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.