Big Shoes to Fill at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
One month from today, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business will officially welcome its new dean as Professor Matthew Slaughter succeeds 20-year veteran of the post Dean Paul Danos.
Talk about big shoes to fill. Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon called Danos “everything any institution could want in a business school dean,” and more than 50 alumni and friends contributed to a $10 million endowment to name the deanship in his honor, supporting in perpetuity all who come after him.
In a wide-ranging interview published recently by the Dartmouth Office of Public Affairs, soon-to-be-Dean Slaughter talks about what it’s like to follow in Danos’s footsteps, what he thinks prepares him for the challenge and more.
His Life Work to Inform His Role as Dean
An international economist, Slaughter has spent years studying and teaching how globalization, technological change and public policy shape the performance of companies, industries and labor markets. These very same forces have likewise shaped graduate management education, he notes, as evidenced by the growing interest in business education in emerging markets, the ways technology is changing how ideas are delivered and the expanded scrutiny of education in the United States and elsewhere.
“Forces such as these make it a very exciting time for those of us in education,” he says. “The work I have done throughout my academic and professional career will hopefully inform the thinking and activities we do here at Tuck,” he adds.
In addition to his scholarship and tenure since 2002 as a professor of management and associate dean for faculty at Tuck, Slaughter served on President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors from 2005 to 2007 and has regularly worked with business and government leaders in Washington on financial regulation, international trade, international tax and immigration. “This experience has enriched my teaching, my research and all other aspects of my professional life at Tuck,” he says.
A Tough Act to Follow
As for succeeding Dean Danos, Slaughter appreciates the enormity of the legacy he has inherited. “Paul transformed the Tuck School from a very good institution to—in aspiration and, in many ways, in actuality—a world-class institution,” he says. Danos increased the range and impact of the school’s programs, centers and initiatives, grew the number of full-time faculty from 34 to 55, and helped raise the school’s standing in global rankings.
Slaughter also appreciates his own good fortune in having Danos as a leader. “On a personal level, I will always be eternally indebted to Paul for all the big and little things he taught me, in formal and informal ways—first as a faculty member and then when I had the good fortune to serve with him in the dean’s office,” he says.
Excited to Help Foster Values-Driven Leadership
In the wake of the financial crisis, the integrity of business leaders has been called into question, Slaughter notes. More than anything else, he is excited to help create values-driven leaders. “At a time when so many are yearning for that rare kind of leadership, the chance to help lead Tuck to address those needs is very exciting,” he says.
And he plans to dive in by talking to people throughout the institution. Though he has been at Tuck for years, he astutely recognizes that there is still lots he needs to learn about the school. “Research shows quite clearly that when ascending into new leadership positions, people tend to succeed more when they view learning as integral to their leadership: learning from and teaching to others to help create visions of where an organization can go, why it should go in that direction and the exciting gains that result from going there,” he says.
Don’t Fix What’s Not Broken
Even as he researches and prepares for the ways in which Tuck may need to change direction under his leadership, Slaughter also recognizes enduring strengths that should not change, such as the school’s commitment to quality, deep belief in the integrity of leaders and focus on experiential learning.
Unparalleled teaching also sets Tuck apart, he notes. “Part of what distinguishes us is the way we bring the knowledge creation of our faculty and the experience of our alumni into the classroom in a rigorous and relevant way,” he says. “We do a terrific job at Tuck connecting the value of scholarship with the teaching endeavor.”
On a lighter note, Slaughter also shared that his fantasy is to be reincarnated as a successful PGA golfer, not the mediocre golfer he is today. Last but not least, he confessed that he is a family man. “One other thing everyone should know is that as much as I love my work and love the Tuck School, far and away the most important thing to me is my family,” he says. His wife, two sons, two dogs and extended family matter more to him than anything else in the world.