Alum Steve Cody, AS’77, interviews Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun on the virtue of capturing an entrepreneurial mindset.
Among the responsibilities of every leader, says Joseph Aoun, is to become increasingly irrelevant. That sounds like an odd tip, but it’s one I’m inclined to take seriously given Aoun’s track record as president of Northeastern University.
Before I give Aoun a chance to explain what he means, let me share just a few of the things he’s accomplished since taking the helm of my alma mater in 2006:
- The school has risen in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s best colleges from 96 to 49 (U.S. News says that’s an unprecedented gain in so short a period of time).
- NU has transformed an old, dull institutional campus into a cutting-edge, eco award-winning model of urban beauty.
- The university has recruited more than 400 tenured and tenure-track faculty over the past seven years.
- NU has become one of the most competitive universities in the nation. It received nearly 50,000 applications for just 2,800 seats in this fall’s freshman class. The quality metrics associated with these students are the highest in the university’s history.
I wanted to know how this change agent has instilled an entrepreneurial mindset throughout the 116-year-old institution, and achieved such remarkable success in so short a period of time. I also wanted specific tips that you, the Inc. reader, could apply to your organization.