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“Invest in yourself”

Anjani Jani, senior associate dean, Yale School of Management, discusses the importance of an international experience for a management industry aspirant in conversation with Gauri Rane

Anjani Jani, senior associate dean, Yale School of Management, discusses the importance of an international experience for a management industry aspirant in conversation with Gauri Rane

1. What is the purpose of your visit to India?

I am leading a group of 25 MBA students from Yale in connection with a required course called International Experience. We have 12 sections of this course this year, each focused on a different country or region of the world. I am teaching the section focused on India. The class consists of readings and lectures in New Haven, Connecticut and a 10-day immersion in the region to gain a first-hand exposure to businesses, government, the civil society, and culture.

2. Tell us more about Yale`s International Experience course? How does it impact students?

The students have to choose different facets of Indian business and society to do an in-depth study and present their reports to the entire class. Each of them prepares a briefing on each of the organizations and the people we meet. We are privileged to meet CEOs and senior executives, which creates an extraordinary opportunity for our students to understand how these leaders see the challenges and opportunities ahead for their organisations.

The course is a required part of the integrated core curriculum that Yale School of Management pioneered several years ago, which includes the traditional disciplines of management education but organises and explores much of the subject matter through a set of “perspectives,” such as those of the customer, employee, investor, innovator, competitor, state and society, etc. The courses are often taught by teams of faculty who work across disciplinary boundaries to emphasize that the most complex problems facing leaders and managers require integrative approaches. This approach to management education is the direct outgrowth of the School’s founding mission to educate leaders for business and society. The global exposure enabled through the international experience course is an important element of the integrated curriculum.

3. What is the student profile?

Students in this course are a microcosm of the broader Yale MBA student population—very diverse in their educational backgrounds, experiences, origins, and career aspirations, but drawn equally powerfully to Yale’s mission-oriented MBA programme and very accomplished in their pursuits. In our group we have students from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, China and the United States; they have work experiences ranging from the peace core to the military, from law and government to financial services and consulting, from professional careers in music and theater to technology start-ups.
4. What is the importance of obtaining international exposure for a management student? Post the economic slowdown, is it still relevant?

Yes, a global perspective is more important today in management education than it has ever been. This is why Yale School of Management has led the creation of the Global Network for Advanced Management, which has now become an important source of both curricular innovation and of deep, richly varied global educational experiences for our students.

5. Is an international management degree still preferred?

Led by Dean Edward Snyder, Yale School of Management aims to be the business school deeply connected to our home university. We aim to be a distinctively global business school, and we believe that these aspirations will enable us to be the best source of leaders who have the vision and imagination for dealing with escalating complexity in all sectors of business and society across the globe. The School has an illustrious record of creating just such leaders in our relatively short history (Yale School of Management is younger than the first three IIMs).

6. What would you advise young management graduates with regards to job prospects/ expected salaries and job roles?

Invest in yourself. Acquire a deep foundation of skills, knowledge, and perspectives to ask the right questions, to think from first principles, and to approach complex problems with a combination of analytical rigour and creative imagination. The first job upon graduation is a quest that can sometimes consume MBA students; yet it rarely proves to be consequential to the long-term success of their professional pursuits. Most MBA students will not return to a university for formal education, yet their ability to learn and adapt will determine how well they succeed. There are certain skills and perspectives that are best learnt in school—do not shortchange the educational opportunity. When considering career choices, ask what you will learn in the next two to five years, and not whether the job has enough prestige. The same goes for salary: think of longer term growth prospects, not just the immediate reward.

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