Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management Dean Mark Nelson will step down next summer to return to the classroom.
Nelson, an accounting professor, became dean in 2016 and will conclude his service as the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean of the school July 1, 2023. He has been with the school for more than a quarter-century.
“At a time when business education is at an inflection point, and we are increasingly called upon to address our fundamental purpose and our broader responsibility to our communities, we have been fortunate to have Dean Nelson at the forefront in the founding and impressive evolution of the SC Johnson College of Business,” says Andrew Karolyi, Charles Field Knight Dean of the SC Johnson College of Business. “Over the years, I have been fortunate to have had Mark’s enthusiastic partnership and wise counsel.”
NELSON IS CREDITED WITH DEEPENING ALUMNI & PARTNER RELATIONSHIPS
Nelson, who will turn 60 next year, became dean in 2016 when Cornell merged the Johnson School with the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the School of Hotel Administration, forming the much larger College of Business. His predecessor, Sumatra Dutta, became dean of the College of Business but left Cornell in 2018.
Nelson joined the Johnson faculty in 1990, the year he received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He served as associate dean for academic affairs from 2007 to 2010, overseeing the school’s tenure-track faculty and research. His teaching has focused on intermediate accounting, including MBA courses at Johnson and undergraduate courses at Dyson, with research published in journals in accounting and psychology. He has been recognized with the American Accounting Association’s Wildman Medal as well as the AAA’s inaugural Cook Prize for teaching excellence, the journal Auditing’s inaugural best paper award, and the Johnson School’s Faculty Research Award.
Nelson was appointed to a second five-year term that began in July 2021. He will remain dean of the Johnson School until the end of the 2022-23 academic year, the school announced; the SC Johnson College of Business will undertake an international search for the next dean. The school credits Nelson for making “critical and wide-reaching contributions” during his six years as dean, including:
- Enhancing collaboration with Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island in New York City
- Increasing the footprint of the SC Johnson College of Business with the opening of the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education in Ithaca, NY and the Tata Innovation Center at the Cornell Tech campus, NYC
- Deepening alumni relationships and successful fundraising
- Managing faculty, staff and student initiatives in response to COVID-19
- Stewarding academic offerings with new and strengthened degree programs, immersions, and fellowship opportunities for students.
NELSON LED WITH ‘STRENGTH & STABILITY’
Andrew Karolyi says a search for Nelson’s replacement will begin “immediately.”
“Dean Nelson’s legacy will be defined by his unrelenting drive for excellence in our new and strengthened professional graduate degree programs,” Karolyi tells P&Q. “He was tested during the challenging period of the pandemic and rose to the occasion with strength and stability.
“We will begin our global search for his replacement immediately. The biggest challenges for the successful candidate will be to sustain the positive momentum in all Johnson degree programs to be the pre-eminent business school for those eager to advance professional careers in consulting, tech, and investment banking, as well as in entrepreneurship sectors.”
IN NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE, DEAN NELSON EXPRESSED HIGH HOPES FOR 2022
Talking with Poets&Quants in late 2021, Nelson said he expected 2022 to be a “year of momentum” for his school, in which Cornell builds on the achievements of the challenging period of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Regarding momentum,” Nelson says, “I resolve for Johnson to build on a year of remarkable admissions, placements, and programmatic innovations. We won competitive grants to support a new BioEntrepreneurship Fellows program as well as build out our Big Red Ventures Investor Network to support startups, and I look forward to those efforts complementing everything happening at Cornell Tech in entrepreneurship next year.
“Our 2021 placements in Consulting, Investment Banking, and Tech were very strong, and I want us to complete 2022 with even greater success. It’s exciting to have so much momentum as 2022 commences. Regarding support, I resolve for every student at Johnson to know that our amazing Cornell community is focused on their success and welfare.”
Last week, Cornell released its MBA Class of 2024 profile, showing a 21% increase in applications — significant because most U.S. B-schools are reporting declines in domestic apps that have affected overall totals. Apps are down significantly at similarly-ranked UCLA Anderson School of Business, for example, and at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Comments or questions about this article? Email us.