The idea for the Yale School of Management (SOM) has its roots in 1971 when the University received a legacy from Frederick W. Beinecke’s estate to create a management program. In two years, the Yale Corporation had approved the establishment of a School of Organisation and Management, which would grant a master’s degree in public and private management (MPPM), while also training managers to be effective in government, business and non-profit sectors. The aim of the training would also be to equip the managers with skills, knowledge and perspective to excel in these sectors.
The school changed its name in 1994 to the Yale School of Management, and in 1999 had started offering a master of business administration (MBA) degree. In 2006, a core curriculum was introduced, designed to help students to interact in team-taught core courses that would help them to develop the tools and skills needed to thrive in an entrepreneurial environment.
Kyle Jensen, an associate dean at Yale SOM, has seen the impact that the school’s thriving entrepreneurial community has had on students. It spurs students to become supportive of each other, something that has helped it become an incubator for entrepreneurs.
Since 2014, Mr. Jensen has helped teach entrepreneurship to students at Yale SOM through the Program on Entrepreneurship, which includes a host of efforts. These include classes, hosting visiting speakers, mentorship for founders, and coordinating with other entrepreneurship programs in the campus including the School of Public Health’s Innovate Health Yale, the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, the Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology, the Startup Yale pitch competition, and the Tsai Center.
In total, students at Yale SOM have a choice of about 20 entrepreneurship classes – plus additional ones in related fields – that are available at SOM, the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
The instructors at Yale SOM approach entrepreneurship with a view to educating the student first to acquire the skills and knowledge that they can use to impact organisations or launch their own ventures. The school encourages students to follow their ideas from concept to launch, thus equipping them with the lessons and practical experience to make them valuable members of working society. Some students choose to venture into start-ups after graduating, while others are inclined to follow the path of incorporating entrepreneurial knowledge into an MBA education.
One such former MBA student is Joey Horn, who attained her Masters Degree in Business Administration in 1991.
At the annual Startup Yale event, students are encouraged to pitch their ventures for prizes totalling $100,000. The students pitch their ideas to a panel of experts, with prizes awarded in the following categories:
- Aetna Foundation Prize for Health Equity Innovation
- Miller Prize
- Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize
- Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health or Education
- Yale Venture Challenge
Part of the focus at Yale SOM is also to help students adopt mindsets that lead to the creation of ventures that positively impact society. This has led to the creation of the Sheila and Ron ’92 Marcelo Lectureship in Social Entrepreneurship. The lectureship is supported by Ron and Sheila Marcelo, with Ron being a graduate of Yale College in 1992 and Sheila the Chief Executive Officer at Care.com.
Through the lectureship, the Marcelos hope that students will be inspired to pursue entrepreneurial ventures that bring social change, having seen in their own experience the result of pushing an initiative that seeks to make a difference.