When I taught international relations at USC more than a decade ago, I never imagined that I would come back to the Marshall School of Business as dean. Nor could any of us have imagined, just six months ago, how monumentally disruptive the year 2020 would become.
There are great challenges everywhere. But I believe there are wonderful opportunities all around us, too. I could not be more excited to arrive at Marshall at this extraordinary moment for the University, Los Angeles, and the world.
Given today’s pervasive uncertainty and frenetic pace of change, it often feels like it requires all of our energies just to react meaningfully—and in real time—to events changing our world, and the world of higher education as well. At the same time, we cannot forget all that Marshall has achieved, while also looking forward and focusing on how the School can rise to even greater heights in the years and decades ahead.
Since its founding 100 years ago, Marshall has built a remarkable legacy of innovative thinking, entrepreneurial action, and global impact. Our faculty’s cutting edge-research is not only highly rigorous, but also very relevant to the most pressing issues of our time, as recent work on testing accuracy and the unequal impact of job losses during the pandemic amply demonstrates. Journalists at leading news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and even Rachel Maddow turn to Marshall expertise to help chart the course through these uncertain times.
Marshall students are equally resourceful and resilient, always looking to seize the moment with a well-honed entrepreneurial mindset, like the pair of graduating seniors who began designing and selling souvenir T-shirts to help small local businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus lockdown and recession.
The School’s 93,000 alumni are also stepping up to solve the most important global challenges. Some of the many examples include Jasdeep Pannu (IBEAR ’15) reimagining pandemic sports broadcasting for ESPN India and Lt. Col. Jengi Martinez (MBV ’15) flying 5,000 masks to a Navy aircraft carrier in Guam.
These stories of creativity, commitment and community are inspiring. They remind us all that Marshall not only changes the world of our students, it changes the world for everyone, and for the better. As I look to the future, I see exciting opportunities to bring together the energy and enthusiasm, expertise and talent, reach and impact of everyone associated with Marshall to build a leading business school uniquely positioned for the 21stcentury.
I cannot wait to work with all of you to turn our wildest aspirations into world-changing results.
Robert R. Dockson Dean's Chair in Business Administration
Professor of Management and Organization