GW School of Business looks to expand into China

To carve out a top spot for the GW School of Business within national rankings, the dean of the school said he is aiming to expand globally, starting with the country he knows best.

Business school Dean Doug Guthrie – a distinguished China scholar fluent in Mandarin – spent the last week in the East Asian country setting the foundation for the school’s presence in China.

“I think every serious business school needs to think about what their presence is internationally,” Guthrie said. “Usually these questions begin from either on the faculty side, just sort of agreements with places that do things like faculty exchanges and establish research centers, and then on the undergraduate side, study abroad becomes part of the puzzle.”

Guthrie said his expertise in the region gives the business school a leg up on other universities seeking to establish ties with foreign nations.

“My particular interest is just in making sure that our presence there is a deep and substantive one and one that is tied to thinking through the importance of U.S.-China relationships and really thinking about the ways our two countries are crucial partners,” he said.

Though no official relationship has been established yet, Guthrie plans to return to China several times before the end of the year and has commissioned a task force “to figure out the configurations” of the agenda.

“If I was thinking aggressively, I would love it if we were moving further by next year,” Guthrie said. “But we have a lot going on at the school right now.”

Guthrie came from New York University last spring to replace the outgoing Dean Susan Phillips, who retired after 12 years of leading the school.

Bringing with him years of experience in international business relations, Guthrie set a goal of positioning the school within the top 20 business schools in the nation over the next seven years. In U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 rankings, the business school earned the No. 34 spot for undergraduate business programs and the No. 55 spot for full-time graduate programs.

To achieve his goal of joining the top 20, the dean said the school needs to capitalize on its strong points, especially in the areas of global business, the intersection of business and politics, leadership and ethics, sustainability and social responsibility.

Another component, Guthrie said, is moving past Georgetown University and the University of Maryland to become the premier business school in the D.C. area.

“When we are doing the most interesting and distinctive work in Washington, D.C., and when we have become the most important business school in this area, one that is engaged with the hallowed halls of power that sit in the nation’s capital and all the things that go along with that, I think a top ranking will follow very shortly,” Guthrie said.

Andrea Vittorio contributed to this report.

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