First Semester at Yale MAM

Joy (Jiao) Ma

RBS MBA Candidate


It’s been four months since I started my MAM study at Yale SOM. As a local Chinese who studied, worked and lived in China for most of the time, I have so many wonderful experiences in the past four months. Intense, challenging and rewarding, my journey at Yale would become one of the most valuable experience I would ever have.

MAM Class of 2018

Whenever the new semester starts, students have to spend so much time planning their new curriculums because there are so many courses! All courses offered at Yale are open to all students regardless of school and grades. The courses are so extensive from history, psychology, forestry to computer science and physics. I took most of my courses at SOM related to business including The Future of Global Finance, Digital Strategy, Portfolio Management, The Global Corporation, The Leadership Lab, etc. I also took one undergrad course at music school studying about basic theories of music. The courses were very intensive and intellectually challenging. They required a lot of reading before class, assignments after class plus various group projects, papers/essays, and exams. After all, it’s Yale, a place full of the smartest minds in the world. The least thing one can expect to study here is an easy life.

Apart from the courses, being a member of a highly diversified global community was another rewarding experience. There were more than 60 students in our class coming from 23 countries. We had lawyers, financial professionals, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, engineers, architects, and even professional boxers in our class! By spending time with people from different backgrounds, I often learned about new things and new thoughts that never occurred to me before. More importantly, the students here were the best representatives of SOM’s mission—to educate leaders for business and society. They were investment bankers, consultants, lawyers or government officials before, but meanwhile, they care about the world so much. They initiated projects to help poor people get better healthcare in Nigeria and provide better education to poor Indian girls. They worked so hard to become better selves, and at the same time, to make the world a better place. For me, learning from my peer students was one of the most valuable experiences at Yale.

Unavoidably, I have encountered many difficulties in adapting myself to the new language, new place, new people, and new lifestyle. I also questioned and asked myself that why did I ever come here. But eventually, they were all proved to be valuable once I’ve overcome those obstacles and became more and more comfortable with the uncomfortable environment. That’s the best experience and ability I’ve gained.