Sunday, July 30, 2023

Strategist Jim Bradford, RIP

Anyone attending a faculty meeting at a business school would be struck by the irony that those who teach management do it so poorly.  But Dean Jim Bradford (obituary) was different.  Not only had he successfully managed two public companies, and overseen several others as a board member, but he knew how to develop a successful strategy.

When Jim was appointed Dean, he did what he always did when he took over an organization, "first thing you do is grab the checkbook."  Then he combed through the accounting data.  What he saw was an organization with huge fixed costs and declining demand for its flagship product.  But he also noticed that other programs, like the Executive MBA, had small incremental costs.  So he bought better faculty to strengthen the brand, and then expanded the school's portfolio of degrees (Masters of Accountancy, Masters in Finance, Masters of Management in Healthcare) to take advantage of the Vanderbilt brand.  The results have been impressive: as the school moved up in the rankings, revenue and giving have increased faster than costs.

Thank you Jim, and rest in peace.  

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