A message from Yale University President Richard C. Levin
October 22, 2008
To the Yale SOM Community:
After three and one half years of innovative and creative academic leadership, Joel Podolny has decided to step down as Dean of the Yale School of Management on November 1 to return to California and lead educational initiatives at Apple. A note from Joel explaining his decision will reach you shortly.
Sharon M. Oster, one of SOMís most admired and respected teachers, has agreed to serve as Dean as we conduct a search. Sharon, the Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Yale SOM Program on Social Enterprise, is an influential scholar whose textbooks have become standards in their fields. For nearly three decades, she has been a citizen par excellence for the School and the University. She will not only provide strong institutional continuity; she will also bring vision, energy, and a deep commitment to SOMís mission and to the integrated MBA curriculum that she and other members of the SOM faculty have worked so tirelessly to develop and implement. She is eager to build upon the distinctive platform that the faculty has created these last three years.
It is hard to describe in a brief message the impact that Joel has had during his tenure. Under his creative and energetic leadership, the Yale School of Management has developed a visionary MBA curriculum that has attracted the attention of business schools and employers, both in the United States and around the globe.
There are other indications of achievement and momentum. Applications to the MBA program have increased by 50% in the last five years. The Schoolís acceptance rate and GMAT scores for the incoming class of 2010 place the School among the nationís top MBA programs. The size of the permanent faculty has increased by 20%, as Joel has recruited outstanding scholars and teachers attracted to the Schoolís collaborative, multidisciplinary focus. Under his leadership, SOM has renewed its diversity initiatives and launched new international and leadership programs, new activities for alumni engagement, and new publications. Before Joelís arrival at SOM, the most that the School had raised in a year was $9.5 million. In three and a half years, he has led our efforts to raise more than $170 million toward the Yale Tomorrow capital campaign goal of $300 million.
With boundless energy and dogged persistence, Joel took a personal hand in creating new courses and programs, as he crisscrossed the globe to meet with recruiters and business and government leaders. He was in the classroom more than any Dean in memory, and he responded to virtually every request, and virtually every email ó often at 4:30 in the morning.
I wish ó we all do ó that Joelís time here would have been longer, but we are all extremely grateful for his service to the School during the time he has been Dean. I hope you will join me in wishing Joel, Tamara, and their sons, Aaron and Asa, all the best as they return to California.
As he departs and Sharon takes charge, Joel leaves the Yale School of Management in the strongest position it has enjoyed in its 30-year history. We will continue to move forward as quickly as possible on the creation of the new SOM campus. Even in this time of economic uncertainty, the Corporation and the Officers know that Yaleís management school must have facilities commensurate with its ambitions, and we are committed to keeping to the schedule we have set to bring Norman Fosterís magnificent architectural plans to their full realization.
Joelís unexpected departure challenges each of us to rise to the occasion. I know that I can count on everyone in the SOM community to join with Sharon Oster and me to continue our positive momentum and bring the Yale School of Management to greater stature and impact in a world that increasingly needs its contributions.
Richard C. Levin