Johns Hopkins Carey Business School to Focus Research and Instruction on Four Troubled Areas of Economy, New Dean Announces in First Major Speech

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In his first major speech as the head of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Dean Bernard T. Ferrari announced that the school plans to focus its research and instruction on four troubled areas of the economy – health care; real estate and public infrastructure; the financial services industry; and the national security industry.

In his first major speech as the head of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Dean Bernard T. Ferrari announced yesterday that the school plans to focus its research and instruction on four troubled areas of the economy – health care; real estate and public infrastructure; the financial services industry; and the national security industry.

Ferrari, who became dean of the Carey School in July, described these four problem-ridden areas as “major parts of the American economy that involve alarmingly large amounts of resources, to the extent where we continually question their productivity or their impact on society’s well-being, or both.”

Last spring, Carey announced that it was committing more of its research and instruction to the study of business problems related to health care and the life sciences, including an increase in cooperative endeavors with other divisions of Johns Hopkins University, particularly its schools of medicine, public health, nursing, and engineering. During his remarks yesterday at the business school’s Baltimore campus, Ferrari restated this commitment. In addition, he pointed to work already being done by Carey’s longstanding graduate program in real estate. “Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the financial services and national security industries is next on our list,” he said.

All four areas, he said, have produced “examples of business decisions that led to an exorbitant cost in economic and social terms” in the United States and around the world – as evidenced by rising health care costs, unsteady financial markets, concerns about the security of everyday necessities such as food and drinking water, and crumbling roads and bridges.

“As these problems grow more international in scope, they become more complex and more difficult to address,” said Ferrari. “We cannot pretend that the giant moats bordering our country east and west can isolate us. These are the problems that will be of special interest to the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.”

The collaborative possibilities across the various divisions of Johns Hopkins University – the first research university in the U.S., founded in 1876 – will lead Carey students to “the creation of knowledge and new ideas” where traditional disciplines intersect, “and from these intersections come exciting new discoveries,” the dean said. “ … It is among my chief objectives to see that the Carey Business School becomes an equal contributor to this university’s great culture of discovery.”

Ferrari delivered his address, titled “What’s In It for ‘We’? A Humanistic Approach to Business and Business Education,” to an audience of about 250. President Ronald J. Daniels and other members of Johns Hopkins University leadership attended the event, along with Carey Business School faculty, students, board members, alumni, donors, and staff. The speech was also viewed on a live webcast.

Reaffirming the Carey School’s “core belief in business that promotes both the bottom line and the well-being of society,” Ferrari said business leaders must be able to navigate for-profit and nonprofit sectors anywhere in the world; fixating on any one area of endeavor will not suffice in today’s complex, interconnected global economy, he added.

Adaptability is also an essential trait for the business person working within this highly changeable environment. “It dictates that we not only do our best in ensuring a level of current mastery but also in providing our students with the ability to adjust their thinking in light of new knowledge,” the dean said. “We must prepare them for professional lives that will take them places neither we nor they can predict today.”

Bernard T. “Bernie” Ferrari previously was a director at the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he spent nearly two decades leading McKinsey’s healthcare practice and the firm’s North American corporate strategy practice. After retiring from McKinsey in 2008, he founded and became chairman of the Ferrari Consultancy, serving clients in the financial services, transportation, energy, medical products, aviation, and heavy-equipment manufacturing sectors.

He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Rochester, where he also earned his M.D. He began his professional career as a surgeon and later was chief operating officer and assistant medical director of the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Subsequently, he earned a J.D. magna cum laude from the Loyola University School of Law and an Executive M.B.A. from the Tulane University School of Business.

His papers have been published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, McKinsey Quarterly, and The New England Journal of Medicine. His book, Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All, was published in March 2012 by Portfolio/Penguin.

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