Wanted: B-School Deans

A dearth of interested candidates, the potential pay cut and faculty management problems akin to herding cats are just a few of the challenges Financial Times’ Della Bradshaw points to for business schools looking to fill the top job.

Jennifer Bol, who leads the global education, non-profit and public policy practice for Spencer Stuart, a leading recruitment consultancy in this field, tells FT that while there are many qualified candidates for the job, too few want to do it. Women particularly have no interest in being dean, she says, either due to the 24/7 nature of the job or the big issue of salary.

Top professors tap into consultancy work, speaking engagements and non-executive directorships to round out their earnings, but the dean’s salary is tied up by university politics. Bradshaw writes that “With salaries of about $500,000 to $750,000 for a dean’s job at a top US business school, and $300,000 to $400,000 for the equivalent job in Europe, the best-paid professors would have to take a pay cut to become dean.”

“These days, deans spend only about four years in the job, meaning there are about 50 deans jobs vacant at any one time. This means some successful or high-profile deans are approached by headhunters up to once a month to consider a new appointment,” FT reveals.

Three top-ranked schools – Harvard, Chicago Booth and the Kellogg School of Management – are currently conducting dean searches. For many business schools,  finding a candidate around whom academic consensus can be built has meant that some can be without a dean for up to two years, Bradshaw writes.

What makes a great dean, you ask? Spencer Stuart explains that the winning candidate should be good at making and defining the message of the school to lure top faculty; they should be great at aligning the many stakeholders; they should have academic stature; they should be credible in the corporate world; and increasingly they need a global perspective.

Bol admits this is a tall order. “No one’s going to have it all,” she concedes. “There is no messiah candidate.”

To learn how faculty management issues, alumni relations, and commercial vs. academic experience add to the conundrum, read the original article here.

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