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A Veteran Finds A New Community at Yale SOM

On an International Experience trip to the Balkans

Air Force veteran Albert Yu ’19 explains why he chose Yale SOM after he transitioned out of the military.

When I made the decision to transition out of the Air Force, I wanted to make sure there was a structured way for me to explore potential professional interests while at the same time deeply engaging with things I cared about. I knew I wanted a career in technology, but I also knew I needed to take a pause in order to truly understand the entire spectrum of options available. I decided that the medium of an MBA would allow me this time and preparation, and that the program had to be at an institution that would further develop the skills I learned in the Air Force. It was also important that the program be rooted in an understanding of the interplay between business and society, and the tradeoffs that it entails. Yale SOM met these criteria.

Through its curriculum, the SOM MBA program provides the structure to explore new technology introduction, starting by fostering different ways to think about innovation. This has helped me to build upon my experience in the Air Force, where I developed new technologies for America’s warfighters and also for the people who rely on these weapon systems to keep themselves and the nation safe. Several courses have complemented what I learned as a program manager in the Air Force by challenging me to consider the perspectives of the various stakeholders involved in projects—a step critical to appropriately scaling an idea or project, establishing its costs, and modeling new technologies. In particular, the Sourcing and Managing Funds class taught by Jacob Thomas gave me an excellent start on how to produce a cost model.

Beyond academics, Yale SOM has given me not only access to the Yale network and community, but also a sense of belonging: I can walk into any Yale-related event and feel at home. This is a great aspect of the program that’s similar to the community I experienced in the military. Another benefit of the Yale SOM experience is that the Yale network is vast. I’ve been able to meet government and business leaders in many countries due to the Yale network. This was especially true during the International Experience in the Balkans. Professor Ivana Katic led our class through the region, and we thoroughly experienced all the advances that history, politics, and business has brought. Professor Katic has extensive connections with many of the premier leaders in that region, and this really opened my eyes to the global nature of business and its affect upon the United States and its partners. I can only imagine that this is just one example of what the Yale SOM curriculum offers.