The dean of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University says a sharp rise in demand from students is the primary reason behind the decision to expand and create a new School of Business. The university on Friday announced the plan, which will include a new school building, an expansion of faculty, and increased student enrollment.
“We needed to grow pretty substantially to accommodate all those fantastic students and to better prepare a greater volume of students for the workforce here in Indiana and nationwide,” said David Hummels.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Hummels said the effort also builds on the school’s original mission of combining science and engineering training with providing students business acumen.
“The combination of those things is really potent in terms of the ability of individuals to go on to lead or found great technology companies,” said Hummels. “And so, from a curricular perspective, we are dramatically expanding degrees that really sit at the intersection of the STEM disciplines and business because we think that’s what the market needs, and that is historically the kind of preparation that has led our graduates to go on to be CEOs or company founders.”
Purdue says the overall School of Management has grown by nearly 33% since 2019. Hummels says the overall quality of the degrees offered by the school is a major part of that growth, but two new degree programs are at the center of it.
The first is a new Integrated Business and Engineering program, where students take both the business and engineering core courses followed by innovation labs, in which they use knowledge from both areas to solve problems.
The second program, which launched this fall, is an extension of the university’s master’s program in business analytics and information management.
“That program, on the graduate side, has been ranked by a number of magazines as the top program in the country of its kind – 100% placement rate, tremendous starting salaries, graduates already moving into leadership positions in companies,” said Hummels. “We’ve taken the very best parts of that master’s program into our undergraduate curriculum, and we saw an explosion in applications for that program this last year.”
Part of the expansion will be a new building for the new School of Business. While the project still requires approvals from the university and the state, Hummels says they are targeting fall 2026 for the new building.
“It will house an increased number of faculty, staff and students. But more important than that, it will reflect a modern approach to learning and teaching,” he said. “So, [it will have] active learning classrooms, spaces for project-based learning, experiential learning, corporate consulting, a lot of labs where we sort of work with new technologies and think about their business applications. So, it will look much closer to what you might see in an engineering and technology context, than one might see in a traditional business school.”
With the change, the university says the new school will initially be known as the Purdue School of Business, though the graduate school will retain the Krannert name.
Hummels says most of the programmatic changes that will take place with the expansion are already being done on a small scale through pilot programs. The school plans to invest in scaling up those operations to affect larger numbers of students.
The university is also looking to hire new faculty soon.
“We will make some of the initial efforts in terms of getting the kinds of faculty we need to lead this new enterprise this year, and then I think we’ll see an expanded number of students in each of the next years for probably about the next four or five years before we’re fully booked,” Hummels said.
The Purdue Board of Trustees is expected to make some formal commitments to the expansion in the next couple of weeks.