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Yale Business School Becoming Too Business-Like For Some

Way too many graduates are going into the for-profit biz, according to a bunch of alums.
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Evans Hall: Preparing Yale students for their future jobs at Facebook.

There aren’t many MBA factories at which the question of the school’s soul would even come up. But since its founding in 1976, the Yale School of Management has been sort of the elite liberal-arts college of business schools, a Reed College of capitalism. It didn’t even start offering an MBA until 1999, and consequently attracted all manner of management-minded hippies to its jumble of old mansions more suited to an astronomy department than a proper business school, and sending a great many of those non-MBAs into non-money-making endeavors. But this world was too weird and beautiful to stay on a 21st century Ivy League campus, and so it has not: The astronomy department has actually moved into the SOM’s old buildings and the SOM itself into a $250 million building that looks like the fancy corporate campuses found a few miles south on I-95 that many of its soon-to-be-MBAs will toil in soon enough. Unsurprisingly, this does not sit well with many of SOM’s non-conformist non-profit alums, horrified that their alma mater has become just another Wharton School wannabe.

Some students and alumni are voicing concerns about whether the management program remains as committed to sending students on nonprofit career paths, and worry that its push for growth comes at the expense of its character….

Others take the new building as a sign that the onetime maverick is joining the rest of the M.B.A. pack. “A big, fancy, new, shiny, modern building attracts different students than cozy houses,” said Matt Baer, a 2012 graduate who works in health-care consulting. The new facilities evoke “a big building in Manhattan or offices of a global consulting firm,” he said.

Your whining does not impress the really old guard, however, Mr. Baer. Old SOM was long dead and gone by the time you arrived in New Haven. Quit your belly-aching, poseur.

John Rose, a senior partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group Inc., graduated from the program in 1982—a time when, he said, the school was at its “most quirky and nontraditional.”

By the time the school traded its signature master’s degree for an M.B.A. in 1999, much of its original character had gone, he said. He said that his classmates, along with other alumni, fondly recall a quirkier Yale, but support the school’s new direction.

Yale M.B.A.s Question Whether Their Business School Is Too Corporate [WSJ]


Future Panera Bread location. Corey Coyle [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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