Two Wharton Profs Among Finalists For Haas Deanship

Wharton Vice Dean Katherine Klein is one of three finalists for the Haas deanship, according to sources

Two of the three finalists for the deanship of UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business are female professors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, according to sources with knowledge of the search.

Katherine Klein, vice dean for Wharton’s social impact initiative and a professor of management, and Ann E. Harrison, another Wharton management professor who had earlier taught at UC-Berkeley, are in the final consideration stage for the job, sources told Poets&Quants. The third finalist is Mihir A. Desai, a charismatic and articulate professor of finance at Harvard Business School who is also a professor of law at Harvard Law School.

In separate emails, all three finalists declined comment. “I’m not ready to comment at this point,” said Klein. “I have no comments at this time,” wrote back Harrison. Added Desai: “I think I’ll let this play out without any comment.”


All three candidates are vying to succeed Haas Dean Rich Lyons who will leave the deanship at the end of the current academic year after an 11-year stint as dean. The new dean is expected to be in place by July 1.

The search, assisted by headhunter David Bellshaw of Isaacson, Miller, has been closely watched and has attracted  a large number of nominations, according to insiders. Afterall, the job is considered one of the most influential leadership positions in management education given the school’s prominence, reputation and location.

The emergence of two women in the final stages of the decision is thought to be a positive development after announced departures of female deans at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. When Kellogg’s Sally Blount and Anderson’s Judy Olian leave their jobs at the end of this academic year, no women will occupy the deanships at any of the top 15 U.S. business schools.


If one of the two women is ultimately tapped to succeed Lyons, Haas would become the only top ten business school to be led by two women. Economist Laura Tyson, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration, had been dean of the business school from 1997 until 2001 and then dean of the London Business School from 2002 to 2006.

Though Klein would bring valuable experience in social impact to Haas, she is an unusual candidate for a business school deanship. Her PhD is not in a business discipline but rather community psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University.

But she has leveraged those academic credentials into becoming a highly-admired organizational psychologist who has taught leadership and organizational change at Wharton and who has won a senior leadership role at the school. As vice dean and director of Wharton’s social impact initiatives for the past seven years, Klein has shaped Wharton’s vision and strategy for social impact partnerships, initiatives, research, and faculty engagement.


Wharton’s Ann Harrison boasts a strong connection to UC-Berkeley

Her expertise in this area, no doubt, has gotten her to the finals. In the specs for the Haas deanship, social impact pops up a couple of times. “A set of increasingly valuable advantages relative to its peers – e.g., proximity to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, a distinguished faculty, a commitment to social impact, and a strong culture – are well understood by the larger Haas community and frame aspirations for the School at the highest level,” according to the specifications for the deanship. Later in spelling out the new dean’s opportunities and challenges, the specs note that “the dean will have the chance to make a social impact locally, nationally, and globally.”

Klein joined Wharton as a management professor in 2004 from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business where for two years she had been an affiliate professor. She had been an associate professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Maryland since 1984, the year she received her Phd. Klein also was a visiting associate professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in the 2000-2001 acdemic year.

Her 21-page CV shows evidence of a solid research background with a strong record of academic publication as well as considerable leadership experience beyond her role as vice dean. At Wharton, for example, she has served as chair of the management department as well as co-chair of the faculty committee on the school’s MBA programs and of a committee on faculty attraction and retention. Over the years, Klein also has served on a wide array of other committees, from the dean’s advisory council to a panel on Wharton’s “identity and branding.”


Her colleague at Wharton, Harrison, has the advantage of a previous Berkeley connection, having taught at UC-Berkeley for 10 years as a professor of agricultural and resource economics between 2001 to 2011. She also earned her bachelor’s degree from UC-Berkeley in economics and history in 1982. Harrison gained her PhD in economics from Princeton University in 1991.

But Harrison lacks administrative experience in academia. A professor of multinational management and business economics and public policy, she has taught students at the MBA, master’s, PhD, and undergraduate levels at Wharton, Columbia Business School, the University of California, Berkeley, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the University of Paris. Harrison is a dual citizen of the U.S. and France.

On the other hand, boasts public policy experience outside academia. Before joining the Wharton School in 2012, Harrison spent two years in Washington D.C. as the director of development policy at the World Bank. Prior to that, she served as the head of the research team at the World Bank on international trade and investment.


Harvard Business School’s Mihir A. Desai

Her research is in the areas of emerging markets, multinational firms, international trade, productivity, and labor markets. Harrison has published in the top journals and her book,  Globalization and Poverty, was published by the University of Chicago Press.

She has lectured widely, including at most major US universities and in India, China, Latin America, Europe, the Philippines, and North Africa. Her most recent work evaluates the impact of anti-sweatshop campaigns and corporate social responsibility; the linkages between globalization of firms, worker wages and employment; the effectiveness of industrial policy; and determinants of productivity growth in China and India.

Both women faced formidable competition from Harvard’s Desai, a highly accomplished scholar who earned his Phd in political economy from Harvard University, his MBA as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School; and a bachelor’s degree in history and economics from Brown University. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Scholar to India.

After earning his PhD in 1998, he joined the Harvard Business School as an assistant professor in the finance and entrepreneurial areas. He won promotion to associate professor in 2003, becoming a full professor three years later.

Desai is a master teacher (see video below). As a second-year professor teaching finance in the required curriculum, he received the Student Association Award for teaching excellence from the HBS Class of 2001.  He subsequently built a second-year elective on International Financial Management, and his many cases on international finance have been collected in a casebook published by John Wiley and are taught around the world.


He brings academic heft and administrative experience to the game. From 2008 to 2011, Desai led HBS’s doctoral programs, which included the DBA and joint programs with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In that role, he led the restructuring of various programs and initiated a terminal master’s program. From 2010 to 2014, Desai was the senior associate dean for planning and university affairs, where he was part of the senior management team of the business school focused on integration with the rest of the University.

Among other things, he has launched a program for Harvard undergraduates to collaborate on research with HBS professors (PRIMO), helped launch the Harvard Innovation Lab, worked on campus planning efforts including the design of Tata Hall and served on the newly created Harvard Libraries Board. He also has taught finance in Harvard’s online learning initiative HBX.

His professional experiences include working at CS First Boston (1989-1991), McKinsey & Co. (1992), and advising a number of firms and governmental organizations. He is also on the advisory board of the International Tax Policy Forum and the Centre for Business Taxation at Oxford University.


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