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Departing Deans at Darden, Tuck, and Simon Open Up

 

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

Maybe that’s how young Juliets describe a separation from their suitors. After running top MBA programs, most deans would describe their partings as a huge relief. And boy has there been some serious turnover in the B-school ranks this year: Wharton, Emory, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, George Washington, Georgia, and Oklahoma State to name a few.

Three of the largest changes are occurring at the University of Virginia (Darden), Dartmouth College (Tuck), and the University of Rochester (Simon), where Bob Bruner, Paul Danos, and Mark Zapan have respectively tendered their walking papers. These men, who’ve spent a collective 38 years at the helm (including 19 years for Tuck’s Danos), have navigated their schools through new technologies, rising expectations, and the mother-of-all financial crises. As they head back to teaching or retirement, they recently shared with Bloomberg Businessweek what they hope for their successors, the changes that occurred during their tenures, and their advice to future MBAs. Here is a snapshot of their interviews:

Advice to Successor…

Danos: “Keep the quality of the student experience at the center of your strategy, continuously improve the faculty with additions of world-class thought leaders dedicated to student learning, and carefully monitor the fast-changing world of business education.”

Changes in Students…

Zupan: “There is a growing interest in entrepreneurship, globalization, and leadership development. And a greater emphasis as well on [Return on Investment], given the rising cost of a graduate business education (especially in light of the opportunity cost of students’ time) and the improving means of gauging ROI (rankings, the Internet, etc.).”

Most Unexpected Experience…

Bruner: “A few weeks after becoming dean, an alumnus handed me a gift to Darden for $1 million out of the blue: no ask or cultivation on my part; no conditions or requirements for recognition on his. He just said, ‘I believe in you and am incredibly grateful to the school for how it helped me.'”

Advice for Future MBAs…

Danos: “Choose a school that fits with your core beliefs about business, leadership, and personal standards. Do your homework on the career options that each prospective school provides. Think about and articulate a personal and organizational philosophy that you want to follow for a lifetime and try to find the school that matches it. Use your time on campus to dig deep into faculty knowledge and to hone leadership skills. Learn from the knowledge and experiences of your peers and generously share your own knowledge and experiences.”

What’s Next…

Bruner: “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to the end of my appointment. Initially I’ll return to Darden’s faculty. I don’t intend to retire. But for the first time in my career, I can’t say what’s next in any detail— and it feels pretty good.”

To read the full interviews, click on the Bloomberg Businessweek link below.

DON’T MISS: Paul Danos: A B-School Dean for the Guinness Book of Records

Dean of the Year: Darden’s Robert Bruner

Rochester’s New Branding Message: Toughen Up!

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

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