Duke’s Boulding Gets Another 5-Year Term

Duke Fuqua Dean Bill Boulding

Duke University Fuqua School of Business Dean Bill Boulding told Poets&Quants in December that he expects 2018 to be a year in which tech continues its transformative effect on business, saying the human and ethical implications of new technologies will be come to the fore. He might have made another prediction: that he would be reappointed dean of the Fuqua School for another five-year term.

The school announced Thursday (February 15) that Boulding, who has served as dean since 2011, would continue in that role until 2023 following the recommendation of a review committee. Boulding joined Duke’s faculty in 1984.

“Bill is a valued colleague and well-respected scholar and administrator,” Provost Sally Kornbluth said in the school’s announcement of Boulding’s reappointment. “His leadership, dedication to Fuqua and commitment to higher education and service have been the foundation of his success as dean. I am delighted to be able to continue working with him as dean of The Fuqua School of Business.”


Duke’s Bill Boulding

Boulding’s research has focused on the intersection of marketing, management and strategy. His recent work is on the domain of health care; last year he helped launch a new online degree program in data analytics focused on health care. He has published research in many leading journals and  served on a number of editorial boards and professional organizations. He also is a past recipient of multiple awards including the Bank of America Award, Fuqua’s highest faculty honor for excellence in teaching, research, leadership, and service.

In 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek named Duke Fuqua the No. 1 B-school in the United States. The school has had a more mixed outcome in the rankings since, falling to 12th in the 2017 Poets&Quants ranking (down from 11th in 2016), sixth in the most recent Bloomberg rankings (a three-spot drop from the year before), 12th in U.S. News & World Report (same as the year before), 14th in Forbes (down two spots), 13th in Financial Times (down a spot), and 13th at The Economist (same). Applications to the full-time MBA program at Duke Fuqua have gone up, from 3,737 in 2016 to 3,796 last year, but yield (53.9% to 51.7%) and enrollment (446 to 439) have ticked down.

Still, Fuqua is without question one of the premier B-schools in the U.S. and the world, and Duke’s administrators give the dean much of the credit. “Bill has done an exceptional job of leading The Fuqua School of Business over the past seven years, a period that saw the addition of new degree programs and an expansion of the school’s global focus,” Duke President Vincent Price said in the school’s announcement of Boulding’s reappointment. “Under his watch, Fuqua has built a reputation for training graduates who are well equipped to provide leadership to today’s evolving workplace. I am very pleased that he will remain at the helm and help guide Fuqua to an even stronger future.”


In 2014, just before the announcement of its Bloomberg ranking coup, Boulding responded to the idea that the school might have shifted its strategy to become more of a rankings climber. “There is a red line,” he said, “and the line is that rankings should not drive our strategy.”

“Of course,” he continued, “I would prefer measurements that are consistent with our values. But at the same time there’s information content in the current measurements. Would it mean that I don’t want to be number one in the current rankings? Well, rankings are important. But I draw the line as follows: Rankings should not drive your strategy. We want to be responsible for the world we live in.”

Asked Thursday to comment on his reappointment, Boulding said, “It is a privilege to be part of such a remarkable community. I am inspired daily by our students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Our community truly believes in the transformational power of the education we provide, both in individual lives and in society as a whole. I passionately believe business can solve some of the world’s toughest problems in ways that governments and other entities can’t. However, the ability of our students to maximize business as a force for good is dependent on making sure we are producing leaders who are ready for the complex world.

“We are continually innovating to be relevant to the challenges leaders are facing today. We are also focused on delivering our curriculum in some programs in ways that allow for more flexibility, thus increasing accessibility. I’m so grateful to be able to continue that innovation and look forward to the years ahead.”


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