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First Impressions: Master’s in Global Business and Society Students Join the Growing Community at Yale SOM

By Matthew O’Rourke

When Paul Bashir ’19 arrived on campus at Yale SOM, he felt he was already a part of the community. Bashir, a student in the inaugural class of the new master’s degree in Global Business and Society (GBS), took a trip with other GBS students to New York the week before Orientation started to get to know his future colleagues. He also connected with an MBA student from Austria—Bashir’s home country—who gave him a place to stay until his apartment was ready.

By the time Orientation began, Bashir said, he felt like he already had a taste for the culture of Yale SOM.

“Orientation almost felt like a review of the things I had heard about SOM, and it was great,” Bashir said. “On top of that, we were alongside the MAM [Master of Advanced Management] and MMS in System Risk students, which was really great because you get a sense of the diversity and talents people have. You’re here, you’re networking, and you’re already growing. It was all just really quite impressive.”

Lawrence Koussa ’19
Lawrence Koussa ’19

GBS students arrive at Yale SOM bringing a variety of international experiences, having lived, worked, and studied in countries around the world; each has studied for at least one year in a master’s degree program at a school in the Global Network for Advanced Management. Students choose from an array of courses specifically for GBS students, including Digital Strategy, Mastering Influence and Persuasion, and The Future of Global Finance, and come together for the centerpiece of the curriculum, the required Global Business and Society Perspectives course, which brings together Yale faculty from a variety of disciplines.

Bashir said that he views the upcoming year as a way to broaden his skill set beyond what he learned in the Hong  Kong University of Science and Technology’s Master of Science in International Management program.

“I’m enrolled in a competitive strategy class and I’m already impressed with what I will be learning,” he said. “I think this is going to be helpful for my career in consulting.”

The chance to be part of a culturally diverse class and the opportunity to take advantage of classes around Yale is part of what attracted Bashir’s classmates Lawrence Koussa ’19 and Vittoria Tagliabue ’19.

Vittoria Tagliabue ’19
Vittoria Tagliabue ’19

Tagliabue, who previously attended Bocconi University in Milan, said she felt welcomed by her classmates and that working in teams with students of different cultural backgrounds and varying amounts of work experience was providing unexpected benefits.

“You have this opportunity to grow both your personal and technical skills,” Tagliabue said. “You’re experiencing this personal growth while also expanding your network in other countries. I feel like I am already a part of the Yale community, and at the end of the program, I will have grown my technical skills, too.” 

Koussa, who will receive a master’s in management from HEC Paris and grew up in France, said he’s already felt encouraged by staff and faculty to step out of his comfort zone both in and out of the classroom to foster his professional growth.

“I keep thinking about the challenge presented to us by staff and faculty here, and I can already sense myself evolving from what I learned during my time in France,” Koussa said. “There are so many opportunities to discover different things. I’m learning Russian by taking an intensive class every day and I have support to do that. You can feel the open-mindedness here. You can see that people are committed to what’s been promised for the program, and it’s made the transition so much easier.”