Carnegie Mellon University
January 03, 2023

Remembering Ilker Baybars

Ilker Baybars, one of the longest-serving and most impactful academic leaders at Carnegie Mellon University and the Tepper School of Business, passed away on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.

Baybars, the George Leland Bach Professor of Operations Management, served as Dean and CEO of the Qatar Campus of Carnegie Mellon University from 2011 to 2017; as Deputy Dean at the Tepper School from 1991 to 2011; as Associate Dean from 1985 to 1991; as the Acting President of the Carnegie Bosch Institute for Applied International Studies from 1996 to 1997; as the Director of the Tepper School’s MBA program from 1984 to 1997; and as the head of the Undergraduate Business Administration program from 1990 to 1994.

The Tepper School has benefited from years of dedicated and visionary service by Baybars. As Director of the MBA program, he created and founded the highly-successful part-time FlexTime MBA program. While serving as Deputy Dean, he launched the FlexMode MBA program, now known as the Part-Time Flex MBA, which was ranked as the #2 online MBA program by Poets & Quants in 2022.

“Always motivated by the best interests of GSIA and now the Tepper School, Ilker has been an innovator and important academic leader at our school over much of his career,” said Chester Spatt, the Pamela R. and Kenneth B. Dunn Professor of Finance. “He has provided institutional continuity through many leadership transitions and has been a strong boaster of the special role of our business school.”

“Ilker Baybars played a central role in growing a small, innovative masters program to one from which, each year, hundreds of graduates assume leadership roles in prominent companies throughout the world,” said Dennis Epple, the Thomas Lord University Professor of Economics at the Tepper School. “Having witnessed this transformation, I am in awe of Ilker's vision for what the school could become, and his skillful management of the transformation that realized his vision.”

“Ilker took a strong, continuing, and personal interest in the development and accomplishments of the Tepper faculty and also of Tepper alumni. Like many others, I benefited over my career from his guidance and encouragement,” said Duane Seppi, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and the David M. and Barbara A. Kirr Professor of Finance.

“Ilker Baybars was a vital part of Carnegie Mellon's DNA for over fifty years. He contributed mightily to what the university has become today. He was a great friend and mentor to me and to many, many others," said Mark Kamlet, University Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Provost Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon.

In 2019, alumni, friends, and colleagues established the Class of 1984 Ilker Baybars Endowed Fellowship, in honor of his significant leadership and service. In 1997, Baybars was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Tepper School for Leadership, in recognition of his achievements. In 1981, he was the first recipient of the Emil Limbach Teaching Award for Excellence in the Classroom from the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

Baybars also made important contributions internationally outside of Carnegie Mellon. He was a member of the board of trustees of Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey from 1990 to 2022; Vice President and board member of the Alliance on Business Education and Scholarship for Tomorrow from 2006 to 2022; and member of the Advisory Council of the Graduate School of International Management at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan from 2005 to 2008.

Baybars received his bachelor of science in 1969 from Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. After spending a year at METU as an instructor, he then studied at Carnegie Mellon, where he earned a master of science in 1972 and a Ph.D. in 1979. 

Baybars' research interests were in assembly line balancing; facility planning and design; telecommunications networks; as well as heuristic algorithms and graph theoretic modeling. His publications appeared in the leading journals in management, including Management Science; the International Journal of Production Research; the European Journal of Operational Research; Discrete Mathematics; and the Naval Logistics Research Quarterly.

Baybars was a member of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS), Sigma Xi, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, and the American Production and Inventory Control Society. He played a leadership role in organizing and chairing many sessions and panels for these and other professional societies.

The Tepper School of Business is deeply indebted to Ilker Baybars for his contributions to our community and his years of invaluable leadership and service. 

Cards and condolences may be sent to the Tepper School's Dean's Office to be shared with Baybars' family. Please address condolences to:

Tepper School of Business c/o Dean's Office
4765 Forbes Avenue, TEP 4503 
Pittsburgh, PA 15213