After serving a total of 18 years as dean of three of the world’s most prestigious business schools, Edward “Ted” Snyder is getting ready to hang it up. The dean of Yale University’s School of Management today (March 7) announced that he would step down in June of next year and join the faculty.
When Snyder, currently on a one-year sabbatical, walks away from the job, he will have been a business school dean for nearly two decades. While other business school leaders have racked up more years in the job, most notably the late and legendary Don Jacobs of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management who was dean for a quarter of a century, no one can lay claim to running three of the top schools over the course of an academic career.
Before arriving at Yale as dean in July of 2011, Snyder had been dean of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business for nine years from 2001 to 2011. He came to Booth after serving as dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business for three years from 1998 to 2001.
‘IT’S HARDER TO KEEP ALL THE BALLS IN THE AIR’
Snyder, who turns 65 years old this year, believes the job has become increasingly demanding and complicated. “I think as I am getting to this stage, it’s harder to keep all the balls in the air,” he told Poets&Quants. “It’s a big job.”
Asked if he would entertain the notion of deaning yet another school, Snyder laughed. “I think I’m done,” he says. “I have really enjoyed having this partial leave and next year I want to try some teaching and see if I am any good at it and if I like it. I am happy to help other schools because I really like the strategy part and that is really fun. But these jobs get complicated.”
In his formal statement to the Yale SOM community, Snyder reflected on his time away from the office and his decision to leave the job. “Deciding to complete my service as dean after next year was difficult,” he wrote. “With time away from the school, I experienced what many others have – yet greater appreciation of our purposeful school and mission, the value of our rigorous approach, and the importance of Yale SOM to the world. I’ve also reflected on how our alumni body – small relative to peers but superior in so many ways – has stepped forward to make a huge impact: They’ve provided valuable advice, supported our students, connected us around the world, and been among the most generous alumni anywhere. I have come to realize, however, that it will soon be the right time for someone else to embrace the opportunities ahead and to have the great privilege of being dean of Yale SOM.”
LED MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS IN THE INFLUENCE & RECOGNITION OF YALE SOM
The unexpected announcement comes on top of four concurrent searches for major deanships in the U.S. Northwestern University, Cornell University, UC-Berkeley and UCLA are all searching for new leaders for their prestigious business schools (see 14 candidates To Be Dean at Kellogg, Cornell, Berkeley and UCLA).
The exodus does not appear to represent a major shift in the business education market. “I don’t think there are any trends causing these universities to lose their business school deans,” believes Mirah Horowitz, a consultant in the higher education practice with Russell Reynolds Associates. “Dean searches happen for many different reasons. I don’t see a grand trend that is forcing this turnover in top business schools. There are very different reasons for each of those deans to step down.”
But the fact that four of the most prominent business schools in the world are looking for deans all at the same time is unprecedented. At Yale, Snyder has two deputies who could easily step into his shoes: Anjani Jain, a former Wharton professor and administrator who is currently acting dean, and David Bach, a former IE Business School professor and administrator, who is deputy dean.
If SOM chooses to go inside, Jain and Bach would be the two leading candidates to succeed Snyder. But it’s also possible that either or both of them could leap to one of the other available deanships before Snyder officially steps down after bidding farewell to the Class of 2019 in May of that year and officially leaving his post on June 30th..
Whoever gets the job will have a tough act to follow. Snyder’s track record of success, not only at Yale but also at Chicago and Virginia, is as unprecedented as his three consecutive deanships at top schools. At SOM, he has led substantial improvements in the influence, visibility, and recognition of a business school that has long been an also ran. In 2015, Poets&Quants named Snyder Dean of the Year to honor his accomplishments.
A STRATEGY TO TRANSFORM YALE SOM INTO THE MOST GLOBAL B-SCHOOL IN THE U.S.
Yale University President Peter Salovey heaped praise on Snyder. “Under his leadership, the School of Management has reached and exceeded several significant milestones, emerging as one of the country’s most forward-looking business schools,” wrote Salovey in a statement to the Yale community. “Because of Ted’s vision and initiative, SOM is the most international of all American business schools, preparing our students for the challenges and opportunities of a complex global world.”
In pursuit of a strategy to make SOM the most global business school in the U.S., he conceived and created a novel Global Network for Advanced Management, a network of 32 schools on six continents that co-develop and share teaching materials, week-long immersion trips, online classes, research, global management case studies, and faculty. He thought up and introduced a Master of Advanced Management, a post-MBA, one-year degree program that brought to campus a diverse array of students from network member schools. And he also introduced a global studies requirement for all MBAs.
Snyder built out SOM’s entrepreneurship initiative, appointing the inaugural director of entrepreneurship programs, and And he launched school-wide initiatives on asset management, healthcare, and sustainability, adding those areas of focus to the school’s Executive MBA portfolio. He also oversaw the construction and the move into Edward P. Evans Hall, the new $243 million state-of-the-art home for SOM which brought together faculty, staff and students who had been spread among several buildings.
Major Accomplishments At Yale SOM
July of 2011 to May of 2019: Dean of Yale School of Management