U.S.News & World Report: “CEOs Teach in M.B.A. Classrooms”

Most CEOs spend the latter years of their professional lives giving presentations in high-pressure board rooms for select groups of middle-aged power brokers, not in lecture halls filled with green but eager business students. However, a few such as Neil Braun, Dean of Pace’s Lubin School of Business and former President of NBC Television Network, have opted to venture into the world of higher education … using their corporate experience to mold a new generation of top executives.

Neil Braun, dean of Pace University’s Lubin School of Business and former CEO of Viacom Entertainment: Having worked as the top executive at numerous firms—including entertainment giant Viacom—during his 33-year career, and no longer satisfied with the rewards of his day job, Braun told U.S. News & World Report that he yearned to impart the knowledge he’d gleaned to a younger generation. After searching for vacant administrative positions at business schools in the New York metropolitan area, he landed at Pace in 2010, where, in addition to serving as dean, he routinely meets with student leaders and gave guest lectures in eight classes during the past year on topics ranging from leadership to competitive strategy. 

Beyond the detailed advice he offers in those lectures, he advises all business students to learn to write well, to hone one very difficult analytical skill, and to familiarize themselves with areas of business outside of their specialty. Data analysts, for instance, should be able to freely converse with marketers about their duties, and vice versa, he says. 

“I wish somebody had clued me in to some of this stuff when I was young, and contextualized all the trauma I had to go through—like we all do—in trying to figure this out,” he says. “I’m not being naïve in thinking that just by telling them I’m going to save them from anything, but I do get E-mails and feedback from people that they took one or two really important things that have made a difference in their lives.”