It is hard to believe that more than a decade has
passed since I was contacted by the school’s search committee. The
charge for the new dean was to significantly enhance the recognition and
standing of what was then the College of Business and Management,
continuously improve the college’s prominence, recruit high caliber
students and faculty, increase participation in the global arena, and
respond to the growing importance of information technology in business
Fortunately when I arrived, the stage had been set
for some amazing things to happen. I had been preceded by two terrific
deans. One of them was Rudy Lamone, whose exquisite taste in people
meant I had inherited a wonderful faculty. Rudy was followed by Bill
Mayer who had turned the school into an entrepreneurial engine and,
understanding that a great business school must have a great MBA
program, inspired the school’s MBA program revolution.
The transformation that we have seen over the last
decade has indeed been driven by many people, including dedicated alumni
and other friends who have supported us with their generous gifts, time
and counsel. In 1998 the greatest benefactor in the history of the
school, Robert H. Smith, gave us his name and a mark that said we had
finally grown up.
We have seen some remarkable accomplishments since
then. We turned what was a nice undergraduate program into one of the
best in the world. It will be the best in the world within three years.
And it’s not like something magic has to happen. We just have to keep
doing what we’re doing and add some dimensions to it. Our freshmen
already come in with average SATs of 1360. We have a 97 percent
retention rate - the highest graduation rates on campus – and the
highest GPAs on campus.
The school’s MBA program dominates the region, with
1,400 full-time, part-time and executive MBA students at campuses in
College Park, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Rockville, Md. Our MBA
program reach also extends to campuses in Europe and Asia. We have an
amazing human base in our students. And the people who teach them are
the best in the world.
Today, the Smith School is positioned to do
something that happens perhaps every 20 years – to go from what is an
excellent business school to one that is among the greatest on earth.
That is the mission and it can be done. If I had written that ten years
ago, it would seem an act of folly or even lunacy. But we know now it
can be done. It will take hard work and more financial resources but
greatness for the Smith School is far from an act of imagination. This
is what the Smith School will do under the tenure of the new dean.
Any great business school is driven by great
alumni. So achieving our vision will require not only the work of the
new leadership, but that of a committed Smith School community. I call
on the community to help propel the school to its destiny.
The Smith School has a transformative effect on all
who come into contact with it, and I am no exception. It has been a true
thrill for me to meet and work with Smith students – talented men and
women full of energy, ambition and big ideas. It has been inspiring to
work alongside dedicated staff and phenomenal faculty as they pursue the
highest and most demanding intellectual endeavors. And it has been a
pleasure to work with the fantastic alumni who share our vision.
As I step down as the school's dean, I am profoundly grateful
for the privilege to be a part of the Smith School community.
After a years’ sabbatical, I look forward to returning as
professor of management sciences and to helping in the future
growth and prosperity of the school.