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Video: The Executive Course Teaches Students the Art of Synthesizing Complex Information

The idea of taking multiple perspectives is central to the Yale SOM integrated curriculum, and those perspectives come together in the Executive course.

At Yale SOM, we believe that an effective leader can’t look at a management situation from just one vantage point. Today’s typical problem is complex: global, fast-moving, and crossing functional and sectoral lines. It is not enough to approach a business issue just from a marketing or finance point of view. To be successful, the leader needs to make use of marketing and finance—plus a number of other disciplines.

The idea of taking multiple perspectives is central to the Yale SOM integrated curriculum. Through the Organizational Perspectives courses, students in the MBA for Executives program are taught to bring tools from a variety of disciplines to bear as they consider problems and opportunities from the perspective of various stakeholders, including the employee, customer, investor, innovator, and competitor.

Those perspectives come together in the Executive, a course that challenges students with the kind of complex issues and situations that they can expect to face in their careers. The course is team-taught by senior faculty with expertise in a variety of disciplines, who bring their own points of view to the discussions. To teach students how to dive into this kind of complex problem, it utilizes Yale raw cases, which demand that students synthesize huge amounts of primary source information such as SEC reports, news articles, and interviews with those involved. In contrast to the traditional case study, both the problems and the solutions are messy.

“Things are not really wrapped up in a nice little bow in the real world,” said James Choi, professor finance and faculty lead of the Executive. “There is too much information that you need to absorb, and you can’t read it all. So how do you go about boiling this ocean?”