UM dean: Engineering, business need to collaborate

Posted Dec. 22, 2010, at 11:22 p.m.
NEW Dean of the Maine Business School, Ivan Manev. Wickenheiser story &quotBIZDEAN" Photo Courtesy University of Maine
NEW Dean of the Maine Business School, Ivan Manev. Wickenheiser story "BIZDEAN" Photo Courtesy University of Maine

ORONO, Maine — The new dean of the University of Maine’s Business School said he’d like to see more cooperation between departments to commercialize technology developed at UM.

The university’s engineering departments have been successful in bringing in grants to support research and have had some success in turning that research into commercial products, said professor Ivan Manev. But, said Manev, the business school has numerous faculty members and graduate students who work with those engineers, bringing a commercialization savvy to the research end of the work.

“I’d like us to bring these two things together — the engineers and scientists on one hand and the business school faculty and graduate students on the other hand,” said Manev.

Manev, a native of Bulgaria, has been a member of UMaine’s business faculty since 1997. He takes over as dean from professor John Mahon, who was interim provost for UM from 2004 to 2006, then business school dean from 2007 until 2010.

Manev said he thought the business school had a good model for cooperation with the other departments in a program that Mahon set up in cooperation with UM’s School of Economics. Through a $1.8 million federally funded program, professors and students from the schools of business and economics have worked with Maine businesses, large and small, said Manev.

The professors have helped the businesses with everything from building databases to marketing to commercialization of products, said Manev.

“The idea behind this drive is to get [the professors] more linked to the community, really to expose them to real-life needs of people,” Manev said.

Manev has done extensive work on international business, focusing on entrepreneurship, cross-cultural leadership, business strategy and organizational behavior. He noted Wednesday that there’s a lot of work to be done in Maine to improve the business climate, from improving the tax system to streamlining the regulatory structure.

But generally speaking, he said, there needs to be a different attitude about business in the state.

“You don’t have to be in an adversarial relationship with business,” said Manev. “Business brings lots of opportunities to a community and to a state. We ought to be accepting business and investment and not questioning them every step of the way.”

Manev said his school has received some significant recognition over the past year. U.S. News & World Report included it in a list of the nation’s best undergraduate business programs. The school was also ranked in the top 1,000 business schools worldwide out of 22,000 for the third year in a row by Eduniveral, an annual ranking of business schools and universities in more than 150 countries.

Manev noted that 70 percent of UMaine’s business school graduates stay in the state after graduation, and their starting wages range from $35,000 to $40,000, on average.

For information on the UMaine Business School, visit http://umaine.edu/business/.

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