Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business today (May 9) announced that a strategy professor who has won 24 teaching awards during her academic career will now become dean, pending approval by the IU Board of Trustees. Idalene “Idie” Kesner, who has been the interim dean of Kelley since October of 2013, becomes the first woman to lead the business school.
In an interview with Poets&Quants, Kesner said she has already been working on a host of global initiatives that has already brought or will bring Kelley degree and certificate programs to Korea, India, Thailand, Brazil, Mongolia, and South Africa.
FULL-TIME MBA APPLICATIONS UP 25% THIS YEAR
She takes over the school at an opportune time. Kesner said applications to Kelley’s full-time MBA program this year are up a whopping 25%, while applicants to the school’s online MBA program are up more than 30%. “We have had a real run-up,” she told PoetsandQuants. “That is in contrast to most MBA programs which I believe will be flat this year. We’ve had a very good year. The rankings are up. When you’re No. 1 in student satisfaction, career services and faculty you get student attention. They care about those things,” she added, referring to last year’s Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranking. BW ranked Kelley 15th in the U.S., up from 19th in 2010.
Kesner also said the year is shaping up as a highly successful one for MBA recruiting. The school again had a 100% summer internship record for students and based on current numbers she predicted that 98% of this year’s graduating class will have jobs within three months of commencement. Last year, 95% of Kelley’s grads had jobs three months after graduation.
Asked if it were her ambition to become a business school dean, Kesner replied: “I’m not sure I wanted to be dean anywhere, but being dean at the Kelley school is an honor. I am a graduate of the program. I got my master’s and PhD there. This is a program that I would like to lead. It’s has the best faculty, amazing students, and a culture that is quite remarkable. The faculty and student interaction here is quite special.”
AN ALUMNUS WHO JOINED THE KELLEY FACULTY IN 1995 FROM KENAN-FLAGLER BUSINESS SCHOOL
Kesner joined the Kelley School faculty in 1995, coming from a titled faculty position at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was chairwoman of Kelley’s Full-Time MBA Program from August 2003 to August 2006 and chairwoman of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship from October 2006 to June 2009. Before becoming interim dean, Kesner had been associate dean of faculty and research and held the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management.
The school said her appointment comes at the end of an exhaustive national search process. She succeeds Dan Smith, who left after a successful seven-year tenure as dean to become president of the IU Foundation.
“The university conducted a thorough national search for a new dean at the Kelley School, commensurate with its reputation as one of the finest business schools in the world, and Idie Kesner was a clear and compelling choice for the role,” said Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie in a statement. “Idie is an internationally recognized business scholar and a renowned teacher who has played several vital leadership roles at Kelley during her 18 years at the school.
‘MANY OF THE SCHOOL’S PROGRAMS BEAR IDIE’S IMPRINT ON THEM’
“Many of the school’s most prestigious programs, such as our full-time MBA program and department of management entrepreneurship, have Idie’s clear imprint on them, and her passion for IU and the Kelley School are unmatched,” McRobbie added. “I am confident that, under her leadership, the Kelley School will build on the outstanding legacy left by former dean and current IU Foundation President Dan Smith and continue to be home to some of the finest business educators, scholars and students anywhere.”
A 14-member search and screen committee underwent a thorough and extensive selection process, which attracted “many dozens” of qualified candidates, said Matthew Auer, dean of the Hutton Honors College, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and chair of the search committee.
“The search committee, led by Dean Auer, was extremely diligent in identifying the best candidates,” Robel said. “Faculty, staff, students and alumni on both the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses were involved in engaging the finalists on their vision for the school. Idie’s selection reflects her superlative capabilities and credentials, and I am delighted to pass on the committee’s recommendation to the trustees.”