There’s a lot of group work at Yale SOM. In the fall semester, most classes are centered around large and small learning teams that you’re assigned to. In the spring semester, you begin to form your own teams. It all provides great opportunities to meet and work with people from different backgrounds and with different working styles.
My classmates come from all over the world, and even those from the U.S. come from very different socioeconomic, religious, cultural, ethnic, professional, and academic backgrounds. I’ve had interesting, diverse, and fun learning teams. It provides a rich learning experience for everyone.
We explore many different industries and business issues in class cases and lectures. We talk about everything from human resources practices in manufacturing settings to financial valuations in the restaurant industry. There is typically at least one person—if not several—in each class who have meaningful experience in the topic at hand. Because of this, I learn just about as much from my classmates as I do from my professors and course material.
One thing that has been solidified for me at SOM is the realization that as a manager, there are ways you can contribute to the success of a product, team, or organization without being an expert. Being a manager often means knowing how to leverage the cross-functional experts around you, in pursuit of a goal.
The Yale SOM curriculum emphasizes broad business acumen and frameworks for navigating these complex environments. Because we’re exposed to so much, I’ve become much more comfortable discussing business challenges and possible solutions in a wide range of industries and across functions.