About The Gazette Search Back Issues Contact Us    
The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 7, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 16
Getting Down to Business

In his first week on the job, Yash Gupta tours the Homewood campus with new JHU colleagues Pam Cranston, Sally O'Brien and Page Barnes (rear).
Photo by Jay VanRensselaer / HIPS

Yash Gupta, dean of Carey School, lays out vision for first year

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Yash Gupta says he doesn't play basketball, but he understands teamwork and chemistry.

Sitting in his office in Homewood's Shaffer Hall on day one of his tenure as inaugural dean of the new Carey Business School, Gupta rhetorically asks why it is that a team wins one day and loses the next against the same opponent?

"Chemistry. They just didn't have it. You need to create a rhythm and keep it going," says Gupta, a man who exudes both enthusiasm and optimism.

He was talking about how to manage people in a business, but he just as easily could be referring to the daunting task that lies before him: taking the helm of a startup and turning it into one of the most innovative and prominent schools of business in the world.

How does one start this process? He listens, a lot.

Gupta's appointment calendar for the next two months is already bursting with meetings with students, faculty, directors and deans. He says he wants feedback to help shape the school's curriculum and guide what he calls "the planning process," a period of four to five months that will ultimately result in a mission statement. This statement, he says, will clearly articulate the vision for the new school and a strategy for reaching milestones.

"I want to be able to communicate what the school will look like, what form it will take," says Gupta, who before joining Johns Hopkins spent 14 years as dean of three prominent, established business schools. He most recently served as dean of the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, from 2004 to 2006. Gupta also headed the University of Washington Business School and the College of Business and Administration at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Gupta's first week at Johns Hopkins, not unexpectedly, was a hectic one. He attended dozens of meetings, all amid "housekeeping" matters such as getting his J-Card and going over his university benefits with a human resources representative. There was also an informal welcome breakfast — a chance to meet and greet Carey Business School staff in Shaffer Hall — and a condensed tour of the Homewood campus.

The Carey Business School, built on a tradition of business education at Johns Hopkins that dates to 1916, was launched last January on the strength of a $50 million gift from trustee emeritus William Polk Carey through his W.P. Carey Foundation. The new school already collaborates with other Johns Hopkins divisions to offer, for instance, joint master's/MBA programs in biotechnology; nursing; public health; communication, information and telecommunications systems; and government.

Gupta anticipates more such collaboration in the future and is eager to start building relationships with other deans and directors. He says the university aims to build a school that purposefully teaches students not only business skills but also critical cross-disciplinary knowledge taught in other Johns Hopkins divisions.

"I want to see what we can do together," Gupta says. "These are top-notch schools, so why wouldn't we want to hitch our car to their wagon? We are the new kids on the block, and we need help from these schools. From liberal arts here we can learn mental flexibility, from engineering we can gain technical understanding, and from medicine we can get health care knowledge. I see us building upon the strengths at Johns Hopkins to create something unique, not copying what others have done."

Gupta says that year one of his tenure will focus heavily on recruiting world-class faculty, a process that has already begun.

"Our faculty must reflect Johns Hopkins' quality and support the brand," he says. "We must be outstanding in this regard, and I'm dedicated to this goal."

Gupta also wants to help recruit an "outstanding" advisory board that will include luminaries from the business world.

"I see this as very critical to our future and success," he says. "These will be people who will help provide leadership and vision."

In terms of curriculum, Gupta says his meetings with faculty and students will start to bring into focus what elements need to stay, what need to go and what need to be added.

He did say, however, that the curriculum would likely reflect what he describes as three major trends in business education: globalization, the business of knowledge/innovation and changes in world demographics.

He points to the year 2050, when the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion people.

"How will we deal with this large workforce, and provide services for this number of customers, the majority of which will be outside the United States? These are questions we need to be asking," he says. "And innovation is very important. How can we take new ideas and make the most of them? How do you perpetuate innovation? This is some of what we need to be teaching."

Gupta says that he realizes much work lies ahead to get where the school wants to go. Asked if people should be patient, Gupta laughs and says he would never ask that. "No, we're in a hurry," he says. "Well, as much in a hurry as you can be in academia."


The Gazette | The Johns Hopkins University | Suite 540 | 901 S. Bond St. | Baltimore, MD 21231 | 443-287-9900 |