Wharton Dean Leaving for USC Marshall

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Wharton’s Dean, Geoffrey Garrett, is leaving. Next year, he will lead USC Marshall. Marshal is a very good business school. However, it has less prestige and fewer resources than Wharton.

USC has been embroiled in a number of recent controversies. The college admissions scandal is the big one. But there was also the medical school dean scandal. There has also been persistent rumors about the circumstances that led to the departure of the previous dean, Jim Ellis.

Now, according to Poets and Quants, USC hired a dean after interviewing only one candidate. For reference, most schools hire an outside search firm to conduct a thorough search and almost always advertise the position.

This whole story is quite unusual. Most professional leaders don’t leave for less prestigious organizations. Plus Geoffrey Garrett is from Australia. Yesterday, we would have speculated AGSM as his destination if he was to willingly leave Wharton for a less prestigious MBA program. (Thank God we don’t predict the next career moves of top deans for a living!)

Dean Garrett did teach at USC from 2001 to 2005, so perhaps he has a strong affinity to the school. It’s possible he wanted the tremendous challenge of leading USC back from its current quagmire of controversies. (Although the nature of his hiring is only going to further fuel that.) In any event, now you know what we know. Time will likely shed more light on the “whys” behind this unexpected development.