A Fresh Start

On my first day at Yale (Yale Executive MBA Profile), Deputy Dean Stan Garstka told me the experience of Yale would not only provide me with a world-class education but also change who I am and how I think about business. He was right. I started the second year at business school feeling I was coming into my own with a new perspective. Business concepts that felt so loosely woven together over the course of the first year have become the foundation for classes in the second. Financial Management has led to Corporate Finance and Investor. Healthcare Economics, Leadership, and Operations have prepared me and my team for intensive group work and a business proposal for Entrepreneurial Business Planning. Negotiation and State & Society laid the groundwork for one of the most relevant courses of my academic career, Power & Politics. Not only did the concepts of this particular course help me think through my life and past work experiences; it also helped me clarify my goals, where I want to be in the short and long term, and how I want to get there.

Independent Study

The MBA for Executives (MBAe) program at Yale includes an independent study requirement during the second year. The student has a variety of options to fulfill the requirement from elective courses to field and independent study projects. I decided to opt for an elective course this fall and an independent study project for the spring; I will detail that project, relative to women and power, in my next journal entry. The elective course I chose at the beginning of the second year was Emotional Intelligence at Work. Because Yale students can register for classes across the various schools on campus, I had the opportunity to work with students from Yale College as well as students from the graduate schools of theater, forestry, psychology/cognitive science, medicine, and business. Everyone in the class was wonderful, and Professor Heidi Brooks helped bring the important issues of how we read others, how we present ourselves and ideas, and how we regulate our emotions to the forefront. The lens we use to make observations and judgments is crucial in our own success in business and relationships. How we frame issues and how we respond are crucial to interpersonal, group, and organizational effectiveness, communication, management, and leadership. We do not always have a choice about events that unfold, but we do have a choice about how we place ideas or events in context, how we think about them to determine the best course of action, and ultimately how we will act in response.

Members of my class have taken on a variety of projects and classes to bolster their mastery of a variety of subjects, pursue areas of interest, and make the MBAe experience unique to the individual. My teammate and good friend Senai Ahderom is taking two electives: Private Equity Investing with Professor Michael Schmertzler (CEO of Kolltan Pharmaceuticals and chairman of the investment committee of Credit Suisse First Boston Equity Partners) and Corporate Restructuring and Distressed Debt Investing at the Yale School of Law with Michele Paige (founder of Paige Capital Management, a New York hedge fund that focuses on distressed investing). Jonathan Fenstad, my friend and classmate who works with Forest Laboratories, is working with Yale Professor Fiona Scott Morton to establish a model for transparent relationships between primary care physicians and the pharmaceutical industry. Nick Encina, another classmate and friend, has established the Yale Healthcare Ecosystem. This is a collaborative venture between the Yale schools of business, law, nursing, medicine, and public health.

Key delegates come together twice a semester to debate and discuss the unsolved socio-political and economic issues relative to health care. The meetings give each stakeholder a place at a table where opinions sometimes differ but goals are often aligned. Regardless of perspectives, we are learning from each other, exchanging ideas, and building bonds of friendship and collaboration with future health-care leaders from Yale.

Career Development Office

The second year in business school includes the student job search. I am looking for the perfect opportunity that will match my skills, aspirations, and goals. Yale was recently identified by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as having the best placement rate of all business schools. The ability of Yale to do so well despite the economic downturn is impressive, and Yale seems determined to address the challenges students face in this job market head on. MBAe program directors are working closely with the CDO and our new director (Ivan Kerbel, lured away from Wharton in May) to ensure that the individual needs of every student are met. While the placement of mid-career executives offers a unique challenge, the smaller size of the Yale School of Management gives students the opportunity to know and be known by people across the school and to receive individual attention and assistance. I have had the remarkable benefit of individuals making personal calls and introductions on my behalf to contacts in the public, private, and government sectors. As I establish new relationships in the business world, I am also getting a good idea about all the opportunities that await me at graduation. I look forward to writing about my experiences with the career search, interviews, and job offers in the coming months.

Looking Ahead

When I applied to Yale, I may not have been a typical business student, but I was a Yalie at heart. I care about the social mission of the school of management and about health care that is safe, efficacious, and accessible. As I approach the final months of this experience, I cannot imagine having gone to school anywhere else or doing any other type of program. Yale took a chance on me in many respects, and I have two men to thank in that regard: Deputy Dean Stan Garstka and MBAe Director Howard Forman, MD. I could not have asked for better champions, mentors, or friends. In the months and years to come, I want to exceed their exhortation from the first day of class to "make Yale proud." I am on the cusp of a new beginning, and that is an exciting and wonderful place to be.

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