What It's Really Like To Be A Student At Yale School Of Management


We recently profiled students at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Columbia Business School to find out what it’s really like to be an MBA student at an elite school.

Yale School of Management (nicknamed SOM by its students), another elite program with a 19% acceptance rate, isn’t your traditional MBA program.

SOM launched an integrated curriculum based on the 9 constituencies that a manager must engage and lead. There aren’t the strict departmental silos of marketing, microeconomics, corporate finance you’ll find at other B-schools.

It’s pass / fail, so competition among students is inherently less.

We caught up with Lauren Coape-Arnold, a first-year student who recently left the hedge fund world to attend Yale.

“SOM is unlike other Wall Street feeder schools,” says Lauren. “Although – to set the record straight – I have plenty of friends going through banking recruiting.”

The integrated approach was what drew Lauren to the program. That, and “SOM just welcomed a new superstar dean and is in the midst of building a new gigantic facility, so all signs were leading me to New Haven,” Lauren tells us.

Lauren moved to New Haven from New York City in August after working as the Director of Maverick Capital Foundation. Before that, she was an analyst at Lehman Brothers.

We were interested in getting an inside look at it all, so we asked Lauren to bring her camera around with her during a jam-packed Monday on campus.

Welcome to New Haven, where I am a first year student at the Yale School of Management (SOM). I definitely miss New York, but New Haven has grown on me. Here is a view from my apartment - surprisingly picturesque!

It's difficult to fit in fitness, but I try my best to work out at least four times a week. Today I lace up my sneaks and start my day with a four-mile jog through East Rock, a residential neighbourhood where most of my friends live.

It's pretty safe in East Rock, AND I am guaranteed to run past a pal or professor on my route. Here I bump into my friend Jane running - she was the first Asian woman to climb the Seven Summits!

Back at the apartment, I have an early morning date with my inbox. I review my schedule for the day and respond to emails over a breakfast of Greek yogurt, granola and coffee. Outlook is my crutch.

Just before leaving to head to campus, I make sure my apartment is looking neat. I hate coming back to a messy apartment after an exhausting day.

I arrive at school. The entry makes SOM feel like home.

Before my first class I pop into Food For Thought, a cafe run entirely by students. All of the cafe's net profits go directly to the Internship Fund, which supports students who want to work in the nonprofit or public sector. Here I am buying coffee from my friend, Anna.

Around the corner from FFT is the Hub, where we get mail. I have to check my mailbox every day since my name is alphabetically first in my small study group, so all group assignments are returned to me. Nothing today...

Off to Customer at 10:10, where our usual professor has called in another faculty member to help teach this class on the ARC method of marketing. The best part about going to such a small school with an integrated curriculum is that every single professor knows what we are studying in each class, so they are very adept at incorporating materials and cases from other courses into each class.

Because of construction going on around campus, our cafeteria is closed this year. That means the carts are one of the only options around… not necessarily the healthiest (pad Thai, burritos, Kati rolls, gyros), but quick and tasty.

Some habits die hard. 12pm on Mondays = SoulCycle sign-up, and since I will be home in New York this weekend I need to book my classes (especially after lunch from the carts!)

After class I breeze through the Hall of Mirrors, which is the central artery for all of SOM. Students sit here to do work, catch up with friends, or scrounge around for leftover food from lunch meetings.

Here are some of my girlfriends before we break off to club meetings, study group meetings, and other extracurricular responsibilities. The school day is technically over, but we've all got loads more to do!

Now it's time for some homework. This semester is totally study-group driven. I really lucked out with these guys - we meet almost every day (sometimes twice a day!) to work on our endless stream of assignments, but keep a lighthearted air to our work.

After my group meeting, I head to the Student Government meeting. I was elected to Alumni Affairs Chair this fall, and am so excited to be part of this group. At tonight's meeting, we review committee updates and plan for the upcoming winter formal. I briefed the group on the past weekend's SOM Alumni Association Board Meeting that I attended.

9:30 PM and it's finally time to head home. Although I started off my day with a beautiful New Haven morning, the city is dangerous at night, so no chance I am walking home alone. Yale offers a handful of safety options for students. I call a door-to-door shuttle to take me home, and a minibus arrives to escort me in style.

Despite a LONG day, I've still got a smile on my face as I head home. Time to start it all again tomorrow….

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