James “Jim” Bullard, a longstanding Federal Reserve Bank president and influential economist, has been named the dean of Purdue University’s Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business.
Purdue announced Bullard’s appointment Thursday afternoon, concluding an extensive international search that began in December 2022. Bullard will take the reins effective August 15, the first day of Purdue’s academic year.
“He is a fantastic recruit. He’s the longest serving, sitting president of a Federal Reserve Bank, and he has been one of the most influential leaders in the country. He is also a truly innovative and deep thinker, an outstanding scholar and economist,” Purdue University President Mung Chiang tells Poets&Quants. Chiang, formerly dean of engineering at Purdue, has been president since January.
“‘A coup for Purdue’ is an apt and now often heard description over the past 18 hours, not only because it rhymes,” Chiang says. “We’ve heard that from our alumni and fan base, we’ve heard that from national and global leaders in the world of finance, economics and business communities. This is a head-turning recruit.”
A YEAR OF TRANSFORMATION AT PURDUE
Bullard’s installment as dean caps a transformative year for Purdue’s business school.
In September, Purdue University announced that it was “reimagining its current School of Management into a new School of Business.” Two months later, B-school dean David Hummels, who led the school since 2014, announced that he would step down in July. And in February, the business school unveiled its new name: The Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. School of Business. The Daniels School is the umbrella for both its graduate-level Krannert School of Management and its newly named Bruce White Undergraduate Institute.
This year, P&Q named The Daniels School one of our undergraduate programs to watch.
As part of the reimagining, the university publicly announced several big goals: It has vowed to turn The Daniels School into a top 10 business school, double graduate enrollment and significantly increase undergraduate enrollment, and double the size of its facilities. It is also recruiting 50 more tenure-track faculty positions, along with other faculty and fellowship appointments.
Purdue has pledged $300 million investment into the new school, including a $100 million investment from Purdue itself and a $200 million fundraising campaign. In February, it announced the largest gift in the business school’s history – a $50 million gift from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation.
“The Daniels School of Business aspires to be not only a top 10 business school in the country, but also to perhaps lead the way in rethinking what a premier business school will look like in a tech-driven, free market economy,” Chiang says.
“We have a very significant goal in transforming undergraduate, graduate and executive education; carrying out pioneering research, including the implications of technologies such as AI on business, economics, and society; and not only expanding facilities and enrollment, but also recruiting top talents from across the country and the world. So it’s truly exciting to have the transformational leadership coming out of Dr. Bullard to lead us in that direction.”
BULLARD NAMED ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL ECONOMISTS
For the past 15 years, Bullard served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that make up the United States’ central bank. He is the longest serving president of a Federal Reserve Bank, and was praised for his innovated thinking as part of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in guiding the direction of U.S. monetary policy.
In 2014, The Economist ranked Bullard as the seventh most influential economist in the world, on a list that included the likes of Paul Krugman, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Larry Summers. He has been with the bank since 1990, starting as an economist in the research division. He was named FOMC’s biggest mover of markets in 2011 and 2012.
He is also an honorary professor of economics at Washington University in St. Louis and co-editor of the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, according to his CV. His research has appeared in premier journals, including the American Economic Review; the Journal of Monetary Economics; Macroeconomic Dynamics; and the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.
He was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Forest Lake, Minnesota. Bullard earned his doctorate in economics from Indiana University in Bloomington. He holds Bachelor of Science degrees in economics and in quantitative methods and information systems from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn.
As president of a Federal Reserve Bank, Bullard helped shape the country’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic by arguing that policy should focus on keeping disrupted households and businesses whole through monetary relief. During the financial crisis in 2008-2009, he argued in favor of establishing an explicit inflation target, which has since been adopted, and was an early voice in the consequences of a zero interest rate policy.
“I am humbled and beyond thrilled to be asked to lead the Daniels School of Business, named for one of the most influential fiscal leaders of our time,” Bullard says in a release.
“Purdue is known around the world for forward-thinking innovation. I will work to foster that spirit, and I think I can bring some real-world experience to pass on to the next generation of business leaders and innovators. I share Purdue’s vision to build toward the economies of the future, and I can’t wait to get started.”
A ‘RARE’ TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADER
Bullard, who will also serve as a special advisor to president Chiang, will be welcomed to Purdue by 50,000 undergrad and graduate students returning to campus at the university level. The university also has the largest undergraduate-level STEM enrollment among the top universities in the country.
At the undergraduate level, Purdue’s trajectory to becoming a top 10 business school seems to be moving in the right direction. It ranked No. 29 in our 2023 ranking of best undergraduate business schools, up 16 spots from the year before.
At the graduate level, Krannert School of Management “paused” its residential, two-year MBA program in 2020 amidst both declining enrollments and rankings. The program, once among the top 30 MBAs in the U.S., fell to 80th in U.S. News’ ranking that year, down from 50th in 2018.
It now offers a one-year residential STEM MBA, an online and weekend MBA, as well as an EMBA. It also offers a dual MS(E) + MBA degree with its College of Engineering along with a host of specialized masters degrees. The business school has also said it will continue to focus on STEM-oriented degrees, building upon the success of its Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) degree launched in fall 2021 as well its highly-ranked business analytics program.
Bullard’s arrival at the reimagined Daniels School complements two other big initiatives recently announced by the university: Purdue University in Indianapolis, announced in June, will house the Daniels School executive education and entrepreneurship programs. This will be partially headquartered in the Bottleworks District, a vibrant, entrepreneurial center of Indy business.
The other initiative is Purdue Computes which integrates computing, physical AI, and semiconductor initiatives.
“Clearly, you can’t talk about semiconductors without talking about supply chain. And you can’t talk about AI and computing without also understanding how it’s going to shape the future of work and the economic landscape. So between these three – Daniels School of Business, Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Purdue Computes — they have a synergy among them, and Dr. Bullard’s impact will be strong and wide,” Chiang tells P&Q.
“He has clearly demonstrated he’s got the intellectual heft and the innovative entrepreneurial leadership. Rarely do you find a leader with a combination of national leadership track record, and intellectual depth, and outstanding scholarly reputation like we find in one person, in Dr. Bullard.”
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