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Where Business Meets Society

In observance of the inauguration of Yale President Peter Salovey, Yale University threw open its doors this weekend with special events and festivities for university affiliates as well as the greater public. While most of the second-year MBAs were out of town for fall break, my Monday flight meant that I could join my friend from the School of Public Health in exploring the campus Open House today.

Even outside of today, opportunities to engage the broader university community have been a highlight of second year so far, one quarter in. SOM’s flexible second-year curriculum grants us the intellectual latitude to explore areas of interest that may not fall under the purview of so-called “traditional” business school. For example, I am taking a class at Yale Law School (YLS) on “Guns in the United States” that has forever changed the way I understand the Second Amendment as well as—to my surprise—the fallibility of statistics.

While I had not anticipated fortifying my data analysis skills in a law school class on firearms, I have thoroughly enjoyed putting the statistical training we acquired last year to use in evaluating the empirical arguments that researchers have made for and against, for example, the ban of firearms as a crime reduction intervention. In another class in the sociology program, I have been surprised by how the organizational design challenges of armed groups in wartime mirror those of, say, Fortune 500 companies in peacetime. Just as Zappos must align its strategies for recruiting, orientation and professional development to achieve operational success, so did the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone (albeit in a very different way).  

Given my bias for action and passion for practical interventions, I have relished these opportunities to apply our business school learning across disciplines, and doing so in these classes—alongside insightful peers from YLS, Yale College, the School of Public Health and the Yale Divinity School, no less—has been a tremendous privilege and enriching experience indeed.