Stefanie Lenway, Dean and Opus Distinguished Chair

Stefanie Lenway, Dean and Opus Distinguished Chair

Stefanie Lenway is the Dean and Opus Distinguished Chair at the Opus College of Business University of St. Thomas and a worldwide leader in competitive strategy for business education. She is the first permanent female dean of the Opus College of Business and leverages her robust background to ensure that St. Thomas maintains its place as a nationally recognized 21st century business school. Scouts Talent was curious to learn more…

What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?

I consider myself a university professor. My advice to my junior colleagues is to never stop learning; do research that excites you and that feeds your curiosity. Connect with your students, who often are your best teachers.

What is your mantra?

We can do this!

How do you get yourself out of a slump?

I listen to a lot of classical music and work out – often both at the same time.

If you could try a different job for a day, what would you choose?

I would like to be a senator from Minnesota. The scope for positive impact is huge and I would learn a lot about how public policy is actually made.

What companies or leaders do you admire?

I admire Dick Schulze and Best Buy for the company’s success in rebuilding. I also admire Richard Davis, CEO of U.S. Bank, and Mary Brainerd, CEO of HealthPartners, for their emphasis on building strong cultures in their companies.

What has been the biggest shift you’ve noticed in your industry in the last decade?

Higher education is experiencing a digital transformation. Our incoming students are digital natives, who expect us to integrate technology into our teaching. St. Thomas is looking at delivering entire graduate programs online, offering students a highly personalized educational experience.

Who has been most instrumental in your career?

I was very lucky at the University of Minnesota to have colleagues who believed that I could do more than I imagined I could do. I would credit Sri Zaheer, the current Dean of the Carlson School; Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the major benefactor of the Carlson School; and Julie Sullivan, the President of St. Thomas, for helping me see the opportunities at the University of St. Thomas. While Sri and I compete for some of the same students, my work with Marilyn reminds me that we are both working to help build the Twin Cities’ economy.

What is your go-to celebration meal, drink or tradition?

Sharing a bottle of sparkling wine with family and friends always makes me feel grateful for my good fortune.


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