Score one for Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.
Peter Rodriguez, senior associate dean for degree programs and chief diversity officer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, has been named dean of Rice’s business school, effective July 1. He succeeds Bill Glick, who has been dean for 11 years and will return to the faculty.
A Princeton-educated economist who specializes in the study of international business and trade, Rodriguez has played an important role at Darden, acting as a de facto COO under recently departed Dean Robert Bruner. For the past five years, he has led the MBA programs at the Darden School and its global, online and diversity strategies. Rodriguez also is credited with prioritizing faculty development, especially for junior faculty, and fostering a culture of research and teaching excellence at Darden.
His decision to leave UVA, ranked 12th in the nation by Poets&Quants, comes less than six months after the arrival of new Darden Dean Scott Beardsley, who succeeded Bruner and who joined academia after a 26-year career with McKinsey & Co., the prestigious global consulting firm. “He’s a great guy and we’re sad to see him go, but we’re also flattered that he is going to such a great school,” says Beardsley. “It’s no surprise he was targeted by competitors. We’re just honored that he spent so much time here at Darden.” Rodriguez will be taking over a business school whose full-time MBA program is ranked 27th best in the U.S. by Poets&Quants.
SOMETHING OF A RETURN HOME
For Rodriguez, the new job at Rice represents something of a return home. He is a native of Kilgore, Texas, and has a B.S. in economics from Texas A&M University, where he graduated cum laude, before getting his master’s and Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University. Before moving to Virginia, Rodriguez was on the faculty of Mays Business School and the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.
In gaining a dean, Rice also gains a master teacher who delivered one of UVA’s Last Lectures, a now 24-year-old annual tradition in which a distinguished faculty member is invited to give a lecture as if it were their last time to do so, on a topic of their choosing (see video below). Rodriguez’s tour-de-force lecture in 2014 centered on his perspective on life’s questions: “What Should I do with Myself?” and “How Should I Conduct Myself?” He spoke of growing up conscious of doing the right thing, largely because his mother drilled that notion into him. As he engagingly puts it during his lecture, “If there is an asset you can never amortize and appreciate, it’s guilt.”
Rodriguez is the kind of person who would very likely feel guilty leaving Darden after more than a dozen years on the faculty there. But his new job obviously is a step up for the academic, who would have been a likely candidate for the dean’s position at Darden. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join Rice as both a faculty member and as part of the leadership team at one of the country’s top business schools in one of its top cities,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Rice is an outstanding university with a clear commitment to excellence in research, teaching and outreach at all levels.”
His contribution to Darden was acknowledged by Rice Provost Marie Lynn Miranda. “Peter Rodriguez’s exceptional talent as a leader is evident from his broad impact at the Darden School,” said Miranda in a statement. “As an accomplished scholar and educator, with a unique ability to connect with the many Jones School constituencies, Peter is exceptionally well positioned to lead the Jones School. We are both extremely grateful to current Dean Bill Glick for his service and leadership and very excited to welcome Peter to the Rice community.”
HE CURRENTLY TEACHES CLASSES ON ECONOMIC GROWTH & INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
He said he looks forward to working with the Jones School Council of Overseers and the Houston business community to identify areas where the business school can best serve the community while also strengthening its global engagement and stature.
Rodriguez teaches classes on comparative economic growth and development, international business and international macroeconomics. His research publications include theoretical explorations of international trade policies and firm behavior and empirical and practice-based studies of issues in international business and management.
Before going to Darden, he has also taught at Princeton University. In addition, he worked for several years as an associate in the Global Energy Group at JPMorgan Chase. Rodriguez has received numerous awards for teaching excellence in classes such as international macroeconomics and business-government relations.
As dean, Rodriguez will oversee a school that boasts a strong foundation in accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, and management with areas of substantive excellence in energy, entrepreneurship, and health care. Degreed programs include the Rice MBA, MBA for Executives and MBA for Professionals, as well as joint MBAs in medicine, engineering, and professional science, and a Ph.D. in Business. The Jones School has also played an increasingly important role in undergraduate education at Rice.