Steady as he goes at Purdue’s Krannert School

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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.

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

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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