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Exchange Perspectives: Yale School of Management
Jul 13, 2020

Carina Lei Tao, GMBA Class of 2017

What began as a rushed choice to participate in the Yale semester exchange turned out to be one of the best decisions of my entire MBA experience.

Part I: New Haven

My Yale life started on August 23, 2016. It was the end of summer, and the weather in New Haven was starting to turn cool. I happily breathed in the fresh air, admired the endless blue sky, and joyfully said hello to the strangers that passed me by.

Yale is located in New Haven – a small town in Connecticut, near a coast to the east of New York. The coast is lined with a row of mountains, also known as East Rock. The accommodations I was in were situated near East Rock, and climbing the coastal mountain soon became a weekly routine. On sunny days, New York’s Long Island is visible from the peak of the mountains.

Some of the first people I met were alumni volunteers, who gave us a warm welcome and kindly showed us around the town and guided us to our accommodations. The friendliness of the people in New Haven struck me, as my kind neighbor even offered us a free ride to the supermarket to purchase necessities for the stay.

New Haven is a quiet town away from noisy and bustling life, but you can still find nice eateries and restaurants for dates or simply to hang out. One of the most famous restaurants is Frank Pepe, a thin-crust pizza restaurant with nearly 100 years of history. Pizza there is very delicious, and the price is reasonable. As such, sometimes you will have to wait an hour just to place your order. Another great food choice is the Japanese food buffet restaurant called Sushi Palace.

For those who have the luxury of time, New York City is a mere two-hour train ride away. New York is a highly metropolitan city where you can get whatever you want to eat and food from all over the world. It’s definitely worth the time.

Part II: Campus

Yale was founded in 1701 and moved to New Haven in 1716. The 300-year old campus is full of classical Romanticism with many Gothic historic buildings. Simply walking around campus and admiring these historical masterpieces is a joy in itself.

Given the large number of Chinese alumni who have walked through Yale’s doors, a high respect for Chinese culture is felt across campus. You can see many Chinese elements all over the campus. In particular, the School of Management often features exhibitions with Chinese paintings and calligraphy. Being able to see this Chinese influence so far away from home gave me a warm and happy feeling.

Part III: Academics

The School of Management offered a great range of elective courses. I spent a whole afternoon and evening looking through the entire roster of syllabi before I carefully made my course selections. I was deeply impressed by all the professors because they were professional and warm-hearted, albeit uncompromising and effective. For the Strategic Market Measurement course that I took, both the young professor and the teaching assistant worked overtime to support the class in the course project. Another professor who left a deep impression on me was Professor William Goetzmann, who teaches World Financial History. He is erudite and open-minded, encouraging and effective at facilitating open discussion in class. He impressed me with his knowledge and interest in Chinese financial history and U.S.-Sino relations, which were raised many times in class discussions.

Part IV: Outside the Classroom

Career Development

The School of Management devotes much energy to helping MBA candidates with their career development. Every week, the Career Development Office held a CDO free hour where professional advisors would offer career advice to students. There were also mock interview sessions, career talks and job fairs held throughout the semester.

Social Activities

Every Thursday evening, the School of Management holds a closing bell activity, where students are invited to get together to mingle and enjoy delicious food. The garden in the School of Management is a popular place to hold similar networking or social activities, which were common occurrences throughout the semester.

It has been two months since my return from New Haven, and I greatly miss the Yale experience. I will always remember the beautiful campus by day and by night, with its glorious blue skies, as well as all the wonderful people I met and the effort I put into classes there. Truly, the Yale semester exchange is an unforgettable experience. 


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