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Highlights of the Hamada Years

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International Expansion: During Hamada’s deanship, Chicago GSB became the first business school with permanent campuses in (from top) North America, Europe, and Asia.

Globalizing the GSB

By Harry L. Davis
Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management

Bob Hamada’s holiday card last December visually captured his commitment and accomplishment in bringing a more international M.B.A. into reality. Featured on the card were color photographs of the school’s beautifully renovated buildings in Barcelona and Singapore. Bob has always thanked the many people and organizations that made it possible to expand the Executive M.B.A. Program to include these two overseas sites. Many people deserve thanks, but Bob was the “red thread” that brought both international initiatives into being.

It was Bob who chaired the first faculty committee to explore whether a European location would be attractive to the market, valuable to the school’s reputation, and financially sound. It was Bob, who in 1992, made the argument for the Executive M.B.A. Program in Barcelona at a faculty meeting. Given the school’s long tradition of debate, the meeting bore no resemblance to a rubber stamp. It was Bob who kept the pressure on, both in the United States and Spain, to move rapidly from the concept of a “castle in Spain” to a real program.

It also was Bob’s persistence that led to the school’s new location in Singapore. He gauged the level of interest and support that might exist for a GSB executive program in Asia. As dean, he appointed a faculty committee to assess the school’s further expansion of the Executive M.B.A. Program. He built consensus for the program with faculty over several months, and he traveled between Hyde Park and Singapore on many occasions to secure the necessary financing and space.

The founder of the university, William Rainey Harper, believed that the intellectual richness of the university should be available to a community much broader than those who spend time on the Hyde Park campus. The programs that Bob stewarded are very much in this tradition. The GSB, the university, and the international business community will reap the benefits of his hard work for years to come. Thanks, Bob.

Next: Upholding a Tradition of Scholarship, Part 1

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