“Yale likes quirky.”
About this time a year ago, I was searching for something. Once or twice a week after work, instead of my usual mental unwinding, I went out on the hunt for the right MBA program. I looked at schools near and far, and far and wide, but at each event I often heard both alumni and faculty sing a similar tune. “We’re looking for the right fit.” Fit? I had spent my entire pre- (and post!) pubescence battling this premise. In high school when everyone else wore sneakers, I wore fluorescent pink chuck taylors. Although my wardrobe has since settled down, I had devoted my career in advertising to creating campaigns that did the opposite of fit in. And now, the key to success within these business schools was fitting in? Could this be true? Then I went to the Yale SOM event scheduled in Boston. The speakers spoke of their non-traditional paths. About embracing change, and how the Yale SOM community supported them along the way. The turning point for me was not until after the event when, while speaking to one of the alumni, he turned to me and said, as if sharing a secret, “Yale likes quirky.” I was sold. Well first I thought, how can he tell I’m quirky? But very soon after, I fell completely head over heels in love with Yale. Since coming to school here, Yale SOM has lived up to his promise. In our class a tree-hugger sits next to a red-blooded republican, who sits next to a modern dancer, and with our own oddly sculpted perspectives, we aim as a group to put a structure to the problems of the world. As we’ve learned in our first few weeks of Problem Framing (one of our core courses), you learn the most from those who are the most different. So here at SOM, beyond our skilled professors, and our mind-stretching curriculum, we learn a lot, just from each other. Instead of emphasizing the fit, Yale SOM embraces the not fitting. Because in that space between the square peg and the round hole, lies discovery. It’s the space where new shapes are born. However quirky they may be.