I AM HONORED to report that in January, University of Chicago president Hugo F. Sonnenschein and the GSB dean search committee asked me to accept another term as dean of the Graduate School of Business. I accepted with enthusiasm.

Why am I enthusiastic about the next five years? There are a number of reasons, but four stand out. First, I look forward to extending our global presence with a degree program in Asia.

As most of you know, in my first term building lifetime partnerships with alumni and globalizing the GSB were my high priorities. The centerpiece of our efforts thus far is the International Executive M.B.A. Program, now firmly established in Barcelona with participants from 25 countries and waiting lists for the 80 slots in each class.

What really makes the Barcelona and North American programs work is the transcontinental networking that occurs when the programs merge for joint sessions. Now, in my second term, I would like to move on to establishing the natural next step–an Asian component to the IXP program . I envision a three-way networking exchange when we add Asia as the third leg of our program.

In spite of the currency crisis at the moment, we all know that in the long run, business prospects in Asia are enormous. The region offers tremendous opportunities for business leaders–not to mention business scholars. That is why for the last six to eight months, we have been investigating sites for a program in Asia. We have been talking with various financial partners about ways in which our small but very visible program could be financially successful. Alumni have been very helpful in the exploratory process, and I feel confident that within five years the third leg of our program will be in place.

My second cause for enthusiasm is the opportunity literally to build the school’s future. We face a clear need for a campus student building. Just about all of our competitor schools have recently built or are building new facilities, and we are as overcrowded as any of them. Consider just for a moment the challenges of teaching almost 1,200 student in only six major classrooms.

We are discussing plans for a structure of 120,000 square feet with state-of-the-art classrooms, computer access, a lounge and lunch area, and space for all student services and organizations. Conceptualizing and designing this new building will be a terrific vehicle for ensuring that we will be equipped to train leaders for the high-tech information age.

The question on everyone’s mind is Where will that building be? The answer will evolve out of a university-wide process to create a master plan for campus growth and development. Deputy Dean Robin Hogarth is working with the master plan committee to make sure our needs and wishes are heard and incorporated. Meanwhile, we’re doing some significant planning on our own to make sure that as soon as we have a site, we can move forward with design.

Third, we have begun to conduct market research on launching a capital campaign. If the research tells us that we can go forward, financing the student building will be a centerpiece of the campaign. In addition, we must build up our endowment. In one recent survey, the GSB ranked 12th among 13 peer schools in size of endowments. Additional endowment funds will be used to support more professorships and scholarships as well as centers to study entrepreneurship, marketing, international business, and other key business issues.

Finally, I want to spend my next term making sure the GSB will be a major player in business education in its second century. We are on the cusp of a technological revolution that changes the traditional flow of information and knowledge a bit every day. Clearly, this revolution will change how education is delivered as well.We don’t yet know what modes of delivery will work best–in person, over distance, via technology–or who the key players will be. I do know that I would like the GSB to be involved at the center of the revolution of business education.

Each of these four prioirties are substantial issues that I will no doubt elaborate upon in the future. Of course, I’ll also continue to develop initiatives started in my first term, such as the marketing program under Tessa Burton’s leadership, revamping LEAD, and more.

I am eager to take all this on because I want to leave the school in the strongest possible position for the next century.

A message from Dean Robert S. Hamada

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