KM: What are some of the future challenges and opportunities in management education?
CE: I think one of the biggest challenges we face is that it is now a global market for education. Business schools in China, in India, in Singapore, as well as the Americas and Europe are world-class now. So we are no longer competing in the space the United States had 15 or 20 years ago where everyone wanted to come to the U.S. or United Kingdom for their education. Now there are tremendous opportunities for education in other parts of the world.
What we need to continue to do, and this is both our challenge and our opportunity, is to grasp onto what is really innovative in the United States in terms of advanced manufacturing or scientific discovery, and couple that with business education in a way these other universities can’t. They are very good at imitating and coming up to speed with what we do currently, so we will always need to lead and move ahead.
KM: You have a passion for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities and other military-related efforts as they relate to business. Why is that area important to you individually and to the school?
CE: I believe that as an institution we have an obligation to reach out and work with disabled and other veterans and their families. We also have a duty to help our students who don’t have an active military component in their lives to understand the significance of the contributions that these individuals have made. Our students are able to freely attend an institution with the quality of Purdue because men and women have sacrificed of themselves in so many ways and for so many different generations. For us, it’s an awareness of what people are sacrificing on their behalf so that we can maintain a free and open country and educational system.
KM: In your first few months as dean, has anything surprised you since you came to Purdue?
CE: I’d say there are no complete surprises, but some very pleasant additions to my awareness. I knew this was a great university, but I didn’t know how great. I knew we had enthusiastic alumni, but I didn’t know how enthusiastic. I knew that we had wonderful, talented students, but I didn’t know how talented.
What has really impressed me is that Purdue University and the Krannert School of Management are world-class. As an academic who has spent 22 years as a professor and now eight years as a dean at three different universities in different countries on different continents, I have never had such a positive experience with the scholarly, educational and service contributions of faculty, staff, students and alumni as I’ve seen at Purdue.
I’m grateful to be here. This is an outstanding institution that is unsurpassed in my view and has the potential to be among the top five in the world. And we’re going to make it that way.