Dean May Leave Johns Hopkins B-School Before First MBAs Graduate

After serving as dean of three business schools, Yash Gupta took on the task to build a new global MBA program at John Hopkins.

Yash Gupta, a veteran B-school educator and dean of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, is campaigning to become the chief academic officer at the University of Iowa–before Carey graduates its first MBA class.

Because the school is a public university, all the final candidates for the job of provost must be revealed, and each of them also must appear on campus at a forum to publicly speak before the university. Gupta, one of three final candidates for provost, appeared at the school last week on April 29th.

If he ultimately gets the job, it would be a major blow for Carey Business School, which Gupta launched as the founding dean. He joined Johns Hopkins in January of 2008 to create a business school at the university, world renown for its schools of medicine and international affairs. It was one of only four elite universities—Princeton, Brown and CalTech–left without a business school and a full-time MBA program. The last major university to launch a business school in the U.S. was Yale in 1976.

A visionary B-school leader, Gupta also has served as dean of three other business schools, including the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. At Johns Hopkins, he helped to craft a highly innovative curriculum and an unusual approach to business school education (see The Anti-MBA Business School.) The school’s tagline gives a clue to its differentiation: “Where business is taught with humanity in mind.”

The Carey Business School only entered its charter class of 88 students in September so Gupta has yet to graduate a single class of MBAs. His relatively frequent job changes came up in the public forum in Iowa attended by about 90 professors, administrators, and students.

According to published reports, Gupta assured people that if he is chosen to be the university’s second-in-command, he would stay put at Iowa.

“That’s it,” Gupta said after the meeting. “I’m done if I come.”

Michael Barron, the Iowa’s director of Admissions, asked why Gupta wanted to leave Johns Hopkins, which Gupta had identified as an example of a well-run institution during his speech.

“If you’re having a wonderful career at one of the best-run institutions in the country, and yet you have a reputation for moving to areas of need and helping to reposition those institutions, what precisely attracted you to this one?” Barron asked.

Gupta said he felt Johns Hopkins had an affinity with the Iowa because of its achievements in research. He said he was also drawn to work in a public university and cited the university’s landmark accomplishments in equality in granting some of the first law degrees to underrepresented minorities.

“These are about the values,” he said. “And these values are something that’s important to me.”