Business school deans are more than administrative figureheads. Their character and leadership often reflect an MBA program’s unique culture and sense of community. Today, we focus on David Schmittlein from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
David Schmittlein first came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2007 after almost 30 years at Wharton, where he served as the Ira A. Lipman Professor in the school’s marketing faculty. He is the first Sloan dean to be hired from outside the ranks of MIT’s faculty and staff, thus bringing with him a wealth of new ideas and energy. Upon joining MIT, Dean Schmittlein announced his top priorities in a press release: “to enhance MIT Sloan’s visibility and engagement with leaders of the business community, regionally and globally, especially among the school’s alumni. MIT Sloan should be a wonderful focal point for the professional lives and development of Sloan alumni and others in the broader MIT community who are engaged in business and innovation.”
In addition to enhanced global visibility, a significant focus of Schmittlein’s deanship thus far, according to the school’s website, has been “to work with the faculty in creating new high-quality management education programs, to develop enhanced educational opportunities for current students, and to develop and disseminate business knowledge that has impact and that will stand the test of time.” In an interview with mbaMission, Assistant Dean of Admissions Rod Garcia remarked that one noticeable change since Schmittlein entered the position is that “the dean has placed a huge emphasis on concept-based action learning. We have Entrepreneurship Lab, our [Sustainable Business] Lab, our China Lab, our India Lab … among others. The movement toward these labs has accelerated during the dean’s tenure as he has engaged with our alumni around the world.”
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