Melbourne Business School News Jenny George to become Dean of Melbourne Business School

Jenny George to become Dean of Melbourne Business School

After great success as a CEO, Jenny George is returning to lead Melbourne Business School.

Dr Jenny George will become the next Dean of Melbourne Business School

Few people know as much about the impact of business education as Dr Jenny George.

Dr George first joined Melbourne Business School as a Senior Lecturer in 1998, having earned a PhD in Operations and Information Technology from Stanford University.

She quickly became a prominent member of faculty, holding a range of academic leadership positions as well as helping to design and launch our Master of Business Analytics degree, which was ranked #5 in the world in its first year and has consistently been ranked among the world's best ever since.

Then, in 2016, Dr George decided to put theory into practice. She took on a new challenge as the CEO of Converge International, one of Australia’s largest providers of mental health services to workplaces, whose customers include Qantas, the AFL, AGL, Boral and the Department of Defence.

Drawing on her expert knowledge, Dr George led Converge through a period of tremendous growth and success, overseeing significant boosts in revenue, market share and staff engagement as well as a complete digital transformation and new data reporting initiatives to give companies insight into psychological safety in the workplace.

"My personal experience at Converge is proof that what is taught at Melbourne Business School works in practice," she said.

Now, Dr George will bring her success in both business and academia back to where she began, as the new Dean of Melbourne Business School and Co-Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne.

"The opportunity to return to Melbourne Business School as Dean is a wonderful honour, as well as a chance to deepen the connection between business education, research and practice across Australia and Southeast Asia," Dr George said.

"Cutting-edge research drives innovative business. I've experienced that to be true both as an academic and a CEO.

"At their best, business schools are two-way hubs of conversation between business research and business practice. Melbourne Business School is the best place for that conversation to happen."

Dr George said she had a deep sense of belonging to the School and had continued to stay connected with it during her time as a CEO, including by serving on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Business Analytics.

"Even though I studied at the University of Canterbury and Stanford, I have always felt that I belonged to Melbourne Business School," she said.

"It's where my career began and where it blossomed. It's where I was mentored as a teacher by some of the finest academics in the world, and where I honed the business theory and knowledge that helped me become a successful corporate leader.

"That feeling of belonging and empowerment is central to what makes Melbourne Business School so special. As Dean, my goal will be to enhance and celebrate that feeling among our students, learners, clients, alumni, faculty and staff."

A legacy of innovation and collaboration

Dr Jenny George and Professor Ian Harper at Melbourne Business School

In her new role, Dr George will succeed Professor Ian Harper as the Dean of Melbourne Business School. Ross Barker, Chair of the Melbourne Business School Board, said Dr George was the ideal person to continue Professor Harper's legacy of values-driven leadership, investment in people and new technology, and deep collaboration with the University of Melbourne.

"As well as being exceptionally qualified for the position, with an impressive track record of success in business as well as academia, Dr George is a close friend of Melbourne Business School and was recognised as a Distinguished Academic Fellow in 2021," Mr Barker said.

"Dr George believes that virtuous business practices lead to positive commercial outcomes – or that 'good business is good business'; that research and connection to business are central to the mission of business schools; and that belonging to a community is at the heart of what makes Melbourne Business School special.

"These convictions and Dr George's passion for the School, as well as her success in academic life and as a corporate leader at the highest levels of Australian business, make her the perfect candidate to drive the School's future success and growth."

During her time as an academic, Dr George served on several University of Melbourne committees including the Academic Board, Academic Programs Committee and Teaching and Learning Quality Assurance Committee. She also worked closely with the faculties of Science and Engineering & IT to launch the Master of Business Analytics.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Duncan Maskell, congratulated Dr George on her appointment and paid tribute to Professor Harper.

"I am delighted to welcome Jenny back to the University of Melbourne in her new role as Dean of the Melbourne Business School. Jenny has proven to be an outstanding leader in a career full of achievement in both academia and the commercial world," Professor Maskell said.

"I look forward to working with Jenny when she begins her appointment later this year. I'd also like to thank Professor Ian Harper who has led the Melbourne Business School with distinction since 2018."

Dr George's appointment comes after an extensive global search for a new Dean that attracted candidates from top business schools around the world, led by leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds. The recruitment process included representatives of the Melbourne Business School Board as well as the University of Melbourne.

Dr George will commence in her new role on 20 November.

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