Business Dean Shares College’s Asian Focus
In fall 1979, 28-year-old Vance Roley began a one-year term at the U.S. President’s Council of Economic Advisors, where he met fellow senior economist to the council David McClain. It was a tumultuous time in the nation’s economy.
"The Federal Reserve changed the way they would conduct monetary policy, and we were trying to analyze the effects," Roley says. "By spring, inflation was over 20 percent, and we were trying to figure out how to get the economy back on track."
Fast forward 25 years and clear across the country. On Jan. 1, 2004, Roley became dean of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Business Administration and First Hawaiian Bank Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Management. McClain, who previously held the post, is now the interim UH president.
Roley grew up in a business-oriented family in Vancouver, Wash. He regularly scanned his grandfather’s Wall Street Journal and became a stockowner by the fifth grade. "I bought two shares of General Motors," he recalls with a smile. "GM was America back then. It’s split over time; today I have eight shares."
He earned an MA and PhD from Harvard and served as economist and vice president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank.
Most recently, he spent 21 years at the University of Washington. As a finance professor, he honed his expertise in interest rates, the stock market and foreign markets, particularly Asia. As associate and acting dean, he expanded the faculty and returned the school to national rankings.
The self-professed "coastal guy" knew few places could lure him and Sharon, his wife of 31 years, away from the evergreen state. Hawai'ʻfilled the bill—an ideal location and a school recognized for international business (ranked 16th for undergraduate and 22nd for graduate programs in 2005 by US News and World Report).
As part of Hawaiʻi Gov. Linda Lingle’s delegation to China in June 2005, Roley met with various businesses, educational institutions and medical associations. "UH has had an executive MBA program in Vietnam for several years, and China is where we are focusing right now," Roley says. "The economic growth there is just amazing."
Back home, he is excited about the school’s entrepreneurship initiative (CBA is teaming up with UH Mānoa’s law and biotech programs to seek out scientific disclosures for commercial ventures). Internships have increased to more than 500 student positions, a $100,000 donation will boost career services and placement, and two endowed chairs have been filled this past year.
Faculty retention is critical to maintaining the school’s stellar reputation, Roley says. "I’d like to invest in people for the first five years." He envisions half his faculty receiving some sort of endowment support and high-value master’s programs providing a revenue source to help with expansion.
UH College of Business Administration at a Glance
Founded in 1949 and accredited by the American Association of Colleges and Schools of Business, the college enrolls 1,830 students, including 660 graduate students, in business administration, accountancy, human resource management, international management and a joint law/MBA program. The college—
- is listed in the Princeton Review of Best Business Schools for 2006
- offers the state’s only Bloomberg Terminal Certification
- was the first in the U.S. to offer Japan- and China-focused MBAs and Vietnam executive MBA
- has 26,000 alumni worldwide
- placed 530 students in internships last year
- receives recruitment visits from two companies per week on average
- annually distributes more than $220,000 in scholarships and awards