‘A Crucial Role To Play’: Top B-School Deans Share 2022 Resolutions

Minnesota Carlson Dean Sri Zaheer: “The Carlson School is full of individuals who are a force for good”

Dean Sri Zaheer of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management is celebrating a decade in the top job at one of the U.S. Midwest’s top business schools. She says the Carlson School’s impact will only continue to grow in 2022 thanks to a deep well of talent “in the classroom and outside of it.” And she also has a fervent hope about the frequent use of a certain virtual meeting app that came to prominence amid coronavirus.

“I enter my 10th year as dean still listening and learning, and amazed at the resilience and can-do attitude of our students, staff, faculty, alumni and donors,” Zaheer says. “My priority will be deeper engagement with our community, as we continue to develop ideas with impact, and transform lives through business education.

“We’ve taken important steps forward these last 12 months: returning to campus, welcoming our largest and most diverse class in history, increasing the employment outcomes for students, and raising $190M during our Driven. campaign that closed this year. Importantly, we also launched a national search for Chief Diversity Officer, saw large growth in our pipeline programming to bring talented, diverse students to college, and took on more experiential projects and research studies to support BIPOC-and women-owned companies.

“Our impact will grow, in the classroom and outside it, because of the incredible people we have. That has become so clear these last two years: from faculty to staff, students to alumni, donors to board members, the Carlson School is full of individuals who are a force for good. Who achieve at the highest levels. Who stop terrorists in the sky. Who move human mobility forward. Who use their education to turn a pandemic layoff into a bilingual, profitable digital marketing agency. I’m eager to engage with even more of our community this coming year, knowing that together, we’re making lives better.

“Here’s to a 2022 full of more kindness, more economic growth, and fewer Zoom meetings!”

CAMBRIDGE DEAN: ‘B-SCHOOLS NEED TO BE PATIENT’

Cambridge Judge Dean Mauro Guillén

Cambridge Judge Business School Dean Mauro F. Guillén says 2022 will be the year of being patient — meaning business schools must account for general weariness in people and across programs. But more than that, he adds, patience will be required in dealing with the larger forces in society.

“After two years of pandemic, people are fatigued,” Guillén says. “So are companies and organizations. We need to adjust our mindset from thinking that there will be a ‘post-pandemic’ world to a new approach that enables us to learn how to live with the virus.

“But this call for patience extends to other walks of life as well. Patience with geopolitics. There are way too many tensions in the world, some of them threatening armed conflict. We need to ask political leaders to be patient and exercise care. Sitting at the table to talk is better than pulling the trigger.

“Bottlenecks in supply chains mean that consumers, workers, and companies need to be patient. Inflation will flare up and become a permanent feature of the economic landscape unless we adjust our expectations as consumers and as workers. We can’t ask for the problem to simply go away. We need to understand that the global economy was thrown out of balance, and it will take time for it to return to some sort of equilibrium. And companies and organizations need to exercise caution as they make decisions to cope with the problem.

“We need patience when it comes to addressing climate change. Patience in this area does not mean inaction or negligence. It means working towards to zero emissions goal one step at a time in a way that nobody is left behind and economic opportunities are preserved. I know many people feel a sense of urgency. But there’s enough inertia and resistance built into the system to advise patience if we want to achieve some realistic goals.

“And business schools need to be patient. Education is not going back to business as usual after the end of the pandemic—if there’s such a thing as an end to it. Education has been thoroughly transformed by the potential of digital platforms and blended modes of learning. Patient we must be to sort out the different possibilities, experiment with new pedagogies, and make business education better than it was before the pandemic.”

AT TORONTO ROTMAN, 3 THEMES IN 2022

Toronto RotmanDean Susan Christoffersen

University of Toronto Rotman School of Management Dean Susan Christoffersen says the creation of “healthier and more sustainable societies” will be the first of three themes for her school in 2022.

“My resolution for 2022 is to engage on those issues which will make a positive difference in the lives of our students and help elevate Rotman’s impact more broadly,” Christoffersen says. “We made great progress over the past year on creating a strong and inclusive community at Rotman, as Poets and Quants highlighted in this article, but our work is not done yet. I plan to ensure we continue to build on this momentum.

“On Rotman’s impact, our research centers and labs have been very active and effective in bringing our insights to impact on topics such as diversity, equity, innovation, machine learning, analytics and sustainability — just to name a few. Many of our faculty made meaningful contributions to discussions on reopening the economy and the development of rapid screening needed to do this.  In 2022, we will be exploring three themes across the school that consider: how business can help build healthier and more sustainable societies, how leaders can create more resilient organizations, and how we enable innovation and technological change.”

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