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June 2006     
  Professor Bob Korajczyk
  Professor Bob Korajczyk

Faculty Profile

Bob Korajczyk: Leading and leadership at Kellogg

The Harry G. Guthmann Distinguished Professor of Finance

What are a few of the major accomplishments that have occurred during your time as Senior Associate Dean?

I think some of the biggest items have been the implementation of the curriculum changes developed and approved before I came into the office. The leadership task force has also taken a lot of time and energy and has led to some interesting innovations, including the Executive Leader in Residence Series, as well as the experiential classes and trips that are coming up. There have been a lot of leadership developments that I expect Professor Michelle Buck – who has just taken on the role as the Director of Leadership Initiatives – will push for quickly.

Talk a little bit about the leadership task force.

With the leadership task force – which included all senior members of the administration as well as students and faculty – we started off with a clean slate. We took some time to think about what aspects of leadership we wanted to focus on. The faculty on the committee were generally not the same as those who teach leadership, because we wanted to push an across-the-board enhancement of the way we teach every class to bring out leadership skills. We wanted senior faculty to be involved in that process, and bring back insights from the task force to their departments.

On that front, we’re encouraging faculty to increase engagement in the classroom. We want faculty to challenge students to articulate their arguments more clearly and forcefully. It doesn’t have to be in an adversarial way, but we want to have students prepared and ready to contribute to the classroom environment.

There are some other big issues that haven’t quite been implemented. We’re thinking about the burdens on faculty time and how the school might have a different plan to free up the faculty for more research opportunities. That’s something we expect to develop very soon and formally announce in the fall.

Has working so closely with students and faculty changed your own approach to teaching?

I was trying to change in the way I teach even before I came to the Office of the Dean. I had started to do more cold-calling in class for a few years before joining the office, which is part of the whole idea that students desire more engagement in the classroom. We saw this trend when I was on the curriculum task force before I became Senior Associate Dean. I expect to continue with that going forward. It’s a learning process; we all have to approach it differently and see what works for us.

I actually view the finance core class as easy to teach because it involves concepts that would not only be useful for one's career, but useful for everyday life. One example is the right way to think of leasing versus buying . . . There’s a lot in the class that’s very applicable. But whenever you teach the core class, there’s always the inevitable the issue of students who would rather be anywhere but in your class. That’s true whether you’re teaching finance or marketing, or any other core class.

You’re not returning to the classroom until the spring of 2007, correct?

Yes, since I need to get back into research, I’m thinking about a book project and I’m developing a new class. That will take some time. I expect to be pretty busy for a while.

But you’ll have more free time than you’ve had?

That’s the hope.

Other than spending more time with your family, any hobbies you’ve neglected that you’re looking forward to resuming?

Exercise. I don’t know if I can say I’m looking forward to it, but it’s something that I need to be doing. I expect to be using the gym and my bike a lot more than I’ve had the past three years.

I guess all those breakfast meetings can add up?

Yes, and the zero-marginal cost at the Allen Center is problematic.

Anything you’d like to share with faculty and staff?

I’d just like to thank everyone for all the help I’ve received over the past three years, and even prior to that. This is an amazing set of people who are working very hard to advance the school. Without that, the school wouldn’t be what it is and working in the dean’s office wouldn’t be as enjoyable.

© 2006 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University