12:31 p.m., March 16, 2010----“The future looks good but we can't do business as usual,” advised Dipak C. Jain, former dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, during his lecture “The Future of Business Schools in an Era of Global Economic Crisis” held Friday, March 12, at the University of Delaware's Lerner Hall.
“We need to think about our purpose, about how we are serving our stakeholders,” said Jain, who remains on the Kellogg School faculty as the Sandy and Morton Goldman Professor in Entrepreneurial Studies and professor of marketing.
Citing the threefold mission of management schools as knowledge creation, knowledge dissemination and knowledge certification, Jain took the audience on a fast-paced journey through the last 500 years of business followed by a summary of the evolution of management education since the early 1960s.
“Over the centuries, the focus of global business has ranged from land acquisition and colonization, to capital formation and competition,” he said. “Now in the 21st century, we see the rise of Asia, China and India, and a shift in focus to human capital development and competencies.”
Human capital, according to Jain, will be the future point of differentiation where business schools will need to branch out beyond a physical setting.
“If human capital is the future, we are in the right business,” said Jain. “People will come to business schools to learn.”
According to Jain, management schools must also move beyond the conventional boundaries of thinking in order to succeed.
“To move beyond business is to focus on both business and society and to move beyond success is to focus on both success and significance,” said Jain. “Where business schools have gone wrong is to lose the focus between performance and purpose,” said Jain. “Asking questions like 'how soon can I get a job,' or 'what is the highest salary I can get' leads to a direction that isn't best.”
Rather than focus on performance, suggested Jain, business schools should work on attracting students who will make a lasting impact.
“To do anything of significance, you need to be successful,” he said. “The purpose of a management school, then, should be to create a curriculum that will push students to do something of significance.”
In turn, teaching cannot be simply transactional said Jain. Citing advisement as a key focus area, Jain relayed personal stories about mentors who believed in him and led him to opportunities he might otherwise not have thought of.
Additionally, Jain suggested alliances among universities as a way business schools can succeed.
“The future of competition is collaboration,” said Jain. “The time has come for us to collaborate. It is not easy, but we need to think collectively. Our common objective should be to educate the next generation of leaders.”
Jain also spoke highly of the creation of new master's programs. “Not everyone can go after the MBA or the general management degree,” he said. “It may actually be better to create degrees in specialized areas and to focus on depth not breadth.
For example, there are three industries -- credit cards, airlines and hotels -- that have loads of data that require expertise to manage. What could be useful to individuals entering those industries would be a master of science in degree in data analysis and marketing or a master of science degree in real estate and finance, Jain said.
“You need to think about what companies will be recruiting for, what skills will be useful in the industry and where there is demand but not enough supply, and then build your program accordingly,” said Jain. “Think forward but work backward.”
Jain capped his lecture, which was the final lecture of UD's 2009-10 Chaplin Tyler Lecture Series, by taking questions from the audience.
After Jain concluded his remarks, Conrado (Bobby) Gempesaw, dean of UD's Lerner College of Business and Economics, presented Jain with a certificate of appreciation. Gempesaw also thanked Bob Barker, Lerner director of corporate relations and career management, and Ajay Manrai, professor of marketing and faculty director, for their work in planning the event. A reception in the Chaplin Tyler Atrium in Lerner Hall was held afterward.
Jain has been a member of the faculty at the Kellogg School of Management since 1987. He was the dean of the Kellogg School from July 2001 to August 2009.
Jain teaches courses on marketing research, new products and services and probabilistic and statistical models in marketing. In 2003, he was appointed as a foreign affairs adviser for the Prime Minister of Thailand. He has served as a consultant to numerous corporations and as a director of the Board of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Hartmax Corporation, John Deere and Company, and Northern Trust Corporation.
He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics and a master's degree in mathematical statistics from Gauhati University in India. He holds a doctorate in marketing from the University of Texas at Dallas. In addition to his positions at the Kellogg School, Jain is a visiting professor at the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
The Chaplin Tyler Executive Leadership Lecture Series brings leaders from business, nonprofit organizations and the government to campus to share their experiences and insights with students, faculty and the business community in an open exchange of ideas and perspectives.
The series, which is supported by the Chaplin Tyler Endowment Fund, is dedicated to the memory of Chap and Elizabeth Tyler, their commitment to education and their determination to help young people achieve success in the business world.
By Kathryn Marrone
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson