sealPurdue News

January 10, 2000

Top-ranked business schools work for Indiana

Richard Cosier and Dan Dalton

As the new millennium dawns, we should take a moment to consider what is special about Indiana. Our problems are well-known, but as we shape responses to those challenges, we need to consider our strengths.

One of those strengths may come as a surprise to many people, but it will be a linchpin for Indiana's economic development: Indiana is one of only two states with public universities that boast two top business schools. Only California can make a similar claim. Purdue and Indiana universities' schools of business are consistently ranked among the top 20 or better in the country.

What does that mean for Indiana? First it means a bargain in world-class education for our residents and the companies for which they work. It also means that the state of Indiana has a precious resource – faculty, students and graduates – at the ready to guide and drive economic development. This resource is not only vital to start-up companies and existing Indiana business and industry, it is also a magnet for industry shopping for a home.

Why Indiana? One reason is that Purdue and IU have invested in their business schools. Unlike some universities, where business schools are seen as cash cows to bring in extra money, our universities have taken their mission seriously. Both IU and Purdue deliver high-quality business education at all levels – for the more than 13,000 students enrolled in their undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and executive education programs – and that comprehensiveness is very unusual.

Alumni also have played a critical role. In addition to being very successful, they have also embraced the Midwestern values of giving something back, both in time and money, to their institutions. Alumni are playing a major role in keeping their institutions among the best by supporting fund-raising campaigns at both schools to expand facilities, improve the teaching and research infrastructure, and endow professorships and scholarships.

The Indiana General Assembly is another key to this success. Long ago, the state lawmakers set about to create two excellent universities that do not duplicate efforts. Instead, each has developed its own niches. Medicine, music and law, for example, are the purview of Indiana University. Engineering, agriculture, pharmacy and veterinary medicine are unique to Purdue. And although both universities have schools of business, their focuses are very different.

IU's Kelley School of Business is best known for its strengths in finance and marketing. Purdue, on the other hand, saw a need to equip its budding engineers and scientists with the business expertise to prepare them for future management roles. Combining that need and the engineering expertise already at hand, the Krannert School of Management grew into a leader in technology management and manufacturing techniques.

Our top rankings also reflect the opinions of our graduates and the recruiters who come to hire them. They tell us that our faculty are among the best, both in teaching and research; our students are among the best in scholarship and work ethic; and our career placement services do an outstanding job of matching our graduates with employers, including those at Indiana companies.

Both schools also have embraced the global future through curriculum and international partnerships, while maintaining a commitment to the businesses in our own state. For four decades, for example, faculty from Indiana's Kelley School of Business have assessed Indiana's economic climate and then toured the state to provide forecasts to more than 20 communities annually.

Although our schools are not funded to the extent that you would expect compared to their private counterparts, we frankly have been quicker and a lot more innovative in responding to shifts in business and industry. Take, for example, e-commerce. Purdue not only has hired faculty with expertise in this area, it also is bringing in consultants from that new industry. Alex Zelikovsky, one of the founders of, will be on campus for the spring semester to teach both students and faculty about this amazing success story.

And while the Boilermakers and Hoosiers compete on the basketball court and football field, we cooperate when it comes to providing the best academic resources and outreach to the state of Indiana. Expect that cooperation to grow even stronger. We've been personal as well as professional friends for two decades, having forged a mutual respect when we both were faculty at Indiana University. We are looking for ways that our schools can collaborate even more:

• We will appear together around the state this spring, to listen to the needs of the business community and provide information about how our schools can help.

• Our faculties last fall worked together to create a student a competition to develop an innovative way for automobile manufacturers to produce and sell cars.

• Thanks to the opportunities provided by distance education technology, we are seeking ways to share coursework between our schools and offer courses that combine expertise from both schools, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. When business leaders come to talk to our students, we will share their remarks via satellite.

• We could even share costs and add some spice to our alumni gatherings by co-sponsoring the events.

• Most importantly, we will combine our expertise to help transfer technology to the marketplace and create new businesses, and we will do more, especially in conjunction with the high-tech incubators in our universities' research parks. Students and faculty can help by reviewing business plans and offering advice about finance, marketing, human resources or manufacturing.

We look forward to working together to blend our expertise and resources for our students and our state.

Yes, the challenges are there. Indiana must address economic development. But the solutions also are present. As Scott Jones, the chairman and chief executive officer of Escient, Inc., has suggested, we need to develop a research corridor between West Lafayette and Bloomington, taking advantage of Purdue and Indiana universities and their joint campus at Indianapolis.

The Kelley School of Business and Krannert School of Management will help make it happen.

Richard Cosier became dean of Purdue University's Krannert School of Management in August. Dan Dalton is the dean of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business

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