Carnegie Mellon University
July 13, 2020

Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou Named as New Dean of CMU's Tepper School of Business

Mara Falk
  • Tepper School of Business
  • 412-268-3486
Jason Maderer
  • Marketing and Communications
  • 412-268-1151

After an international search, Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, dean of McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management, has been appointed as the 10th dean of Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. She will also hold a faculty appointment as a professor of finance. Bajeux-Besnainou will begin her new role at Carnegie Mellon on October 15.

"Throughout her career, Dr. Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the areas that are defining the future of business schools and which have long been at the heart of the Tepper School's distinct approach, including a focus on technology, analytics, interdisciplinary collaboration and entrepreneurship," said Carnegie Mellon President Farnam Jahanian. "Especially as artificial intelligence and the digital revolution transform every sector of our economy, Isabelle's vision and expertise will accelerate the momentum of the Tepper School, encourage even greater collaboration across the university and, ultimately, grow CMU's leadership at the intersection of technology and society. I look forward to welcoming her to our community this fall."

During her tenure at Desautels, which began in 2015, Bajeux-Besnainou focused on interdisciplinary collaborations, experiential learning and entrepreneurship. This included creating a series of interdisciplinary minors in entrepreneurship for undergraduate students, as well as multi-level programs in data analytics.

"At the intersection of business, analytics and technology, within a university with a strong culture of interdisciplinary collaborations, the Tepper School of Business and its exceptional facilities are well positioned to lead business education, research and innovation in this world of constant motion," said Bajeux-Besnainou. "I am humbled, honored and excited to be given the opportunity to serve such an amazing school and advance its mission and reputation. I feel very fortunate to be able to build upon the foundation of a world-class faculty, dynamic staff and brilliant students, led by Dean Dammon and supported by David Tepper and an amazing community of alumni."

"I'm delighted that Isabelle is joining the Tepper School of Business at this important time for the school and for the Carnegie Mellon community," said CMU Trustee and alumnus David Tepper (MBA 1982). "She brings a wealth of experience, a collaborative approach and a dedication to continue the university's legacy of excellent education and research. I look forward to working with her in the years ahead."

Bajeux-Besnainou led the launch of several Master of Management programs at McGill, including Master in Retailing, Master in Finance and Master in Analytics. Additionally, she led the establishment of the Bensadoun School of Retail Management, which is dedicated to "educating and empowering a global network of interdisciplinary thinkers and practitioners who research, envision and develop a dynamic and successful world of retail."

Bajeux-Besnainou implemented a faculty hiring initiative at McGill that expanded the expertise within the school and hired 49 full-time professors. She also led the expansion of Desautels' physical facilities through the comprehensive renovation of a new home for McGill's MBA and specialized masters programs, a project that was entirely supported by philanthropy.

"Dr. Bajeux-Besnainou is the ideal candidate to lead the Tepper School's renowned interdisciplinary programming, including initiatives that unite researchers, students and industry leaders to advance work that shapes business and society," said Carnegie Mellon Provost James H. Garrett, Jr. "She will work closely with our students, faculty and staff both within Tepper and across campus to create even more collaborative academic and research opportunities and bolster the Tepper School's efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion."

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Tepper School of Business Chief Operating Officer Rhonda Fischer gives a tour of the Tepper building to incoming Tepper Dean Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou on Friday, July 10. Provost James H. Garrett and Executive Director of Computing Services Matt Olczak also attended.

Bajeux-Besnainou was selected following a year-long, global search that reviewed more than 400 candidates from industry and some of the world's top business schools.

"Our search committee immediately recognized Isabelle's collaborative nature and deep commitment to interdisciplinary education," said Anita Williams Woolley, an associate professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory in the Tepper School who served as co-chair of the dean search committee. "She will galvanize our leadership position in business, technology and analytics, while expanding experiential learning programs and entrepreneurship opportunities for students. We are extremely pleased to welcome her to Carnegie Mellon."

"Isabelle's management skills and creative problem-solving abilities greatly impressed our committee," said fellow co-chair Sridhar R. Tayur, the Ford Distinguished Research Chair and University Professor of Operations Management within the Tepper School. "As a proven transformative leader in business education, she brings the experience needed to lead the Tepper School and its outstanding faculty and students during this vital time."

Bajeux-Besnainou succeeds Robert Dammon, who is stepping down after nine years as dean. Dammon will return to his role as a full-time Tepper faculty member.

"We are grateful to Dean Dammon for his tremendous leadership, which helped establish the Tepper School as one of the nation's premier business schools," said Garrett. "Bob led the effort to open the David A. Tepper Quadrangle while strengthening and expanding CMU's academic and research programs.

"I also want to thank the dean search committee — and especially Sridhar and Anita for serving as co-chairs — for their outstanding efforts throughout the process," added Garrett. "The committee's exceptional guidance and vision during the last year have allowed us to welcome the ideal leader to the Tepper School."

Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School is the business school of the future. In 2018, the university celebrated the opening of the Tepper Quad, an innovation hub at the center of campus, where business school students intersect with students from CMU's top-ranked creative and technological research and education programs. Located in the Tepper Quad, the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship is a campus-wide interdisciplinary center which has supported more than 260 new companies since 2008 and raised $1 billion since 2011. The Tepper School's graduate and undergraduate programs are highly ranked, including the school's undergraduate business program (ranked 6th by U.S. News & World Report); full-time MBA program (ranked 12th by Businessweek); part-time MBA program (ranked 2nd by Businessweek); and Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA program (ranked 1st by Poets & Quants).