Columbia Picks Veteran Insider As New B-School Dean

Long-time faculty member Costis Maglaras will succeed Glenn Hubbard as dean of Columbia Business School on July 1

Long-time faculty member Costis Maglaras will succeed Glenn Hubbard as dean of Columbia Business School on July 1

A mere four days before Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard departs his position, the university today (June 27) turned to one of its most senior faculty members to fill the job. The school named 49-year-old Costis Maglaras, the former director of the school’s Ph.D. program who has been a CBS professor since 1998, to the deanship.

Maglaras brings to the job an esteemed background as a scholar and respected collaborator but has not held any of the senior leadership jobs at Columbia Business School under Hubbard. He also may well be the only dean of a prominent business school without a graduate degree in either economics or business. Instead, he has a trio of degrees–bachelor’s, master’s and a doctorate–in electrical engineering. Besides serving as director of the school’s Ph.D. program from 2011 to 2017, he also chaired the Decision, Risk & Operations Division from 2015 to 2018, and is a member of the Executive Committee of Columbia University’s Data Science Institute since 2016.

More importantly, perhaps, Maglaras has pioneered the development of the school’s Technology and Analytics curriculum, a first-of-its-kind set of courses designed to help students develop actionable insights based on big data. The curriculum now consists of more than 15 courses ranging from data analytics, coding and computational science to data mapping, machine learning, and technology disruption. The school said that these electives are among the most sought-after courses at the school. Maglaras also was instrumental in the conception and launch of Columbia’s Master of Science in Business Analytics, a joint program offered by CBS and Columbia Engineering.


Called a “visionary leader in the fields of data analytics and quantitative finance” by the university, Maglaras will assume the leadership of Columbia at both an exciting yet challenging time. He will oversee the school’s move to new facilities on Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus in 2022, a project led by Hubbard who has raised more than $1 billion during his 15 years as dean, including over $500 million for the school’s new home (see Columbia’s New Complex Will Open For Classes In 2022).

While Maglaras will preside over what will be an exciting new chapter for CBS, he is also taking over the business school at a time when applications to two-year, full-time MBA programs are falling. CBS last year reported a relatively slight 2.6% drop in apps to 6,029 in the 2018-2019 admissions season.

In an essay published last month, Hubbard warned that within the next decade, “it’s likely that only a handful of large full-time, two-year MBA programs will remain, at least in the U.S.” The outgoing dean, who plans to return to Columbia’s faculty, attributes the decline to the rising cost of business education, diminished employer sponsorship, and falling applications to full-time MBA programs.


Outgoing Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard

Of course, Maglaras will not be taking over just another business school. Columbia is among the most prestigious institutions in business education, with a strong portfolio of graduate programs, including an array of Executive MBA options that makes CBS the largest player in that lucrative market. The school’s full-time MBA program is currently ranked seventh best in the U.S. in Poets&Quantscomposite ranking of the five most influential lists. Even with last year’s drop in apps, 6,029 candidates vied for just 756 classroom seats in the full-time MBA program. Among the prestige global business schools, Columbia’s MBA enrollment is the third largest behind only Harvard and Wharton and the fifth most selective with an acceptance rate of 17%.

Hubbard, who also did a two-year stint as President George W. Bush’s chairman the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers in 2001, announced his intention to resign last September when the university commenced what it called a “global search” for his successor. Columbia did not release any details about the search or whether it had hired a search firm to help it sort through candidates for the job. President Bollinger and Henry Kravis, Co-CEO of KKR and co-chair of Columbia Business School’s Board of Overseers, ran the search committee which was comprised of senior CBS faculty members, members of the Board of Overseers, and other unidentified Columbia deans.

Maglaras will be following a dean who accomplished a great deal at CBS over the past 15 years. Hubbard guided the expansion of three new extensions of the school’s Executive MBA program, launched four new master’s degrees, and supported the development of curricular innovations in real time, such as the launch of the school’s flagship Immersion Seminars and Master Classes. In addition to raising more than $1 billion, a feat accomplished by only one other business school dean, Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School, he greatly increased financial aid, which rose 600% from 2004 to 2018.


Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger was effusive in his praise for Maglaras. “Costis has consistently demonstrated a commitment to embedding the widely applicable lessons of [his] data-focused scholarship more fully into Columbia’s business education and to supporting related initiatives at the University-level,” said Bollinger in a statement. “He is a talented educator and a generous colleague, beloved by his students and peers, and he is known for his thoughtful and probing approach to business pedagogy, grounded in real-world examples, experience, and analysis.”

Maglaras joined the faculty of Columbia Business School in 1998 after earning his MS and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College, London. In 2003 he received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence for the Managerial Statistics course, and in 2018 he received the Dean’s Award for Innovation in the Curriculum for his design and launch of the school’s Technology and Analytics curriculum. He has consulted for Fortune 500 companies primarily in the areas of financial market microstructure and quantitative trading. Maglaras lives in New York with his wife, Niki Kouri who he had met at Stanford when she was getting her master’s degree in management sciences in 1994. He and Kouri, vice president of marketing and digital customer experience at Prudential Financial, have three daughters.

The university described Maglaras as “an award-winning scholar whose interests center on the areas of operations research and data analytics.” He is the author of an extensive library of research articles spanning theory and application of stochastic modeling in queueing networks, service systems, quantitative pricing and revenue management, and quantitative finance. His most recent research explores two areas: modern financial market microstructure and quantitative trading; and data analytics, focusing on questions that range from the design of machine learning algorithms to the study of the information diffusion via social networks. He has advised 18 doctoral students in the disciplines of business, engineering and applied mathematics, and several of his former students are now in leadership positions in academia and industry.


“I am extremely grateful to President Lee C. Bollinger and the members of the search committee for their trust as I embark on this exciting opportunity,” said Maglaras in a statement. “For more than 100 years, Columbia Business School has been educating future business leaders and changing the practice of business across the world. The groundbreaking ideas advanced by our faculty and the innovations of our students and alumni have had a widely recognized impact on industry and society. I am deeply honored to be a part of this continued journey.”

Maglaras acknowledged that he is assuming the new leadership role at an exciting time. “The proliferation of data and advancement in technology will continue to disrupt business for the foreseeable future,” he added in the statement accompanying the announcement. “Leaders must be equipped with advanced skills and knowledge to effectively seize new opportunities and thrive in this evolving ecosystem,“ said Maglaras.

“We have a strong foundation, and thanks to the intellectual leadership of our faculty, a diverse and engaged alumni population, a position as part of a world-renowned university and a location in the most dynamic business center in the world, Columbia Business School will be the preeminent institution to prepare our students for lifelong career success in the digital future. I look forward to building on the school’s incredible trajectory thus far; realized more fully with our transformative move to the Manhattanville campus.”


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