The end of summer provides us with an opportunity to take a breath, to look back, and to prepare for the academic year. As I start my sixth year as dean at NYU Stern, I realize that I now have a great deal to look back on – and a great deal to look forward to. In recent years, one of our goals has been to build a greater sense of community – among students, faculty, and alumni. And the Global Alumni Conference, which we held in June in Florence, highlighted how far we’ve come. The conference was a microcosm of all that Stern offers: a global network of loyal alumni interested in big ideas, eager to engage in meaningful discussions led by industry practitioners and faculty members.

Our faculty’s commitment to groundbreaking research, which is front and center in this issue of STERNbusiness, has pushed Stern to the frontier of business knowledge. The research articles in this issue all have readily apparent applications in today’s marketplace: Augustin Landier looks into the cultural differences surrounding attitudes toward capitalism in the US and abroad; Ingo Walter provides a valuable perspective on the private-equity boom; and Baruch Lev updates the state-of-the-art on earnings guidance. We continue to build on our accomplishments by attracting new faculty members with strong research records.

But academic research can serve a larger function. Our professors conduct long-term, basic, theoretical research that, at first blush, may have no apparent application to the world. Time and again, however, we’ve seen that sharp insights can bear fruit in unanticipated ways. That’s certainly been the case with the long-running collaboration of Professors Marty Gruber and Ned Elton, whose portfolio research has yielded countless applications. For another example of how the research we conduct does work in the broader world, I’d direct you to Professor Robert Engle’s five-part series on volatility that first appeared this summer on the Financial Times’ website – It’s a brilliant short course taught to a massive audience by a Nobel laureate.

Research allows Stern to function as an ideas incubator, cultivating new insights into the business world. But Stern also functions as an ideas magnet. Every semester, we have an exciting slate of seminars, discussions, debates, and lectures that allow members of the Stern community to interact with leading executives, practitioners, policy makers, authors, and thinkers. This fall, we’ll welcome CEOs such as John Mack of Morgan Stanley and Douglas Conant of Campbell Soup, and our new Chat with Financiers series will bring to campus leading figures in private equity and hedge funds.

Along with this magazine, such events afford us the opportunity to check in, reconnect, and continue the process of lifetime learning. Having the privilege to serve as dean of Stern for the past five years has been enormously satisfying and educational. In the coming year, I look forward to checking in, reconnecting, and continuing to learn.

Thomas F. Cooley