General information

Strategic Questions Informing the School’s Strategy
We conceive of the strategy of the School in terms of addressing three central questions:

  • What are the School’s core values?
  • What are the sources of the School’s global distinctiveness?
  • What resource model will fuel the vision of the School?

The intersection of these three key strategic questions is the focus of our effort to build an even more globally visible business school. As we consider new initiatives and programs, these three questions will serve as the touchstone – we will pursue only activities that are consistent with our core values, allow us to leverage our sources of distinctiveness, and are aligned with our resource model. Any new ideas or proposals that are inconsistent with these three strategic questions will not be pursued.

Core Values

Quality Over Quantity

The School has a deep commitment to excellence in faculty research and academic programs. The School has a long-standing tradition of emphasizing quality of faculty, students, and programs over quantity of people or programs. We believe that, over time, the quality of our School, not only its size, will be the key driver of the excellence of our brand.

Close-knit Intellectual Community

In contrast to larger business schools, our modest size is an asset in fostering a supportive, intimate and vibrant intellectual community of faculty, staff, students and alumni. We emphasize teamwork among students and accessibility of our faculty. Our environment differs from other business schools that are larger and more impersonal. Our emphasis also is reinforced by the college town atmosphere encompassing UC Davis and the close mutually supporting relationship between the University and the citizens of the City of Davis.

Commitment to Responsible Business Practices

We have deep commitments to environmental sustainability, social responsibility and governance. Our faculty and students share a commitment to values emphasizing the operation of market forces, human capital considerations, and the role of business in society. We believe that effective business leadership is not a reflection of only market and economic forces; humanitarian and societal perspectives must also influence business leadership. Nevertheless, we remain committed to being a “business” school, not a school of public policy or non-profit management.

Lean and Nimble Leadership and Organizational Structure

The modest size of our faculty and staff is an asset that enables the School to be entrepreneurial, make decisions more efficiently and operate in a financially efficient manner. We have a tradition of financial resourcefulness and prudence that has its roots in the founding of the School and navigating previous State of California budget challenges. This tradition serves the School well as we consider resource allocation to fuel our vision for the future.

Sources of Global Distinctiveness

Faculty Quality and Research Excellence

We wish to emphasize the foundational nature of our excellent faculty. Indeed, perhaps the most precious asset that the School has is its culture of research and scholarly excellence. Because of this culture, we are able to attract, develop and retain world-class faculty members, which is fundamental in providing an outstanding MBA experience. This builds support for our programs from our business partners, public entities via extramural funding, and philanthropists.

Faculty research excellence is defined in terms of visibility and impact on stakeholders such as the academic community, the business community, federal and state funding agencies, philanthropic sources (foundations and individuals), government leaders (legislators and regulators) and current and prospective students. Research “visibility” refers to the level of awareness among stakeholders. Visibility is measured by the quantity and quality of research and media coverage. Research “impact” refers to the degree to which research influences the perceptions, decisions and actions of stakeholders.

Industry Foci

We identify industries where the School can have a competitive advantage relative to other top business schools in terms of faculty expertise, student recruitment and placement. As we plan industry and corporate outreach, we consider both UC Davis’ multidisciplinary foci of research excellence and industries with hubs of activity in Northern California. This examination yields the following list of industries where we can establish and deepen our competitive advantage:

  • Energy, environment, and sustainability
  • Medical devices and biomedical engineering
  • Information technology
  • Telemedicine and imaging
  • Food, health, and agricultural life sciences (i.e., agribusiness)
  • One Health (integration of human, animal and environmental health)

These industry foci provide a promising opportunity for greater collaboration across UC Davis. We have continuing and nascent partnerships, including our popular joint JD-MBA degree with the School of Law, our MOU with the School of Medicine enabling our MBA students to have a Public Health concentration in the Public Health Sciences department, and our plans for a joint MS-MBA degree with the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Several of the School’s faculty members are globally visible scholars based on their pioneering research in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. The UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship, hosted and supported by the School, has served as the University’s centerpiece for faculty and student engagement in entrepreneurship. More than 450 faculty, researchers and students from across campus and all over the world have participated in the Center’s programs, including Business Development Fellowships and Entrepreneurship Academies. The Academies reflect UC Davis’ research strengths: Food and Health, Green Technology (funded by the Kaufmann Foundation) and Biomedical Engineering. The Center also supports the Big Bang! Business Plan Competition, a student- run program that is an important element in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Northern California.

Women in Business Leadership

The School publishes the “UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders,” an annual census of women executives and board members at the state’s largest public corporations. The study receives widespread national media coverage and attention from business and public policymakers. The census findings—and having the highest percentage of women faculty members among the top-100 business school in the world—positions the School for leadership on the role of women in business leadership.

Northern California as a Strategic Geographical Location

The School is located on the Interstate 80 corridor linking the San Francisco Bay Area—the world’s largest hub of innovation—and Sacramento, the center of public policy making and business regulation for the state that is the world’s eighth largest economy. We are also close to Napa Valley, the world-renowned hub of the California wine industry, and Silicon Valley, the hotbed of information technology, trailblazing web pioneers and venture capital. The combination of the emphasis of these regions, especially the fusion of innovation and public policy, enriches the intellectual scope of the School.

Financial Resources

To fuel our School’s strategy, we must have sustainable resources to deliver superior performance relative to our vision. To accomplish a sustainable resource base, we must increase our financial autonomy from State of California funds, which have been declining. During the 2010-2011 academic year, 73 percent of our revenues came from our self-supporting (i.e., self-funding) Working Professional MBA programs in Sacramento and San Ramon and other non-State of California funds. We aim to increase the financial self-sufficiency of the School. We have a 10-year plan to phase out reliance on State funds.

The central components of our financial sustainability framework are summarized below. The components are based on a detailed financial model that the School’s leadership has developed:

  • Retain Student Tuition and Fees from Degree Programs
    Although the School currently receives the professional degree fees, we seek to retain all tuition and fees from our Daytime MBA program.
  • Greater Reliance on Endowment Income from Philanthropy
    We are committed to growing the School’s endowment, currently valued at $13 million. Our goal is to make endowment payout a larger component of our operating budget. This will make the School less reliant on the decreasing and uncertain support from the State. In terms of overall fundraising, UC Davis has embarking upon its first Comprehensive Campaign, a $1 billion Campaign that was publicly announced in October 2010. For the School’s part of the Campaign, we recently revised our campaign goals upwards to $25 million, from an earlier goal of $20 million based in part on the success of the preliminary phase. Our Campaign goal does not include our efforts to secure a much larger endowment naming gift for the School.
  • Contribute Revenue Surplus to School Endowment
    To the extent that the School generates revenue surplus on an annual basis from any source, the surplus will be immediately deposited into the School’s “funds functioning as endowment” (FFE) accounts. The interest earnings from those accounts will be dedicated to the School’s operating budget.
  • Expansion of Non-degree Executive Education
    Non-degree executive education short courses are vital sources of our non-State revenues. We have asked the University to allow the School’s executive education programs to operate untaxed. UC San Diego and UC Riverside operate in that fashion. The avoidance of tax would allow us to position our programs for competition with more established UC business school executive education programs.
  • Administrative Autonomy
    Our new financial framework places even greater reliance on market demand for our degrees and programs. We must absorb more risk associated with increased market reliance and reduced reliance on State funding. As a result, it will be vital that the School be given greater administrative authority over staff salaries, student tuition rates, student admission and placement.

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