As I sit here in my office preparing for my final days as dean of the Freeman School, a number of thoughts cross my mind. First and foremost, I’m struck by the realization that the job I’ve done for the last six years was not at all the job I thought I’d be doing back in 2005 when Scott Cowen asked me to become dean of the business school. Well, actually, that’s not true. I had that job for about eight weeks, from July 1 to Aug. 29, and then everything changed for me and for everyone else in New Orleans. I was one of the lucky ones. I survived Hurricane Katrina and still had a house and a job after the levee failures. Thousands of people weren’t as fortunate.
In truth, the last six years have been completely colored by Katrina and its rocky aftermath. These have been challenging times for the Freeman School, years characterized by centralized budgets, tight resources and questions, at least initially, about whether students would choose to return to New Orleans and Tulane. But it has also been a period of remarkable progress. Over the past six years, we have been able to hire a number of outstanding new faculty members, and our program enrollments have grown almost across the board. We were able to start new programs, including our Post-Doctoral Bridge to Business Program for AACSB, which trains experienced doctoral faculty from non-business disciplines for new careers as business faculty members, and our Master of Management in Energy Trading and Finance, which admitted its inaugural class this summer.
At the same time, our national rankings are at an all-time high. Our Master of Finance program was just ranked as the fourth best program in the U.S. by Financial Times, and our MBA program is enjoying its best ranking in years from both U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek. In particular, our MBA placement rate was the eighth best in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. Needless to say, for a relatively small program working from New Orleans to be ranked eighth in the U.S. for MBA placement is an amazing accomplishment and one for which we should all be proud. As I have said again and again, the faculty and staff of the Freeman School are capable of meeting any challenge.
So, as I turn over the reins to our new dean, Ira Solomon, I feel confident that I am leaving the Freeman School in no worse shape than it was in when I got here—and maybe even a bit better in some areas—and all this despite Katrina. I look forward to serving many more years here as a member of the faculty, I look forward to sharing in all our future victories and accomplishments, and most of all I look forward to not having the buck stop at my desk anymore! To all the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the Freeman School who have helped to make the last six years so memorable, I offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation.