This is an exciting year for the Daniels College of Business. With the engagement and support of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and corporate partners, there are a number of great initiatives underway at Daniels. Ultimately, we engage in these efforts so that to we can achieve a singular, powerful goal: to position Daniels as a leader and innovator in the management education marketplace.

Over the past 18 months, the College has embarked on an ambitious plan to overhaul virtually every graduate program in our rich portfolio of offerings. In addition, we’ve strengthened key administrative units, including career services, graduate admissions, and marketing and communications, enabling these areas to more effectively support the academic mission. In the next few weeks, we will begin to implement a comprehensive and forward-thinking strategic positioning strategy. The foundation for that strategic positioning is a unifying narrative that reflects the College’s long history of innovation, student-centeredness, market impact and public good. Challenge-driven education will guide and define our approach to the marketplace.

What is challenge-driven education? Like traditional management education, it provides students with the technical skills and knowledge content necessary to succeed in business, but also systematically develops adaptive capacities that prepare students for the complexities of a 21st-century global marketplace. The challenges provide real-time context for students. Academic fundamentals are immediately applied in the marketplace as part of the core curriculum—not just an ancillary experience—and continuous coaching and feedback supports students’ development of powerful narratives and individual story-telling. This approach results in maximum growth and development, and because it is iterative, students learn, try, fail, receive feedback and repeat the process.

In a market defined by demographic and technological disruptions, uncertainty, volatility and competitive pressures, one doesn’t have to be a futurist to agree with higher education researcher Heather McGowan, who asserted, “In the present and future you will not be hired or engaged because of a position you held or a degree you have, but rather because of the value you can create.” Challenge-driven education develops the capacity of students in a world that is now defined by constant change and driven by creative and innovative ways of thinking. Over the months and years to come, you’ll hear me talk often about challenge-driven education and the myriad ways we are weaving this into the fiber of our College. We are proud to pioneer the most significant innovation in management education in nearly three decades.

I’m enthusiastic about the journey we’re on. Thank you to our many friends and stakeholders for the continued support, ideas and guidance.


E. LaBrent Chrite, PhD