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Q&A: Edward Snyder, Dean, Yale School of Management

'Each economic power uses the market economy in its own way'

M Saraswathy 

Edward Snyder

The Yale School of (Yale SOM), one of the most respected global B-Schools in India, has India figuring high up on its agenda. After training our politicians under the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme. Yale SOM now plans a masters in programme for non US students and is also working with the banking sector in India on new banking models. Edward Snyder, Dean of the Yale School of tells M Saraswathy of Yale's plans for India. Edited excerpts:

How does Yale School of Management (SOM) plan to increase its exposure in India?
Our faculty is working on new banking models in India with the banking sector. One possibility is to broaden that work. Some of the management faculty are also involved in training Indian parliamentarians under the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme.

We are also introducing a new programme, called Masters in Management, a year’s course especially targeting the non-US business schools. Apart from that, we are working on the Global Social Entrepreneurship Programme. There is a cohort from Yale, which is coming to India next year under the Yale India initiative. But on the whole, I can say that we are staying modest.

Is Yale SOM planning any major tie-ups with Indian schools?
The world is moving to a new model. We want to work with Indian B-Schools on more specific areas. We would like to deepen the relations in all the relevant sectors. Yale SOM would like to assist Indian schools in understanding their course strategies, at par with the other economic powers.

Yale already has the India-Yale Parliament Leadership Programme with India. Is there any other initiative planned by Yale SOM on the same lines?

Each economic power uses the market economy in its own way. Yale SOM will help leaders understand that the market economy evolves in a different way. We can help Indian leaders deal with the ‘mega issues’ of environment, education, income inequality and energy. Each economic power has to deal with these issues. We can help leaders understand strategies to deal with these issues in comparison to the strategies followed in the other nations.

What is your view on the growth of Indian B-Schools? Do they have the potential to compete with international schools?
In the Indian B-Schools, the return on investment and the faculty is very good, which is an advantage for the students. The price differences between US and India also has a wide gap, that becomes an added advantage for these Indian schools. The students in the Indian schools are also very strong. Research is one area where US has an edge. It is not about the research content, but the quality of thinking.

However, speaking in purely academic terms, US academics and faculty are still leading the world. The problem in India is increasing the number of premium B-Schools. Because, if India wants to compete with the US, there are opportunities for only a small number of Indian schools. It would be an interesting question for nations around the world, what would be the number of business schools that would become world class. There would be some of them, but not all IIMs and ISBs. 

Are you planning faculty exchanges between Yale SOM and its Indian counterparts?

With our new building coming up, faculty visits to Yale from around the world will definitely increase. Even if it is a short visit, it would be extremely useful for the countries. Apart from that, our faculty is already involved in the banking project in India. Some Indian B-Schools are also helping our faculty with funds for the project.

There are several Asian B-Schools that are offering tough competition to the US? How does Yale SOM plan to deal with this?
We are trying to leverage the rest of Yale and trying to understand where the rest of the economies are going. We offer a wonderful combination of academic challenge and connection to the Yale alumni network, that is distinct from the other universities.

What are the key competencies that business leaders across the globe need to have?
Business leaders should be able to put their head down and work through problems and put their head up and look around for solutions. Awareness and ability to deal with complexities is what is needed now. Indian MNCs and its leaders especially need to be able to operate in countries where regulations are different, in non-democracies, and various other environments. You need people who can look for the dots and join those dots. Executive education can play a role in this context as a means of continual learning.

Innovation in B-Schools is one aspect that you have always emphasised. What do you think of the Indian initiatives in this regard?
I believe that Indian schools are extremely good with technology. We get to learn a lot on how to use technology to complement classroom teaching. I have also found very interesting solutions to business problems in the Indian schools and I feel that Indian B-Schools can offer an insight into what's working in the country and in the Indian context.

Your one takeaway from the evolution of the Indian B-Schools?
I can definitely say that it is a good place to be. If I was a dean of any of these B-Schools, I would be very optimistic. The talent flow is very impressive. My only advice to them is to stay focussed.

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First Published: Tue, November 08 2011. 00:27 IST