In 2010 when he was appointed Dean of the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business Sunil Kumar, an expert in operations research at that time at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, was one of the very few business school deans of Indian origin in the United States.
Late last month Kumar was named dean of the business school for a second five-year-term in recognition of his energetic leadership in the first term and earning the respect of the school’s worldwide community.
President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Eric D. Isaacs, who announced his reappointment, said in a statement that they look forward to working with Sunil in the years ahead to ensure that Booth remains a preeminent destination for business education and scholarship.
“He has demonstrated a commitment to the success of Booth’s faculty individually and as a whole, and to the success of Booth students and alumni in Chicago and around the globe,” the statement said.
Under Kumar’s leadership, Booth has broadened and strengthened its intellectual footprint, recruiting and expanding faculty with expertise in diverse areas ranging from marketing to operations management.
Kumar has supported students in realizing their broader aspirations by expanding student scholarships and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, as well as establishing the Social Enterprise Initiative and the Harry L. Davis Center for Leadership. Chicago Booth has continued to aggressively develop its highly ranked full-time MBA program.
Prior to Booth, Kumar spent 14 years on the faculty of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he was the Fred H. Merrill Professor of Operations, Information and Technology. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching. His research areas include performance evaluation and control of manufacturing systems, service operations and communications networks.
In an earlier interview with this correspondent prior to his first term, Kumar said that was he was excited to become dean of Chicago Booth and that he shared the school’s passion for the pursuit of ideas that hold up under careful scrutiny.
In response to a question he said that Chicago booth is a unique institution and deservedly has high reputation and has a fantastic faculty with outstanding achievements not only in academic research but also in terms of practice.
“It is currently is in fantastic shape and my primarily focus right now is to strengthen its already strong position. All top institutions continuously improve their performances and I would like to help Chicago do this as well,” Kumar, whose research interests include performance evaluation and control of manufacturing systems, service operations, and communications networks, said at that time.
Kumar could not be reached for comments last week as he was out of the country. But obviously true to his commitment he has delivered the goods during his first term in Booth.
The university noted that during his first term as dean, Kumar has enhanced the school’s global presence, including a successful move of the executive MBA Program Asia to Hong Kong in 2014 which resulted in a strong, geographically diverse student body.
In its effort to strengthen ties with alumni, Booth has created Reconnect, a weekend-long event that combines its popular management conference with class reunions and alumni celebrations. Kumar established an office to disseminate the school’s intellectual capital more effectively through its Capital Ideas website, videos, blogs and redesigned magazine. Kumar’s leadership since arriving at Booth has brought strong alumni engagement and fundraising support for student scholarships, faculty chairs, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Social Enterprise Initiative and the Center in Hong Kong.
Born in India, Kumar received a bachelor of engineering degree from Mangalore University in Surathkal, his master’s degree in computer science and automation from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Kumar serves on the board of the Civic Consulting Alliance, Chicago, and the Indian Institute of Science Alumni Association of North America. He is a trustee of the University of Chicago India Trust, and the University of Chicago Hong Kong Trust.