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Global Leadership Blossoms in Harbor East at Hopkins' Carey Business School

The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School - Arianne Teeple
The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School - Arianne Teeple
On the 12th floor of the Legg Mason building, William Kooser's office commands a view of the Domino Sugar factory and the boats lined up along the Inner Harbor.

The waterfront vista is a nice perk for the Midwestern transplant, who moved 10 months ago from Chicago to become associate dean for Students at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

But his glass-encased skyscraper perch wasn't the only thing that enticed him to leave the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he worked for the past 22 years. It was the chance to help put Hopkins' new full-time MBA program in the same venerable company as Chicago, Harvard, and Wharton. That's what drew the entrepreneurial Kooser, who helped start Chicago's international MBA program.

"People thinking about the business school industry will talk about Chicago, Stanford, and the Harvards of the world," Kooser says.
But, he adds, in five to 10 years, Carey will be on their radar.

"We want to be talked about in the same breath as some of the schools at the very top."

The 134-year-old school known for its medical, public health, and education programs has lacked the same cachet when it comes to business education. But armed with faculty hailing from the top schools, an aggressive marketing campaign, and a focus on international learning, Kooser says he thinks the school can reach its goal.

Its first class of 88 full-time MBA students started this fall at the Harbor East building, where the school takes up four floors. It moved there in July from its downtown campus where it was offering part-time classes.

Though it's got nearly 2,000 part-time business students, the full-time, $46,000-a-year Global MBA degree is now the Johns Hopkins Carey school's crown jewel.

"The full-time MBA program is the centerpiece that I hope will grow," Kooser says. The school hopes to eventually have as many as 150 students. It also expects to add several more faculty members each year during the next few years. It now has 33.

To spread the word, the school has hired Chicago's Lipman Hearne to launch a regional and national ad campaign in the fall. It's also using PR, through television, radio appearances, and op-ed pieces penned by the school's Dean Yash Gupta.

The school's focus is on public health, environment, and energy. With the tagline "Where business is taught with humanity in mind," the expectation is that the school will produce leaders whose mission is as much about social responsibility as it is about making a profit.
With its international reputation and spending on research, becoming one of the top business schools is an easier goal for Johns Hopkins than it would be for an unknown entity, says John Fernandes, CEO of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

"When you're new, it takes time to build your reputation," Fernandes says. "When you're associated with one of the top research institutions, the name recognition makes it a little bit quicker." It also sets some pretty high expectations.

"Everyone's going to expect to you be very good and very fast."

With so many good business schools out there, what will make Johns Hopkins stand out?

For one, more than half the school's student body hails from outside the US. Students come from 13 countries, including China, Turkey, Indonesia, and Ghana. Leaders at the school advertise internationally and take part in MBA events around the world.

Carey students will also spend three weeks in either India, Peru, Rwanda, or Kenya, where they will work with a local entrepreneur to solve a business problem.

Having different perspectives from around the world, especially when the class size is so small, can really have a lasting impact on students, Fernandes says.

The international focus is partly what attracted Allentown, PA native Kathir Ramaswami to Baltimore. Like Kooser, he relished the idea of being part of something new. Students will get to shape the program for future generations.

"It's exciting to be part of history," Ramaswami says.

Students will also get to flex their entrepreneurial muscle by helping Johns Hopkins researchers and scientists take their creative products to market. They'll analyze, for example, whether there is a market for a new drug and develop a business and marketing plan around it.
"There's a ton of innovation that's collecting dust," Ramaswami says.

Johns Hopkins has long been criticized for not commercializing enough of its research. But, its research tradition works in its favor. To build a reputation, the school's faculty will have to produce ground-breaking research that catches the eye of other institutions, Fernandes says.

It won't happen overnight.

"It takes time to become part of the academic pedigree."

If the fast start is any indication, the Carey Business School is well on its way.

Julekha Dash is Development News Editor at BmoreMedia and a former health care and higher education reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal.

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Photos by Arianne Teeple

1. Students work in the commons area of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in the Harbor East neighborhood of Baltimore
2. William Kooser, Associate Dean for Students
3. A Thought and Discourse Seminar at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
4. Students take notes during the Thought and Discourse Seminar
5. Lindsay Thompson speaks during the Thought and Discourse Seminar
6. One of a variety of quotes displayed around the school
7. Kathir Ramaswami, a Global MBA student at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
8. The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School building

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