Johns Hopkins B-School Loses Its Dean

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 leaving the school to become chief executive officer of a Montreal-based telecom company. His appointment becomes effective in early July.

The announcement, made today (May 16) by SDP Telecom, Inc., a private company founded in 1995, comes as a surprise. Only recently, Gupta had been campaigning to become the chief academic officer at the University of Iowa–before Carey graduates its first MBA class.

Gupta apparently had been known by the company’s two Indian founders, according to spokesman Michael Clayton. Asked why the company would hire an educator to be CEO, he said, “We are very focused on expanding into the Indian market. It’s a key part of our growth strategy. He brings a bunch of connections to help us do that.”

His departure is a major blow for the 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.

In a memo to faculty, Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels called Gupta “a tireless evangelist for the school.  “During his tenure, Dean Gupta has successfully recruited a core group of exceptional scholars and business practitioners to our faculty, hired a new administrative team, developed the policies and procedures necessary to get the school running administratively, and established the successful “Leaders + Legends” speaker series. Thanks to his determination, the charter class of the Global MBA program includes almost 90 students. The Class of 2013 appears equally promising in terms of quality, diversity and size.”

Gupta could not be reached for comment, and a spokesperson for the school referred all media calls to the university’s media affairs office.

Daniels said the university will soon initiate a national search for a new dean. Meantime, Executive Vice Dean Phillip Phan will serve as interim dean of the Carey Business School effective July 1, 2011.