Cornell University Johnson at Cornell University


From the Dean

Johnson School Dean Joe Thomas

Devoted to our success

This fall, I have invited all second-year resident students, in small groups, to my house for dinner and discussion. At one of these, I was asked if I enjoyed the dean's job and what the "perks" are. One pleasure of my new role is that I get to reconnect with hundreds of alumni. This fall, events in Boston, New York, San Diego, Dallas and Seattle have showcased our fabulous alumni and faculty discussing asset management, renewable energy, entrepreneurship in wireless telecommunications, and the recent turmoil in financial markets. Next spring, we will hold events around the world.

Another question I have been asked is, what makes the Johnson School great? The answer is simple – great people. Our alumni are accomplished and willing to help the school. Our faculty are award-winning researchers and teachers, and many of them have active business connections. The students in all of our degree programs (AMBA, EMBA, CQEMBA, MBA and PhD) are outstanding and are positioning themselves for even greater future success.

I have also been asked, "What challenges do you face as dean?" One challenge: we must constantly improve the MBA experience to insure that our graduates are the best equipped to lead the organizations they serve. For our resident students, this led us to focus on "The Johnson School 3Cs" – careers, curriculum and community.

After a stellar placement year in 2007, we are preparing for a possible downturn in 2008 due to market volatility. We are adding new resources, programming, and staff in our Career Management Center, to work with students in all of our MBA programs.

We are building on our successful immersion programs by adding second-year electives, including advanced functional courses and a new global management course. Soon we will announce a capstone experience for the resident students, with a global leadership focus.

We are constantly building the intense, collaborative community that makes us unique. This fall we came together to hear such outstanding speakers as Irene Rosenfeld '75, MS '77, PhD '80, chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods, Inc., and Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE. We have an expanded series of student-faculty lunches, and we introduced "Sage Socials," a weekly social hour in the Dyson Atrium.

Our EMBA programs are flourishing. We are enhancing them with new courses, guest lecturers from Cornell and the business world, and by creating opportunities for students in the different programs to interact.? Finally, alumni often ask, "What can I do for the School? We need your support in many ways. Send us a good applicant. Agree to be an advisor for a resident student who aspires to a career in your area of expertise. Spread the word about the Johnson School. Stay connected through alumni clubs. Offer financial support. Speak in a class.

Everything we do happens because of skilled, devoted individuals among our students, faculty, staff, friends, and alumni. Many thanks to all of our alumni, and I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events, in Ithaca or in your city.