At my undergraduate institution, the University of Cambridge, I studied manufacturing engineering, being attracted to a point of view that put engineering into an industrial context. I knew before entering my college senior year that I wanted to enroll in a MBA program early in my career to contextualize the relationship between industry and society using similar systems thinking. For candidates like myself there were few formal options available among business schools. There are various reasons why I was attracted to the Silver Scholar program, and some other aspects that I only discovered after entering that I will highlight in this post.
The Silver Scholar program is unique in its structure – students enter directly, and complete at least one year of work experience before taking their second year of MBA. Past Silver Scholars have used this year to work with organizations as diverse as McKinsey, the Princeton Endowment Fund, Hadapt and Fab. Some Silver Scholars will take more than a year out to pursue work opportunities, so there is definitely flexibility in the program. As a first year Silver Scholar, I feel that I am gaining practical training through the first year MBA curriculum that will equip me to excel in my work experience next year, rather than entering blindly. Other business schools either discourage students from entering directly from undergraduate courses, or request that students defer entry by a few years to get work experience before entering the school and completing the two-year MBA program in one go.
Many Silver Scholars will cite the opportunity to accelerate through their career as a key hook of the program. As we undergo an integrated curriculum in the first year of MBA, we are able to reflect a wealth of knowledge during the recruiting process that enables us to bypass entry level jobs. After a minimum of three years from undergraduate graduation, we will be in the same position at graduation to apply for MBA-level jobs. When it comes to finding year-long placements after our first MBA year, we are incredibly fortunate to have Kristy, a dedicated careers advisor for Silver Scholars, helping us to shape our stories
There is strong support for Silver Scholars from faculty and other students. When I was accepted to Yale SOM, Dan Kent, a Silver Scholar in the year above reached out to discuss any questions I might have about the program. Dean Jain and Professor Nalebuff took us under their wing as mentors to the program, and we have been invited to various meals with deans and careers advisors to discuss any issues or challenges we face. We are able to fully integrate into the SOM community, taking positions in club leadership and on student government. A lot of people argue that we’ll have a fragmented experience because we won’t graduate with the same cohort that we came in with, but I see this as an advantage as we will have twice the size of the network most MBAs have by the time we graduate.
Finally there are some perks of being a Silver Scholar that I only discovered after entering Yale SOM. As we’re used to studying for finals and managing academics with extracurricular activities, we don’t face the challenge that many others have of readjusting to student life. We also have a tight-knit community among the Silver Scholar community, organizing social events across different year groups and discussing challenges unique to the program.
I believe that the Silver Scholar program is the perfect springboard for any high potential college senior to kick start their career. No other business school has such a distinct and focused opportunity for this age group, complemented with dedicated resources and mentorship. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to send a tweet my way (my Twitter handle is @linda_du10), or email Dan Kent, the Silver Scholars Admissions Ambassador.