Meet Our New Senior Associate Director for Admissions
Amber Walsh ’09 embraces her return to SOM as a chance to leverage her MBA skills to advance educational access.
Hello, new and old friends! I’m very excited to be returning to Yale SOM as an admissions officer—although I have never felt far from SOM and my connection with the school, my classmates, faculty, and staff since I graduated from the MBA program back in 2009. As a first-generation college student from public school here in Connecticut, I have tremendous pride in attending Yale SOM, and it has had an enormous impact on my life.
In speaking with some prospective students, I recently shared my own reasons for seeking an MBA and choosing Yale: After earning my B.A. from McGill University, where I focused on economic development in developing countries, I joined the Peace Corps to really understand the resources and challenges in the developing world. I was assigned to rural Haiti, where I spent two and a half years working on community development projects. After Peace Corps, I continued to work in Haiti with a U.S.-based charitable organization and gained greater insight into the complexities and challenges of effectively managing and distributing resources in communities that need them. Thus began my interest in an MBA.
My singular desire to attend Yale SOM was simple. Yale was ranked number one for nonprofit management, and still is. As a candidate who was committed to continuing to work with mission-driven organizations, I saw that SOM was far ahead of the curve in its commitment to support non-traditional business students who were interested in continuing to work for governments or nonprofits. SOM’s mission of educating leaders for business and society is—and always has been—core to the offerings it provides and its overall management. With the loan forgiveness program and faculty like the late and much-loved Sharon Oster, who were leading the way in nonprofit management way before it was a thing, Yale was the only place I wanted to go.
In a short two years at Yale SOM, I made lifelong friends, became obsessed with my cohort (BLUUUUEE!), traveled the world, and developed my confidence, public speaking, and overall quantitative and qualitative problem-solving skills. I traveled to South Africa and Namibia as part of my International Experience requirement, visiting nonprofit, government, and private sector leaders and even the stock exchange in Johannesburg. I also participated in the Global Social Enterprise Club and subsequent course that was created based on the student-led club, traveling to Colombia to provide pro bono consulting to Avina, which was working to support the organization of waste collectors, and to India to consult with Pratham Books to explore distribution models to increase access to early reading materials for children in rural areas. Locally, I was a manager for Food for Thought, a student-run café that raised money for our classmates to take unpaid or underpaid nonprofit internships over the summer, and I consulted with a local New Haven pre-school to create a budget model. SOM provided so many opportunities for real-world problem-solving and impact that I’ve carried forward into my career.
Before I graduated, I had already landed a job at the headquarters of Save the Children to harmonize operating standards across its 21 international offices. In the aftermath of the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti, I was asked to work on the five-year strategy of Save the Children’s response. This experience was profound. I worked with stakeholders who included Save the Children leadership from around the world to local staff and community partners to build a plan for the immediate and medium-term global response to a tragic, chaotic, and urgent situation on the ground. After the strategy was approved, I stayed in Haiti to implement the response in the capital of Port-au-Price. I call this “my SOM story” because I needed every skill I learned at SOM to manage a large multinational staff, a complex multi-million donor grant portfolio, and major construction projects across five programmatic sectors—all in a very challenging context with devastated infrastructure and major political and security issues.
Throughout my professional lifetime, and given my own first-generation experience, I am very passionate about two things: the transformational nature of education and measuring impact. After working in emergency response at Save the Children, I wanted to focus on long-term solutions and spent nearly 10 years managing admissions, operations, and finance for a highly competitive program that provides a full scholarship and holistic support to Haitian high school graduates with extraordinary academic performance and financial need. My role has allowed me to use data and evaluation to make decisions and to ensure that we are investing in the right students and measuring the long-term impact higher education has on individuals and their families.
As an admissions officer at Yale SOM, I am excited to continue to work and learn in this space and have the tremendous privilege to support the aspirations of our future global leaders for business and society.
Please feel free to reach out with questions or just to chat! I look forward to hearing from prospective students considering an MBA and current students exploring international development careers.
Senior Associate Director for Admissions
Yale School of Management
165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
203.432.5635, Admissions Office
203.432.6380, Visitor Center