After an eight-month worldwide search for a new dean, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business today (Jan. 22) went with an inside candidate for the job. Matthew J. Slaughter, who has taught at Tuck since 2002, has been named the school’s tenth dean and will assume the new role on July 1.
Slaughter, who succeeds Paul Danos who has held the Tuck deanship for the past 20 years, brings impressive credentials to the job. He is associate dean for faculty and founding faculty director of Tuck’s Center for Global Business and Government, Slaughter also had served as associate dean of the MBA program. From 2005 to 2007, he was on the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
Known as a passionate and innovative teacher, he can often be seen during the warmer month strolling about the campus in Hanover, N.H., in shorts and loafers. Slaughter’s elective MBA course–Leadership in the Global Economy–is among the most popular at Tuck. He is a past recipient of both the Class of 2011 Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes faculty for their outstanding contributions to the educational experience at Tuck, and Dartmouth’s John M. Manley Huntington Teaching Award, which Slaughter received in 2001 as a member of Dartmouth’s economics faculty.
SPENCER STUART ASSISTED IN THE WORLDWIDE SEARCH
The search, done with executive search firm Spencer Stuart, involved what the school called a “broad outreach” to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. “We winnowed the finalists down from hundreds of suggestions and nominations,” says Robert Hansen, a Tuck professor who chaired the 10-person search committee. “There was more interest than expected. Spencer Stuart didn’t think there would be quite the level of interest in the position. We interviewed a bunch and then brought several back to campus for in-depth interviews.”
The committee sent “more than two but less than five” finalists–including outsiders–without a recommendation to Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon and Provost Carolyn Dever. “The best person was here all along,” said Hansen, who also had chaired the search that brought Paul Danos to the job 20 years earlier. “It was hard to narrow it down, and the final decision was a tough call. But Matt is the best person. There is no question about that.”
Slaughter began his teaching career in Dartmouth College’s economics department after gaining his PhD in economics from MIT in 1994. He earned his bachelor of arts in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1990. After teaching Dartmouth undergrads economics for eight years, the already tenured Slaughter moved to the Tuck School in 2002. In those years at both Dartmouth College and Tuck, he established himself as a major player.
HIGH ON SLAUGHTER’S TO-DO LIST IS A LISTENING TOUR
“He’s a world class economist and studies the stuff that is important to the business world right now,” says Hansen, who was involved in bringing Slaughter to the Tuck School. “His focus is globalization and the impact of technology on the economy. He also studies wage inequality. He is a world class scholar who has also taught the core international economics course to MBAs. The alumni love him. And he is on the global stage in terms of talking about public policy.”
Asked if he was drafted or volunteered for the job, Slaughter told Poets&Quants, “I definitely raised my hand. I have been at Tuck and Dartmouth since graduate school. My wife and I have really enjoyed being here and Tuck is a pretty special place. The chance to serve it in a new way is an honor.”
Slaughter, 45, said he plans to initially listen hard to what Tuck stakeholders have to say about the school and its future direction. “No CEO is really ready for the job,” he said. “High on my to-do list is having lots of conversations with my colleagues. That said, I think there are opportunities to refine what we do in the MBA program. We aspire to the best business school in the world.”
He also intends to look at “how we can meet the burgeoning demand in the near-graduate space” for liberal arts and science undergraduates who need some training in business basics to enhance their job prospects. This summer Tuck is holding its Bridge program for undergrads at Smith College from May 25 to June 12. “Given the pressures that persist in the U.S. labor market overall, that is a real opportunity and a need for a top school like Tuck to address,” said Slaughter.
A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW
Slaughter has a tough act to follow. In succeeding Paul Danos, he will inherit a school where nothing is visibly broken. Under Danos’ watch, the school expanded the size and scope of its programs, adding nine centers and initiatives, a master’s in health care delivery, a fast-track summer business program for undergraduates, as well as an expansion of the B-school’s executive education portfolio. During his deanship, Danos also built up the school’s reputation for academic research by bringing in thought leaders such as Ken French in finance and Kevin Keller in marketing.
He grew the full-time faculty from 34 to 55 members, and increased full-time enrollment by a third, to four incoming sections of 60 students each from three when he arrived. Danos raised the school’s endowment from $59.2 million to $310 million, and he oversaw an increase in the participation rate of alums for Tuck’s annual giving campaign from 63%, when the effort raised $1.6 million, to an unprecedented 70% plus, with funds of $6.4 million. Most top ten business schools have giving rates in the 20% range. During his tenure, moreover, Tuck added about 145,000 additional new square feet of new world class buildings and renovated more than 100,000 square feet of existing space.
RANKINGS COULD BE A FOCUS ALONG WITH THE EXPANSION OF EXECUTIVE EDUCATION
One area of focus for Slaughter is likely to be rankings. The Economist has ranked Tuck second in the past two years, while Forbes has the school in sixth place. But Businessweek–with a newly revamped and controversial methodology–placed the school 15th, even below the rank of 13 when Danos arrived on campus as dean. Poets&Quants’ composite ranking puts Tuck in eighth place among the best U.S. schools.
The new dean may also expand Tuck’s reach in executive education as well as its exposure to Dartmouth undergraduates. Tuck’s exec ed offerings have been fairly limited compared to many rivals, and undergrad students are likely to want more business courses to get them more job ready upon graduation.
“Nothing is broken but the potential is tremendous,” says Hansen. “He is going to put tuck on a global stage. I like to think of him as someone who understands Tuck really well. He understands our traditions and values. He is a data and analytical person. ‘Show me the data’ is his approach. He doesn’t do things on a whim. He is careful.” Indeed, a series of six video snippets from an interview with Slaughter published by Tuck on its website portrays an accessible and diplomatic professor making statements that would not offend anyone.