The Cornell College of Business will begin operations in the 2016-2017 school year.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

The Cornell College of Business will begin operations in the 2016-2017 school year.

May 5, 2016

Incoming College of Business Dean Addresses Concerns About Merging Schools

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In an interview with the University, Soumitra Dutta — currently the dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, and the incoming dean of the College of Business — discussed updates on the college’s administrative structure and concerns that Cornellians have expressed about its installment.

The new college, which was approved by the Board of Trustees Jan. 30 and will begin operations in the fall, will combine the School of Hotel Administration, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and Johnson School.

Dutta said in the interview that he believes integrating Cornell’s three business programs will improve their national ranking.

“Rankings are driven by three factors: the quality of faculty and their academic reputation, the quality of the students and how well the curriculum prepares them for successful careers, and the quality and strength of corporate relationships,” he said. “I believe the College of Business will strengthen all three factors for each school.”

Responding to concerns from SHA students and alumni that integration into the college will disrupt the Hotel School’s distinctive program, Dutta stressed again the administration’s insistence that the planning committee intends to maintain all of the schools’ individuality.

“The College of Business will respect each school’s industry-specific connections, because those are valuable assets,” he said. “Research often happens at the boundaries of disciplines and sectors.”

Combining three programs under one name will also benefit Cornellians through increased connections to alumni and corporations, according to Dutta.

“I recently spoke to the global CEOs of two large companies — EY and A.T. Kearney — and asked, from their perspective, whether the college will be a good thing,” Dutta told the University. “Their answer was a definite yes, because they will have a clearer frame of reference for business education at Cornell.”

Dutta added that he believes the college’s greatest challenge will be residual resistance from Cornell faculty and students.

“We all belong to the Cornell family, but invariably we end up living inside our own silos,” he said in the interview. “Once faculty and staff from each school get to know each other better, trust each other and work together on new projects, we’ll start unlocking our collective potential.”

Members of the Cornell College of Business leadership team and planning committees will hold two additional town hall meetings on campus next week, in order to hear feedback and questions about the college from the Cornell community, according to the University.

A faculty and staff forum will take place Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. in Malott Hall, and a student forum will take place Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Malott, the University said. Alumni will also be able to attend an online presentation at noon Thursday, and all forums will be live-streamed.

  • Accountability

    If the schools drop in the rankings, would the administrators be willing to revert to the old structure, or would they permanently languish?

  • Alex Thompson

    So two large NON-HOTEL companies think this is going to be a good move. How about someone asks Marriott, Host Hotels, or some other hospitality company what they think?

  • acturg

    Will tuition in the new College of Business be at state or non-state rate?
    My guess … non-state.

    Could be a very clever way to take the most popular academic program (i.e. AEM) and turn it into a higher tuition program. Not sure exact number of students in AEM, but it is large. So say 700 students would now pay $55,000. That equates to $38.5 million in new funding. That will definitely help position the new college well, if it is spent that way … not funding overly rich retirement plans of overpaid professors teaching arcane subjects, that less and less students have an interest.

    Perhaps next we see ILR and Law School pull a combo play.

    • Reality Check

      I believe it’s already announced that AEM will continue to offer lower contract-college tuition to in-state students. But it will be interesting to see the details as COB is implemented.

      • Observer

        If that’s true, will the opposite of acturg’s above observation occur? The schools could be left with a major budget shortfall and a corresponding reduction in offerings.

  • Ed marinucci

    Still waiting to see the massive study that put this into motion.

  • WishingTheTrusteesHadn’tCaved

    One quarter of the US undergraduate students major in business. How boring! Cornell now joins the masses of public and private colleges that cater to the shallow attraction of majors in personnel, accounting, finance, marketing and sale. Dreams of “Shark Tank” and “Apprentice?”

    What Cornell ‘s administration seems to believe is that to compete for top students and get them employed we have to put them through a puppy mill of academic blandness. Don’t stop with Johnson, Hotel, Ag. ILR is about business; architects need to master finance; engineering is all about cost and pricing structure. Hum Ec has been transformed into a powerhouse of small and large enterprise. Everyone needs to take calsses in human resources and sales.

    Did any of today’s students answer the childhood question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with investment banking, finance or consulting? Very sad state of affairs – Cornell will never see any significant (positive) changes in rankings of either colleges/units or the university. Stop wasting time trying to compete – Cornell doesn’t need to. Graduate business schools have figured out that the older more experienced the students the higher their salaries, the higher the rankings.

    Business leaders, employers want creative, articulate, and empathetic talent – no chance this is going to come from Cornell’s School of Commerce. Sad to see Ezra and Andy’s dream die so painfully.

  • geoff hewitt

    let’s also understand recently the Hotel school was ranked the number one program in the world for hotel administration and has a loyal alumni which supports it; if this consolidation has an adverse effect on it’s quality and reputation there will be major consequences for the university including the fact that the greatest benefactor to Cornell is a WW II loyal hotelie .

  • Ezra

    Under Dean Dutta’s time as Johnson Dean – the school dropped from 7 to 16 in business week’s MBA ranking…student satisfaction is at 35, one of the lowest for the top 20 MBA programs. Rather than expand expand expand, he should fix fix fix Johnson first, then look to expand….But I guess that’s too much work & not enough fun as his new ‘Super Dean’ title.