After gaining a reappointment to a five-year term that only began on July 1, Andrew Ainslie, dean of the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester, announced today (Aug. 27) that he will step down from his job at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. After a five-year stint as head of Simon, Ainslie made his decision for “personal reasons.”
Calling his decision “bittersweet,” he noted that his wife, Teri Rueb, recently assumed a significant role as a professor and department chair in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “We found that we are leading this bizarre life where we are spending a lot of time the phone when we’re not together and too much time on our laptops when we are with each other,” says Ainslie. “We are sort of yin and yang. I am an economist, and she is an artist. She started in Boulder in August of last year and has been there a year. But of course she has been in academia for most of her career.”
An artist whose work combines sound and site using mobile media, Rueb had been a visiting professor at the University of Rochester for 2017-2018 until her appointment at Boulder. She also had been a professor of Media Study (with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning) at the University at Buffalo-SUNY.
WILL REMAIN ON THE SIMON FACULTY AS AN ECONOMIST
“It’s hard for us to both be so actively involved in contributing to our respective schools while living 1,600 miles apart,” he wrote in an email to Simon students. “I do intend to stay on the Simon faculty and look forward to many more years of service and teaching at Simon. But I have determined that I need more flexibility than the demands of the deanship allow.”
The former senior associate dean of the MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Ainslie became the seventh dean of the Simon Business School in May of 2014 and had been reappointed to a second five-year term that began in early July. During his time at Simon, Ainslie led strategic curriculum and recruitment changes, including reducing the program offerings to sharpen the focus of the admissions, faculty, career placement, and administrative staff. He has also concentrated on the expansion of the undergraduate business program, and has worked with faculty to move the Simon School from quarters to semesters to better meet student needs.
Ainslie also made the bold decision in 2015 to cut the total tuition of its prestigious full-time, two-year MBA program by 13.6 percent, a move that resulted in an increase in both global and domestic applications. He froze tuition rates for three years after the cut. Simon’s full-time MBA program is ranked 39th best in the U.S. by Poets&Quants.
LED SIMON TO AN MBA PROGRAM OF THE YEAR HONOR
But Ainslie’s most significant accomplishment may well be his leadership in making Simon first U.S. business school to gain full STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) designation for its full-time MBA program. The innovation put Simon in a stronger position to attract candidates from outside the U.S. by allowing international MBA graduates, who can now hold U.S. jobs for only 12 months, to remain stateside for an additional 24 months after graduation. Poets&Quants named Rochester’s MBA experience the MBA Program of the Year in 2018. The move helped Simon keep its MBA application volume stable this year while most other MBA programs have suffered significant declines.
While at UCLA Anderson, the school increased its admissions by more than 60%, increased placements by more than 20%, and revised its curriculum. Ainslie was also an assistant and then associate professor of marketing at UCLA Anderson, as well an assistant professor of marketing at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Before beginning his academic career, he had a 10-year career in business, including as an electrical engineer for AECI (South Africa), sales and marketing for Hewlett Packard (South Africa), corporate finance with Standard Merchant Bank, and marketing and development for Compustat.
His letter to Simon students follows:
‘THIS IS A BITTERSWEET DECISION FOR ME’
Dear Simon Students,
After five years of incredibly gratifying work as the Dean of the Simon School, I have informed the President and the Provost that I intend to step down as Dean at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year. This is a bittersweet decision for me, as I have relished working with our amazing faculty, staff, students and alumni over the last several years to propel Simon forward. Together, we’ve forged many innovations, including STEM designation of all our full-time programs, an overhaul of the curriculum and a return to semesters, and the successful hiring of an outstanding group of new faculty. We have welcomed you, our fantastic students, on the back of strong applications, and our placement statistics look great. And just today, I was gratified to learn that Simon is more than holding its own with respect to MBA applications, with flat application numbers compared to most major MBA programs that have experienced application declines, many of them steep. I’m deeply proud of what we have achieved together.
For personal reasons, however, I feel that it’s time to let someone else take the reins. My wife, Dr. Teri Rueb, has recently taken on a significant role as a professor and administrator at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and it’s hard for us to both be so actively involved in contributing to our respective schools while living 1,600 miles apart. I do intend to stay on the Simon faculty and look forward to many more years of service and teaching at Simon. But I have determined that I need more flexibility than the demands of the Deanship allow. Nevertheless, I believe firmly that Simon has an exciting future ahead, and I look forward to being a part of that.
A national search for my successor will commence later this semester, conducted by Provost Clark. I anticipate that the search process will seek to actively include faculty, staff, and students. More information on this will be made available as these plans are developed.
Working with the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the Simon School in the last few years has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I hope that I have contributed in some small way to the School’s continued success, and I want to thank you for your support and commitment.
Dean, Simon Business School
University of Rochester