January 10, 2012

Soumitra Dutta Named 11th Dean of Johnson School

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As Cornell’s business program looks to collaborate with the University’s new NYC tech campus, President David Skorton announced Monday that Soumitra Dutta, an expert in international business and computer science, will serve as the eleventh dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

When his term begins on July 1, Dutta — who currently teaches at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France — will become the first major business school dean in the United States appointed from an academic institution outside the country, the University said. In addition to teaching at INSEAD, Dutta is the founder and faculty director of a media and technology innovation lab at the French university.

He will succeed Dean Joseph Thomas, who will return to teaching and research at the Johnson School after completing his five-year term.

Dutta’s experience and education in technology innovation will be of particular importance to Cornell as it prepares to launch its new applied sciences campus in New York City, according to the University.

In an interview with The Sun on Monday, Dutta said he anticipates that the Johnson School will work on collaborative projects with Cornell’s new NYC campus. In this partnership, the business school will focus on computer science and information science, two areas in which Dutta said “Cornell already has tremendous strengths.”

“The new New York City campus is not just about technology, but technology applied to business and to innovation,” Dutta said. “The Johnson School will certainly be playing a role in collaborative programs with the College of Engineering and the computer science department … My research and education are nicely aligned with the goals of both schools.”

The Johnson School will offer graduate degrees on the new NYC campus, including joint degrees with applied science programs. Johnson School students based in Ithaca will also have an opportunity to participate in programs in New York City, and some Johnson faculty may work full-time at the new campus, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Dutta said he was offered the position days before the tech campus announcement.

In a press release, Skorton said that Dutta is a “natural fit” for the Johnson School’s increasingly global outlook.

“[Dutta] has expertise in new and emerging media, he has studied the conditions that promote innovation and he has extensive experience on the international stage,” Skorton said. “Johnson students, Cornellians who take courses at Johnson and, in the very near future, aspiring entrepreneurs at our new tech campus in New York City will benefit from this appointment.”

Dutta said he hoped that, as dean, he will be able to spread the Johnson School’s international impact through enhanced distance learning technology. He added he hopes to prepare students for an increasingly global business world.

“I am well acquainted with different cultural groups and the business trends in these countries,” Dutta said. “I hope to utilize this knowledge to enhance the global impact of the Johnson School.”

Dutta has served as a visiting professor in the Haas School at UC Berkeley, Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford and Judge School at the University of Cambridge in England. Additionally, he has consulted governments and international organizations about their innovation policies and national information, according to a University press release.

He has lived and worked in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and has worked as an engineer with General Electric in the U.S. and Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company, in Japan.

INSEAD, where Dutta currently teaches, is considered one of the top-ranked graduate business schools in the world. It has campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

Original Author: Liz Camuti