Spotlight On: Yale SOM Silver Scholars MBA Program

Each year, Yale School of Management admits a select group of college seniors to a three-year MBA program called the Silver Scholars Program, created in 2001 to celebrate Yale University’s tercentennial and the 25th anniversary of the Yale SOM.

A Financial Times profile of the program published earlier this week reveals that it was originally launched to attract more non-traditional MBA candidates to the business school and until recently was limited to Yale students only.

How Does it Work?

Participants enter the program immediately after receiving their undergraduate degree. Silver Scholars spend the first year at Yale developing the basic skills and mindset of a manager through SOM’s core curriculum.

During the second year, students complete a full-time internship. This extended work experience is designed to allow students to put their business education into practice, develop leadership skills, and provide a competitive advantage as they pursue a permanent position.

In the third year, Silver Scholars return to campus for the conclusion of the MBA program, taking electives at SOM and elsewhere at Yale in the areas they chose.

Who Should Apply?

Yale SOM says Silver Scholars are chosen for their combination of intelligence and common sense, maturity and curiosity, passion and compassion. Each has made a difference and distinguished him- or herself in a particular field of interest.

The school is looking for people who will be future leaders in business, government, and nonprofit endeavors. Only current college seniors are eligible to apply.

Job Prospects for Silver Scholars

The FT reports that recruiters can be somewhat skeptical about these relatively untested MBA graduates. Ivan Kerbel, careers director at Yale SOM, tells FT the still-shaky economy means employers lean toward the more tried-and-true model and tend to require more experience in their candidates.

“Most traditional MBA recruiting organizations don’t have a set playbook for recruiting anything other than traditional full-time MBAs,” Kerbel says. To combat that mindset, Silver Scholars students become more entrepreneurial about managing their job search.

“These students get good at presenting their story to recruiters ”“ explaining why they had an appetite for getting an MBA very early in their career,” Kerbel adds.

Ultimately the program appears to have little negative impact on Silver Scholars’ job prospects; FT reports their placement and salary statistics are virtually indistinguishable from their traditional counterparts.

For more information about Yale SOM’s Silver Scholars MBA Program, download the Silver Scholars brochure.

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