Northwestern Kellogg School Dean Blount leaving – Education News

on Sep9

7 September 2017 | 2:00 pm

Sally Blount, dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, is stepping down next spring, after the current academic year ends.

In a video released by the school, Blount says that it was the “ideal time,” to hand the reins to a successor. Her decision comes just months after Kellogg opened a 415,000-square-foot central new building on Lake Michigan’s waterfront that now becomes the capstone on her 7-year strategic plan.

WatchBlount’svideoannouncementhere.

She was the first woman to lead a top business school in the U.S., and remains the only one at this point, according to business school blog Poets & Quants. Blount, 56, took the business school’s top job in 2010 after serving as dean of New York University’s undergraduate college and vice dean of its Stern School of Business.

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When Blount took Kellogg’s top post, the school was highly regarded; it ranked fourth in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2010 list of top full-time MBA schools, down from No. 3 in 2008, its previous ranking. The school dropped to ninth place in the publication’s 2016 rankings, dragged down by scores from an alumni survey and job placement tallies.

But her $350 million campaign—Kellogg’s first and one that ultimately raised $365 million—was central in her effort to revive the school’s luster. Under Blount, Kellogg constructed “a new state-of-the-art home for the school” reshaped its degree portfolio, recruited “new, “dynamic faculty and staff, and “set records for fundraising and alumni engagement,” Provost Jonathan Holloway said in a statement today announcing her decision.

After she leaves her post, Blount plans to take a year-long sabbatical and then to return to Kellogg’s faculty, where she has been a professor of management and organization, the statement said. She came to Northwestern as a doctoral student after earning an undergraduate degree at Princeton University, and taught for a time at the University of Chicago’s competing business school now known as Booth School of Business (which generally has outshined Kellogg in rankings).

“I can only speak in the highest possible terms about Sally,” said Bill Strong, an investment banker and the head of Chicago-based Longford Capital. “She’s a visionary. She’s got the entire tool-kit.” Among her attributes, she’s analytically strong, has strategic vision, can manage people, gained the respect of respect of faculty and administrators, and is a superb fundraiser, Strong said.

Aside from her focus on building opportunities for women, Blount attempted to recoup the Kellogg’s leadership role in the industry by rethinking school’s mission in an age when there’s more need for financial aid among students and a drive to address the global, and highly digital nature of business school education today, said Bon French, executive chairman at Chicago-based investment firm Adams Street. “She is very much a person who thinks about herself as a change agent.”

Kellogg’s incoming class of students had the highest average GMAT score ever recorded at the school: 732, up 4 points from the year before and 24 points from the average of the previous five years, according to Poets & Quants. Only the incoming class at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business had a higher average score.

Both Strong and French served on an advisory board to the dean, which was another innovation she undertook when she restyled the Kellogg dean’s role, adding more staffers to implement her vision.

After 30 years in higher education, she said, she had an epiphany during a summer retreat that it was time to take a break for travel and writing, and to “think bravely” about the next stage of her life. “I will have spent roughly half of those years as a business school dean rallying faculty, staff, students and alumni to dream about business education,” she said.

Blount teared up in the video while explaining how much she has appreciated her career in higher education: “I am grateful for the amazing opportunities I’ve had these last 30 years because Kellogg took the chance on a pregnant doctoral student.”

Her predecessor, Dipak Jain, stepped down in September 2009, for “professional and personal” reasons after almost a decade in the job.



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