A Legacy of Progress: Pitt Business Dean John T. Delaney

Sunday, September 28, 2014

When Pitt Business Dean John T. Delaney steps down from his position on June 30, 2015, his legacy will include the creation of new academic programs and substantial improvements to enrollment, student satisfaction, job placement, fundraising, and research grants.

Delaney, who has served as dean since 2006, will be succeeded by Arjang Assad, dean of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Assad brings more than 20 years of experience at public research universities and has successfully grown the size and stature of Buffalo's undergraduate and graduate programs. Read more about Assad's appointment. 

“I’m extraordinarily proud of what we’ve accomplished at Pitt Business during my eight years in the position and am so grateful for the support that I’ve received from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the greater University community. I've reached that point, however, when it’s time for me to step aside. I believe that turnover is required to keep an organization fresh and vital,” Delaney said.

Under Delaney’s leadership, Pitt Business established itself as a world leader of innovative approaches to experience-based learning. Every student has the opportunity to complete hands-on experiences through internships, case competitions, management simulations, study abroad experiences, and consulting projects.

Recruiters have taken notice. The placement rate for MBAs who graduated this past spring was 96 percent within three months of graduation — a level that equals or surpasses the most elite universities in the world. For the third consecutive year, the internship rate for MBAs was 100 percent. At the undergraduate level, there is a 90% internship rate, with students averaging more than two internships.

The progress has stimulated reputational gains. The Katz full-time MBA program, Katz Executive MBA Worldwide program, and undergraduate College of Business Administration now rank in the top 25 relative to other public university programs in the United States. In the past year, the Katz MBA Program was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. by The Economist in return on investment and No. 1 in the U.S. by the Financial Times in MBA salary gain (measured as pre-MBA to post-MBA).

Pitt Business received reaccreditation in 2013 from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. The independent reaccreditation, granted to only 5 percent of the world’s business schools, followed a rigorous review in the areas of curriculum, faculty contributions, strategic goals, and resource generation, among other areas. 

“I am pleased with the transformation we made to the school’s operations and the success of our emphasis on execution. We have put in place the processes, structures, and discipline needed to ensure that our improvement continues,” Delaney says. 

Highlights of Dean Delaney's Tenure

Enrollment increased:  Enrollment in the business school has increased nearly 20 percent during his tenure. Student satisfaction has improved by 78 percent among full-time MBA students and 36 percent among part-time MBA students since 2006. Additionally, student satisfaction with the Career Management and Academic Advising Center has improved by 177 percent among full-time students.

Fundraising increased: Delaney has helped bolster fundraising by reconnecting with Pitt Business’s more than 27,000 alumni who live and work in more than 90 countries. He has frequently traveled to events in Europe, Asia, and South America. As a result, the annual fundraising by the school is three times larger than it was before he became dean. The school’s endowment has increased 24 percent since 2008 and total giving has increased by 108% since 2006.

Master of Science in Accounting created: In 2009, Katz established a Master of Science in Accounting program. It has grown from an inaugural class of 27 students to an enrollment this year of 128 students. The program’s graduates have obtained accounting positions at big four accounting firms and accounting organizations all over the world. 

Center for Supply Chain Management established: In spring 2014, Pitt Business established the Center for Supply Chain Management. Led by interim director and Professor of Business Administration Prakash Mirchandani, the center promotes the pursuit of excellence in supply chain management by conducting research projects, educational programs, and outreach activities. GENCO provided support that made the creation of the center possible.

Global Business Institute launched: In fall 2014, the undergraduate school established the Global Business Institute, an initiative that lets students study business and complete internships at five international anchor locations. Each GBI location is tailored to specific functional areas: London (accounting and finance), Florence (human resources management), Sydney (marketing and business information systems), Shanghai (supply chain management), and Buenos Aires (global management).

New certificates introduced. As part of an MBA curriculum revision, Katz introduced certificates to complement a student's area of concentration. The 10.5-credit certificates are meant to provide a cross-disciplinary focus in a second critical area.

Financial analysis lab opened: In 2008, Delaney was instrumental in opening the Pitt Business Financial Analysis lab in Mervis Hall. The 3,000-square-foot space is modeled after a Wall Street trading floor, providing real-time stock market data, a financial trading simulator, and other tools to help students understand worldwide financial markets. 

What the Future Holds

Delaney plans to take a position on the Katz faculty and to teach in the school's Executive MBA Worldwide program, where he has taught a course on negotiations.

“It has been my pleasure to work with John Delaney, both in his role as dean and in his participation in the activities of our Council of Deans, and I am pleased that he will continue at the University of Pittsburgh in the Katz School and College of Business Administration,” says Patricia E. Beeson, provost and senior vice chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Delaney earned his PhD in labor and industrial relations from the University of Illinois in 1983. After receiving his doctoral degree, he served as an assistant and associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business until he joined the management faculty at the University of Iowa in 1989. While at Iowa, he served as director of the Industrial Relations Center, university ombudsperson, and chair of the Department of Marketing. In 2000, Delaney joined the faculty of the Eli Broad College of Business and Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University, where he served as professor of management and associate dean for MBA Programs until moving to Pitt.

“I am so grateful to everyone at Pitt Business for their dedicated efforts and support during the past eight years. You fueled my energy. When I observed your efforts and achievements, I was determined to do my best every day. You made me proud to be associated with the school,” Delaney says.