Through her involvement in the debate over financial regulation after the 2008 financial crisis, Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Anat Admati has come to appreciate the fact that a single-discipline perspective is too narrow and dangerous.
“Stepping out of my silo and engaging with research and people beyond my immediate discipline taught me a lot, and I want others to have the same experience. Cross-disciplinary thinking is also critical for Stanford — and for Stanford GSB in particular — to be able to make a positive impact in our mission to ‘change lives, change organizations, and change the world,’ ” says Admati, the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics.
“Different perspectives and disciplines are essential to advancing research and teaching on the interaction of corporations and society,” says Jonathan Levin, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “This initiative is a welcome effort to bring in fresh and stimulating viewpoints and get discussions started among faculty members and students.”
One of Admati’s initial projects to advance the agenda is the innovative Corporations and Society Interdisciplinary Visitors Program. Piloted last year with a focus on finance and society, this program brings to Stanford top experts with a range of backgrounds, expertise, and experiences to share their knowledge and perspectives. The visitors — who are academics and practitioners from business, government, civil society, and the media — engage with faculty members and students through group discussions, talks, class visits, and one-on-one meetings, for periods ranging from one day to a week.
The program is supported by the Stanford GSB Center for Social Innovation, in collaboration with other schools and centers throughout Stanford. The goal, Admati said, is to create the most wide-ranging conversation possible.
The 2016-17 Interdisciplinary Visitors Program featured academics and practitioners with experience and expertise in law, economics, finance, policy, and the media. The guest speakers were enthusiastic about the program and enjoyed their interactions at Stanford.
Speaker Sarah Bloom Raskin, an attorney who has served as Maryland’s commissioner of financial regulation, a governor of the Federal Reserve Board, and deputy secretary of the Treasury, said, “Today’s challenges in finance do not fall into neat, confined silos, and Prof. Admati’s program recognizes that tackling these challenges will require interdisciplinary thought across deep wells of subject-matter expertise that exist in these silos.”
“Too often, academics are overly engaged in speaking amongst themselves. Journalists, by contrast, are often myopic and uninformed about the history and structural complexities of what we cover,” said Jesse Eisinger, a journalist and author who won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2011 and visited Stanford in April. “So mixing journalists, practitioners, and academics from many disciplines makes for a rich educational environment.”
“I personally believe that corporate crime is best deterred by prosecution of high-level individuals, and that the Justice Department’s recent focus on prosecuting, instead, only the companies and/or their low-level employees is both unfair and unproductive,” said Jed Rakoff, a senior U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York and the closing speaker in the pilot program last year. “But there has been very little serious research in this area, and Stanford might lead the way in filling this gap,” he continued. “As for students, it would be helpful to focus them more than previously on their future roles as ethical models for their employees and business associates.”
This is in keeping with the university’s goals, notes Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior. “Expanding the scope of research and encouraging broader thinking are indeed among the objectives of the Interdisciplinary Visitors Program,” he says.
Pfeffer is part of the faculty team who has been involved in preparing both visitors series. The team includes representatives of multiple Stanford GSB academic areas, including finance, accounting, political economy, and organizational behavior. They expect many students and faculty members to engage with the 2017-18 visitors.
National correspondent for The Atlantic, the former editor of The New Republic, and author of the newly released book World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech
Romanian-born American business executive, author, onetime political prisoner, and chairman emeritus of Young & Rubicam
- Capitalists, Arise: We Need to Deal With Income Inequality
- Companies Must Bring All Stakeholders to the Table
Political scientist, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, and author of The Business of America Is Lobbying: How Corporations Became Politicized and Politics Became More Corporate
Associate dean for business and impact at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and author of Managed by the Markets: How Finance Re-Shaped America and The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy
- Q&A: Jerry Davis, professor, University of Michigan
- When Board Interlock Fell Apart, so Did Political Moderation in the Boardroom
- Can Silicon Valley's Autocrats Save Democracy
Securities and Exchange Commission commissioner and a former Senate staffer
Investigative reporter and contributing editor to Vanity Fair, known for her books and articles on the Enron scandal and the 2008 financial crisis
- The Smartest Guys on the Stage
- How Wells Fargo’s Cutthroat Corporate Culture Allegedly Drove Bankers to Fraud
Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- Towards a Political Theory of the Firm
- A Strong Press Is Best Defense Against Crony Capitalism
- Donald Trump, Crony Capitalist
The Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at the Yale University School of Management and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
- Prof. Fiona Scott Morton Discusses Competition in the Pharmaceutical Markets at Brookings Institution Forum
- A Monopoly Donald Trump Can Pop
George E. Barrett Professor of Law and Finance at the University of San Diego
- Beyond the Basics: Finance and Society Elective Teaches Students to Think About Broader Implications
- The Sequel to the Global Financial Crisis Is Here
- Frank and Steven’s Excellent Corporate-Raiding Adventure
- Is Herbalife a Pyramid Scheme?
American attorney and regulator; former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and former United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
Professor of Economics and Warden of All Souls College, Oxford University
American journalist and author; winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2011
- Why Corrupt Bankers Avoid Jail
- America’s Top Prosecutors Used to Go After Top Executives. What Changed?
Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
“Our ultimate purpose is to get better at what we do and to make a positive difference,” Admati said. The Interdisciplinary Visitors Program is just the first step in that direction.