Top B-School Deans Share Resolutions For 2020

Scott DeRue, Edward J. Frey Dean of the Ross School of Business: Looking for ways “to engage meaningfully, respectfully, and constructively in debate and discussion about the important topics of our era.” Courtesy photo

Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey dean of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, says 2020 will be a year of big goals — for himself and his school. “We must continue to advance on our goal of transforming business education,” DeRue says, “build our remarkable community, and renew our commitment to act with purpose.

“At Michigan Ross, we have long aspired to set a new standard for business education. We pioneered a distinctive approach to higher business education through action-based learning. Our Ross Experiences in Action-based Learning (REAL) initiative is vibrant and growing. It affords our students real-world experience, connections with leading companies and organizations, and a more effective way to learn. In 2020, my goal is to build on our progress, as we support initiatives that are defining our next chapter. Our +Impact Studio, for example, is hosting a course in which teams of students are translating faculty research and ideas into business solutions addressing important societal challenges, such as financial inclusion and safe water. It is also providing a forum for the exchange of research and ideas that will drive the impact economy forward. Initiatives such as these are crucial to our future.”

DeRue says Michigan Ross will host many events in 2020 as part of a new “conversation series,” Business & Society 2020 — and that he, personally, will try to find “moments of purpose” every day.

“In 2020, I also resolve to find ways for our remarkable community of students, faculty, and alumni to engage meaningfully, respectfully, and constructively in debate and discussion about the important topics of our era. This goal is true to the core values of the University of Michigan, which, for example, will host a presidential debate in 2020. At Ross, we recently launched a Business & Society 2020 Conversation Series in which our community is discussing the purpose of business, inspiring change through collective action, and the nature of leadership. We have many events planned as part of this series in the coming year, including a forum for chief diversity officers to discuss driving change in diversity and inclusion in organizations. Through initiatives such as this, we aim to create many further opportunities for inclusive engagement.

“Finally, working in an institution of higher learning means living in a world filled with purpose. In 2020, I resolve to seek out a moment of purpose each day that reminds me why we do what we do, and use that to fuel my actions. It might be a new research study that changes how we think about a topic; a student who has an ‘ah-ha’ moment; or, an alum who conveys what attending our school meant to their life. These moments become booster shots of purpose by reminding us why we do what we do, and inspiring us to aim higher and embrace the opportunity for impact.”


Matthew Slaughter. Courtesy photo

Dean Matthew Slaughter of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College says in the new year he resolves “to listen: more, more broadly, and more creatively.” Attending a conference in China in November, he says, he was struck by the importance of allowing others to find their voice.

“So much of the momentum the Tuck School is building on this academic year, such as fully implementing broadscale changes to our first-year MBA experience, sprang from intentional listening — most of all, listening to the aspirations of tomorrow’s learners and of the organizations that hire them. The qualities that distinguish Tuck, and that we intend to continue to invest in, are also the ones we hear our students, employers, and alumni tell us that they care about deeply.

“The value of listening was reinforced to me last month at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing, where I had the privilege of moderating a panel discussion on how technology might create a more inclusive global economy that addresses our world’s rising inequalities. I was inspired by the ideas I heard from those on the stage — including Bridgewater Associates founder and co-chairman Ray Dalio; Zhang Lei, founder and CEO of Hillhouse Capital; financier and economic analyst Steven Rattner; and author Dambisa Moyo. Solutions to the world’s challenges are within our grasp if we start listening more to each other. This sharing of and listening to fresh ideas is also an objective of Tuck’s new flagship speaker series, ‘A View from the Top,’ which brings accomplished leaders to the school to discuss in our community today’s biggest business challenges and opportunities.

“One of the guiding aphorisms of my wife’s grandfather, who lived a full and meaningful life all his 99 years, was that ‘we have one mouth but two ears for a reason.’ Spending more time listening, to a wider range of voices and with more intention to try new ideas from what is heard, can spark more of the wise and decisive leadership our world is seeking.”


Georgetown McDonough’s Paul Almeida. McDonough photo

Paul Almeida, dean and William R. Berkley chair at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, says the new year is a time to “reflect upon the core values that define our Georgetown University community.” The McDonough School of Business, a Jesuit school, exists to serve students and alumni, Almeida says, something he always tries to keep in mind. “We must train our students to not only learn disciplines and skills, but also to continuously seek a better understanding of the complex world in which we live,” he says. “Perhaps the greatest contribution to our students’ formation is to guide them in their commitment to do right by themselves and the world.

“Our society has become turbulent and is characterized by rapid change. Even the value of democracy or capitalism have come into question. But, we are here to show future generations that when business and capitalism are done right, we can solve some of the world’s most complex problems including technology and the future of work, sustainability, and global health and wellness. That is how our Jesuit values manifest in the business world.”

Almeida says 2020 will be a year of “strengthening” and accomplishing “wonderful things” at the Washington, D.C. school.

“Another key to living our values is to continue to strengthen our Georgetown McDonough community,” he says. “It is our duty to create a sense of belonging across all of Georgetown University where we look after one another and build with each other. Because we create that community for our students, it also lives on forever among our alumni. In this way, the sense of belonging amongst our community facilitates learning across time, across fields, across cities — it creates a true network. The world as a whole needs a sense of shared community and belonging. When we are all responsible for one another, we can do marvelous things.

“Our work never ends — it is a continuous journey that starts on our campus through our curricula, our culture, and our interactions. It’s not accomplished overnight, but over time. So, my hope for the new year is to continue to bring these values to a new generation of leaders who have the skills and relationships to  go out and be a force for good. Who will find opportunities to be collaborative in a divisive world. Who will have the confidence to bring about change and innovation. Together we will create the world in which we all want to live.”

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