What’s in Store for B-Schools in 2011

  • Stanford Graduate School of Business. In what will be the biggest change at Stanford in decades, the business school moves into a new, swanky and modern campus early in 2011. The new Knight Management Center, one of the most ambitious B-school construction plans ever, is the result of an unprecedented gift from Nike founder and Stanford MBA alum Philip H. Knight. The $350 million project includes eight separate buildings around a trio of quads, a 600-seat lecture hall, dining facilities, underground parking for 900 vehicles, and dedicated space for academic centers and career services. It will dramatically improve the culture of the school and make Stanford—already the most selective B-school in the U.S.–an even more desirable place to study for an MBA.
  • Dean Nitin Nohira’s Plan for Harvard Business School. Will the new Harvard dean be able to meet the high expectations he has raised for change at the number one business school in the world? 2011 will provide the answer. Nohria, who became HBS dean on July 1, is on record saying that he will pursue “bold, brave things” that will set the course for the entire field of management education for the next 100 years. His standard alumni stump speech now vaguely addresses what has become known at HBS as the five Is: Innovation, Intellectual Ambition, Internationalization, Inclusion, and Integration (largely with the rest of Harvard university). Everyone, however, is still waiting for that bold plan.
  • Greater Transparency of Faculty Deals. The provocative documentary, Inside Job, brought embarrassing attention to academics who profit from unreported consulting and directorship deals with companies and organizations and then weigh in as “objective” observers on key policy issues in economics and financial regulation. The documentary was especially discomforting to Columbia Business School Dean R. Glenn Hubbard and Columbia B-school professor Frederic S. Mishkin. Both granted the filmmaker on-air interviews that did not show either of them in the best light. Hubbard, who among other things is a MetLife director, came off as imperial and arrogant when asked about his consulting arrangements. Mishkin, who advises investment firms, was revealed to have written a positive white paper on Iceland not long before the country went bankrupt. It was paid for by Iceland’s Chamber of Commerce. But it goes well beyond Columbia. A recent paper by two professors at the University of Massachusetts found that many financial economists who weighed in on the Wall Street overhaul signed into law in July failed to prominently disclose potential conflicts of interest. The upshot: The American Economic Association plans to take up a proposal to adopt “ethical standards for economists” at its annual meeting in Denver next week.

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