Aimed to offer both practical and academic strategies to dealing with an ever-changing industry, the Yale Publishing Course (YPC) through the Yale School of Management (SOM) is a week-long program designed for magazine and digital media professionals.
Taking place July 22-27, 2018, this is the second year since the course merged with the SOM and because of this, Yale faculty play a much bigger role than in years prior. With a 50-50 blend of industry leaders and faculty researchers, such as Jonathan Hart of NPR, Gal Zauberman of the Yale School of Management, and Sarah McConville of the Harvard Business School, this program provides a unique approach to developing leadership skills and creative decision making, specifically for mid- to upper-level professionals who are looking to advance their careers.
“The YPC has the ability to give a perspective that other courses are unable to do,” says Kristen West, assistant director of marketing at the Yale SOM. “It is really valuable when they go back to their companies with a new perspective that allows them to take on new leadership responsibilities, thereby setting them up for the next stage in their career.”
Folio: spoke with Tina Weiner, founding director of the YPC and program director, and Lisa Kammert, director of client and curriculum development, to talk about the program and their effort to establish a balance between the academic and practical approach within the program’s sessions and speakers.
Folio: What are the goals and objectives of the Yale Publishing Course?
Weiner: I think the goals, which reach back to when I founded the course, were to give people in the industry an educational experience that might be different than what they would get at an industry conference or business school. Most don’t decide to go to business school, but there are certain things that come from the business school faculty that would be very useful and they’re not going to get it in-house. In-house you’re trained, but you do it in the way that your company works. This is a way to pull yourself out of your niche and see how other people do it. You learn from the other people in your class as well as industry experts and academics.
Kammert: We have four learning objectives. The first is to prepare the attendees to manage the disruption in the industry. The second is to adapt to the constant change and to find new sources of revenue. Third is to be better able to be creative and innovative. And the fourth is to develop their leadership skills. So with each one of those learning goals, we have faculty who teach topics around that.
Folio: How are topics and subjects chosen for the course?
Weiner: The topics that have been chosen for the industry speakers are ones that I’ve spent the entire year looking at and reading about in the magazine and digital media world. We try to keep it very current in how we choose topics. When I talk to speakers, I often ask them, “You can talk about a million things but what do you spend the most time thinking about? What’s on the top of your list for what’s most important this year for people rising in the industry?”
Folio: How are speakers selected?
Weiner: The big picture is that all of the speakers are aligned with what we want the program goals to be and what we want the learning outcomes to be. We match up all of the speakers with these goals and so far, we have yet to have a dud.
Kammert: I think that’s because we have good alignment with what the speakers and faculty are talking about and what the students want to learn. We have a top down approach with designing the program so we start out with what we want people to take away.
Folio: What can attendees expect day-to-day?
Kammert: Typically we start out with some information from our faculty and then we’ll bring in the guest speakers more in the afternoon. It’s two sessions in the morning and a break in between then two sessions in the afternoon with a break in between. There’s a rhythm to it.
Weiner: The sessions are at least an hour and a half–sometimes longer. So it’s not four little sessions. These are really deep dives and some are punctuated with group exercises.
Kammert: This is a highly interactive classroom and the faculty takes their interactions with the class very seriously. The important thing is to have that conversation take place in the classroom because the participants are learning from each other as well. That’s one of the reasons why I cap the program. It’s been up to 60 people, so it’s kind of a sweet spot where people can learn from each other but they’re also engaging with faculty, which is a real benefit of Yale—a lot of interaction.
Folio: What skills can attendees expect to walk away with?
Kammert: They’re going to strengthen their leadership skills. Before coming to the program, all of the participants take a leadership assessment. They actually get a report that tells them what their strengths and weaknesses are and then the report tells them after the program how they can be more effective leaders. They really learn how to manage teams better. It helps them be more effective as leaders and then it gives them very practical steps to improve their leadership ability. It takes them to a new level, and that’s why they come. That’s what it’s designed for—that they have new skills and a new industry perspective to take them to a new level of being able to perform.
Weiner: An immediate takeaway is that when they go back to their offices, they’ll think, “What’s the criteria in how you make a decision?” And they’ll think in a different way. Remember, most people only talk about making decisions in-house and they have their own point of view on it. But when they hear other people’s perspectives, they’ll go back and look at it in a new way. I also think that coming to a course like the YPC is important because media professionals are required to take on more responsibilities and management skills. This program is a way for us to help them be able to function in a highly disruptive environment.
Folio: Who should attend this program and can alumni attend again?
Weiner: This is not a program for editors specifically, or for business people specifically, or for media specifically—it’s for all of them, even the designers and production people! The idea is that you learn about what other people you work with do, which is not something that you’re always able to do when you’re in your own silo. That’s why the speakers I choose from the industry represent different segments of the industry and different publications.
Kammert: Last year was the first year that the course was at the SOM and I would say that between this year and last year there might not be enough different to come back—although there are people who are doing that.
Weiner: I think that because of the enhancement with the SOM, people who have been to the course in its first years, if they come back now, they would find it totally different and there would be very little redundancy. They would learn a lot of new things. The course is more unique and more helpful than ever. Even though some of the topics remain the same, what people say about them is different.
The program will be held July 22 – July 27, 2018 on the Yale SOM Campus. Tuition is $5,850 and is capped at 60 participants. For more information or to register, visit the Yale Publishing Course website.