Selecting a Business School Dean: Key Indicators

Over the past 10 years we have successfully conducted and completed a number of Business School Dean searches for large and medium sized universities around the country. There are several key indicators to weigh when selecting the right new Dean.

Every search assignment that we have ever conducted uses our proven search process, but for a Business School Dean search—an area of real specialty for our firm—the ability to generate long-lasting results comes from our knowledge of what effective Deans must achieve.  The cost of filling the position is enormous when hard and soft costs are tallied so, the longer the hired candidate lasts in the position—doing what is needed to successfully drive the growth and development of the business school—the better the outcome.    I speak with Business School Deans from top schools around the country on a regular basis and I serve on the Deans Advisory Board of a large business school here in New Jersey–and we have completed several successful B School Dean searchers.

Here are the key areas where the “Best B School Deans” really stand out, head and shoulders, above their peers:
1) Continually transforming and developing the Business School in a way that meets the core requirements of instruction while still experimenting with new offerings that are further enhanced through cross curricular involvement/participation of engineering, science and other disciplines.
2) Attracting Major Gifts and creating a fund raising pipeline that builds in momentum over time.
3) Recruiting the right faculty who will enhance the reputation and ranking of the school through first rate instruction, high student satisfaction, curriculum innovation, research and publication.
4) Building solid working relationships with students, faculty, fellow administrators,  president and trustees.
5) Establishing first rate outreach to alumni, Dean’s Advisory Board(s) and communication of Business School activities and accomplishments to all constituencies.
6) Achieving and sustaining AACSB accreditation of the Business School.
7) Leading the school in a way that sustains achievements and positions the school for long term growth & development as measured by improvement of the US News & World Reports ranking of the Business School and other metrics established by the provost, president, Dean’s Advisory Board, trustees and any other key constitutents appropriate to the University.

Today I spoke with a good friend who is now the Dean of a Business School in the southeast with an enrollment of 3500 undergrad and graduate students. He is doing most—but not “all of the above” after about 1 year on the job—and he is knocking the cover off the ball.  He did not come to his new school with all the answers, but he sure did come with the necessary experience and knowledge of what it takes to build a first rate business school; he has over 15 years of experience effectively leading a B School. Once he completed his assessment of current strengths and weaknesses-he set about implementing change and making improvements–and of course, the harder he has worked at it the luckier he has gotten!

If your University is currently confronted with the task of hiring a new B School Dean consider the 7 points listed above and think about your key indicators of success for the B School Deanship; it is vital to do this before the search is launched.   We can help with this exercise as it needs to be led by an experienced facilitator.

If you would like to talk with us here about your upcoming  B School Dean search, please give us a call here at KULPER & COMPANY—-we will be glad to discuss it with you.   I can be reached directly at (973) 285-3850.  Looking forward to hearing from you, soon.

All the best,
Keith Kulper
President

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About Keith Kulper

Keith D. Kulper is the president and founder of KULPER & COMPANY, LLC an executive search consulting firm working in the area of senior level leadership for academia and corporate innovation. We are strong advocates of nurturing the linkage between academic investigation/research and corporate innovation/full commercialization of new product solutions. We specialize in attracting proven leaders who can effectively drive transformational change. The firm operates an Advisory Board that meets annually to bring together leaders from academia and corporate innovation to help drive continuous improvement of our professional practice. We are also an investor in early stage companies. We take pride in supporting the growth and development of business and engineering schools at leading universities throughout the United States.

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