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HBS Hires Firm To Find Dee’s Successor

Dillon House, the home of admissions at Harvard Business School

Dillon House, the home of admissions at Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School has hired a prominent executive search firm to recruit a new managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid to succeed Dee Leopold who is expected to leave as soon as the third round decisions for the Class of 2018 are made next May, Poets&Quants has learned.

The school identified the job in the university’s so-called 061 salary grade which pays a minimum of $123,100 a year with a maximum base of $221,900. The mid-range annual salary for the job is $172,500. According to a public posting for the job, the candidate would have to undergo credit, criminal and identity pre-employment screens.

It’s unusual for a business school to employ a headhunter to recruit candidates for an admissions job. More often than not, search firms are hired to screen candidates for deanships or higher level university positions. But the director of admissions at Harvard Business school arguably is the most powerful gatekeeper in all of MBA admissions, reviewing the most applications in any given year. The search firm of Korn Ferry will help the school on the search.

THREE POTENTIAL SUCCESSORS: ONE INSIDER AND TWO OUTSIDERS

Deidre Leopold, managing director of admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School

Deidre Leopold, managing director of admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School

Whoever succeeds Leopold, who has been director of admissions at HBS since May of 2006, will have to slip into a pair of difficult shoes. Over Leopold’s years in admissions at HBS, she and her team of admission staffers, working out of Dillon House on the campus, have read and evaluated nearly 350,000 MBA applications, ultimately enrolling more than 32,000 students to Harvard Business School. Those students represent roughly four out of every 10 of the school’s 81,000 living alumni and include the most international and women graduates in HBS’ history.

Though it’s too early to tell who exactly will succeed Leopold, at least three candidates immediately pop up high on the list. One external possibility is Shari Hubert, who graduated from Harvard with her MBA in 2000 and has been associate dean of MBA admissions at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business for more than three years. Hubert, who has a BA in French from Dartmouth, has a top pedigree resume, having been director of recruitment at the Peace Corps and a senior vice president at Citi who managed a team of seven recruiters who screened applicants for both analyst and associate positions for the global bank. She is a highly personable executive who also has done stints at such highly admired organizations as General Electric, BCG and Merck.

Another possibility is Kristen Moss, who graduated with a Harvard MBA in 1992, served as director of admissions at HBS for two years from 1999 to 2001 and then headed up admissions at Stanford GSB for six years until 2010. For the past five years, Moss has been a “leadership facilitator” at Stanford while working as a consultant/coach out of Palo Alto.