Why Deans From 10 Top B-Schools Made A High-Profile Visit To Washington by: Marc Ethier on August 24, 2023 | 15,103 Views August 24, 2023 Copy Link Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Reddit A delegation of deans from some of the top U.S. B-schools meets with Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council. Clockwise: Madhav V. Rajan, Chicago Booth; Francesca Cornelli, Northwestern Kellogg; Ash Soni, Indiana Kelley; Jonathan Levin, Stanford GSB; Matthew Slaughter, Dartmouth Tuck; Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council; Lillian Mills, Texas-Austin McCombs; Erika James, Wharton; Costis Maglaras, Columbia. Deans not pictured: Ann Harrison, Berkeley Haas; and Bill Boulding, Duke Fuqua. In a high-profile trip this summer, deans from 10 of the top business schools in the United States visited Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings with members of Congress, top White House staff, and business leaders. Stanford Graduate School of Business Dean Jonathan Levin served as coordinating host of the gathering that attended meetings with the Business Roundtable and dozens of members of Congress, including Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Sen. Todd Young of Indiana. The group also met with Jared Bernstein, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council. What was the goal of the trip? Poets&Quants reached out to the deans of Stanford, Columbia Business School, Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, Duke Fuqua School of Business, Indiana Kelley School of Business, Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business, Chicago Booth School of Business, the Wharton School, and Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business to ask that very question. ‘DISCUSSIONS EXCEEDED THE GOAL OF THE DAY’ Francesca Cornelli: Mission to D.C. was “a wonderful opportunity to bring together the experiences and insights from our leading business programs and hear directly from policymakers as to how our students can continue to support the global economy and society” Along with Levin, the group of deans included Francesca Cornelli, dean of Northwestern Kellogg; Costis Maglaras, dean of Columbia Business School; Ash Soni, dean of Indiana Kelley; Ann Harrison, dean of UC-Berkeley Haas; Bill Boulding, dean of Duke Fuqua; Madhav Rajan, dean of Chicago Booth; Erika James, dean of Wharton; Lilian Mills, dean of Texas McCombs; and Matthew Slaughter, dean of Dartmouth Tuck. “America’s business schools have the responsibility of educating the next generation of leaders for business and society,” Levin said in a statement posted at Stanford GSB’s website. “At a time of rapid change and new challenges, we need more events like these to share perspectives, explore ideas, and set a course for innovation, opportunity, and prosperity. “The discussions exceeded the goal of the day to listen and learn from leaders in Congress and the White House about how they see the business and policy environment changing today and 25 years from now. The ideas and suggestions that arose will inform the GSB’s decisions on how to best support and prepare students for the future with a 21st–century business education.” Ash Soni, dean of Indiana Kelley, tells P&Q that the June 15 trip focused on a huge range of subjects, from AI to climate change to immigration. “Whenever you can bring diverse voices with multiple viewpoints together for thoughtful discussion, it’s a win,” Soni says. “Senator Young and Representative Khanna put together a very good bipartisan group from the Senate and the House to meet with the deans. We had a robust discussion on a variety of topics ranging from AI to immigration reform to the impact of advanced technology on the workforce. Overall, it was a very productive meeting and well worth it.” In a story posted at the Kelley website, Soni adds: “It mainly was a free-flowing conversation about issues and it was very bipartisan. The business world moves very fast, and discussions like these are vital to ensure we’re all working toward a vibrant and innovative economy. It was very useful dialogue and a very good start. It was something that I look back on and value.” BRINGING TOGETHER ‘EXPERIENCES & INSIGHTS FROM OUR LEADING BUSINESS PROGRAMS’ Kellogg Dean Cornelli tells Poets&Quants that the trip comes at a crucial time for business, business education, and society. “We are at a time where business education has never been more important,” she says. “The challenges businesses face are multifaceted and today’s leaders have a more difficult and uncertain task. In addition, the presence of multiple objectives of different nature requires an interdisciplinary approach in order to make decisions. “At this time of such rapid change across industries — from emerging technologies to shifts in stakeholder expectations to a changing workforce — this trip was a wonderful opportunity to bring together the experiences and insights from our leading business programs and hear directly from policymakers as to how our students can continue to support the global economy and society. “I so enjoyed our discussions and I look forward to continuing the conversation on how our programs can continue our responsibility of preparing students to lead in an ever-changing business environment.” A DISCUSSION OF MAJOR CHALLENGES: CLIMATE, POLITICAL POLARIZATION & MORE Columbia Business School Dean Costis Maglaras: B-schools “can contribute to the policy debate on developing issues such as climate change and artificial intelligence, as well as to initiatives in lifelong learning that could be useful to government officials and to the broader labor market” Costis Maglaras, Columbia’s dean, says the trip may have sparked opportunities for collaboration among the schools in several areas, including climate change. He hopes it also may lead to bipartisan policy discussions, in which he expects Columbia to be involved. “As businesses evolve, they do more than change our economy,” Maglaras tells P&Q. “In ways large and small, they shape our society. That’s why it’s incumbent on business schools to recognize the role of business in society as we educate future leaders. Many of the major challenges we currently face, including climate change, the polarization in our society, the geopolitical dimension of U.S.-China relations and its implication into globalization, as well as the effect of technology and automation to the economy and to jobs, are ongoing issues that the next generation of leaders must continue to address as well. “At Columbia Business School, the research and insights we generate now, the curriculum we teach today (developed with an eye toward the future), and our collaborative work with business and government is focused on helping to better prepare our society as a whole for today, as well as what lies ahead. “I appreciated the opportunity to listen to the priorities and views of this bipartisan group of lawmakers, with the hope of identifying concrete areas and ways in which we can strengthen ties. There are emerging areas for collaboration – business schools can contribute to the policy debate on developing issues such as climate change and artificial intelligence, as well as to initiatives in lifelong learning that could be useful to government officials and to the broader labor market. Columbia Business School hopes to convene bipartisan lawmakers on campus in New York City to discuss policy in the present and future. “I am energized by these discussions and look forward to advancing these ideas and efforts in the year ahead.” DON’T MISS THE FUTURE OF THE MBA IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW AT INDIANA KELLEY and KELLOGG REVEALS MBAs’ MEDIAN SALARY SAW ANOTHER BIG JUMP IN 2023 Comments or questions about this article? Email us.