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Dean's Office

From the Dean's Desk - Spring/Summer 2012 Updates and News

Krannert Community, 

In the past ten months of my term as Dean there have been a number of new opportunities presented to us and as we come into the new academic year I thought it appropriate to update everyone on these various events.  Before I discuss the specifics, I would like to take a moment to thank each and every one of our faculty members, staff, students and alumni for making possible the successes we've experienced during this period.  Put directly, our very remarkable accomplishments as a school within one of the finest universities in the world are tied to the efforts of everyone within the Krannert Community.

Funding the Future

Probably the single most significant opportunity that we have been afforded has been the renewed faith that the university Provost, President and Board of Trustees have provided us through a very unusual and remarkable investment.  A great deal of my time and effort of this year has been expended to provide the university with a true sense of the economic constraints that we face relative to our competition.  But simply asking for more resources wasn't sufficient.  Much of this discussion has been focused on our new goals and vision for the school and how these will enable the school to regain its stature as a global business school.  Only two units at the university had budget enhancements approved (Krannert and Engineering) and the decision to invest in our school was tied to two elements:  1) our new, ambitious goals and vision with examples of delivery already demonstrated; and, 2) our demonstrated willingness to reach out across the campus to engage many other units at the university.

So what does this mean to us? Our budget will increase 34% in the next five years (steadily increasing each year), or roughly a yearly $8.2M increase.

Put in perspective, the university has made a very significant commitment to us equivalent in magnitude to an endowment of $150 million dollars (based on a 5-6% return).  This large increase in our budget will fund:

  1. over a dozen new faculty lines (in addition to filling existing lines that are open);
  2. retention funds for our most talented faculty members and staff (and I'm asking our area chairs to help identify the most deserving faculty members beginning next year);
  3. scholarships for students; and
  4. resources needed to enhance our market presence and create more effective outreach. 

Under the Board's guidelines, our budget increase will be funded 75% by the university and 25% matching by Krannert through additional income generated from our fundraising, graduate programs, external funding and executive education.

At a time that business schools around the country are struggling even to maintain their existing funding levels and are cutting faculty lines (and are, more typically, facing budget cuts), we will experience strong growth and enhancement that is unprecedented (but not unwarranted!).

Why have we been provided with this opportunity at a time of shrinking budgets and retrenchment?  The feedback that we received from the Board and senior administration reiterated that our engagement across the university, global outreach/focus and differentiated approach leveraging Purdue's natural strengths were the key reasons.

Our participation in this increase requires that we generate approximately $2M of new revenue/year by Year 5; this funding will be derived largely through the expansion of key graduate programs such as the MSF, MSA, and other new MS programs as well as IMM, Executive Education and through annual gifts from our supporters.

Facing the Future

We've had a number of important developments at the school this year that provided evidence to the university that Krannert isn't doing things "as usual."  In differentiating our position from our competitors, as well as leveraging the natural strengths of Purdue University, we've refined our strategy and mission to focus on two central themes - STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and globalization.  We have a niche advantage with these two themes because of Purdue's discovery and innovation reputation as well as a university tradition of global outreach.

There are already several examples of our success in these areas.  One of our first successes has been our joining the Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP).  We joined the MS in GEP along with Zhejiang University and EMLyon Business School. Our attractiveness to Zhejiang and EMLyon is based largely in our strong innovation and discovery traditions at the university as well as being one of the strong American universities having a global focus with established international partnerships.

Another very recent success, which will be formally announced to the general public in October, is a very dramatic expansion of our IMM Executive MBA program.  When I arrived to Krannert, I was struck by the importance of IMM but noted its heavy reliance on a limited partner consortium (with only European partner schools).  The IMM deans have been actively engaged in seeking new suitable global partners visiting and discussing the program with a number of potential partners.  As a result, we now have doubled our partners with the addition of new global partners based in France (EMLyon), China (Tianjin University) and Brazil (FGV-Rio).  Our global program is now even more strongly global and unique.  We will be having a major signing ceremony for the IMM in late October at our Hungarian partner school, Central European University (CEU) Business School, with a special attendance and endorsement from global businessman George Soros, one of the founding supporters of CEU.

Within Krannert, we've also taken very important steps toward the creation of a Master's program on Global Supply Chain Management thanks to the strong efforts of Prof. George Shanthikumar, and I've heard from several other faculty members about other grass-root programs being developed.

