Every year we await the unveiling of an onslaught of prestigious college rankings, all lists that are sure to have an impact on the future of the schools it includes (or fails to mention). However their ratings just scratch the surface, highlighting only a fraction of the impressive work the schools should be recognized for and missing out on raising awareness of the bright minds behind the scenes doing great things. Financial Times‘ ranking orchestrators did it right this year, though, going a step further with a breakdown of the deans whose business schools made the top of their rankings, giving the academic leaders paving the way for student success some time in the spotlight too.

The Financial Times did it right with not only a list of these established deans, but full profiles that include their respective qualifications and career highlights, even asking the school officials what are the best and worst aspects of business education. The answers varied, but let’s just say that their insight was extremely interesting given their notable titles.

Three local deans made the cut from Georgetown University, University of Maryland, and University of Virginia, each given a full page spread on the Financial Times‘ website. Here are a couple of things you should know about the all too worthy three:

Source: Financial Times

David Thomas, Dean of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business:

  • Attended both Yale and Columbia for one stellar education
  • Serves on the board of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is Co-founder of the Annual Meeting of Black Corporate Directors
  • Wrote a book that has influenced the growth of companies like PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson
  • Believes that “few business schools proactively make room for academic voices that are critical of dominant business practices” and the “absence of these perspectives has been a disservice to our students”
Source: Financial Times

Alexander Triantis, Dean of the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business:

  • Went the engineering route at University of Toronto and Stanford University
  • Consulted for major multinational companies and organizations like Accenture, Deloitte, Dupont, Lockheed Martin, and the World Bank
  • Had research featured in Businessweek, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CFO Magazine, and of course the Financial Times
  • Received the Smith School’s top teaching award twice
  • Thinks that business school provides a great opportunity for “action learning,” which “allows future business leaders to hone communication and leadership skills and ultimately build the confidence and abilities to effectively lead an organisation.”
  • Believes “we fail to prepare students properly when we just present rigid analytical techniques within functional disciplines, because simple functional solutions are rarely sufficient in the real world. The complexity of today’s global business environment requires system-based approaches that take into account the myriad factors that influence any corporate decision.”
Source: Financial Times

Robert Bruner, Dean of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business:

  • Graduated from the best of the Ivy’s: Harvard and Yale
  • Author of numerous works, including six editions of “Case Studies in Finance” and the paper “The gains to bidding firms from merger”
  • Recognized for teaching excellence and included as one of 12 “Masters of the MBA Classroom” by Businessweek
  • Figures that “business education builds wisdom about the way the world works. At its best, it kindles both a tough-minded practicality about challenges and behaviour and an inspiring vision about the world we would like to live in”
  • Believes “if business education is delivered badly, with a narrow focus, an emphasis on purely technical skills and little attention to ethics, it can prevent students from seeing the “big picture” of the joy from invention, the growth of organisations and the responsibility of business to create value for society