HBS Loses Another Prof to a Deanship

Harvard finance prof becomes dean of Oxford University's Said School of Business on July 1, 2011

Harvard finance prof becomes dean of Oxford’s Said School of Business on July 1, 2011

The Harvard Business School (HBS) is fast becoming has the hot training ground for new B-schools deans. The University of Oxford today (Dec. 6) named HBS finance prof and social entrepreneur Peter Tufano dean of its Said Business School. Moores is the second Harvard professor packing his bags for a deanship in one week. Only seven days ago, HBS marketing prof John Quelch was tapped to become dean of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), the highest ranking B-school in China.

Some of these appointments may very well represent the fallout of Harvard’s decision to name HBS leadership professor Nitin Nohira dean earlier this year. Both Quelch and Tufano were likely candidates for that job. Tufano, 53, will take up his post in Oxford on July 1, succeeding the Dean Colin Mayer.

From his resume, Tufano looked every bit like a Harvard lifer. He has spent over three decades at the university, earning his AB in economics (summa cum laude), MBA (with high distinction), and PhD in Business Economics degrees from Harvard, and has been on the faculty of the Harvard Business School for 22 years. He currently is a professor of financial management at HBS. His wife, Mary Jeanne Tufano, is an attorney, arbitrator, and mediator, and their only child is a Harvard student.

“I am thrilled to be asked to lead the Saїd Business School and to be joining the Oxford community,” said Tufano in a statement. “Society faces many problems today, and business, as the economic engine of society, has a critical and constructive role to play in addressing many of them. The world looks to leading business schools for innovative ideas that inform action, and for well-trained and principled graduates.”

Just like Quelch, Tufano will be taking over the leadership of a relative newcomer to graduate business school education. Saїd Business School, which opened its doors only 14 years ago in 1996, has graduated about 2,100 MBAs. The school has a total enrollment of only 235 full-time MBA students with an average GMAT score of 698. Nonetheless, Saїd quickly moved up the rankings to regularly get counted among the world’s best business schools. Poets&Quants ranks Saїd tenth among non-U.S. schools. Both BusinessWeek and The Financial Times rank the school 16th, though the FT rank is from its global list while the BW rank is for non-U.S. schools.

Oxford is getting a highly admired professor and university administrator in Tufano. As an educator, Tufano developed over 50 case studies, and created three new courses at Harvard, including the consumer finance offering, a revamped core MBA finance offering, and an advanced course on risk management and financial engineering. He has assumed a number of leadership roles at Harvard, serving as department chair, course head, and senior associate dean; he has overseen the school’s tenure and promotion processes, its campus planning, crafted a strategy for university engagement, and advised Harvard on financial and real estate matters. He is currently launching the Harvard Innovation Lab, a cross-university initiative to foster entrepreneurship.

In its new dean, Oxford is also getting a social entrepreneur, a field that has become increasingly important at many top business schools. Tufano founded and chairs Doorways to Dreams Fund, a non-profit that works with partner organizations to test and promote innovations that better serve low-income households’ financial needs.

Over the past decade, Tufano has worked to advance the field of consumer finance, with a particular emphasis on applying research insights to better meet the financial service needs of everyday households. This work, blending finance, psychology, sociology, history, and management, has influenced businesses and policy makers, leading to two changes in US federal tax policy, new models for savings products, and new approaches to financial education. To support other researchers in this nascent field, Tufano co-chairs the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Household Finance working group. He has brought consumer finance into the classroom, collaborating to create a joint HBS and Harvard Law School offering on the topic.

Tufano’s other research focuses on risk management, financial engineering, and mutual funds. This work has been published in top academic journals, as well as the Harvard Business Review, and a variety of books. His paper on risk management practices in the gold mining industry shared the Smith-Breeden prize for the best paper published in the Journal of Finance.

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