Dean Lei profiled in China Daily: "You have to make sure that after five, 10, 20 years, you are still one of the strong players in the world of business schools"

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Date: 
Friday, January 2, 2015
Location: 
Newark, NJ

For Professor Lei Lei, it's always been about teaching her graduate students what to do after they get out of school.

"Students are no longer content with just an MBA degree," Lei said. "They want a career, and it's not counted as a career if they are not happy with the job."

The professor in supply chain management and marketing sciences will become dean of Rutgers Business School on Jan 1.

The job comes as a time when business schools around the world are facing transformation pains. Lei will help Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, navigate the fast-changing business environment by making the school as helpful as possible to students' career and businesses.

The number of students taking the GMAT, a test required for entrance into most US business schools, has dropped from around 266,000 in the 2008-2009 school year, to some 233,000 in 2012-2013.

It could indicate student frustration. As much-cheaper online courses get increasingly popular, and employers pay more attention to practical skills rather than just degrees, many business schools have failed to meet the challenge, wrote Forbes contributor Steve Denning.

"You have to make sure that after five, 10, 20 years, you are still one of the strong players in the world of business schools," Lei said.

In marketing, it is impossible to be strong in all aspects, but to stand out from the competition, one unique strength is enough.

Rutgers Business School, as part of a publicly funded university, cannot compete in funding with Ivy League business schools such as the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School. Instead, Lei is ready to make all of the Rutgers school's 6,000-plus students shorten their preparation time and "hit the ground running" in careers the moment they graduate.

"There is a gap between what textbooks teach and what companies want," said Lei. "But for good schools, the gap is smaller."

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TAGS: Leadership Lei Lei Supply Chain Management