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Yale SOM Expands Integrated Core to Include Course on Global Teamwork

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How to effectively work on teams has long been an integral part of what many leading business schools teach their students. This year, Yale School of Management (SOM) is upping the ante by launching a new core curriculum course that will focus not only on teamwork but on global teamwork. Called Global Virtual Teams, the new course will feature research on what makes global teams succeed or fail. A requirement for all MBA students in the Class of 2017 and beyond, the new core course is designed to help every Yale SOM graduate develop skills to prepare them to work on projects with teams around the world.

Set to debut in January 2016, Global Virtual Teams was developed in part in response to challenges students shared upon returning from summer internships that involved working on global teams.

“It’s an area where there is a fair amount of academic research into how better to work in those teams and how better to manage those teams,” Professor Olav Sorenson, director of the integrated MBA curriculum at SOM, said in an article about the new course on the school website. “Our hope is that they will develop a set of skills for how to interact better with people who might be working from different cultures and different time zones, so when they go into real jobs they’ll be able to drop right in and be productive from day one.”

The new course builds on two of Yale SOM’s greatest strengths, Sorensen says, its integrated MBA curriculum and its membership in the Global Network for Advanced Management. Four SOM professors—Victoria Brescoll, Heidi Brooks, Michael Kraus and Amy Wrzesniewsk—will teach the course, which will take place on three consecutive days. Students will then apply the skills they’ve developed as part of a virtual team project in the Operations Engine course.

Wrzesniewski, who helped design the course, notes that an experiential component was critical. As part of Operations Engine, students will team up with colleagues from HEC Paris and Mexico’s EGADE Business School, both of which are part of the Global Network. Working together they will work on a weeklong, real-time operations management simulation called Littlefield Technologies.

“The simulation will present students with some of the same challenges that they’ll have when they are working in global teams in their jobs,” Wrzesniewsk said as part of the article on the Yale website. Managing a 24-hour process and learning how to work asynchronously is one such skill. “One of the big problems global teams face is in how they hand off and coordinate information—when you’re not always working together in real time, you need to be sure the team has what it needs to execute without interruptions, questions or delays,” Wrzesniewsk continued.

According to David Bach, Yale SOM’s senior associate dean for executive MBA and global programs, the development of the new course reflects the ways in which the Global Network has helped to spur innovation. The Network, launched in 2012 by Yale SOM Dean Edward Snyder, now counts 27 members schools in 25 countries across 5 continents.

“There is a real sense of entrepreneurial initiative shared by the schools as we leverage the Network to enhance the education of all of our MBA students,” Bach said.

Learn more about Yale SOM’s new core course on global teams.