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Yale SOM Chooses Economist Kerwin Charles as Next Dean

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

Yale School of Management has announced that, as of July 1, it will have a new dean: Kerwin Charles, currently teaching at University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. 

Charles is an economist whose research has focused on labor markets. His papers explore topics such as how economic status carries across generations, income inequality, labor market discrimination, the effects of job loss, and conspicuous consumption. 

After getting a PhD from Cornell University, Charles became a faculty member at University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He subsequently moved to the University of Chicago’s Harris school, where he has taught since 2005.

Charles has won several accolades for his teaching and been involved in various societies and journals having to do with labor economics. During his time at the Harris School, he has also served as deputy dean and as interim dean.

His interest in the reciprocal effects of business and society may have made him an especially strong candidate for Yale SOM’s Indra K. Nooyi Dean position.

Indra Nooyi, Yale SOM graduate and namesake of the position, said that “to me, SOM has always represented the idea that businesses can accomplish more when leaders develop a deep understanding of the points of intersection between business and society.” 

Charles’s research track record points to ongoing engagement with that topic. Moreover, Nooyi suggested that Charles’s teaching and mentorship experience spoke to his ability to lead the community.

Peter Salovey, Yale University’s president, echoed that confidence. He said he expected that Charles would “advance SOM’s role as a global center for the study of business and prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of a complex interconnected world.” 

Indeed, given his research background, Charles looks poised to be a dean who can engage with the shifting landscape of business in the twenty-first century.

By appointing Charles, Yale SOM also looks to be continuing its record as a business school concerned with the broader relationship between business and society. With his focus on the wider effects of labor market changes, Charles is certainly a dean who appears to fit Yale SOM’s socially engaged ethos. 

For MBA applicants, the message is that if that aspect of Yale SOM appealed to you before, the school should still be high on your list.

Granted, Yale SOM is high on a lot of people’s lists, which is what makes it so competitive. We can give you feedback on how your profile stacks up and what practical steps will maximize your chances of admission. Ask us for a free MBA application assessment! 

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