An organizational behavior specialist, David Thomas honed his skills as an administrative executive at Harvard Business School for 20 years. Now, the contagiously optimistic Thomas is helming Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Dean Thomas has a five-year contract, and he is looking to catapult the Jesuit-backed B-school into the upper echelons of graduate study programs.
When Thomas took the reins of McDonough in 2011, he vowed to oversee several changes. In summary, he announced plans to:
1)Revamp the curriculum;
2)Extend the intensive pre-term MBA program;
3)Beef-up course requirements for international studies;
4)Increase both female and minority student enrollment;
5)Explore online education options;
6)Be named among the “top ten” B-schools in respected business publications such as U.S. News and World Report and Businessweek.
Despite doubts that Thomas could make substantial changes so quickly, the Georgetown dean is defying the odds. In his thus-far, two-year tenure, Thomas managed to secure an 88% approval for a new curriculum, extended the pre-term program and added an online Finance Master of Science degree program, in addition to a course on principled leadership. The school has also augmented its overseas business education initiatives by offering more hands-on opportunities.
Eager to prepare students for the so-called “real world,” Thomas and company surveyed Fortune 500 companies about their preferences when it comes to hiring recent B-school grads. Businesses expressed a desire for “nimble thinkers,” so McDonough started offering advanced level problem-solving and analytic courses.
While the school has yet to pierce the single-digit praise positions in any of their target publications, Georgetown’s part-time graduate programs are beginning to turn some academic heads.
Dean Thomas does not seem deterred by McDonough’s current rank stagnation, reminding cynics and skeptics alike that he still has three years to turn things around.
Read more at Fortune.