From the Dean

Forward Momentum

Dean Sunil Kumar

Photo by Matthew Gilson

Even before moving to Chicago last year, I felt a strong connection to Chicago Booth via my interactions with the faculty and students here. One of the first things I did after I committed to become dean was to present my recent research at a workshop with Booth's operations faculty. Despite being the dean-designate at the time, I am thrilled to say that I received as thorough a critique as I had hoped. I find it exhilarating to be part of a community where ideas matter above all else.

Chicago Booth faculty and alumni are veritable idea factories. Our finance, economics, and accounting faculties have been awarded nearly every imaginable prize and recognition, and are preeminent in their fields. The fact that members of our faculty in other areas have also won top honors from the American Psychological Association, the Society for Consumer Psychology, and the National Academy of Engineering is just as remarkable. And, as you can see from the article on page 30 in this issue on Toby Moskowitz's book Scorecasting, even sports fall within the domain of study of our faculty. In short, we have outstanding intellectual resources across a broad range of areas in our community, and we would be remiss if we didn't fully leverage these assets. I see my mission as ensuring that the school excels broadly, doing anything it chooses to do extremely well.

But the perception of Chicago Booth, outstanding as it is, may still not measure up to the reality. When I tell people that the second most popular concentration at Booth is entrepreneurship, they almost always are surprised. In fact, since the start of the Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge in 1996, 65 companies founded by our students have raised over $185 million in funding and have created more than 1,000 jobs. In addition to the venture capital raised by firms, Booth has awarded $750,000 to businesses that got their start in this business plan competition.

The impact that Chicago Booth has on management practice and public policy is driven by the activities of Chicago Booth's extraordinary faculty as well as the achievements of its many illustrious alumni. A cohesive community of alumni, who remain active in the life of the school, helps to amplify and spread this impact. As I travel, meeting alumni in a variety of places and settings, their lasting affection for and connection with the school are unmistakable to me. That said, I believe we can do even more to connect our alumni with the school and each other. Indeed, most of you that I have met have expressed your desire to be connected even more closely.

These observations have led me to launch a major initiative to further strengthen the school's activities on the alumni and external relations fronts. The Alumni and External Relations Committee will focus on creating a thoughtful plan of action, as mentioned on page 39 of this issue. Leading the effort is Steve Kaplan, Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, and Anil Kashyap, Edward Eagle Brown Professor of Economics and Finance. Representing the alumni, administration, faculty, and staff are committee members Stacey Kole, deputy dean of the Full-Time MBA Program and clinical professor of economics; Haresh Sapra, professor of accounting; Ayelet Fishbach, professor of behavioral science and marketing; Gary Singer, '78, founding partner and chief executive officer, Buyology, Inc.; and, Julie Morton, associate dean, Career Services and Corporate Relations. They have already begun analyzing our existing information and building a plan for consulting with our alumni, corporate partners, and other external influencers, and gathering the necessary insight from them. Thank you to everyone who reached out to us following the announcement of the formation of the committee. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and using your ideas to build a strong platform for Chicago Booth's forward momentum. Please email your suggestions to

I am very proud to be a part of Chicago Booth. I look forward to helping the school to continue to produce outstanding alumni and shape the future of management.

Sunil Kumar
Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Operations Management


Last Updated 9/16/11