Deepening ties

Rajan previously spent 16 years on the faculty of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. (Chicago Booth)

Deepening ties

Madhav Rajan, dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, reflects on deepening Booth’s connections to the wider University.

When I arrived at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business on July 1, I was an outsider; I hadn’t studied at Chicago or served on the faculty and had last visited the campus 10 years earlier, to give an academic talk. As we enter the spring quarter, I don’t feel new anymore. For the past year I have immersed myself in all things Booth, learning about the school’s unique culture and its extraordinary community. I have spent much of my time traveling, connecting with our alumni across the globe and learning about the great impact the Booth MBA has had on their careers and personal lives.

Booth is fortunate to be part of a university with a celebrated history and a culture that emphasizes rigorous inquiry and respect for the individual. Like UChicago, Booth’s greatest asset is our world-class faculty, who produce pathbreaking ideas with global impact. We view scientific research and intellectual debate as the backbone of this institution and firmly believe that discipline-based knowledge and thoughtful analysis are the foundation of good business practice and policy, as well as the basis for an effective MBA curriculum.

Booth has traditionally been strong in accounting, economics, and finance. But its core strength is its emphasis on data, evidence, and rigor. In this regard, we have been ahead of the curve, and the world is just catching up to us. Our faculty are prominent in data science and quantitative marketing as well as behavioral science and management. We aspire to use our expertise in analysis and decision making to have an impact in the real world, applying our skills to fields as diverse as health care, education, and energy.

Booth faculty collaborate regularly with collegues across UChicago, especially those in the economics department. In addition, Booth enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the University in several key areas.

First, what was once a small entrepreneurship center at Booth has grown into a University-wide engine for revolutionary ideas and transformative new ventures. Over the past two decades, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has made a name for itself supporting our nascent entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and private equity professionals. Now, with the help of further generous gifts from UChicago trustee and Booth alumnus Michael Polsky, MBA’87, the center has greatly expanded its mission and brought the teachings of the business school to the broader University community.

Second, we are in the final phase of constructing a new UChicago center in Hong Kong. When it opens this year, it will serve as a base for Booth’s Executive MBA Program in Asia. This center will allow us to engage more fully in a part of the world that is increasingly important to the global economy.

Third, Booth has worked to foster a deeper connection with the College. The Trott Business Program provides introductory courses in business and career support for College students, while the Dougan Scholars Certificate Program enables a select few to gain a deeper understanding of the economic disciplines driving business. We also administer the Chicago Booth Scholars Program, which allows fourth-year students to apply to our Full-Time MBA Program.

We also are delighted to partner with the economics department on the new business economics track of its undergraduate major. This represents the biggest involvement by Booth in the College’s curriculum in 60 years. We could not be more excited by the opportunity to (re)connect with the stellar undergraduate population at UChicago!

I look forward to even closer collaboration with the University to maximize Booth’s impact. This includes scaling our joint degrees and making it possible for faculty from across the University to teach our students. Our new MBA/MPCS with the computer science department is off to a strong start, and we look forward to working with the Law School to improve the JD/MBA. It is imperative we think of business in combination with other fields and put these together in innovative ways.

I’m excited and proud to serve the preeminent academic school of business at one of the world’s great institutions of higher learning. To be entrusted with this deanship is an incredible honor.