Dean Dolan on the Future of Ross

The Monroe Street Journal, published by the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, recently ran an interview with dean Robert Dolan about the future of the school based on questions culled from the student body. Below you’ll find fragments of interest to anyone considering the Ross MBA.

The most commonly asked question–How is Ross going to maintain its competitive advantage with its action-based learning and what is the school’s high-level strategy going forward?–elicited this response:

“While there was some recent debate surrounding whether or not we should abandon our action-based learning as the cornerstone of our brand and pick a ‘new horse,’ the faculty has chosen to ‘feed and care for the horse we’ve got.’ In other words, the school recognizes that we do action-based learning better than any of our competitors and it should prevail as our primary differentiating factor. Moving forward, Ross looks to grow this strategy by taking it abroad.”

Dean Dolan is also committed to boosting Ross’s global footprint via the strategic placement of international offices, starting in India and then China, the MSJ reports. Having offices in Hyderabad, Mumbai or Bangalore will help Ross better source field-based Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP), and offices with local roots will facilitate placement of Ross students in India better than efforts based in the U.S.

Opening international offices will also boost  international applicants to the Ross program, Dolan indicated, and expand upon the variety of international electives currently offered. Though not yet confirmed, the roll-out of satellite offices in Asia and subsequently in South America is slated to begin during the next academic year, pending financial support.

When asked to comment on the Office of Career Development’s recent low ranking against competing OCDs, Dolan pointed out that the methodology used to measure the quality of career development programs (the percentage of students who have jobs three months after graduation) is flawed.

“Ross students graduate a good 6 – 8 weeks prior to many other business school programs. Therefore, when BusinessWeek collects data for post-graduation employment numbers for Ross students in August, many organizations won’t start handing out offers until early September. If our post-graduation employment statistics were to be calculated simultaneously with other top tier programs in September rather than in August, our numbers are more or less in line with everyone else’s.”

Dolan also addressed an issue of growing concern within the student body relating to class size. With the opening of the new facility, the MBA class saw its size grow dramatically, increasing from 430 to 500 students, the MSJ reports.

The dean suspects that this yield increase occurred due to a combination of factors: Ross’s action based learning, community feel, the great work current students do with prospective students and the down economy. Whatever the cause, the MSJ concludes that Ross is planning to decrease the number of acceptances in future years to combat the increased yield rate.

When asked what piece of advice he would like to share with the Ross community, Dolan reflected a moment before responding. “Take on new challenges,” he said, “and always put yourself in new positions. After all, that is what got me here.”

Check out The Monroe Street Journal for more of Dolan’s interview on the future of the Ross School of Business.

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