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Dean DeRue Predicts What’s Ahead for Business, Society, Technology in 2020; Sets Ambitious Goals for the New Year



As the new decade begins, Scott DeRue, Edward J. Frey Dean of the Ross School of Business, shared his predictions and resolutions for 2020 with Poets&Quants, including how he believes accountability in business will be increasingly important, given the huge public policy challenges leaders will face. 

In P&Q’s article “B-Schools Predict What 2020 Has In Store,” DeRue said:

“In 2020, I anticipate that society will continue to be challenged in many profound ways. In business, CEOs will be expected to be more engaged than ever in policy-related issues and social causes. Employees, customers, and investors will increasingly demand that companies explain how they are diversifying leadership, addressing climate change and sustainability, and improving equitable access to jobs and economic opportunity. It will be a challenging time for leaders across all sectors, wherein missteps will be very public, and purposeful leadership celebrated.” 

In addition, DeRue predicted technology will also have a growing impact on businesses and business education as it becomes more deeply embedded into people’s lives.

“We will encounter further benefits of artificial intelligence, yet also be confronted by moral challenges that arise in its application,” he told P&Q. “Businesses with a clear vision, positive leadership, and sound execution will thrive. Business schools will continue to launch new courses that explore the intersection of business and technology.” 

At Ross, DeRue said the new Michigan Ross FinTech Initiative is one example of how the school is expandings its curricular and co-curricular offerings to teach students the skills they need to lead in emerging technology industries. 

Along with including thoughts from DeRue, P&Q included insight from Andy Hoffman, professor of management and organizations at Michigan Ross, into what 2020 may hold in the sustainability field from a blog posted on the Ross website. 


A Year of Big Goals

Poets&Quants also featured DeRue’s resolutions for the new year in an article alongside other top B-school deans. DeRue said he has big goals for himself and Michigan Ross in 2020: continuing to transform business education; building a remarkable community; and renewing a commitment to act with purpose.

“At Michigan Ross, we have long aspired to set a new standard for business education,” said DeRue. “We pioneered a distinctive approach to higher business education through action-based learning. Our Ross Experiences in Action-based Learning (REAL) initiative is vibrant and growing. It affords our students real-world experience, connections with leading companies and organizations, and a more effective way to learn. In 2020, my goal is to build on our progress, as we support initiatives that are defining our next chapter.”

DeRue mentioned the +Impact Studio, which officially opened this fall at Ross, as one of those new developments. The studio is meant to be a platform for translating faculty insights into tangible business solutions to the world’s challenges. 

Personally, DeRue said he’s seeking to find moments of purpose this year: 

“In 2020, I resolve to seek out a moment of purpose each day that reminds me why we do what we do, and use that to fuel my actions. It might be a new research study that changes how we think about a topic; a student who has an ‘ah-ha’ moment; or, an alum who conveys what attending our school meant to their life. These moments become booster shots of purpose by reminding us why we do what we do, and inspiring us to aim higher and embrace the opportunity for impact.”