When I look back on my experience researching and applying to MBA institutions, it feels inevitable that I would come to Yale SOM. Here’s how it happened: Perhaps surprising no one, before I planned any campus visit for an MBA program, I scoured their websites (and the cottage industry of third-party websites providing information to applicants) and assembled information packets. I wanted to come prepared to the visits, to be able to listen for truly new information on campus that I could not find on the internet, and ask better questions of the students and alumni I spoke with. My approach reflects how I process information—examine all the trees, and then understand the forest by figuring out how to coherently explain it. And SOM was my first “tree” (visit). You can probably guess some of the headers recommending it— the school’s mission, curriculum, and demographics; its connection to Yale University; and its flagship membership in the Global Network for Advanced Management.
Yale SOM set the tone and template for my MBA application process—and I was surprised to find that the template didn’t work so well for other schools. This is no coincidence; SOM is uniquely mission-driven among its peers. Its mission is completely core to the school’s culture, decision-making, and the people who make up our community. It speaks to the history of the institution, while also setting the direction for all further growth and change. It’s also wonderfully pithy: “educating leaders for business and society.”
When I first read it, I thought it was obvious. I was almost cynical: in this day and age, who wouldn’t say they are striving for excellence in both business and society? But in fact, among business schools, the mission is special, and Yale SOM walks the walk. The announcement of The Broad Center’s move to Yale SOM is the most recent and most public example, but the mission shapes every decision here. It drives the philosophy behind the Global Network, the composition of a diverse student body, and the emphasis on our international requirement. It informs how the integrated curriculum is structured—and the philosophy from which courses are taught. It helps explain our number of joint degrees, as well as MBAs’ ability to take classes from schools across Yale University.
If you, like me, are scouring the website now, fortunate to be faced with the problem of choice between programs, or doing some more digging as you work on your application, a lot of this should sound really familiar. Yale SOM does a great job of articulating its mission. I chose SOM not just because that mission resonated with me, and why I wanted to come back to school; I chose Yale SOM because we do more than articulate the vision—we live up to it, in big and small ways, every day.
Isabel Sen ’21 is a recipient of the Aline and Santino Blumetti ’99 MBA Alumni Fund Scholarship.