Dean Profiles: Peter Henry, New York University’s Stern School of Business

Business school deans are more than administrative figureheads. Their character and leadership is often reflective of an MBA program’s unique culture and sense of community. Each month, we will be profiling the dean of a top-ranking program. Today, we focus on Peter Henry from the Stern School of Business.

In January 2010, Peter Henry took over as dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business (replacing Thomas Cooley). A native of Jamaica, Henry came to the school from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), where he was an international economics professor and served as associate director of the GSB’s Center for Global Business and the Economy. A January 2010 Bloomberg Businessweek article on Henry’s hiring projected that the new dean would face considerable challenges at Stern in his efforts to diversify a school with such strong ties to Wall Street. The article described Henry as anxious to expand Stern’s reach beyond finance so that students would also consider careers “from those in public policy and emerging markets to more traditional roles in sectors such as marketing and media and entertainment.” Henry, whose research explores emerging economies, told Bloomberg Businessweek, “At Stern we want to create leaders who say it is a corporate imperative that we train people who are as comfortable in the Middle East as they are in Manhattan.”

Henry also told Bloomberg Businessweek back in January 2010, “Let’s imagine what the possibilities are for our students and the kind of world we might create with a broad-based view … Let’s train the best people and see where the opportunities arise,” and students with whom we spoke seemed to appreciate Henry’s approach. One second-year student in particular told us, “I chose Stern because of Dean Henry’s vision to show what a business school can do to educate and prepare its students to think creatively about creating value—both for business and society—in the 21st century.”

“People like him a lot,” a first year we interviewed commented about Dean Henry. “He’s a great person, and it seems that he actually cares about the students. A good example is he takes the stairs up to the 11th floor every day. He doesn’t walk over to the elevator, pop in the elevator and take it up and not say hi to anyone; he takes the stairs so he can talk to students on his way up to his office.” He added, “There’s a couch in his office, and he will literally talk to you about whatever you want to talk about.”

For more information about NYU Stern and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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