Stanford Business Matters, September 2019

Stanford Business Matters
Kicking off the Year
September 2019
Stanford Business Matters
News and perspectives from the GSB community around the world
From the Dean  

I am so excited to have all of our students, faculty, and staff back together on campus, and to feel the energy and opportunity that comes with a new academic year. I had a wonderful summer, including a family hiking trip through Yosemite National Park. In August, I visited Sao Paulo to meet GSB alumni and was inspired to see Stanford’s growing presence in Latin America, and the entrepreneurial energy GSB graduates are bringing to Brazil.

As we kick off the year, I would like to share some of the amazing things going on at the GSB and some of our current priorities.

Future of Management Education

We continue to innovate in our management education programs, making progress on the initiatives we identified in the Long Range Planning Process. We have been implementing many of the recommendations made by the GSB’s Future of Management Education (FME) Committee, including sharpening our focus on principled and purposeful leadership, expanding experiential learning, developing opportunities around emerging technologies, and strengthening our teaching support.

An important part of future leadership will be the ability to build diverse teams and inclusive organizations. We have prioritized diversifying our guest speakers and teaching cases in order to expand the range of perspectives and discussion in GSB classrooms – part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year’s classes have record numbers of female students; the MBA class of 2021 is 47% women and the MSx class of 2020 is 36% women. And our students are playing an active role in helping us move closer to gender parity. This summer, GSB students organized more than 100 coffees and lunches for prospective female applicants around the world.

On the experiential learning front, we are introducing a new set of courses where students will work in teams to tackle projects sourced from local companies, or commercialize technologies from Stanford labs. The program will be led by faculty member Yossi Feinberg, with the initial set of classes focusing on data science, product management, and innovation. We believe this program will complement our exceptional experiential offerings in entrepreneurship, leadership, and social impact.

We are also making significant investments to support faculty and lecturers in the classroom. As a product of FME, we created a new Teaching and Learning unit, led by Assistant Dean Grace Lyo, who joined the GSB in May. This unit provides support for course development, case writing, experiential learning, and classroom speakers. We’ve expanded the use of education technology: this year three core classes, Data and Decisions, Economics, and OSM, and an accelerated Finance course, will be taught as flipped classes. And we are continuing to develop and support courses that combine academic faculty and practitioners, a distinctive strength of GSB electives.

Social Responsibility, Business, and Society

We are at a critical time in global capitalism, with renewed debate about the social responsibility of business leaders, and the objective and purpose of corporations. The GSB will be at the forefront of this discussion. We are encouraging students to engage with business and society questions in multiple ways, whether through our Corporations and Society Initiative, our Impact Investing Fund, or our Social Innovation Fellowships. This year, Amit Seru and Paul Pfleiderer will lead a group of faculty from the GSB, the Law School, and Humanities and Sciences, to assess Stanford’s offerings and opportunities around Responsible Investing.

The GSB can also play a role in improving the relationship between business and government – both by educating business leaders who understand the importance of policy and regulation and by encouraging students, faculty, and alumni to bring innovative thinking to the public sector. Business leaders in Silicon Valley and around the world increasingly need to be engaged with issues on public policy and leadership. GSB students, faculty and alumni have the potential to contribute significantly to the relationship between business and government. We’re offering new classes, like Keith Hennessey’s class on the mechanics of policy-making and a leadership class taught by former national security advisor H.R. McMaster. We are also collaborating in multiple areas with Stanford’s new Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, which seeks to foster informed public policy and decision-making around algorithms and automation.

Intellectual Leadership

Our faculty are doing pioneering work on topics ranging from the impact of big data on economic growth and the consequences of corporate tax reforms, to the psychology of setting and achieving goals and the way that modern work practices are undermining employee health.

New datasets and statistical and measurement tools have become critical for many of our faculty and PhD students to ask and answer new questions, for example about venture capital, the measurement of innovation, and the wage disparities among Uber drivers. We have made it a priority to support cutting-edge data and behavioral science research through the new GSB Research Hub. This year, we plan to expand our Research Fellows program, which brings a diverse set of college graduates to the GSB to work with faculty before applying to PhD programs. We were thrilled that three Research Fellows in last year’s cohort were awarded prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships to pursue PhDs in Economics.

Global Impact

At a time when nationalism is on the rise, we are steadfast in our commitment to global engagement. This year, we have students from more than 70 countries; more than 600 GSB students will participate in Global Study Trips and Seminars, or in the GMIX internship program. This summer, Stanford Seed supported internships for more than 60 Stanford students with Seed companies in Africa and India.

We are extending our geographic boundaries in other ways. Last week, we gathered more than 300 Stanford students, faculty, alumni, and friends for the second annual Stanford China Economic Forum, and debated topics from trade to innovation to social media. Next spring, I look forward to attending the Stanford Seed Global Summit in Mumbai. Online programs are an especially powerful tool to expand our reach. We recently launched Stanford Embark, a platform that provides education modules and videos for entrepreneurs as they navigate challenges and grow their businesses. Embark was dreamed up by faculty members Jim Lattin, Baba Shiv, and Stefanos Zenios. It complements our successful and growing Stanford LEAD program, a year-long online curriculum for business professionals. Since the program’s inception in 2015, we have had LEAD participants from 90 countries.

Looking Ahead

We are so fortunate to be at a place that renews itself every fall. I look forward to a year of exceptional teaching, learning and engagement. I also look forward to continuing to be in touch with you, our amazing alumni network, to share updates, progress and accomplishments. Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiastic participation which helps make so much of the great work possible at the GSB.

Jonathan Levin
Jonathan Levin, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean
Stanford Graduate School of Business
change Lives. change organizations. change the world.
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