Pre-MBA Leadership Program Launched at Yale SOM

A group of 41 college students experienced a slice of the MBA student life when they recently participated in Yale School of Management‘s inaugural Pre-MBA Leadership Program, an initiative aimed at developing the leadership potential of underrepresented minority students and helping them gain a better understanding of the benefits of a management education.

Arriving on campus on June 14, the students immediately launched into the heart of the Yale integrated MBA curriculum, an SOM news feature explains. Professor Connie Bagley taught a three-hour version of State & Society, one of the school’s nine Organizational Perspectives for first-year students, which examines the intersection of business, government, and society. In the following days, top faculty took students through ten SOM courses, complete with long reading lists, projects, and the familiar MBA fear of cold-calling.

“This was a real approximation of what it’s like for first-year students here. In addition to the academic rigor, we sought to offer them the kind of warm and diverse community experience that defines our culture at SOM,” said Heidi Brooks, a lecturer in organizational behavior and one of the program’s faculty directors.

“We didn’t go easy on anyone. There was a ton of work, and students tackled it with enthusiasm and commitment.”

The central thrust of the program is to provide students who otherwise might not apply to SOM ”” or business schools in general ”” an opportunity to judge the benefits of management education firsthand. Program participants were recruited from a variety of colleges and universities around the country with particular emphasis on historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions and tribal colleges.

“These were good students and I am sure that we would be happy to see some of them matriculate eventually, but their application to SOM was not the point. We don’t view this as a recruiting program, but as a broader public service,” Brooks said.

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