Hopkins OKs new dean of business

Trustees' selection to lead new school eyes elite status

October 29, 2007|By Gadi Dechter | Gadi Dechter,SUN REPORTER

The Johns Hopkins University board of trustees voted yesterday to approve the appointment of Yash P. Gupta, a veteran leader of three business schools, as inaugural dean of the Carey Business School, which opened in January, officials said.

Gupta's goal: to transform a regional, part-time division serving working adults into a "phenomenal, world-class program" that eventually will rank among the nation's brand-name business schools, he said.

"He has the imagination, the energy and the skill to build the Carey Business School into one of the nation's most innovative and respected," said Hopkins President William R. Brody in a statement.

Best known for its medical school and graduate arts and sciences departments, Hopkins has been offering business-related master's degrees since the 1960s and began a part-time master's of business administration program in 1999.

There are roughly 2,400 business students currently enrolled at Hopkins, in Baltimore and at satellite locations throughout the region. The university conferred about 240 MBA degrees last year, officials said.

But it wasn't until a $50 million gift last year from real estate magnate William P. Carey that the private university established a formal school with designs on joining the elite ranks of business educators.

Carey has met with Gupta, but the donor did not play a formal role in the search process, said Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea.

The Indian-born, British-educated operations research scholar is the former business dean of the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Washington and most recently at the University of Southern California. He will assume his new post in January.

Gupta, 54, said the Carey school will offer a full-time MBA degree and hire more permanent, research-oriented faculty, but that it would not look like a traditional business school.

"The curriculum will not be solely about accounting, marketing, finance, but `How do we create systems of innovation ... and build intellectual property?'" he said.

A revamped curriculum will emphasize team-based fieldwork over classroom instruction, Gupta said, giving students hands-on experience with established companies, in much the same way that Johns Hopkins Hospital functions as a laboratory for medical students.

Hopkins officials have said there are no plans to introduce pre-professional business degrees into its undergraduate college in Charles Village.

Interim business school dean Pamela Cranston said one hurdle Hopkins must overcome to participate in national business-school rankings is accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The lack of accreditation at Hopkins has been a source of concern to prospective MBA students in recent years, and Gupta said last week, "I cannot imagine that we would not go for accreditation."

He cautioned, however, that Hopkins' goal of becoming a major player in business education faced several challenges and would not be undertaken hastily.

"The market doesn't give you a second chance. You have to it right the first time," he said.

Gupta said his first task will be to create a strategic plan and design the school's curriculum, which will try to leverage Hopkins' strengths in health- and science-related fields. Gupta also will be tasked with raising another $50 million to match the Carey gift and recruiting full-time faculty, of which there are currently fewer than 20.

He noted that the reputation of internationally known business schools such as those at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were earned over many generations, but said that Hopkins was determined to "fast-track" its ascent into the national field.

"We don't have inertia, we're more flexible," he said. "You don't have to change minds because there are no minds to change."

Last year, Gupta resigned from the deanship at the University of Southern California, where he remains a professor. In recent years, he has been a top contender for two college presidencies, at the University of Arizona and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Hopkins officials said they were not concerned that Gupta would be a short-termer with higher aspirations.

"In many regards, a deanship here can parallel a presidency at another institution," said vice provost Edgar Roulhac, who was vice chairman of the search committee that recommended Gupta after vetting about 200 applicants.

"This is like nirvana," Gupta said about the opportunity to mold a new business school at an institution with a name already venerated around the world. "I'm in it for the long haul."

gadi.dechter@baltsun.com

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