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During Reunion Weekend 2007, Dean Dipak C. Jain greeted hundreds of alumni and friends to share his "State of the School" address.

Reunion reflection

Taking stock, ‘State of the School’ address frames Kellogg past and the challenges ahead; Dean Jain explains academic priorities, reaches out to alumni as partners

By Matt Golosinski

5/8/2007 -

Dean Dipak C. Jain made an eloquent and inspirational appeal to several hundred alumni gathered to hear his annual “State of the School” address as part of Reunion Weekend 2007.

His key message: The Kellogg School is doing great and making excellent progress on its priorities, but it must build on its accomplishments to meet the increasing competition from other top management institutions.

“We have earned the respect of the market,” Jain said in Owen L. Coon Forum, addressing many of the 1,600 alumni and friends who converged upon Evanston for the annual Reunion, held May 4-6. Now, he added, it is time for the Kellogg community to pull together and support “a winning team” to ensure the school’s future remains as bright as its past.

“Kellogg has always been a ground for economic and academic entrepreneurs,” said the dean. “The culture of this school makes things happen with joint effort.”

While Jain noted the school’s success on pursuing three key objectives that he outlined upon assuming the deanship in 2001 — building the Kellogg brand, strengthening the alumni network, and enhancing the school’s global reputation — he emphasized the importance of some remaining goals.

In particular, he told alumni that Kellogg required more resources to compete for top faculty and students. Recruiting and retaining outstanding people costs money, he said, which is why Kellogg is looking to fund new student scholarships and generate the resources to continue supporting its top-tier professors.

“The cost of retention is going up,” said Jain, surveying the competitive landscape and noting the efforts of peers like Harvard, Wharton and Chicago. He also reflected on the importance of maintaining the unique power and quality of the Kellogg School’s academic culture as a way of staying a part of this elite coterie.

In showcasing this point of differentiation, Jain wove in his own experience as a young mathematician-turned-marketing professor coming to the school in 1987. He recalled the “investment” Kellogg made in him as an untested academic, and the colleagues who welcomed him into the school, making the transition easier by sharing lesson plans and ideas. Students also brought relevant magazine and newspaper clippings to class to exchange information about the marketing discipline with their talented but novice professor.

“The outcome was not clear, but they knew I had a commitment to teaching,” said Jain of the school’s administration, including Dean Emeritus Donald P. Jacobs, willing to take a chance on the newcomer.

Jain said he saw the Kellogg deanship as a chance to give back to the school that had given him so much. Six years into his tenure, he continues working 14- and 16-hour days, saying the years feel only like months.

“If you have great faculty members and great people, that’s what makes this job a joy,” said Jain. “The contributions and support of people like you is what makes this institution great.”

The dean also shared some of the school’s new initiatives with alumni. He described the launch of the Kellogg undergraduate certificate program that provides outstanding Northwestern University students with a chance to pursue study in financial or managerial analytics — while producing another important constituency to carry the Kellogg brand into the marketplace. He also discussed the recent collaboration with Johns Hopkins to bridge the gap between science and business. Jain noted an innovation at the Kellogg Part-Time MBA Program that has created a new Saturday program, expanding the school’s reach and ability to serve a new market segment. Meanwhile, the school’s global Executive MBA Program continued strengthening its portfolio, with new offerings, both degree and nondegree, arriving at the Kellogg-Miami Program, a venture launched in January 2006 as a way of “being global by staying local.” In addition, Kellogg celebrates the 10-year anniversary of two of its international joint-degree programs: the Kellogg-HKUST Program in Hong Kong and the Kellogg-WHU Program in Germany.

To continue meeting such ambitious goals, however, Kellogg will have to keep strengthening its partnership with alumni and friends to achieve its increasing fundraising targets.

“The brand of the school is largely the faculty and alumni,” said Jain. “We will need your support."