Having arrived at Columbia Business School just days before Lehman Brothers collapsed, the class of 2010 has now entered a very changed business world. We are on the slow road to economic recovery, and I am optimistic that from here, the economic climate will continue to improve. There is no doubt in my mind that these 800 graduates will inspire confidence through their decision-making and problem-solving skills, whether they work in business, government, the nonprofit sector or academia.
Last fall, faculty members from across the School — including me — challenged students not merely to understand the failures of the past but also to identify and seize the resulting opportunities for the new products, services and businesses of the future. True to our entrepreneurial spirit, we identified pockets of opportunity in the post-crisis world, one of which led to the creation of a cross-disciplinary elective course investigating the future of the financial services industry.
This issue of HERMES showcases the integrative thinking that is woven throughout the School’s curriculum. An excerpt from Professor Sheena Iyengar’s book, The Art of Choosing, explores why we make some of the personal choices that we do — and how we can make better ones. Also in this issue, read about how professor emeritus Peter Kolesar used operations research to solve a longstanding water resource problem and how the Program on Social Intelligence’s new “Science Meets Practice” series blends theory and practice to offer tried-and-true strategies for leaders.
The School’s ability to weather the storm of the financial crisis is due in no small measure to the support, involvement and generosity of our extensive worldwide community: alumni, friends, faculty and staff members and students. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for helping the School both maintain and build on its vibrant tradition of preparing tomorrow’s leaders.