Challenges Await Kellogg’s New Dean Blount

Re-energizing the brand and competing for top students and faculty are just two challenge areas facing Kellogg School of Management‘s new dean, Sally Blount, when she takes over next month. Blount succeeds Dipak Jain and was the dean of the undergraduate college and vice dean of the Stern School of Business at New York University.

In a profile piece published earlier this week by Chicago BusinessSteven R. Strahler, Blount says she initially rejected overtures from Kellogg but that her desires began to change once the advisory meeting with the search committee caused her to reconsider Kellogg’s impact on her professional and personal development.

“To compete for top students and faculty ”” and to regain hometown bragging rights ”” Kellogg, with 15,000 alums here, will need money to modernize its campus, improve financial aid programs and boost an endowment that is middle of the pack among its peers,” writes Strahler.

“Am I crazy? Maybe,” says Blount, referring to her decision to accept the deanship.

Jain tells Chicago Business that Blount “will bring an absolutely new dimension to Kellogg.” Noting that the economic downturn made fundraising a challenge, he also acknowledges that “on the student satisfaction side, our facilities are not the best.”

Despite these challenges, Kellogg’s top-notch reputation for marketing and collaborative management expertise is a potential advantage in the post-Enron era, writes Strahler. “I think we have a better platform to own that space, but we have to find the right words for it,” Ms. Blount says.

As for any rivalry with the top competitor to the south, Chicago Booth School of Business, Blount says, “The game is not about Booth vs. Kellogg. We’ve got to focus on staying in the top five on the key rankings,” not who’s No. 1 or No. 3 from year to year. “Those rankings are never on intellectual inquiry, who’s taking risks.”

Read more about Blount’s background and the challenges ahead in Chicago Business.
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