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New Yale SOM Dean Will Have His Work Cut Out for Him, WSJ Reports

Edward Snyder, who will become the dean of the Yale School of Management (SOM) next year, may face greater challenges in this new post than in any of his past positions, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Snyder, who is stepping down as dean of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, held the deanship at the University of Virginia’s Darden School before that. He helped both schools attract major donors – including a $60 million donation to Darden and an unprecedented $300 million gift to Chicago from financier David Booth – and won the admiration of faculty, staff and alumni.

At Yale SOM, the expectations for what this turnaround specialist can do run high, according to the Journal report. When he assumes his new role next July, after a year-long sabbatical, he will face the challenge of elevating a lesser-known, small business school with much less history and fewer deep-pocketed alumni than many top-tier programs. Yale SOM’s small size – with just 200 students per MBA class and 6,000 or so living alums – presents a challenge both in terms of raising much needed funds and drawing recruiters and top faculty.

But the challenges he’ll face at Yale are part of what drew him to the job, Snyder told the Journal. “I like building; it’s the aspiration, but also the competition,” he said. “It’s not just about running a race and doing really well, it’s about passing people. That’s really fun,” he added.

He’ll need to get right down to business in terms of fundraising in order to raise the $150 million needed to complete construction of a new building to house the management program, leaving him little time to contemplate curriculum or class size changes. Add to that the fact that the number of Yale SOM alumni is so small, and the challenge becomes even greater.

Acknowledging that there are very few SOM alumni with deep pockets, Snyder told the Journal that he plans to target Yale alums outside the business school as well. “I’ll say: ‘The law school is No. 1, undergrad is No.1 or close, how about making Yale School of Management No. 1, or close to it, too?’,” he told the Journal.

Snyder also plans to help Yale SOM become known as a solid management and leadership school – expanding upon its reputation as a school that caters to the nonprofit sector and soft skills. “It’s good to be known for something, but if it’s exclusionary, that’s not good,” Snyder told the Journal. “My view is that the school has got to be known for developing people who can succeed in all sectors,” he continued.

To read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here.

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