People and Places: March 2024

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024
By AACSB Staff
Chapman University’s Argyros College launches the Henley School of Management and Boston’s Questrom School creates the Mehrotra Institute.


Evelyn Thrasher has been named the new dean of Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green. She has served as interim dean since last July and assumes the permanent position on July 1. Thrasher, who joined WKU in 2008, most recently was senior associate dean for faculty and administration and a professor of analytics and information systems. She also has held roles as director of the Professional Education and Knowledge Program and Knicely Faculty Fellow in Leadership. Before joining WKU, Thrasher was a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She began her career as a systems analyst for Eastman Chemical Company in Tennessee.

Brian P. Brown has been announced as the interim dean for the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Business in Richmond. Brown, who joined VCU in 2011, currently is a professor in the department of marketing. During his years at VCU, he has been awarded a Most Inspiring Teacher Award and been selected as a Provost Faculty Fellow. He previously was an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Brown also has more than 15 years of experience in marketing, management, and consulting for organizations such as Coca-Cola Company and Snapper Power Equipment.

Donald E. Gibson will be the new dean of the School of Economics and Business Administration at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga. He joins Saint Mary’s after serving as dean and professor of management and marketing at Manhattan College’s O’Malley School of Business in Riverdale, New York. At Manhattan College, he led a faculty strategy task force that developed new mission and vision statements for the school; celebrated a 25 million USD naming gift; and oversaw a 33 percent increase in first-year and transfer students. Gibson previously served as dean of the Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He takes up his role at Saint Mary’s on June 1.

Economics professor and interim dean Lauren Heller has become the new dean of the Campbell School of Business at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia. Since joining the college in 2010, Heller has served as interim assistant provost for teaching and research; director of the honors program; and acting department chair of accounting, economics, and finance.

New Schools and Institutes

The Argyros College of Business and Economics at Chapman University in Orange, California, has announced the launch of the Doy B. Henley School of Management. The name honors a recent donation from Henley, an alum, entrepreneur, and chairman emeritus of the board of trustees. Last year, the Argyros School of Business and Economics was renamed the Argyros College after it received a 10 million USD gift from the school’s namesake. At the time, administrators announced plans to expand the college to include other schools within Chapman. The Henley School will join the recently added Burra School of Accounting and Finance.

Boston University’s Questrom School of Business is creating the Ravi K. Mehrotra Institute for Business, Markets, and Society (IBMS), which will use education, research, and outreach to consider the role that business plays in addressing real-world issues. The institute will develop a business sentiment index to gauge how the public feels about business, a crowdsourcing platform to facilitate conversations about contentious business topics, and a fellowship program to bring in scholars from other institutions. Between a recent large gift from Mehrotra and previous gifts from other donors, the institute has raised a total of 51 million USD. Mehrotra is founder and executive chairman of the Foresight Group, a shipping, drilling, and private equity firm.

New Programs

Starting in August 2025, the London Business School will offer a one-year MBA program designed for candidates who hold a Masters in Management (MiM) or equivalent degree or who have at least three years of prior experience. Candidates must complete a pre-program curriculum in which they will study core concepts and refresh their business knowledge. Topics in the MiM will include the changing business environment, the evolving role of business in society, and the best ways to drive change in the business world.

This fall, the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis is launching a Flex MBA that provides students with in-person, remote, and hybrid choices. The flexible program draws on experience gained during the pandemic to combine elements of the school’s long-standing Professional MBA and newer Online MBA. The two-year degree includes two sections of flex design for the core courses—one for fully remote students and one for in-person students who can opt for limited remote attendance with instructor permission. Electives can be all online, all in person, or a combination. The new Flex MBA will replace the two older programs in the fall of 2024.

IESE Business School in Spain is offering a new dual degree program that combines the school’s Master in Management (MiM) program with an MBA. Starting in September, MiM graduates who have several years of professional experience can enroll in the second year of the MBA program and graduate with the dual MiM-MBA degree.

Starting in September, Durham University Business School in the U.K. will offer a two-year Executive MSc in Supply Chain Management, which will be delivered in a blended online and on-campus format. The program will provide participants with the skills to handle challenges to the supply chain sector, such as disruptions and growing pressures to become economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. Students will gain functional supply chain management skills; communication, interpersonal, and negotiation skills; a background in analytics and data science; and an overall understanding of business. The University of Mannheim, a partner with the business school, will deliver three of the modules.

Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, is now offering four accounting certificates at the graduate level that will cover the skills candidates needed to pass sections of the certified public accountant exam. These include certificates in business analysis and reporting, information systems and controls, and tax compliance and accounting. The fourth certificate allows students to choose from four master’s in accounting courses. Regardless of which certificates students complete, those who to earn their Master’s in Accounting degrees will need just six additional courses to complete the degree program.

