Vanderbilt Business

From the Dean

by James W. Bradford | Fall 2008, From the Dean | Comments | Print Print |

The following is excerpted from the Academic Year 2007-08 Annual Report. Click here to view the report in its entirety.

In the midst of a world financial crisis, the fundamentals of success are in place. We have solid programs, superb faculty and staff, and an incoming student body that is one of the strongest—if not the strongest—in the history of the school. Lest I repeat myself, I feel confident that we are poised to grow to our full potential. And, achieving that full potential is all about continuing our push for quality—quality faculty and programs, quality students and quality facilities. From health care reform to the increased financial markets regulatory scheme that is certain to follow, there will be a need for talented, well-educated Owen graduates who can change and mold the future. We are in for a difficult economic period, but in the long run, the investment in a great education will continue to pay outstanding returns.

Quality Faculty and Programs

We are in the knowledge business; our faculty provides both the “product” and the experience that is the foundation on which our reputation is built. To maintain and grow our stature as a Tier 1 research institution, a partner to business, and an innovator in the business of management education, we will continue to invest in individuals who bring fresh insights, knowledge, skills and experience to the academic and business communities. 

We have significantly strengthened both our research and clinical faculty during the past four years. While we’ve only increased the overall size of our faculty by three individuals, a full third of our faculty members—17 of 48—have been purposefully recruited and added to faculty during this period. And, we are not yet done. This coming year, we will likely add two or three new marketing faculty, as well as one more faculty member each to our finance and operations departments.

Quality Students

As the number of MBA programs grow and capacity among established schools increases, competition for the caliber of students we seek continues to intensify. As a result, our cost of scholarships—the dues we must pay to attract desirable students who hold multiple offers—is increasing. 

While we take in almost $21 million in tuition and fees, almost 25 percent of that amount goes back to students—predominantly MBA students—in the form of scholarships. Like other B-schools, current scholarships are almost exclusively merit-based. There is a great opportunity to channel some of these funds into needs-based scholarships that will attract individuals who have the academic and the personal qualities we seek, but who are unable to afford the higher costs of a private institution such as Vanderbilt. 

Quality Facilities

Management Hall is an architecturally innovative facility, but the building itself hasn’t kept pace with our needs. A facility originally built to house 300 students plus a weekend Executive MBA program no longer accommodates the classroom, congregation or study space needs of the 500 students who grace our halls on a daily basis. 

An all-stakeholder task force concluded that Owen needs 155,000 square feet of space—double our existing footprint of 76,000 square feet. With the needs assessment done, our next step is to determine the options and costs for a new or dramatically enhanced building and ascertain the feasibility of raising or borrowing the funds needed to move forward.

Thank You

Thank you for your support no matter what form—your time, your talents, your financial gifts. Most of all, thank you for all you’ve done and will continue to do for this school that we are all so proud of. I am humbled and grateful.

James W. Bradford
Dean and Ralph Owen Professor for the Practice of Management

photo credit: Dean Dixon

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