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Colleges and Universities / Higher Ed / Purdue University / Education & Workforce Development

Steady as he goes at Purdue's Krannert School

October 8, 2009

If you drive a car, wash your clothes in a machine or brush with toothpaste, a graduate of Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management probably improved your life.

Krannert consistently ranks among the highest in the nation in cranking out operations managers—people who relentlessly figure out how to manufacture things better and cheaper.

Krannert has been piloted by Rick Cosier for 10 years, and he’s stepping down as dean next year.

Cosier, 62, says the new dean will certainly leave his or her own imprint on the school. But he says that imprint will be consistent with Purdue’s overall goals of improving its focus on student education, broadening its global influence and making greater impact with its research.

As a result, Cosier foresees Krannert largely staying the course. That means emphasizing quantitative analysis and analytical decisions making—the “Quant Jocks” for which the school is known. “I expect this to be a very smooth transition.”

Most of the school’s MBA students are recruited from the Midwest, and most go into jobs in the region. They land in automotive, health care and consumer goods among other sectors. None of that will change much, except perhaps the addition of more international students and more international placements of graduates.

“In most businesses, you have to make your product at some point,” he says. “There will be a future for managers who understand manufacturing and can optimize quality and be efficient in their operations.”

Cosier raised $35 million to build Rawls Hall to house the MBA program. He’s raised more than $150 million at Purdue and while dean of the University of Oklahoma’s business college. (Cosier chaired the management department at Indiana University before going to Oklahoma.)

He also increased the number of endowed chairs at Krannert from nine to 21, which helps keep faculty and recruit good prospects.

Cosier says he has been offered other positions, including the presidency of another institution, but turned them all down because he prefers working in an environment of top-flight academics.

What are your impressions of Krannert and of Cosier’s custody of the school? Do you agree with its ongoing focus on operations management?

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