On “Deaning”

I’ve had the privilege of being involved in record-setting gifts to business schools.  Frank Batten Sr.’s gift of $60M to University of Virginia’s Darden School in December 1999 established the Batten Institute and, at the time, was the largest gift in history to a business school.  David Booth’s gift of $300M to name the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in November 2009 is, by far, the largest gift in history to a business school.

Business is about how we compete and how we cooperate.  This focus leads one to consider how fundamental elements of human nature such as self-identification and differentiation are important to a full understanding of business interactions.

The question of business school rankings often yields long and tortured answers from business school Deans.  The short answer from me is (a) rankings are an important part of the competitive landscape, and (b) moving up is more fun than moving down.  FYI, Chicago was #10 in BusinessWeek in 2000 when I started as Dean.  BusinessWeek ranked Chicago #1 in its every-other year rankings in 2006, 2008, and 2010.

My philosophy of “deaning” has several dimensions.  But at its core, I believe in high aspirations, respect for everyone, and personal accountability.  Success depends on alignment, building momentum, and recognizing that the energy lies outside the Dean’s Office.

My work at leading business schools has coincided with an extraordinary period of economic transition and development.  Going forward, I believe that five mega-trends will shape business.  These same trends help explain why I believe Yale School of Management – the business school that is most integrated into an eminent and purposeful University – is perfectly positioned to developed leaders for the balance of this century.

July 1, 2011

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