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The Buzz at Yale SOM: Application Volume Up, Dean on Sabbatical, Rec Letters Accepted in Spanish, Mandarin

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Are you considering applying to Yale School of Management (SOM)? We sat down with Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions, earlier this summer to catch up on the latest and greatest at the New Haven school, and it turns out there’s a lot to report.

Yale SOM
Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions

For starters, the most recent application cycle was a strong one, with application volume up roughly 12 percent year over year. “We feel good about that,” he says. And although domestic application volume did see a slightly higher uptick than international volume, both saw increases, he adds, suggesting that concerns over potential shifts in immigration and visa policy didn’t chill interest among overseas applicants.

Conversations with leading MBA employers suggest that their appetite for hiring international SOM grads also hasn’t taken a hit, DelMonico continues. “The main question mark is the visa situation and what might happen with that going forward,” he says. But recruiters haven’t reported any plans to reduce international hiring even amid changes to expedited visa processes. “People are being pretty clear headed and trying not to overreact to something that hasn’t happened.”

Dean Snyder Takes a Sabbatical
As we reported here in May, Yale SOM Dean Edward Snyder has decided to step away from his administrative duties for a year-long sabbatical, which he plans to devote to research and expanded work on the Global Network of Advanced Management (GNAM). GNAM is a consortium of 29 international business schools that Snyder helped establish five years ago when he first joined Yale.

Snyder, who has just finished the first year of his second five-year term as dean, has simply opted to take the sabbatical that he would customarily get at the end of his tenure a little early, Delmonico explains. “I can’t say we’re excited that he’s stepping away—because obviously he has been such an amazing influence for the school—but I am very interested to see what will come of his year.”

Snyder also took a sabbatical between leaving the University of Chicago School of Business and joining Yale SOM, and the Global Network was an outgrowth of that time, Delmonico notes. “He does have a history of using that time very productively and coming up with very innovative ideas, so I am hopeful that some interesting things are in store.” The SOM community is very pleased that Anjani Jain will be acting dean in Snyder’s absence, he adds. David Bach, the current senior associate dean for the executive MBA and global programs, has also been promoted to deputy dean with additional duties. “I don’t know if seamless is the word, but we are well positioned with a pretty deep bench. I think we’ll have a very good year.”

Snyder is also very interested in the current state of the world amid a backlash against globalization—from the election of Donald Trump in the United States to the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom—and wants to be able to devote more of his time to research and writing and growing the Global Network. “I think that is one of the things from an academic and research perspective that really excites him,” Delmonico says, noting that Snyder’s prior research on antitrust policy and enforcement combined with his tenure at the Justice Department make him uniquely suited to examine potential shifts in legal and regulatory framework. “I am sure he will enjoy spending time really thinking more deeply about this than he could if he was doing all the ‘deaning’ he has to do.”

Letters of Recommendation Now Accepted in Spanish, Mandarin

Yale SOM
Laurel Grodman, director of admissions

In other news at SOM, Director of Admissions Laurel Grodman announced last week that the school will for the first time this year allow recommenders to submit letters of recommendation written in Mandarin or Spanish. “Yale SOM will shoulder the cost and logistics of translation,” wrote Grodman in a recent blog post. “This pilot initiative gives applicants the broadest possible choice in recommenders and removes hurdles for those working or studying outside of the United States,” she continued, adding that the school hopes to expand the option to additional languages in the future. While several leading schools have been exploring ways to make the recommendation portion of the application process easier for applicants and recommenders alike—including through adoption of GMAC’s Common Letter of Recommendation form—Yale is the first school we’ve heard of to accept letters written in languages other than English.

News from the Career Development Office
Yale SOM’s Career Development Office (CDO) has also shared several updates this month, including the implementation of a new self-assessment tool designed to help current students explore career options and the appointment of a new assistant dean of career development.

The new tool—called StrengthsFinder—is an online assessment that helps students first identify individual talents and strengths and then use those discoveries to focus in on specific sectors and roles where they might be best put to use.

“A successful career search isn’t just about finding a good job; it’s about finding a job that’s good for you—one that will give you a platform to leverage your unique talents and strengths,” Kristy Posocco, director of career education and coaching in the CDO, said in an article on Yale SOM’s website. “This will really help students, not only in career choice but in search efficiency.”

Unlike other assessment tools already in use at SOM—such as Career Leader, which is more focused on identifying career choices—StrengthsFinder focuses instead on identifying a student’s top five talent themes. “There are no specific career presumptions that come along with it,” Posocco said. “Students then determine the careers where their talents may best be deployed.”

The CDO will continue to use Career Leader but hopes the addition of StrengthsFinder, which is based on cross-cultural research and already widely used outside the United States, will prove particularly beneficial to the incoming MBA class, almost half of which holds an international passport. The school also hopes the new resource will be especially helpful to career switchers. “Students who are looking to change careers will be able to better leverage their strengths, working with CDO coaches, and non-switchers will develop a deeper understanding of themselves and how they can uniquely contribute to the sectors they’re in,” Posocco said.

Yale SOM
Abigail Kies, assistant dean of career development

Finally, Yale SOM earlier this week announced that Abigail Kies—who has served as the CDO’s deputy director of career education and coaching since 2016—will now oversee the CDO as assistant dean for career development. In her previous role, Kies led the CDO’s student-facing team and provided individual coaching to MBA, EMBA, and Master of Advanced Management (MAM) students. Prior to coming to Yale, she led the Career Center for Working Professionals at NYU Stern School of Business and held a range of other coaching and consulting roles.

Among Kies’ top priorities in assuming her new role will be to find ways to leverage Yale SOM’s membership in the Global Network to identify more international job opportunities for students, to engage more potential employers through channels like campus talks and other student events, and to expand the CDO teams so that they are able to expose students to a wider range of opportunities across more industries. “It’s really important for us to make sure that relationships with employers are as broad as possible,” she said in an article on the Yale SOM website announcing her new appointment.