"Life in the academic lanes", October 26, 2012, By Della Bradshaw of The Financial Times
As James Ellis – or Jim as he prefers to be known – leans back in his chair in the Financial Times offices in London and explains the benefits of online learning, it is clear he is not the usual bookish business school dean. “It (online learning) will allow a student in Fargo, Dakota to talk to one in Aberdeen, Scotland,” explains the top dog at the Marshall school at the University of Southern California. What is more, he adds, he has played golf in both locations – in Aberdeen, he emphasises, in the rain.
It is easy to conjure up a picture of the 65-year old former retail executive on the golf course, but this shrewd businessman has also proved his worth as a business-school dean, a job he has held for the past six years and for which he clearly still has tremendous enthusiasm. “I can’t tell you how much fun it is,” he says.