Jason Harkins: New Executive Dean of the Maine Business School

Dr. Jason Harkin, Associate Professor of Management, has been named the Executive Dean of the Maine Business School. Dr. Harkins has been the Interim Executive Dean since July 2022, and was the Associate Dean of Business before that. You can find the official announcement of his hire here. Read on to learn more about our new Executive Dean in his own words…

Where are you from?

Kansas City, Kansas.

Tell us a bit about your family.

My wife and I have three kids, ages 12, 10, and 8. We live in Bangor, Maine. 

You’re an avid reader; what are your top three must-read business books?

  • The E Myth Revisited by Michale E. Gerber. I actually keep several copies of this book on my shelf in my office to give to people.
  • Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts by Annie Duke
  • The Prince by Niccolo Machiavellil
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  • Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Brad Feld

How did you become interested in teaching as a profession?

When I was getting my MBA from the University of Missouri, I tutored large portions of my MBA class across many different business content areas. I found the process of helping someone understand something new to be really rewarding. On top of that, I am and always have been interested in understanding how people make decisions. Teaching strategy and entrepreneurship in business schools is an excellent place to teach exploratory decision-making. 

What are your top priorities as you take over the Executive Dean role permanently?

My priorities are all around student success. I want to ensure that students are being developed not only to get a career but to lead a fulfilling life. I firmly believe in the investment in professional development for students, faculty, and staff. The Maine Business School has an opportunity to engage with the University community and the UMaine System in developing professional skills where there is some other required background, such as engineering, biology, and education for example.

Why do you think students should choose to study business?

Because everyone is going to work in a business. Every organization at some core level, whether it’s public or private, is an organization that has to deal with the core functions of operating a business. A background in those core business skills not only advances the individual but adds to the organization’s capacity.

What role does the Maine Business School play in the State of Maine?

We are Maine’s premier business school. With a rapidly changing economic and demographic reality, developing the workforce of today and tomorrow will require deep commitment by MBS to deliver a curriculum that is robust in perspective, rigorous in practice, and relevant to the needs of our ever-changing world. We will ensure that our graduates will meet and exceed the needs of employers in Maine and beyond.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I’m not sure it’s advice, but there are three values that I strive to live by:
1. It’s essential to focus on the good of the whole rather than what will benefit you as an individual.
2. The notion that you can never sacrifice your integrity for anything. It’s critical that you stand for what you believe in, and that’s not negotiable.
3. Show up and do the work.