57 p.m. train and get to New Haven by 9:45 p.m. I usually arrive at the Omni Hotel New Haven by 10:00 p.m. I love the train ride as I can get any final reading done. Also, there is a large contingent of classmates on the train (in the café car, of course) heading to school. It's a lot of fun coming and going as you get to coordinate on projects, decompress with a few cocktails, and certainly have a few laughs. I've taken the 4:09 p.m. train heading south from New Haven on Saturdays. From May ‘til October I take this train after class weekend and head to Philadelphia to spend Saturday night with family. The “4:09ers,” as we are affectionately known, approximates 8-12 classmates. We all attempt to squeeze into the café car, where the rule is, if you get on first you must save seats.

It has been loads of fun getting to know this group particularly well and has been one of the many highlights of my experience with the program.

To and From New Haven (Tweed) from Cincinnati:

Cincinnati to Tweed: no direct flights. Fly via Philadelphia. The afternoon flight departs at 1:30 p.m. and arrives at Tweed at 5:06 p.m.; alternatively, there's the 3:45 p.m. or the 6:14 p.m., which both get in at 10:00 p.m.. Tough on the front end because the flight gets in late at night but at least it takes only 13 minutes to get to the Omni Hotel New Haven from the airport. The flight back is not bad either, usually leaves around 3:00 p.m. and you can make it from campus if you hustle or leave class 10 minutes early. This flight gets in at 8:00 p.m. versus Delta's 10:00 p.m. The summer schedule is a challenge since American acquired USAir. The latest flight during the summer generally is 1:00 p.m.—again, not feasible.

Ashish Mishra ’17

Ashish Mishra ’17: Houston, TX


What started as a quest for getting out of my comfort zone and improving myself has manifested into a transformational sojourn over the past seven months.

Continue reading travel tips from Houston resident Ashish Mishra ’17