In November 2010, George Daly, dean of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, announced his plans to leave the dean’s office at the end of June 2011. After taking a year’s leave, he expects to return to Georgetown as a part-time faculty member.During his six years of leadership, Daly has made a remarkable impact on the business school, its students, and the Georgetown McDonough School of Business community. His many achievements will help the school continue to improve its international stature, and students will benefit for many years to come. Daly’s accomplishments include:

  • Negotiating a new financial model for the school that has encouraged greater ­independence and, with it, growth in revenues and quality;
  • Implementing the MBA Evening Program, the Georgetown-ESADE Global Executive MBA and Global Advanced Management programs, as well as thefast-growing custom programs area;
  • Increasing the school’s visibility among business leaders worldwide and in Washington, D.C.;
  • Recruiting more than 30 new faculty who have significantly raised the school’s research profile; and
  • Opening the Rafik B. Hariri Building, an $82.5 million state-of-the-art facility that houses the business school.

Daly came to Georgetown from the Stern School of Business at New York University, where he was dean for 10 years and also was the Albert Fingerhut Professor of Business Administration, teaching courses in economics, managing in the performing arts, and leadership.

We had the opportunity to talk with Daly about his years at Georgetown.

What made coming to Georgetown appealing?

I felt, and still feel, that the McDonough School of Business­ has great potential and that I could help it realize that po­ten­tial. It is part of a premier uni­ver­sity that has strengths in closely related areas, has a solid reputation, and is located in an attractive and important world city.

What does it take to build a world-class business school?

Many things. You need great faculty, students, staff, educational programs, and facilities, of course. You need to have a strategy that will lead you to focus on the activities that you can credibly excel at, and not get distracted by others. You also need a culture and incentive structure that can promote and sustain excellence. Perhaps most important, you need the personal and institutional courage and determination to reach for those goals, even when doing so is neither popular nor easy.

What accomplishments as dean are you most proud of?

I think we have made considerable progress in each of the areas noted above, but I am proudest of the kind of people who have joined this enterprise in some capacity during my time as dean. They are the people who will make the difference in the years to come, and they are a very capable and strong group, individually as well as collectively.

Tell us about the more than 30 new faculty hired during your tenure.

Many are focused on research as well as teaching and come from prestigious institutions.As you note, there are a large number of them, and it is not easy to describe them collectively. But I do believe that, together, they have brought a new sense of possibility and energy to the school. In the end, that is what you buy when you hire people — not a guaranteed outcome, but a new sense of possibility and energy. It will be interesting to see where this new energy takes the school in the future. As for me, I am quite hopeful.

How has the new building at Georgetown advanced the school’s mission and your goals?

It is a wonderful facility, and it has justifiably received a great deal of attention both within the university and beyond it. In addition to the great facilities, it has given us a sense of place and purpose and potential that we have not always known. It is proving very attractive to a number of groups critical to our future, ranging from prospective students to the national business community. Perhaps most important, it serves as a symbol of what can happen when a group of dedicated alumni and friends pursue a common goal.

What will you miss the most?

The people, the routine, the students, and the other largely human elements that animate Georgetown and make it such a special place.

What opportunities and ­challenges do business schools currently face?

There are many, but the most fundamental are those that face every living enterprise: demonstrating the relevance and value of the services you provide in a competitive world. The costs of higher education have risen dramatically, and the technology that underlies information transfer — our fundamental activity — has changed dramatically. These are the logical antecedents of significant, even seismic, change. Meeting this challenge will drive higher education in the next decade and beyond. The schools that understand and effectively adapt to these changes will succeed; those that do not, or cannot, will fail. A great deal of reinvention will need to take place, and I have tried to make sure that the McDonough School of Business will be prepared to be successful in such an environment.

What will you do next?

In addition to teaching a course or two at Georgetown, I do not have a fixed plan, but I do have some interests around which I expect to build a plan. They include working to encourage the huge innovations I expect to see in the future of education in the United States and elsewhere. I also hope to become more involved in some personal projects that have attracted my interest, such as autism and early childhood literacy. And I am really looking forward to some travel, especially to places I have not been to before.

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