If events in the global economy have taught us anything in the past
year, it is that the world’s economic health is indelibly interconnected
and interdependent. Jerry Hass remarked on this at the
3rd Annual Alumni Awards Recognition Dinner in New York in
January, when he discussed diversification strategies investors can
employ to minimize volatility in stock portfolios. “In bad times,
stocks tend to go down together,” he said, adding, “The benefits of
international diversification are minimal in today’s global economy
and financial system.”
This interconnectedness means today’s corporate leaders cannot operate effectively without understanding differences in business practices and cultures around the world. It also underscores the importance of incorporating a global outlook into an MBA education. In the decision making they’ll encounter in their careers, MBAs not only must be able to run the numbers; they also have to think about socio-political impacts and developments in different parts of the world.
Recognizing this, the Johnson School has built an international outlook into its curriculum and culture. International full-time and exchange students contribute unique experiences and perspectives to class discussions and team projects. International study trips enable students to visit a variety of industries, meet with alumni, and, even collaborate on projects with students abroad. Exchange programs for residential MBAs enable them to experience other cultures directly, as do global projects for our Executive MBA students.
Our new global faculty have augmented our international course roster by adding Emerging Markets Finance and Cross-Cultural Management. This spring, we have been proud to welcome distinguished global speakers Andreas Degenhardt, global CEO of application management at Siemens AG - IT Solutions & Services; James Bond, COO of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and Joe Saddi, global chairman of Booz & Co.
We also emphasize the importance of molding “global” thinkers in the broader sense: We lay the groundwork by making sure they have the basics covered at the outset — marketing, accounting, statistics, finance, economics, and strategy. Together, through performance learning, they apply these tools to complex, real-world problems and situations. By the time they graduate, they’re ready and eager to meet the challenges inherent in leading and managing.
Our alumni know how well prepared our graduates are; that’s why so many of you rolled up your sleeves in 2009 to help them find jobs in this challenging economy. On graduation day in May 2009, we were significantly below our typical employment rates at graduation. We remained committed to working with the class and by January, thanks to the direct involvement of our Advisory Council and the efforts of so many alumni, that figure was up to 94 percent. Although 2010 is similarly challenging, we are taking new and aggressive action and expect employment for the Class of 2010 to be over 90 percent by September 2010, a return to our usual high rates. Thank you for telling us about job openings and mentoring our students through JS-Coaches. We also continue to focus on job opportunities for alumni in this difficult period.
I’m proud to report that the Johnson School continues to attract stellar students to all four programs; our incoming classes are outstanding. In spite of this economy, as of March, our Annual Fund was well ahead of last year both in terms of donations and participation, allowing me to add resources that are needed right now, to improve the academic program and our placement activities for resident students and EMBAs.
Thank you for all that you do for the school and for each other. Please stay in touch with news about yourself and your ideas for us, and best wishes for health and success.
L. Joseph Thomas
Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean