Posted by: Geoff Gloeckler on December 29, 2011
Educators who act and think like CEOs are nudging academics out of coveted dean positions at U.S. business schools, according to new research from The Korn/Ferry Institute, a talent management think tank.
“Just like private enterprise, (business schools) are undergoing a fundamental transformation” in response to changing student values, the Internet and unprecedented economic pressures, the report says.
Applications to two-year, full-time MBA programs declined an average of 10 percent in 2011, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council. And, “lower starting salaries for MBAs (relative to the pre-financial-crisis years) make the high price tag of an MBA education a more difficult sell,” reads the report. As a result, B-schools are “hungry for alternatives to the traditional dean candidates, who historically possessed deep backgrounds in core areas such as finance or economics.”
The report specifically mentions Sally Blount, who was named Dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2010, as an example of the new prototype. Blount worked at the Boston Consulting Group for two years, her academic expertise is more in management than in finance, and she credits Boeing CEO Jim McNerney Jr. for giving her valuable advice on how to approach her position, the report says.
Also, there are a handful of business schools that have cut right to the chase and named executives as their deans outright: Pace University hired former Viacom Entertainment CEO Neil Braun in 2010, the same year that Boston University named former Quest Diagnostics CEO Kenneth Freeman as its B-school dean. Additionally, former PepsiCo CEO Steven Reinemund moved into the dean’s office at Wake Forest University’s Schools of Business in 2008.
At the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics, David Blackwell will be taking the dean’s office on January 1. Blackwell served in director positions at KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers before migrating to academia.
Is this trend of bringing business leaders into the dean’s office a good idea in the long run for management education? We’d be interested to hear your thoughts.