Analytical Leaders with a Global Focus

For a business school to perform at its best it requires a faculty and staff who are committed to providing cutting-edge approaches to education.  Thanks to the hard work of our Graduate and Undergraduate Program offices (led by Profs. Ananth Iyer and Charlene Sullivan, respectively) as well as OBHR faculty members and Professional Development staff, we are rolling out the Launching Global Leaders (LGL, graduate level) and Launching Business Leaders (LBL, undergraduate level) initiatives.  As everyone knows, Krannert has had a very strong reputation in the area of analytics, quantitative methods and rigor.  However, a perception held by some employers is that our students have a need for more interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and related "soft" skills.  The LGL and LBL programs address this perception and provide our students with a capability of matching strong analytic skills with a global perspective needed to be a strong leader.  These two programs are unique and highly distinctive;  the feedback we've received already from recruiters is uniformly strong and positive.

Thanks to some strategic hiring and internal reorganization, we're experiencing a nice upturn in the quality of the incoming students, particularly, in our graduate programs where we are experiencing a 40% enrollment surge in our MBA program with over a 20 point increase in admission exams, strong work experience and global perspectives.  Our MSF enrollments are up significantly as are those of the MSHRM program.  The demand for a Krannert education is increasing every day.

We've also made tremendous progress in developing new partnerships within the university including new combined degree programs with Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Pharmacy, just to name a few.  We're now working with Engineering and the College of Technology on a very large proposal focusing on Advanced Manufacturing and I believe that this will provide us with an opportunity on research, teaching and outreach dimensions.

Connecting Across the Krannert Community

The role of a modern business dean is one of external liaison and internal communicator.  According to AACSB, a typical business school dean spends roughly 40-50% of his/her time "on the road" communicating to various constituencies and seeking new opportunities for a school.  In my duties I've spent a great deal of time this year reaching out to our external community having done alumni events in over a half dozen cities and making numerous personal visits to alumni.  With the guidance of Tim Newton, Jim Brehm, and alumni Earl Major and Bruce Olson, we have reconstituted our Dean's Advisory Council (DAC) and Krannert School Alumni Association (KSAA).  Additionally, I've established a third advisory group to help us address many of our strategic and international challenges with the Global Strategic Advisory Council consisting of a very limited number of senior alums having strong global ties.

I've also conducted a number of meetings within the school with our faculty, staff and students in "fireside" chats.  I'll continue these meetings throughout next year as a way of enhancing communication between these groups and the dean's office - I'm also going to have some informal face time over at the Bistro in Rawls on a weekly basis.  If you see me sitting having coffee, please feel free to stop by and chat - no agenda is necessary!

Growing Toward the Future

Another important area of the school (and my job as Dean) is development and engagement.  We are working on several important initiatives for development and expansion at the school.  With the new President joining us in January, there will be very good opportunities to revitalize our engagement with a number of alumni.  I'm reaching out to our alumni and other supporters to help us with several key projects.  These include (not listed in order of priority but alphabetically):

  1. Creation of a Global Programs and Leadership Center in the area of the dean's office (and moving the current dean's office to the space across from Professional Development on the third floor of Krannert);
  2. Creation of a Cornell Bell Business Studies Center for teaching, research and outreach as a way of recognizing our commitment to diversity as well as honoring a very significant figure in the history of Krannert;
  3. Development of a comprehensive teaching and research agenda surrounding social innovation, including enhancement of the EBV and similar programs;
  4. Enhancement of student scholarship funding including opportunities for study abroad;
  5. Creation of new endowed professorships to attract and retain some of our top talent;
  6. Participation in a university-wide initiative on Advanced Manufacturing with Engineering and Technology

Finally, we have made very good inroads in developing a number of new international partners for student and faculty member exchanges (nearly doubling our study abroad opportunities for our students).  For example, Seoul National University has offered to host a group of our students and provide them with a "Doing Business in Korea" module free of charge.  We are discussing an undergraduate initiative with Yonsei University (S. Korea) and expanding our activities in India.

I'm quickly running out of space but let me mention several opportunities for us to explore this coming year - online education initiatives, revising and updating our undergraduate curriculum, and enhancing our relationship to Discovery and Research Parks to enhance experiential learning for our students, just to name a few.  We are looking forward to a very busy and highly productive year.

I'm very much looking forward to working with each and every one of you -

Boiler Up!

Chris Earley