Stanford GSB Dean’s Twitter Mantle Stolen

Dean Rich Lyons of Berkeley Haas

Dean Rich Lyons of Berkeley Haas

Stanford may have slapped Cal silly on the football field in this year’s Big Game, but U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business dean Rich Lyons has scored a small victory in the age-old rivalry between the two San Francisco Bay Area schools.

After Berkeley, aka Cal, lost 38-17 last month in the 117th Big Game, Lyons has struck a blow against Stanford in the Twitterverse – but his recently vanquished competition remains hot on his heels. Stanford Graduate School of Business dean Garth Saloner has lost the mantle of most-followed-on-Twitter business school dean, with Lyons now on top – by a single follower.

Poets&Quants in 2011 measured B-school deans’ Twitter performance and reported Saloner’s 2,077 followers made him the most-followed of all, a veritable pied piper of social media for that time. Lyons’ 1,459 put him far behind.

As of Dec. 16, however, Lyons was up by one follower, with 6,946 to Saloner’s 6,945.

While the epic Twitter battle between the two deans remains closely fought, the pair are among a handful of B-school deans – from some of the world’s best schools – whose Twitter feeds are well worth following.


Why would a dean tweet? We heard an excellent explanation from Jim Dean, when he was dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, before he became provost of UNC-Chapel Hill.

“The most important reason is to stay in touch with both our students and alumni,” Dean says. “We have 1,700 students and 30,000 alumni. It’s very challenging to stay in touch with them. It gives me a chance to do that with relatively low investment of time to communicate. And there’s a signal there that we’re trying to stay on top of change.”

The most prominent B-school deans on Twitter? There are at least five worth following and they are from many of the best schools in the world, including Stanford, Berkeley and UCLA, IE Business School in Madrid, and the University of Virginia.

So here are some B-school deans worth following, along with their stats (as of Dec. 16), presented in order of the number of tweets they’ve tapped out to the world, from the most prolific to the least.


Bob Bruner

Robert Bruner


University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Handle: Bob_Bruner

Total Tweets: 3,587

Followers: 4,789

Follows: 610

Started Tweeting: Dec. 2, 2008

In both his tweets and blog posts, Darden dean Bob Bruner comes across as the quintessential Renaissance Man. Bruner tweets daily, often several times a day, and his messages also show up on his Facebook page. Since becoming the first dean of a major U.S. business school to go on Twitter in December of 2008, Bruner has tapped out more than 3,500 tweets. While he leans heavily on the “retweet” button, passing along articles such as a Fortune Magazine piece on retaining Millennial employees, he regularly pastes links to material he’s come across, such as an article in The Economist on mergers and acquisitions. On Twitter, Bruner is prolific, reliable, and thoughtful. While some other deans focus almost exclusively on their schools, Bruner’s Renaissance approach sees him tweeting on a wide variety of topics of interest to people in business school and in business. But as interesting as his tweets are, his blog posts over the years are exceptional–and he has a lot to say about business school education (see excerpts of our favorite blog posts by Dean Bruner here).

And what does his wife think? “She is bemused and indeed follows my tweeting and blogging,” he says. “But how can I say this delicately? She keeps up with me, but she’s not technology forward.”

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