Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with James Dean, Dean of The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. In this interview, we discussed UNC Kenan-Flagler, the MBA degree, women in business and more. Dean Dean gave some great life advice that I really think applies to everyone — not just MBA students or applicants, and definitely not just women. Check out our conversation below!
MBAchic: What is the best part of your job?
Dean James Dean: Certainly helping to develop young people. Whether we’re talking about undergraduates or MBA’s: at whatever level or age people come to us, it’s great to see them develop as people and develop as business people. It’s really exciting, and it’s probably why I got into education. It is really interesting helping people to get them where they want to go, and achieve their potential. A single event that typifies what’s best about the job would probably be graduation. Not the ceremony itself—what I really like is seeing the students with their parents and with their families. You see how much it means to their families, that their son or daughter has graduated a program at UNC and has an MBA or undergraduate degree; you realize that you’re really changing people’s lives—it’s extraordinarily gratifying.
Also, when I’m with alumni who’ve graduated five or ten or literally 30 or 50 years ago, they can all tell you about some faculty member who changed their lives. It’s different ones for different people, but they say that the trajectory of their lives were changed and shaped by this individual who’s on our faculty—so just to be part of that, and feel that gratitude that people have, and the affection for the institution and the business school is [the other best part of the job].
MBAchic: UNC Kenan-Flagler is a top-ranked school. What kind of initiatives do you have planned to take the school forward?