Sunday, August 12, 2012

Business school stragegy

Ted Snyder, fellow Antitrust Division alum, is trying to turn around Yale's Management School.  He noted a number of past mistakes:
Specifically, Yale “lost $15 to $20 million over the last 15 years,” says Edward Snyder, the new dean of the Yale School of Management. It remained small (400 students), maintained an unusually low student-to-faculty ratio of 8 to 1 (most top schools are closer to 20 to 1) and offered only limited versions of some of its industry’s most lucrative products (like part-time and executive M.B.A.’s). Most significantly it developed a reputation as a bastion of socially minded do-gooders who were less focused on maximizing profit. According to Bloomberg Businessweek’s latest rankings of the top M.B.A. programs, Yale placed 21st, right behind Michigan State. 
 Ted has a five step plan for turning around any middling business school:
  • 1. Start by focusing on the sectors where the school has strong relationships and build from there. Or, as Snyder says, ‘‘Give up the undifferentiated, multi-brass-ring strategy of best recruiters, best students, best facilities, blah, blah, blah.’’ 
  • 2. Embrace a mix of faculty, particularly those with real-world experience. ‘‘You’ll still want some strong, fast-ball-discipline types in areas like economics, finance and psychology to teach how markets work and function,’’ Snyder says. ‘‘But get fewer of them.’’
  • 3. Calculate the cost of things — any things! ‘‘Be very focused on and systematic about collecting data and sharing data with other schools around the country and the world,’’ he says. ‘‘Collect data on industries and on markets. It’s really valuable for students to do that, and you’ll make your school valuable for insight and information.’’ Extra credit: ‘‘It’s good for branding.’’
  • 4. Offer a broader mix of programs, including part-time ones. ‘‘That’s more affordable in today’s economy and where the market at business schools is going.’’
  • 5. Book your ticket to Gdansk! ‘‘If you’re going to be global, be selective and try to identify a less well served country like Vietnam or Poland instead of China. Pick places with young populations that don’t already have a lot of business schools.’’


  1. Nice Business school stragegy

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  2. When I think of economics & business, I think of being conservative (right side of the street), when I think of Yale, I think the opposite; assuming it's not just me, until that perception is fixed, the problems will remain...

  3. Arlie, great point and I think they can change. Snyder seems to have a great plan and with time will be able to turn things around. Schools are businesses too and the sooner administrators and boards realize that the more successful they will be.

  4. I think the most interesting part of the strategy is #5. Mr. Synder views expanding into untapped or low business school presense markets as a key to the strategy. The best way to reduce competitive intensity is to go where there is little competition with a strong enough demand. From the Industry Orgnization perspective, this gives them the advantage of Porter's Fire Forces Model within the industry but in a more concentrated market.

  5. You can see Vanderbilt following a similar path. The Healthcare MBA program exploits Vanderbilt's strong positioning in a Healthcare capitol. The Americas MBA focuses on some already tapped regions of the globe, but utilizes its relationships with businesses headquartered locally already doing business in these regions. The emphasis on adjunct faculty brings in more people with more "real world" experience. My question is what should Vanderbilt do next?

  6. I see more and more online MBA programs popping up, some good some bad. I think this is new strategy moving forward for a lot of accredited universities.

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