A Customer Case
Students studying the transformation of TIAA-CREF in Yale SOMís new Customer course recently had a visit from the prime mover behind the changes at this diversified financial services firm: TIAA-CREF chairman, president, and chief executive officer Herb Allison.
Like other courses in the new SOM core curriculum, the Customer course makes use of multidisciplinary cases produced by SOMís new case-writing department. On December 14, the focus was a case examining Allisonís efforts to convert TIAA-CREF from a company driven largely by its products Ė in particular, its venerable pension fund Ė to a customer-focused organization offering a range of investment products.
Dean Joel M. Podolny, a co-author of the case, led the class sessions. Allison sat in on two sections of the class, answering questions and discussing his role; his visit also included lunch and conversation with SOM students.
Allison, the longtime president of Merrill Lynch, has led TIAA-CREF since November 2002. He is a member of the Yale SOM Board of Advisors.