Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read July 2021 — John Quelch, dean of the University of Miami’s Herbert Business School, spoke to Invest: about the measures they put in place to ensure continued growth despite the pandemic, the reasons for the School’s continued growth in the national and international rankings and plans to maintain this high level of success.
What strategies have you deployed to tackle the upheaval from the pandemic?
The principal coping strategy was to increase our marketing budget focus on Florida on the basis that more students would likely choose universities closer to their home base in a time of crisis. That proved to be the case and we saw an uptick in the total percentage of our students coming from Florida. That percentage, because we’re a global institution, is still significantly below 50%, both at the undergraduate and the graduate level.
The second coping mechanism was in our graduate business programs, where we launched four programs in January 2021. Previously, we had launched new cohorts only in the fall but many people postponed their starting times. I believe approximately 80 students initiated their studies at this later date. This provided us with a revenue boost that allowed us to more than compensate for the loss of foreign students who had difficulty getting to the United States last August.
Are these strategies going to become permanent?
The first, I think, is a temporary measure because we do aspire to be, and are, a globally recognized institution with faculty from 35 countries and students from over 70 countries. Accordingly, our positioning is really global rather than local. As the opportunity for students to study internationally has improved this year, we’ve redeployed our marketing against our normal allocation criteria. With respect to the second point, we expect to continue with at least three of the four programs again running a January start date. The market is fluid and not everybody is able to organize their life according to the traditional academic calendar.
Have you seen any impact on enrollment, application or graduation?
At the undergraduate level, we will be admitting, I believe, the largest class in the history of the business school. I believe that the total number of students entering the business school in August of this year will be approximately 10% greater than the previous year. That’s not because the University has expanded its pool of students, it’s because a much higher percentage of the students admitted to the University of Miami are electing to enroll at Miami Herbert Business School.
It must have been reassuring to see that The Economist magazine ranked the business school so high.
Indeed, it was. To clarify, one criterion in The Economist’s ratings is faculty quality, and our faculty are rated No. 8 worldwide. Another interesting statistic is that the research output of the faculty is also ranked by the Financial Times of London. If you look at the rankings worldwide, in the FT rating, the component associated with faculty research places Miami Herbert in the top 50 worldwide.
What strategies do you use to retain faculty members?
Our research faculty are compensated in accordance with market conditions. Retaining faculty is not simply a matter of compensation. It’s also a matter of wanting to be a part of a winning organization that has momentum and that other faculty and business schools are talking about. It’s also a function of the other colleagues that faculty can interact with as part of their daily life. Many of these interactions are inter-disciplinary and this is very important to their happiness as scholars in a learning community.
How is the business school addressing the rising star of technology in academia?
We have an outstanding MS in business and analytics. Recently, the program was ranked in the Top 10 Most Prominent Analytics program by Analytics Insight Magazine. Last year, ChaseDream ranked this specialized master’s program eighth (up to three slots from the previous year) in the world to teach students how to translate abstract data into meaningful information in predicting market behavior, revenues, and expenses. This is important because we were early in picking up on the intelligence that market analytics was going to be important. We introduced it about six years before it became fashionable and well-established. As a result, we have been able to be an early mover and very well-recognized. In addition, our business technology department is investing heavily in new faculty.
What is your outlook for the next two to three years?
We’re very positive, very bullish. We believe, for all the obvious reasons, that there are tremendous tailwinds behind the University of Miami and, even more so, behind Miami Herbert Business School. We work very hard to reach out to newly arriving entrepreneurs and hedge fund managers in South Florida to make sure they realize the extraordinary talent pool we are delivering to this economy. We want to make sure that every new company in town understands the quality and scale of our operation.
For more information, visit: https://herbert.miami.edu/