Inside Dean Matthew Myers’ Plans for the SMU Cox School of Business
On August 1, 2017, Matthew Myers became the ninth dean of the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business. As the former dean of Miami University’s Farmer School of Business in Oxford, Ohio, Dean Myers comes to Cox with plans to build on the school’s current strengths and enhancing its offerings.
In a Cox Today article titled “The Dawn of a New Dean,” SMU Cox dives into Myers’ plans in a detailed interview. Here’s what he had to say.
According to Myers, the most frequent question that he’s asked is, “Why Cox?” He explained that he was looking for an institution that knew its place in higher education and had an established identity. It was also important to love the city where the school was located, and he and his family were immediately drawn to Dallas.
“Dallas has a robust economy with people willing to invest in Cox and SMU,” he said. “You cannot have a world-class city unless there is a world-class university, and a world-class university cannot exist without a world-class business school.”
Investing in Teaching and Research
For Myers, there are many assets to the Cox School, and one of the greatest is its faculty and staff, in whom he plans to invest heavily to enhance the school’s research reputation.
“If you look at the top 30 business schools, the common denominator is excellence in research reputation. Teaching and researching complement each other—rather than detract from each other, as some believe.”
In particular, Myers will focus on improving research in the areas of global marketing and strategy issues, especially since crossing organizational boundaries has been a major theme in Myers’ career.
Myers also hopes to bring his penchant for global business to SMU Cox. “We do not have a choice in business education but to be globally oriented, not just geographically,” he said. “The practical and relationship side of global business, including neighboring countries such as Mexico, should be a focal point.”
Myers even talked about how the NAFTA issue is salient for Cox both in terms of its research and topics of discussion in the classroom. This type of contemporary commentary about global issues is what he wants to bring to SMU Cox.
Investing in Students
Myers is also interested in enhancing the use of technology and innovation in the curriculum for each of the school’s degree programs. “That’s where the growth sectors are in the global economy,” he explained. “Cox graduates should have a place in those sectors after graduation no matter what their major is. It’s certainly something to focus on in the next five to 10 years.”
Dean Myers also plans to increase student exposure to the local and global business markets to better prepare them for the job market post-graduation. “Students have numerous choices in universities, and it’s very competitive,” he wrote. “The strategic relationships we have with the business community are important, as well as being attuned to growth opportunities. Many students want the option to work in entrepreneurial or nonprofit businesses, or they may want to work in London or Seoul with global firms.” SMU Cox will aim to provide opportunities that fit each student’s wants and needs.”
Investing in Partnerships
This limited development time also motivates Dean Myers to enhance SMU Cox’s partnerships with corporations and initiatives in the Dallas area. He explained that he’s interested in Dallas’ potential particularly for start-up incubators, venture capital, and entrepreneurship. “I want to understand how we can be involved,” he said.
Myers already feels that the Cox and Dallas communities are energetic, but he wants to enhance the strong academic relationships even further to leverage opportunities for students. For example, he noted that many top recruiting firms are cutting back to just a handful of university relationships, and he wants to ensure that SMU Cox stays in the mix.
“We want to make sure we are inside that play with all of the major companies, such as American Airlines and GE, and with startups, too,” he said. “We think we are there already, but it’s competitive and we have to modernize.”
About Dean Myers
Myers began his career in academia in 1997 after earning his PhD in marketing and international business from Michigan State University. He became a professor at the University of Tennessee, where he led the Marketing and Supply Chain Management Department at the Haslam College of Business from 2008 to 2010. From 2010 to 2013, he served as the associate dean of executive education at Haslam. During that time, he was recognized three times as “the outstanding faculty member for MBA programs” and was responsible for launching the global Executive MBA program, which partners with ESSEC Business School in Paris and Central European University in Budapest.
In 2014, Myers became dean of Miami University’s business school. Of his appointment, he said, “The extension to the dean role was very fluid and natural. Giving the external nature of work and its greater connection to business, it was an area in which I could contribute.”