Sharon Oster

Sharon Oster

Dean, Yale School of Management, Yale University, since 2008.

Education: PhD, Harvard University, 1974; BA, Hofstra College, 1970

Last administrative role: Associate Dean, Yale University, Yale School of Management

On being a dean: For me, as I expect for most business school deans today, the biggest challenge is the difficult job situation facing our students. While we are working hard to help them find the kinds of jobs they aspire to, and they are an impressive group of students, it is clear that all graduates will face a challenging market environment.

On the challenges ahead: I plan to return to do some teaching next fall now that I have my feet wet in the job. While this will make the job more fun, by keeping me in touch with the intellectual life of the students, it will complicate the already difficult task of balancing my roles serving inside and outside constituents. Raising funds to support our spectacular new building will clearly take much of my time going forward.

On being a woman leader: I am not sure that the challenges and rewards of the job are particularly gender specific. I am most excited by the problem solving aspects of the job which may reflect my background in economics. Whether the issue is curriculum design, faculty hiring, or fund raising, the task is really to diagnose what the core issue is and then figure out how to get where you want to go. In a place like Yale, with very strong traditions, I find it interesting to balance the conservatism of valued traditions with the need for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.