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 William Boulding at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
In the fall of 2011, William Boulding became dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Boulding began teaching at Fuqua in 1984 and served as the business program’s deputy dean before being appointed to a shortened two-year term as dean (a full term is five years) upon the previous dean’s departure. In early 2013, an international search committee recommended that Boulding continue his deanship for an additional five years. Then, in February 2018, Boulding was appointed for a second five-year term.
He has received several distinctions for his teaching in the areas of management, marketing, and strategy, including the school’s 1989 Outstanding Teacher Award and the 1997 NationsBank Faculty Award. A member of the search committee stated in a 2013 article in Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, that Boulding’s vision for the school would “address globalization with more innovation and modernization in the classrooms, while also focusing on stabilizing the school’s budget.” Another search committee member noted in the article that Boulding “has the whole package, plus he knows Fuqua and Duke intimately.” In the school’s announcement of Boulding’s appointment for a second full term, Provost Sally Kornbluth commented: “Bill is a valued colleague and well-respected scholar and administrator. … His leadership, dedication to Fuqua and commitment to higher education and service have been the foundation of his success as dean.”
In a 2012 Forbes interview, Boulding described the type of students who attend Fuqua by highlighting the collaborative principles encompassed by Team Fuqua, saying, “Increasingly, so called ‘leaders’ seem to fight for narrow self-interest around issues and ideas. At the same time, more than ever before, answers to problems, solutions to challenges, innovation, and the creation of value comes through collaboration and co-creation.… Our students have a burning ambition to make a difference in the lives of others.” Boulding also explained in a 2013 Bloomberg Businessweek interview the high rate of success for Fuqua graduates in finding jobs: “The reason they’re [companies are] hiring Fuqua students comes back to what we produce and who we attract, and that’s people who understand how to co-create and take advantage of a team’s potential. It’s people who are personally humble, tremendously ambitious, and have no sense of entitlement.”
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