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A paradigm shift in thought exchange

Management has undergone a sea change and today schools focus on developing individuals who can think, feel and lead, says Paul Danos

education Updated: May 22, 2012 19:44 IST

What are the benefits gained by international students from an MBA in a top management institute?
Tuck has many non United States citizens (about 35%) and they do as well in the job market as the US citizens. A large percentage stay in the US for their first assignments, but a growing percentage goes to other countries and sometimes back to their home countries. The return on investment in a top MBA programme is huge. Last year 97% of our graduates had job offers at the measurement date of 90 days from graduation and the average total compensation was about 250% of their pre-Tuck salary. This year will also be a record year in placement. Perhaps more important is the vast array of options available to the holders of MBA degrees from a leading school. The education does give the graduate a whole world of business of diverse leadership positions to choose from.

As someone who has been at Tuck for the last 17 years, and being a management expert who has, among other achievements, been credited with internationalising Tuck to a great extent, what are the biggest changes that you have witnessed in management education in your career? Is there something that you would want to do differently?
Management education has absorbed a “tsunami” of globalisation in the last 20 years, and, if I say so myself, in a very successful way at the top programmes. The typical MBA student is given a steady diet of learning and experiences that touch on all sorts of cultural and geographical differences that would have been virtually unmentioned several decades ago. So, the will and the way to globalise the curriculum are in place at most top schools, but we still need to combine that with the new technology. Another “tsunami” is coming and that is the demand by students of all ages to get all appropriate material on the web, in a flexible and just-in-time fashion, but making the new techniques as rich and meaningingful as are our on-campus learning experiences is a challenge.

How is Tuck keeping up with the times? As many parts of the world seem to be grappling with economic crises and global power seems to be making a shift from the northern to the southern hemisphere, are you looking to make drastic changes in and adding additional new courses in Tuck’s management education curriculum?
We have established alumni advisory boards in Europe and Latin America and next year in Asia, in addition to our several boards that meet in the US. We have a state-of-the-art distance programme that educates leaders of hospitals and clinics in the emerging area of healthcare delivery. We are putting our basic learning materials online to supplement our great face-to-face teaching. Perhaps most important, we are redefining how great thought leaders should share their thinking with great students. Tuck has pioneered in exposing MBA students to small scale deep explorations of the ideas behind best practises.

What do the words “success story” mean to Tuck? Is success, for many top b-schools, all about how high alumni go up the Forbes World’s billionaires list or is it something more? What is this “more”?
I believe that billionaire lists are interesting and fun, but irrelevant to the educational system we want to have at a great school. Our students who average about 29 years of age when they graduate need to approach their leadership roles with the right attitudes, backed up by a very sound set of skills and knowledge. Some of the most important attitudes, in my view are ones of humility, curiosity, goodwill, honesty, teamwork and all with a positive and “can do” spirit. All of the MBA students at top programmes have strong intellectual and academic abilities, and they get to know quite a lot about the best practices in global businesses. But we have to also give other “soft” skills that will make them strong and compassionate leaders. Understanding the responsibilities to all constituents , never wavering on personal ethical standards, helping others achieve great things, having the courage to question and the background to be confident in that questioning and keeping up with continous study are just as important as knowledge. At Tuck we put a lot of emphasis on working closing with fellow students and with faculty in small groups. This living and learning together philosophy leads to deep friendships, and a great loyalty to the group and to the school. Certainly some of our graduates will become very wealthy, they always have, but that should be viewed as the result of a good life doing the right things as an outstanding leader, and not as an entitlement.

Keeping the question above in perspective, what would you list as one of Tuck’ biggest success stories? Please share it with us.
Tuck is a place where people fall in love, with each other and with the school. Our putting people together in residences on campus, putting families together in our special family compound, fostering teamwork in everything, and having a faculty who teach in unprecedented small groups, makes for many personal and strong connections. The devotion this engenders shows up in life-long alumni networks that are responsive to calls for help and partnerships for a lifetime, and it shows up in the world-leading, over 70% giving rate that our graduates are generous enough to support Tuck with.

Where your efforts to internationalise Tuck are concerned, what are your plans and hopes when it comes to Tuck and India?
Our new Asia advisory board will have a very important focus on India and China. Moreover, we have several outstanding faculty members who were born in India and teach there in our programmes and consult with businesses there. Our mother institution, Dartmouth, has several programmes in India and Tuck has many touch points to engage systematically throughout the year with students groups, executive education groups and faculty visiting and working in India. We fully intend to expand and strenghten our connections with India in the years to come.

Paul Danos is the dean; Laurence F Whittemore Professor of Business Administration. He is an expert in accounting, corporate governance, the business school industry. He has been dean of Tuck since 1995, enjoying one of the longest tenures as dean of the top-tier business school. Widely recognised as a pre-eminent expert in the field of business education, Danos has served as director of several corporations, schools, and professional associations