“I know that the world is going to change and we must change with it.” — Anthony J. Drexel
Our founder’s words are as relevant and resonate today as they were back in 1891. Mr. Drexel had the foresight to establish an institution that responded to the demands of the marketplace with skilled graduates who propelled our economy forward.
More than a century later, and as recently as the past few weeks, our world has changed drastically as our financial system has been rocked to its very foundation. As educators we must take a stand and respond to these challenges with pioneering programs and research that provide entrepreneurial, innovative and creative solutions for business, the very fundamental principles that define our approach to a Drexel LeBow College of Business education.
It is our duty to sustain Mr. Drexel’s vision as the need for skilled graduates - dynamic, intellectually curious, responsible business leaders, decision makers and thinkers - has never been greater. At LeBow College, we are enabling our students to explore their strengths and passions, as well as stimulate them to reflect on and discover their true ambitions in our new global marketplace.
As the new academic year begins, I wanted to share with you highlights from the past few months and share with you the College’s vision for the future. In light of the market’s recent challenges, I am excited by our potential.
An Academic Year In Review
Recently, we have solidified our status as one of the nation’s top 10 schools for entrepreneurs in the sixth annual Entrepreneur and The Princeton Review ranking of more than 2,300 graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship programs. The list ranks our undergraduate and graduate programs No. 3 and No. 8, respectively, making it the top choice for programs in the Greater Philadelphia region.
For the first time ever, LeBow College faculty members have been ranked among the Top 100 Worldwide Business Schools by the School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) at No. 98. LeBow College has also advanced 13 places in the UT Dallas rankings of the Top 100 North American Business Schools, now placing at No. 85.
In June, one of the most influential investors in the nation, Mr. Carl Icahn, served as the graduation speaker at LeBow College’s Commencement Ceremony. Our graduating students witnessed Mr. Icahn receiving a Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa at the event.
Mr. Icahn’s appearance made headlines worldwide in media outlets such as The Philadelphia Inquirer and the The Associated Press - including AFX International (Asia, Europe), CNBC, CNN Money, Forbes, The Washington Post, Canadian Business and the San Francisco Chronicle. Mr. Icahn was also interviewed by one of our very own graduates, CN8’s Mary Caraccioli, host of Money Matters Today, who graduated from the Drexel Executive MBA program.
This summer, we began the strategic planning process with members of the Dean’s Advisory Board and College Advisory Councils, along with faculty, administrators, students and alumni. At the heart of these discussions was to develop strategies that can create a more collaborative atmosphere among faculty, students, administration, the business community, and alumni. Emphasis was placed on developing strategic partnerships and enhancing the skills and knowledge to better serve the mission of the College, which is to “develop world-class leaders and decision makers,” as well as “advance knowledge through research.” The final product of the Strategic Plan will establish LeBow College of Business as an innovator among higher education business schools.
As part of this process, I had the pleasure of meeting with many alumni across the country to engage them in the strategic planning process. In June, Randy Burkert ‘82, hosted a reception at his home in Manhattan, and later that month, Ray Westphal ‘59, hosted a reception for at his home in Media, Pa. In July, Marty Brown ‘69 hosted alumni at the University Club Atop the Symphony Towers in San Diego, Calif. The feedback was extremely positive, as one alumnus in New York said “industry in New York now recognizes the cache the Drexel name carries.”
Progress continues at Drexel’s Sacramento Graduate Business Center where LeBow College’s LEAD MBA is the forerunner in attracting new students for the program’s January 2009 start. We have also revitalized our MBA curriculum to include dynamic co-curricular experiential learning components with delivery modules that surely capture “the business of ambition.”
LeBow College of Business Executive MBA (EMBA) students recently traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, and Prague, Czech Republic. The trip was the capstone experience of the EMBA program, providing a learning opportunity where students were able to study global management and economies in transition first-hand. Earlier this year, our One-Year MBA students traveled to Munich, Germany and Prague, and our undergraduate International Business majors traveled to Chile.
I am proud to report that our fall enrollment broke new ground. Our graduate programs enrollment includes one of the most diverse and accomplished classes to date. The incoming LeBow freshman class of 550, selected from 4,100 applications, has an average of 3.42 GPA.
To enhance our students’ experience, we continue to build strategic partnerships and alliances with organizations such as the Global Interdependence Center, World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, and laud local business leaders with the CFO Awards and Women of Distinction events.
Since 2001, LeBow College of Business has experienced a monumental period of growth in creating a unique footprint for business education in the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond. Our agenda to construct an outstanding center of business education and advance our academic offerings to meet the needs of the global marketplace is ambitious. With ambition comes challenges and we face several important ones that will undoubtedly inspire new strategies to surmount.
- Balancing global aspirations with local needs
The influence of globality and the impact of technological advances integrate the world, moving us closer together and bringing products to market more rapidly. This opens up opportunities for us to advance The LeBow Network and brand internationally. We are poised to do so; yet how will we make the most of our international ambitions while strengthening our regional imprint? We are bound by limited faculty and administrative resources. Still, we have made a start in Sacramento, delivering the MBA curriculum without the limit of time zones, celebrating the diversity of East and West Coasts.
- Alignment with the future needs of organizations
As organizations face increasing economic and social challenges, they must adapt to changes and adopt new tactics to thrive. As a leading business school, LeBow College of Business must also adapt to changes that are often unpredictable. We need to be swift and flexible to align limited resources to the needs of the constituents we serve. The development of executive education and life-long learning programs that address such issues as integration of economies, ethics, social responsibility and sustainability in a global environment is needed to meet talent management demands.
- Infrastructure resources
The College is growing in academic stature, student quality and faculty expertise; yet we do not have the physical resources to provide for this progress. To attract top notch students, faculty, and administrators we must offer the margin of excellence of top notch facilities to serve as hub where our faculty teach and students learn via new thought provoking pedagogical and delivery methods. Productive academic, administrative and outreach activities necessitate state of the art classrooms, meeting rooms, social spaces, common areas, faculty and administration space. The shortage of adequate space is so critical that we have had to rent space off campus to accommodate this expansion.
In this coming academic year, we will be sensitive to the dynamics of the marketplace and embody the foresight to adapt to these changes with innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial thinking. Our strategic plan will be the catalyst to address these challenges and will lay the groundwork for great accomplishments over the next five years. In order to be successful we will need your support to help guide and champion this vision and redefine learning and scholarship to enable future generations to “Learn Here, Lead Anywhere.”
George P. Tsetsekos, Ph.D.