Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to the Assembly

Joshua Gans in Core Economics gives his boss a plug, always a good career move:
The Melbourne Business School merger with the Faculty of Economics and Commerce (FEC) at the University of Melbourne was officially called off today....

I’m going to express some opinions that are my own at this time. [OOOH, BOLD]

{Our} culture will be something we will preserve going forward. First, it is highly research-based. It wasn’t always like that but now you will find that the vast majority of our faculty publish regularly in the top tier journals in their field. Through the merger process we learned that on any objective measure of research output our faculty out performed those of FEC (citations, journal publications and grants received per capita). And we don’t think we are done yet.

Second, the teaching culture is second-to-none. Three quarters of all subjects taught at MBS (maybe more) have averaging ratings of 4 out of 5 or above. This is a long and sustained record and it comes through even more strongly in subjective shows of support that give rise to MBS’s strong showing in broad-based surveys. .... I must admit to being disappointed that the University never really engaged with MBS faculty’s support and chose to enter with its own graduate school in this space. I sympathise with those members of FEC who wince at the thought of millions more dollars in marketing and advertising gracing the lift-outs in The Age.

Finally, our faculty are engaged with public debate and the business community. Our media mentions average over 5 per day and this for a faculty of just 40 or so individuals. And that is aside from the fact that our faculty make up most of the University’s blogging pool (right here at Core Economics). No other part of the University — here or anywhere in Australia — comes close to that record.

So what of the future? MBS’s finances are sound. Yes, these are difficult times but there was never any hint that the merger was driven by finances despite the constant desire of others to couch it in those terms. Moreover, unlike other places, the University has always benefitted from the fact that MBS drew no funds from the University and contributed in the form of adding to its research contribution from the Federal Government. That will continue.

MBS goes into the next couple of years with Jenny George at the helm who has the support of the Board and the overwhelming support of the faculty to lead us through this. I am hopeful she will soon be confirmed as MBS’s first woman Dean. I recruited Jenny to the school about 10 years ago and couldn’t be more proud of how things have turned out in her career. [TRENCHANT!]

I may be missing the point, but from the point of view of the people applying to the Grad Sch of Man does it really matter what the publication rate of the staff or, indeed, the public profile of the staff is? What they want to know, as businesspeople, is what value is added to their management; whether, say, in a double-blind trial their companies do better than other companies. Has this been done? [Crickets chirping]

The only actual data point on the real-world track record of the GBSM staff I can remember comes from a fair few years back now, but I do remember when the GSBM actually owned that motel a little way up on Swanston Street and, despite having a captive audience of residential management course students, consistently lost money on it until the University made them sell it.

In general terms, of course, that's part of the general University pattern where the Architecture building is the one with pieces falling off the front, the Computer Science department is the office using 1990 computers, and the Business Management School is losing money on the canteen. But still.

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