Cornell Johnson Names Its Next Dean: Long-Time Operations Prof Vishal Gaur

Professor Vishal Gaur, who became professor of operations at the Johnson School in 2006, will take over the role of the Anne and Elmer Lindseth dean on July 1. Courtesy photo

Vishal Gaur, a professor of operations at Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management, has been named the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean, effective July 1.

Gaur takes the reins from Mark Nelson who has served as dean since 2016. Nelson, who has been at Cornell for more than a quarter century, will return full time to his position as professor of accounting.

“Vishal has demonstrated his outstanding commitment to the Johnson School time and again, as a distinguished scholar, as an award-winning educator and especially as an effective leader,” Andrew Karolyi, dean of Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, announced in a release today (May 5). “I couldn’t be more pleased that he’ll lead the school into its next phase.”


Gaur is currently Cornell Johnson’s Emerson Professor of Manufacturing Management and professor of operations, technology and information management. He is program director of the school’s MS in Business Analytics and served as the associate dean for MBA programs from 2014-19.

Gaur introduced two innovative programs to equip students with cutting-edge skills in the field of data analytics. The first, Digital Technology Immersion, is designed for MBA and Master of Professional Studies students who want to develop coding, databases, and advanced analytics skills.

The second, Master of Science in Business Analytics, targets working professionals who want to enhance their expertise in data analytics tools to optimize business decisions. It is offered through eCornell, the university’s online education platform offering professional development and certificate programs.

“The creation of these programs represents Vishal’s forward-thinking leadership, which will continue to serve students well into the future,” Karolyi says.

Gaur led Cornell’s MBA program through a curriculum review and revitalization process as associate dean. The revamped program, rolled out in 2016, placed greater emphasis on collaboration, leadership, and analytical skills to better prepare students for a technology-driven global business environment.

Gaur’s research focuses on using data to analyze supply chain, retailing, e-commerce, and marketplace operations. He received the Wickham Skinner Early Career Research Accomplishments Award in 2006 for his work in this area. He also developed an inventory turnover benchmarking method and is currently working on reducing food waste and supply chain risk.

In the classroom, Gaur has earned multiple teaching awards including the Class of 1992 Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2022, the Stephen Russell Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020, and the Johnson School’s Core Faculty Award three times.

Gaur earned his Ph.D. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.

“The Johnson School is a leader in graduate business education and scholarship. I’m really excited to work towards the mission of the school,” says Gaur, who joined the Cornell faculty in 2007, and will serve as a member of Karolyi’s College Leadership Team.

“Our degree programs focus on skills relevant to society and draw on our interdisciplinary academic scholarship. The support of our alumni and the investments they make in our school are incredible. Since the Johnson School joined the SC Johnson College, new opportunities have emerged for faculty research, teaching and collaboration.”


The Johnson School, founded in 1946, enrolls nearly 1,600 students in MBA, executive MBA and advanced degree programs in management, accounting, business analytics and more. Beyond its main campus in Ithaca, New York, the school offers programs in Beijing and more than 20 additional cities across North and South America.

Nelson joined the Cornell faculty in 1990, and became dean of the Johnson School in 2016. He was appointed to a second five-year term that began in July 2021, but wants to return to his professorship full time.

Nelson, credited with leading several initiatives that advanced the business school including opening of the Tata Innovation Center at the Cornell Tech campus, which has significantly increased the college’s footprint.

Under Nelson’s leadership, the SC Johnson College of Business has also opened the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education in Ithaca, NY. This expansion has enabled the college to deepen its engagement with students and alumni, as well as broaden its fundraising efforts.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nelson was proactive in managing faculty, staff, and student initiatives, ensuring that the college continued to provide high-quality education and support to its community. He has also stewarded the development of new and strengthened degree programs, immersions, and fellowship opportunities for students.

“Mark has been a phenomenal leader,” Karolyi said. “He shepherded the Johnson School through the pandemic, supervised the opening of the Breazzano Center and the Tata Innovation Center at Cornell Tech and created a positive environment for the entire community. We’re grateful for the impact he’s made on the Johnson School.”

In August, Cornell released an MBA Class of 2024 profile that bucked a national trend of declining domestic MBA applications. Cornell saw a 21% increase in applications while similarly-ranked UCLA Anderson School of Business and most other programs reported significant decreases.



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