Pros: Outstanding classmates, professors, and alumni network. Fantastic education, professional preparation, and recruiting. Elite business school.
Cons: expensive, hectic first semester
The Yale School of Management is and will continue to be one of the premier business schools in the world because the school successfully attracts the best business minds: faculty, students, and business leaders alike. Yale MBA alumni continue to increase their presence in the executive ranks of leading firms, both large and small.
I received a fabulous educational experience at Yale. Yet, it wouldnt be fair for me to compare my alma mater to other top business schools. Fortunately, there are a few souls out there who are daring enough to make such comparisons. According to independent business school rankings, Yale is recognized as one of the finest business schools in the world.
The Yale Experience
There is a high standard of excellence at Yale and the work is challenging. Although this may sound like a cliche, it is true that you learn as much from your Yale cohorts as you do in class. You will find your Yale classmates are as driven to succeed as are you. Your classmates will be a reliable source of diversity of opinion and will constantly challenge you to sharpen your critical thinking skills.
Yales stated mission is "to educate leaders for business and society." I have found that Yale is true to its mission. The school is particularly strong in the areas of finance, business strategy, general management, public management, and leadership. Top Yale professors include Roger Ibbotson (finance), Robert Shiller (economics), Ravi Dhar (marketing), Barry Nalebuff (strategy), Sharon Oster (economics), Frank Fabozzi (finance), and David Cromwell (entrepreneurship).
Yale prepares its students to lead organizations in a rapidly evolving global environment. Throughout each school year, some of the world's most powerful business leaders arrive on campus to speak to Yale business students at the Leaders Forum.
The academic environment is competitive but also quite cooperative. Grading currently falls into four tiers: Distinction, Proficient, Pass, and Fail. There are a number of academic concentrations available at Yale including finance, strategy, leadership, and operations management.
The Yale business school operates the following affiliated institutions: Yale International Center for Finance; Yale Institute for Corporate Governance; Yale-Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures; and the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute. There is also a student-managed venture capital fund called Sachem Ventures, LLC.
Business students form academic teams that annually compete against teams from other leading business schools. Recently, a Yale student team won the national Venture Capital Investment Contest in competition with student teams from other schools such as Wharton.
Yale is located in New Haven, a small Connecticut city that is home to three phenomenal symphony orchestras, fine dining, minor league sports teams, magnificent art galleries, and the best pizza in the U.S. (It is next to impossible to find a New Haven pizzeria that serves anything less than mouth-watering pizza.)
Many people come to Yale to facilitate a career change. The school is appropriately situated in this regard as Yale is only an hours ride from New York City. Firms such as Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, and Morgan Stanley are prominent on-campus recruiters. (An interesting aside: The Co-COO and President of Goldman Sachs is John Thornton, a Yale MBA alumnus.) Yales close proximity to New York and Greenwich provides ample opportunities for informal meetings and interviews that frequently lead to highly sought-after internships and permanent positions in investment banking, consulting, marketing, and other desirable fields.
Yale participates with business schools such as MIT Sloan in the Annual West Coast Forum technology recruiting event held in San Jose, CA. Yale business school students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Yale SOM Silicon Valley Conference in California, a popular networking event for Yale alumni (both graduate and undergraduate) working in the high technology industry.
On-campus recruiting and the career development office are excellent. The close proximity to New York City is wonderfully convenient. I interned at one of the top management consulting firms but eventually decided that I wanted to pursue a career in finance. I obtained a permanent position with Goldman Sachs.
Business School Perks
As a Yale MBA graduate, you automatically become a member of the Association of Yale Alumni and may participate in the international Yale Club network. There are 160 Yale Clubs throughout the world -- the most famous of these is the Yale Club of New York City which hosted the 2002 Heisman Trophy awards ceremony.
This is a close-knit and very supportive student body. During your two years, you will have the opportunity to participate in and enjoy student-organized skiing trips, business school formals, a wide variety of student special interest groups (SIGs), and inter-business school athletic tournaments (e.g, the Harvard Grad School Regatta, Tuck Ski Carnival, HBS Hockey Tournament, and Yale Cup soccer tournament). There are weekly beer and snacks social gatherings which allow everyone to kick back a little, catch up with the latest goings-on, and in general, simply have fun. There are also organized parties, informal get-togethers, and the assorted student day-trips (e.g., a Saturday excursion to the nearby Mohegan Sun casino or a boat party on Long Island Sound).
A few students occasionally head over to New York City on a Friday night or Saturday to watch a Broadway show. The Yale Repertory Theater also puts on entertaining stage productions. Yale MBA students also have a particular interest in the annual Yale/Harvard business school student debate and the annual Harvard/Yale football game which is commonly referred to as "The Game" (the Harvard/Yale football rivalry began with their first college football game way back in 1875).
I have made great friends at Yale. The relatively small class size (in comparison to that of other top schools), the congenial faculty, and the significant international population make Yale a friendly and fascinating environment in which to spend the next two years of your life. Students hail from all parts of the U.S. and the world, with most students holding degrees from the top colleges.
Yale is a marvelous MBA program and will give you the training you need for a leadership role in the corporate world. As part of the bargain, you will have the opportunity to pursue advanced studies in leading-edge finance (both theoretical and applied) and corporate strategy. You may also take electives at other Yale schools such as the Law School, the Center for International and Area Studies, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
The Yale School of Management is, by no means, perfect but it is a formidable business school that truly lives up to its stated mission, "to educate leaders for business and society." A Yale MBA degree will crack open many career doors that might otherwise remain closed to you.
In 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy received an honorary Yale degree and later commented, "It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds, a Harvard education and a Yale degree." Three decades later, U. S. President George H. W. Bush gave the commencement address at Yale and belatedly provided the following retort: "[President Kennedy] had it wrong. Ive got the best of both worlds: a Yale degree and a Yale education." With all due respect to former President Kennedy and the Cantabrigians up north, I agree with former President Bush: A Yale (business school) education will provide you with the leadership training and business skills that will enable you to successfully lead and manage firms, both large and small, in an ever more complex and global business environment.