Shaping a New Era of Business Decision-Making

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In February, here at Ross we launched a new mission statement and strategic plan for our future direction. Since that time I have utilized this blog to talk in depth about each of the components of the mission and plan. As we head into the heart of the summer season, I am excited to talk more about our commitment to analytic rigor, which is the cornerstone of the academic experience at Ross, and a key component of the plan. 

Analytic rigor has always been a key tenet of university research and teaching that is now more important than ever. Employers increasingly tell us that business school graduates must have the skills and acumen to break down complex problems, obtain and make sense of data, and develop informed business directives in areas ranging from management approaches to financial investments, marketing assessments, and labor market projections. 

At Ross, we believe data-driven analysis must be the foundation for decision-making and leadership in the 21st century. The principles and values that underlie evidence-based decision-making are core to our identity.  Ross ranks third in the world for sheer quantity of research output, and the Financial Times, which looks at both quality and quantity of research, ranks Michigan Ross fifth globally for research. Additionally, the University of Michigan's overall research expenditures, which reached a record $1.3 billion in 2012, are the largest in the U.S. among all public universities and second largest among all U.S. universities.

Global thought leadership is found across Ross programs, as faculty bring their unique insight and perspective to bear on courses and our array of extracurricular opportunities. This global thought leadership is also something that draws students from all over the world to study here at Ross. Students know that our rigorous curriculum, combined with our action-based approach to learning and unparalleled access to world-class centers, will prepare them for any challenge they face after graduation.

With the strategic plan’s emphasis on analytic rigor, we’re leveraging our long-held strengths in research to benefit practitioners and students in new ways. In addition to Executive Education, Ross Thought in Action provides business and policy leaders with the relevant research and resources to leverage the latest knowledge to shape critical decision-making. And for students across our degree programs, our aim is to develop in them highly advanced abilities to use formal models, data, and rigorous, critical thinking to make decisions more effectively and efficiently.

Moving forward, we are further enhancing Ross’ offerings across our academic programs to greater emphasize analytic rigor in a variety of ways, including:

  • Increasing the number of assignments and classroom activities involving questioning, investigating, analyzing, problem-solving, and decision-making;
  • Expanding the ways Ross research is incorporated into all of our curricula;
  • Re-emphasizing a high standard of excellence among students and faculty through a new Ross Commitment to Learning, piloted in our Full-time MBA Program last year;
  • Expanding analytically rich offerings in the finance area, including a new fast track in finance program designed to enhance opportunities for MBA students interested in careers on Wall Street and in other leading financial centers;
  • Revising the BBA curriculum to provide more opportunities for international study, action-based learning, and earlier and deeper preparation for specific careers in such areas as finance and marketing;
  • Hiring 12 new faculty members for the upcoming academic year; and
  • Expanding the Ross Thought in Action website to connect more students and practitioners with cutting-edge Ross research. 

This upcoming school year we will continue to expand offerings related to each area of our new strategic plan, focusing on our distinguishing strengths in research and analytic rigor as well as our leading position as the world’s center for excellence in positive business, the most boundaryless business education globally, and premier school for action-based learning. And during these summer months, as I take time to reflect on our accomplishments of the past year and plans for the upcoming year, I continue to be honored to lead this exceptional community.

In the Spring 2013 issue of Dividend Magazine, read about Bob Fregolle, BBA ‘79, global customer business development officer for Procter and Gamble, who is using analytics in new ways to reshape the customer experience and grow the bottom line for Proctor and Gamble.

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Alison Davis-Blake

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