Taking Johnson to the world and bringing the world to Johnson
Dear Alumni and Friends:
I recently returned from a trip to Japan, Korea, and India, one of many trips I’ve taken as Johnson’s dean to countries around the world this year. Accompanied by Bill Huling ’68, MBA ’74, our associate dean of Alumni Affairs and Development, I have also traveled to and met with Johnson alumni in London, Paris, Dubai, and Tel Aviv. Soon, I will be going to Latin America — Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. Finally, I’ll round out the year with a trip to Hong Kong and China later this spring.
I reach out and travel because, as a global school, Johnson has a global alumni base, and part of my job as dean is to reach out to our alumni around the world to engage with them, share the evolving vision of the school with them, get their feedback, and discuss not only how we can best connect them with Johnson, but also how we can connect Johnson to them. Nothing beats this face-to-face contact; when you go in person to other countries, you get a real feel for people on the ground, you hear about the issues that are foremost in their lives and minds. Visiting our alumni in their countries is also a sign of respect; it shows them that we care for them, value them, and want to engage with them on a continued basis.
At the same time, I try to achieve multiple objectives when we go. I meet with deans of leading business schools to gain a better understanding of their perceptions regarding local business issues and trends, and also to identify their strengths and explore potential collaborations. I also meet with key corporate executives wherever we go, whenever possible. Not surprisingly, many of these are also Johnson alumni, as is the case with Ajay Singh, MBA ’90, co-founder and chairman of Argentum Motors in New Delhi, whom I met with in March and who is profiled in this issue of Inside Johnson. I also had a very good meeting with N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder and former CEO of Infosys and an emeritus trustee of Cornell University, who spoke here at Johnson last fall. These discussions helped me to better understand the challenges facing the business community there, and especially the support entrepreneurs in India need — something we might be able to address via Cornell Tech, for example.
I also make a point of meeting with local media, which gives me a chance to tell people in the countries I visit about Johnson and its vision. In London, I spoke about our vision for Cornell NYC Tech in an interview with the Financial Times. In India, I was interviewed by DNA India and Indian Institute of Management Professor Rajeev Gowda interviewed me for OneIndia News.
Every business is global, because the markets are global and, in many cases, suppliers are global. So Johnson can’t exist in isolation; to be a top-tier business school, we need to have global reach and global knowledge in what we do. To ensure students are successful global thinkers, we create international study trips for them, like this year’s spring break trip to Colombia, led in March by Professor Wesley Sine, that Li Cecilia He, MBA '14, one of our student bloggers, wrote about in Hola, Colombia! You may have seen coverage of other recent student trips to Patagonia and Brazil in previous issues of Inside Johnson.
Our faculty also travels, making connections that are essential to inform their research and ensure its global relevance. Johnson faculty have expertise in many areas of the world, including Murillo Campello, who recently published “Contemporary Corporate Finance Research on South America” (Journal of Corporate Finance); Warren B. Bailey, who co-authored “Bank Loans with Chinese Characteristics: Inside Debt, Firm Quality, and Market Response” (Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis); and Andrew Karolyi, who co-authored “Understanding Commonality in Liquidity around the World” (Journal of Financial Economics). As a business school, we know we have an impact on the world in terms of thought leadership, a charge our faculty takes very seriously.
Throughout my travels, I have been touched by the warmth and generosity of our alumni, who were delighted that Johnson’s dean had come to see them. That feeling goes both ways: Their warmth gives me confidence that we can do more with them in the future, and the fact that we are reaching out to them gives them confidence to engage with us. It’s a relationship that has to be built, and the investment in time and effort we put into that is important.
Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean