SOM's building is a problem
Reader comment on: Yale Business School
Submitted by Jim Copland (United States), Aug 27, 2010 08:25
Ira, Yale School of Management's facility is a problem. The contrast between the facility and that of the Yale Law School couldn't be sharper (and I should know, as an alumnus of both schools). This move is long overdue.
That said, you're of course right that Levin's statement is odd. (Though note that the age of the buildings commentary came from the Bloomberg reporter, not the Yale president.)
But Yale SOM's main facility -- the ugly green 1961 building the School of Management inherited when Yale belatedly joined the business school game in 1976 -- puts it at a distinct competitive disadvantage with other schools, not just HBS but schools like Dartmouth's Tuck (of which my brother is an alumnus) and UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler (of which my father is an alum). Campus facilities perhaps shouldn't matter to prospective MBA students, but they at least create an impression (not the least of which is the broader university's commitment to the school).
Yale SOM is already at a disadvantage in the student-recruitment game because, despite its top-flight faculty (and the broader university's "halo effect"), the school's combination of youth and small size mean its alumni network is more limited than many of its peers. And MBA school is all about getting graduates the best jobs -- it's not really "academic" (which is presumably why Yale resisted setting up a program for so long). Getting the best prospective students to matriculate is a virtuous cycle -- they get better jobs upon graduation, pour resources back into the school, and strengthen the school's alumni network.
So, this project is a no brainer, Levin's odd defense notwithstanding.
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The Future of Capitalism replies:
When I first saw the reference to SOM's Building I thought you meant Skidmore Owings Merrill the architecture firm not School of Management.
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