Earlier this summer, I celebrated my one-year anniversary as dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, and what an incredible year it has been. We’ve hosted prestigious speakers and presented terrific events. We’ve signed agreements with partner institutions to bring outstanding new students to the Freeman School. And our programs have continued to enjoy positive and even top recognitions from leading national and international publications.
As a business scholar I believe that when markets speak, one has to listen, and one of the key market tests for any business school is the level of demand for its graduates. In our case, 98.1 percent of our full-time MBA graduates from May 2011 were employed within three months of graduation which, according to U.S. News & World Report, was the high- est MBA employment rate in the nation. This tremendous outcome is a tribute to the quality and hard work of our students, to the dedication of our faculty and staff, particularly the staff of our Career Management Center, and to the efforts of our alumni, who work closely with the CMC to mentor current students, list job openings at their organizations and assist students in landing job interviews. We could not have achieved this great honor without a collaborative effort, so we offer our sincere thanks to everyone involved.
While this outstanding MBA placement rate was exciting, the biggest news of the last year, and the subject of this issue’s cover story, is the faculty recruiting initiative we began in October of last year. Given our enrollment, our number of programs and our loss of tenured and tenure-track faculty relating to Hurricane Katrina, it was clear to me when I joined Tulane that the Freeman School was severely under-facultied, so growing the ranks of our tenured and tenure-track professors has been our No. 1 priority.
I am happy to report that we have added six exceptional young scholars to the Freeman School faculty for the 2012–2013 academic year, representing the first phase of a hiring initiative that will increase the size of our faculty by an incredible 40 percent. This is excit- ing news for everyone in the Freeman community, so please join me in welcoming these outstanding scholarly educators to the Freeman School.
While the hiring initiative has been a key priority in the last year, it has by no means been our only priority. We also are engaged in an ongoing strategic planning process to evaluate our current offerings and consider new programs. Earlier this year, I asked James W. McFarland, Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Distinguished Chair in Finance and a former dean of the Freeman School, to lead a faculty committee on strategic planning. Joining him are Michael Burke, Lawrence Martin Chair in Business; Sheri Tice, A. B. Freeman Chair of Finance; and Clif Brown, associate dean for accreditation and strategic planning. Through this process, we hope to identify areas of specialization where we can legitimately compete with the very best schools in the nation and around the world.
In closing, I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to make my first year as dean so memorable. It has been enjoyable to get to know you, our alumni and friends, and share with you our plans for the future, and it has been gratifying to see your excitement. I look forward to continuing to work with you to make Freeman a school of choice.