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Dean’s Corner

by Robert S. Sullivan

The Rady Business Journal represents another milestone for our new school. This is the first issue of a student inspired, community supported publication that serves as a forum for new ideas and relevant views on business and society. The Journal hopefully will inform and stimulate its readers with its topical, relevant content, and also will stretch the imagination to consider new possibilities in economics, management and innovation.

The Rady School of Management recently celebrated its fifth birthday, making it an infant in comparison to any top business school. This birthday provides a good opportunity to reflect back on the reasons our school was created. The Rady School is a different sort of business school; one that leverages the strengths of a top research campus while contributing to the technology and life science industries so important to the region. Innovation and discovery comprise the maypole of its academic programs, and it is committed to excellence in every aspect. The Rady School’s charge is to define and to continuously redefine the relevancy and impact of management education and scholarship.

During the past decade and more, business and management schools increasingly have come under attack by industry stakeholders, as well as by reputable business school scholars. Relevancy and impact have been called into question with several popular business publications challenging the value of business schools in terms of economic development and social responsibility. The Enron and Worldcom debacles of the past decade were, of course, headline grabbers. More recently, the failure of certain hedge funds and the instability of many financial institutions often have been placed at the foot of leadership and management and their incompetence and greed. Indirectly they are placed at the foot of the business schools that educate and inspire the leaders and managers. Yet, during prosperous economic times, little or no credit is given to the leaders and managers at the helm of the organizations experiencing successes. This is a challenging communications dilemma that business schools have inadequately addressed.

This dilemma is confounded by the passive indifference paid to business and management schools in their contribution to economic competitiveness. During recent years, increasing concern in the United States has been directed toward the insufficient investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. In fact, it is well understood that this problem threatens economic competitiveness, especially as other emerging nations increase the quality and quantity of their science and technology base. However, STEM investment and the resulting scientific breakthroughs are necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for economic prosperity. There must be recognition of the role of business education and leadership in helping to assess discovery and to take discovery to the world markets. Talented, socially responsible management and leadership are critical for competitive strategic advantage in our globally networked, technology driven economies. Top business and management schools explicitly attempt to address this need.

The Rady School of Management was created specifically with this challenge in mind. The school’s founding tenet is that long-term sustainable competitive advantage can be achieved by investing in science, technology, engineering, mathematics � and management (STEMM). Management education and scholarship are the transforming functions. They enable scientific discovery to become technology innovation, and, in turn, to enter markets. They consequently mobilize, motivate and inspire individuals and organizations to do the extraordinary. They are absolutely essential for propelling economic growth and for promoting job creation. The Rady School will be known for the impact made through STEMM and the Rady Business Journal will be on additional venue to help make the case for this impact.

The Rady Business Journal is a marvelous forum for new ideas, especially those that challenge the mind. As I mentioned at the outset, the Journal is student inspired. Our community owes a special thanks to Jason Scharf (’08) and Saleem Van Groenou (’08) for their outstanding efforts that began with imagination and culminated with the first issue of the Rady Business Journal.

 

Header photo by Paul Turang