EDHEC Business School in Paris has launched on online MBA developed through its digital learning platform. The 24-month program, which will be taught in English, will draw on the expertise of EDHEC’s academic research chairs to produce content that aligns with environmental and societal imperatives. For instance, the Criminal Risks Management Chair will provide coursework on the mechanics of the black market, while the Foresight Innovation and Transformation Chair will help each participant develop a long-term economic vision that incorporates artificial intelligence and new business models. EDHEC is part of the FOME Alliance of business schools that create business education programs in the digital space. Throught FOME’s e-learning platform, students will have access to cutting-edge technology and immersive online experiences.


The University of Louisville in Kentucky and Yum! Brands Inc. have launched Accelerating Growth, an executive education program that trains participants for senior management roles in franchise organizations. Accelerating Growth will include a six-month program designed to train candidates for vice president roles and a one-year program that will prepare participants to be presidents of franchise organizations. As part of a 100 million USD Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, Yum! Brands is providing more than 800,000 USD to fund the program.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has partnered with student engagement platform Unibuddy to give prospective students more insights into the experiences they might have at European business schools. Potential applicants can go through GMAC’s website to connect with student ambassadors at European schools and ask questions about taking the GMAT and studying at specific schools. According to GMAC, “Through this partnership, prospective students can access a fast, genuine response to their questions from someone who has experienced the program firsthand.”

Porto Business School in Portugal and Woxsen University in India have launched a partnership that will include a dual degree program, student exchanges, and teaching and research initiatives. Porto also has arranged a partnership with Rome Business School that will include student exchanges, dual degree programs, executive education programs, and other collaborative academic ventures.

Bayes Business School in London, emlyon business school in France, and POLIMI Graduate School of Management in Italy have announced a triple degree program called the Master in Management, Finance, and Tech. The program launches in September. Students will obtain Master in Management degrees from emlyon, where they will acquire competencies in management, trade, and sustainable development. They will earn MSc degrees in corporate finance from Bayes, where they will focus on finance capital. And they will obtain first-level Specializing Master in Management, Finance, and Tech degrees from POLIMI, where they will develop their backgrounds in fintech and digital innovation.

Through the IE Foundation, IE Business School in Spain is working with the Laidlaw Foundation to create The Laidlaw Women’s Leadership Fund, which will provide women from around the world with scholarships to MBA and EMBA programs at IE Business School. Starting in September, the fund will support 24 scholars per year over a three-year period. IE Laidlaw Scholars will enrich their academic experience through customized programming that includes networking and mentoring opportunities as well as special events.

SKEMA Business School in France and ITEEM, a French engineering institution, are launching a four-year bachelor’s program focused on energy transition. Taught entirely in English, the Management and Engineering Sciences program will equip graduates with the skills to manage international technological problems in ways that preserve the environment. The program, which will debut in Lille in September, is already available online through the web portal Parcoursup. Courses will cover project management, digital technology, data processing, artificial intelligence, renewable energies, corporate social responsibility, ecological transition, and energy transition. During the first, second, and fourth years, students will take classes at ITEEM’s campus in Villeneuve d’Ascq. During the third year, students will spend the first semester at the SKEMA campus of their choice in the U.S., Brazil, or China; in the second semester, they will complete international internships.

Three French institutions have partnered to create the Multidisciplinary Bachelor’s for Elite Athletes program, which will allow top athletes to continue in their sports while gaining skills that will prepare them for later careers. ESSEC Business School will provide training in management, CentraleSupélec will offer courses in engineering, and Sciences Po will cover the social sciences. The program, which launches in September, will be held on the new campus for INSEP (Institut National du Sport, de l’Expertise et de la Performance, a school that allows elite athletes to balance sports and higher education). Students can take between three and six years to finish the program; they can complete up to 80 percent of courses online and up to 35 percent in person.

Grants and Donations

The University of Toronto has received a 15 million CAD (11.11 USD) gift from David and Angela Feldman to establish The David Feldman Centre for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the Rotman School of Management. The center will provide students with the skills needed to build and manage capital-intensive real estate projects. It also will produce research aimed at addressing the economic, environmental, and social issues facing cities today, particularly in the areas of real estate development and housing prices. David Feldman is a real estate developer whose Camrost Felcorp has operated for almost 50 years in Toronto.

Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) in Texas has received a total of 1.675 million USD from bp America and Shell Energy North America to support the establishment of a dedicated energy trading concentration in its College of Business. Students who complete the two-year program will gain skills in energy trading and analytics and graduate with bachelor’s degrees. They also will receive real-world experience through training and internships provided by corporate sponsors. The companies are funding the program with the goal of driving greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the energy business. PVAMU is a historically black college and university.

The University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign has received a 5.75 million USD gift from Gies College of Business alumnus Anthony J. Petullo and his wife, Bev. Nearly half of the gift, 2.5 million USD, will create the Petullo Impact Fund, which will support professors, fellows, chairs, faculty, and postdoctoral students at the Gies College. The rest of the money will go to the School of Art and Design and the Krannert Art Museum. In the past, the couple has supported the Anthony J. Petullo Leaders in Business Scholarship, as well as the Anthony J. Petullo Professor of Business Administration.

If you have news of interest to share with the business education community, please send press releases, relevant images, or other information to AACSB Insights at [email protected].

The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
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