Dean's Message

David Saunders

In today’s rapidly changing digital world, the relevance of university and business school education is constantly being questioned. New players are entering the market, including consulting firms, corporate universities and independent providers, as the barriers to entry have been reduced and the providers proliferate.

It’s no wonder the competitive landscape is changing. A recent study valued the higher education online market at more than $17 billion, with business education making up a substantial portion.

The world is shifting to a “platform economy” – one in which online networks facilitate connections for social interactions, commerce, and now education. In this new world, schools are marketing their education programs on a platform, rather than independently. Think of it as Amazon for education. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs as they are called, have fundamentally changed the business education market.

To stay ahead of the curve, business schools need to think differently about the value we create for customers (students) and ensure we can give them an expanded offering – more choices of courses, formats and platforms. As I have said before, business education is a journey that covers a lifetime. People need different solutions at different stages of their careers.

As part of our growth strategy, I am pleased to announce that we have joined the world’s leading education platform, edX. Created by MIT and Harvard, edX enables partner schools to deliver university-level courses in a rich, flexible online learning format.

This new partnership will increase our capability to deliver a Smith education to students anytime and anywhere, and enhance the Smith brand through broader global reach.

Turning from our future to this past year at Smith, I hope you enjoy the 2018/2019 highlights of your school and the many ways your donations – of time and money – have positively impacted our students.

I look forward to another prosperous year. One that will, no doubt, bring more disruption, which we stand ready to embrace.

David M. Saunders, PhD
Dean, Smith School of Business

October 2019