FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

During the past year of unparalleled uncertainty, we have responded with resilience thanks to the dedication, ingenuity, and commitment of the D’Amore-McKim community to ensure business continuity. Simultaneous pursuit of both efficient execution of current operations and future-focused innovation has been our mantra. As a result, I’m cautiously optimistic that our post-pandemic prospects are very bright.  

Why am I sanguine about the future? Despite existential pressures in 2020, together we understood the value of building an agile organization that would enable us to be nimble, fast, and adaptive to evolving market needs. While we will have to think through, and perhaps reconfigure, internal processes and external partnerships to build the type of agile organization that prepares us for the post-pandemic world, our strong organizational structures and governance processes have given us a solid foundation. The key will be to balance stability and agility – not an easy thing to do, but we are in the best position to master it.

It is with this view that I share several highlights of the work we collectively accomplished in 2020 to further D’Amore-McKim’s mission and vision.

Education and Lifelong Learning

  • Poets&Quants, the influential business publication, named D’Amore-McKim as one of the 10 undergraduate business schools to watch in 2020. Other schools included Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, and Wharton.
  • We launched Peer Affinity Cohorts (PACs), a mentoring program for first year D’Amore-McKim students. First-year students connect with their peers who share similar interests or identities to form PACs. Each PAC has two upper class mentors – called PAC leaders – who help support, guide, and facilitate customized monthly programming opportunities through their first semester at Northeastern. PAC leaders, who are paired with alumni mentors, receive extensive training through participation in a character-driven leadership development program that includes inclusive leadership, leading with empathy and awareness, and authentic leadership. 
  • We expanded the successful Building Belonging Fellows program. Students from diverse backgrounds serve as ambassadors and community builders who cultivate a culture of belonging where every D’Amore-McKim student feels respected, valued, and heard. Fellows are provided with team-building opportunities and spaces to share their accomplishments, challenges, and aspirations. They also receive mentorship and coaching from corporate partners. This year they led a community conversation series called “Amplifying Black Voices: The Black Student Experience in D’Amore-McKim;” they partnered with a DE&I consultant for a “Building Inclusive Communities” series for student leaders; and they currently serve as student advisers to the D’Amore-McKim Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Council.
  • A focus on cutting-edge curriculum development and student enrichment within D’Amore-McKim has significantly helped us in our undergraduate admissions and yield work. Fall ’21 applications indicate surging interest in our concentrations, and the breadth of our academic portfolio signals quality undergraduate education at D’Amore-McKim. 
  • The whole community came together to help place our students in co-op positions during a challenging time, including our Board of Visitors members. Several new and innovative opportunities have been created, which has allowed us to expand the types of positions offered now and in the future.     
  • The new on-ground MS in Business Analytics was conceived and built pre-COVID, but we pushed forward and launched it in fall ’20 with great interest. The D’Amore-McKim MS in Finance with a Quantitative Finance track launched in fall ’19, and it has registered tremendous interest this year.
  • We have moved to a platform concept in the MBA, MS, and certificates spaces at a broad level. Our MBA x interdisciplinary concentrations are garnering strong interest in the marketplace, and four other Northeastern colleges are now partnering with us in this effort: Khoury, CAMD, COS, and CSSH. Based on this success, we are about to launch a new program: the Master of Science in Management (MSM). The newly approved MSM is a unique, first-of-its-kind degree that features a flexible platform architecture with a common core that can be paired with numerous concentrations, and multiple D’Amore-McKim concentrations have been approved. It enables us to develop unique academic combinations that leverage other schools at Northeastern, much like our MBA x. It’s a customizable, flexible, potentially interdisciplinary degree program with a solid core, breaking the ‘one size fits all’ degree mold. More information will be shared soon!
  • D’Amore-McKim Global Start, a six-month pre-master’s program, is scheduled to start in summer ‘21 at our NCH London campus. Successful completers will continue their studies in the MS in Finance program in Boston.
  • We collaborated with Northeastern’s Global Resilience Institute to help businesses plan for recovery and re-opening. A new digital course, COVID-19: A Practical Approach to Enterprise Restart & Recovery Planning,” helped small- to mid-sized companies plan for recovery and re-opening so they could revert to normal as soon as possible. 
  • We were critical players in shepherding a partnership between Northeastern University’s UK campus and ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW). The new groundbreaking degree provides students with the opportunity to get real-world experience, develop in-demand technology + business skills, and work toward a university degree.

Research and Academic Accomplishments

Entrepreneurship

  • Northeastern was awarded the 2020 Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers’ Award for Outstanding Contributions to Venture Creation. We were also a finalist for the Student Engagement & Leadership award.
  • We signed an MOU with Techstars, which offers access to their coveted associate positions and job placements in their growing portfolio of global companies to Northeastern students and alumni. In turn, Techstars alumni can obtain credit towards graduate programs at D’Amore-McKim.
  • We developed Pathfinder, a yearlong program designed to foster an entrepreneurial mindset. It enables first-year Northeastern students across all colleges to learn various skills and connect with wide-ranging resources and people from our thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. Pathfinder has three distinct but interrelated components: (a) peer-mentoring through micro-communities, (b) skill building through workshops conducted by members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and (c) working on projects of interest. The program launched in fall ’20, and it’s co-sponsored by D’Amore-McKim and CAMD.
  • We collaborated with Northeastern Enrollment Management to create a semester-long “entrepreneurial change makers” non-credit course for high school students in India. They will be encouraged to submit their new venture ideas, and winning entries will be supported through our robust Northeastern entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Culture and Engagement

  • We’ve done so much in this area, and it’s detailed in one of my previous Dean’s Corner posts titled, “Prioritizing workplace culture.”
  • We recently started a Lessons in Leadership series to enhance our donor and influencer engagement during a time when travel is impossible. This video series highlights leaders in our community through a series of conversations about their leadership – career trajectory, opportunities, failures, and growth. The first one with noted leader and philanthropist Ed Hajim was recently posted.

We also had some additional examples of our resilience during the height of the first wave of the pandemic, which you can learn more about at my Dean’s Corner post titled, “Celebrating the journey.”  

As we close this year like no other, I can’t help but look back with pride at our collective accomplishments. We didn’t just survive… we thrived, and I hope this list represents that. To my D’Amore-McKim colleagues, please go into this well-deserved break with the knowledge that you’ve made a significant impact on our college and our community.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday and a joyful new year!

Raj Echambadi
Dunton Family Dean
D’Amore-McKim School of Business

READ MORE DEAN’S CORNER POSTS