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Career Story: Associate Dean At A Business School

Associate Dean At A Business School

Job Title: Associate Dean

Type of Company: I work in the School of Management for a small Boston-area college. We have both undergraduate and MBA students as well as executive education.

Education: BA, Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville •• MBA, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, •• Ph.D., Marketing, UCLA

Previous Experience: I was a marketing research director for a small pharmaceutical company and I've consulted widely in Marketing Strategy and Marketing Communications.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for the faculty and the curriculum for both undergraduate and graduate programs at my college. That means I oversee course scheduling, program changes, faculty hiring, faculty contracts, and meeting the standards of accreditation to ensure quality of the programs. I evaluate faculty every year, decide who teaches what, decide what courses should be offered and work with the Dean, my boss, on a lot of other day-to-day work, while trying to figure out what the school should be doing in the future. I also teach classes in marketing. There is a lot of other stuff that is part of the job but these are the main responsibilities.

On a typical day, I have meetings with my boss to discuss what are important priorities to our work and also how to handle any problems that come up. I attend meetings with faculty members, committees and students. I have to prepare reports on what we are doing and why and have to make tough decisions on requests that faculty members make (for money to go to a conference, for example). So my day usually consists of meetings and doing analysis and reading or writing reports. This sounds boring, but it really isn't; I'm making decisions that affect the school's future and meeting with really interesting people who want to make a difference for our students.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best parts of job: I know that what I do has a notable impact. I can see that I am making a difference in the quality of the school. I work with a lot of smart and interesting people. I am never bored because there is always something new to work on.

Worst parts of job: Sometimes I have to give people really bad feedback so that we can solve a problem (for example, a teacher may not be teaching well and we need to talk about why). Also sometimes I have to fire people.

Job Tips:
1. Learn how to work with others. This means sign up for teams, volunteer to lead groups, and listen well.

2. It is hard, but do presentations as much as possible. You need to get comfortable speaking in front of people. Believe it or not, it really does get much easier with practice.

3. If you want to become a college professor or administrator like me, then get some work experience that is related to what you teach.

Additional Thoughts: My job is really challenging and very hard at times. But...it pays well, it is always exciting, and I love it. I am working with different people with different problems and trying to balance what is best for them with what is best for the school. Sometimes I am really really busy, and sometimes I am not. I think the most important personal quality is being able to really listen to others, but also to be able to say "No" to them when needed.

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