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Renowned Business School Bolsters for Strategic Growth, Redefines Key Function

This internationally-recognized institution is one of the preeminent business schools in the world.  The Dean’s Office has a critical mission — to enable the School to tackle the big issues and meet its goals. It works to increase resources to pursue this mission, gathering and sharing information and building relationships around important issues to allow for choices to happen. Staff stay informed of what is happening on campus and in the broader environment, making connections between seemingly disparate information to provide the best services and education possible.

In the midst of tremendous growth as well as changes in the school’s culture and higher education landscape, the Dean’s Office staffing levels had remained essentially unchanged while the size and complexity of the School had changed significantly. The definition of roles in the Office had grown and changed organically, often based on the skills and strengths of the individuals in those roles. In addition, the largest administrative division in the school, which reports into the Senior Administrative Officer, had been examining the scope of its services. Potential changes to the responsibilities in this organization identified potential shifts in responsibilities to the Dean’s Office. These factors created the context to take a strategic look at the roles and responsibilities within the Dean’s Office and to design roles that position to face the continued growth and change of this School.

The Solution

This engagement had three objectives:

  • Review the design of the roles within the Dean’s Office within the context of the change and growth of the school and the broader context within which the School operates.
  • Define the functions that should be resident within the Dean’s Office and those that should reside with other administrative units within the School.
  • Recommend job designs that meet the needs of the Dean’s Office, the School, and the incumbents in those roles, while allowing for future succession.

Our approach included two phases. The first phase was a functional/job assessment that allowed us to review the current scope and depth of job responsibilities of the incumbents, gather stakeholder perspective on the current functioning and effectiveness of the office, and review benchmark data.  The second phase, the functional/job design included defining the functions that would reside in the Office, relocating functions deemed ‘out of scope’ of the Office, defining a new organization structure and writing job definitions for the roles. Throughout the process, we worked with the Senior Administrative Officer and CHRO to plan and manage the change the new model represented.


The new organization introduced two new roles into the organization allowing the Senior Administrative Officer to focus on strategic issues and initiatives related to growth, a significant capital campaign and campus expansion. In addition, non-core work was moved out of the Office so senior staff were able to rea-allocate their time to mission critical goals. Stakeholders reported receiving higher value from the office and Office staff reported increased satisfaction levels.

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