In September, Purdue University announced that it was “reimagining its current School of Management into a new School of Business,” in what it dubbed the last big initiative to be unveiled during university President Mitch Daniels’ decade-long tenure.
Much has changed since: In November, B-school Dean David Hummels, who has led the school since 2014, announced that he would step down in July. The next month, Daniels retired as university president; Mung Chiang, dean of engineering and executive vice president of strategic initiatives, took over effective January 1.
Purdue announced the latest news in a busy winter last week, unveiling the official name of a business school with big plans for the future: The Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. School of Business.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
The reimagined Daniels School – the leadership of which has stated their aspiration to make a top-10 business school – honors the legacy of Purdue’s 12th president, who previously served as Indiana’s 49th governor. It is the last big strategic initiative in the university’s Purdue Moves plan under Daniels’ watch.
“To be associated with any aspect of Purdue’s academic enterprise is an inestimable honor, but this one in particular touches me deeply,” Daniels says in a school release. “Practiced with integrity, business careers are the noblest of life choices; they create new jobs and wealth for others and bring into being the resources which the public and nonprofit sectors take to pursue their goals. This modernized School of Business will send out its graduates armed with a sense of mission and the tools to fulfill that mission in the most complex of enterprises.”
The Daniels School will retain the Krannert name for its graduate programs which has carried the moniker since 1962 when Herman and Ellnora Krannert gifted a $2.7 million endowment to the university. It was previously named the Krannert Graduate School of Industrial Administration, but dropped “industrial administration” in the 1970s. The Krannert name became a catchall for Purdue business programming in the 1980s, though its undergraduates students were never technically Krannert Management grads.
Daniel served in top executive posts in an 11-year career at Eli Lilly and Company, including president of Eli Lilly’s North American pharmaceutical operations and senior vice president for corporate strategy and policy. He also has served as CEO of the Hudson Institute, a major contract research organization, and on the boards of a number of public and private companies, including Penske Entertainment, Norfolk Southern Corp. and Interactive Intelligence.
“President Emeritus Mitch Daniels is regarded as the most innovative university president in America, and his private sector business leadership is as outstanding as his public service. It is truly fitting and exciting to place his name upon this impactful growth to the Purdue landscape,” Chiang says in the release. “Through the launch of the Daniels School of Business, Purdue will have a world-class business school that carries out even more top-caliber research and educates many future leaders of a technology-driven, free market economy.”
PURDUE’S NEXT BIG MOVE
The official naming kicks off an ambitious plan to expand and reshape business education at Indiana’s land grant university into a top 10 business school. In a Poets&Quants interview from September, Hummels explained the transformation in four main buckets:
- Expand Purdue’s long held philosophy of “excellence at scale” by doubling graduate school enrollment and significantly increasing undergraduate enrollment which is already up 33% since 2019. The Daniels School will also hire more faculty (which is up 50% in the last decade), and double the size of its facility through a substantial addition and renovation.
- Continue its focus on STEM-oriented degrees, building upon the success of its Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) degree launched in fall 2021 as well its highly-ranked business analytics program.
- Centering the classical liberal approach in Purdue’s Cornerstone program as a way to think about business problems.
- Expand its experiential and project-based learning so that it’s something all students can deeply engage in, not just the top 10% of superstars. Think undergraduate research opportunities, corporate consulting, and more.
“As we think about preparing students, the challenge is that we have no idea what the most important firms will look like 20 or 30 or 40 years from now. We are preparing students for industries that don’t even exist,” Hummels says. “The answer to doing that lies with preparing students to be problem solvers who can operate between STEM and business disciplines.”
The transformation will target big investments, including from the university itself. Purdue will invest $100 million into the Daniels School relaunch, according to Mike Berghoff, chair of Purdue’s Board of Trustees. It is also planning a fundraising campaign of $200 million from alumni and school donors.
WILL IT OFFER ANOTHER TWO-YEAR MBA?
In Summer 2020, Purdue University “paused” its residential, two-year MBA program amidst both declining enrollments and rankings. The program, once among the top 30 MBAs in the U.S., fell to 80th in U.S. News’ ranking that year, down from 50th in 2018.
At the time, Hummels said the school would not recruit an MBA class for Fall 2021 and would “use this pause to examine the residential MBA program and its long term feasibility.” (Purdue now offers a one-year residential STEM MBA, an online and weekend MBA, as well as an EMBA. It also offers a dual MS(E) + MBA degree with its College of Engineering.)
Tim Newton, Daniels School’s director of external relations and communications, tells Poets&Quants that a transition steering committee is “looking at a number of different investments and programmatic choices, including a holistic look at the school’s MBA portfolio.”
The committee is also charged with leading the search for a new dean and recommending a design for departmental structure and leadership of the Daniels School.
The university has targeted fall 2023 for its first phase of the new business school centered around growing student enrollment and faculty as well as adding curricular and experiential education offerings. Hummels, a distinguished professor of economics, will continue to stay on until his replacement is named.
“It has been a privilege to lead this talented group of professionals, and I am grateful to faculty, students, alumni and staff who have contributed so much to our success,” Hummels says.
“I am thrilled with the commitments that the board of trustees and donors have made to elevate us even further. As the school embraces a new vision, I have agreed that now is the right time to allow someone new to carry that forward. I am excited to return to the teaching and research that mean so much to me.”
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