Måns Söderbom stands in a corrdor at the school
Måns Söderbom will be new Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law as of 1 July 2024.
Photo: Isac Lundmark

New Dean wants to see more ethics in sustainability issues


“One important faculty management task is to build a common idea of where we should be in five to ten years’ time, in dialogue with operations,” says Professor of Economics Måns Söderbom, who will become the new Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law on 1 July. “I hope to be able to help establish that direction, but without micromanaging. I’m convinced that departments, researchers and teachers are generally in a position to judge for themselves what is worth doing.”

“The School of Business, Economics and Law has experienced very positive growth over the past 15 years, in terms of education, research and collaboration,” says Måns Söderbom.

“You could say that the table has already been laid. But, of course, I hope to contribute towards continued growth and progress of the School. A shared vision is important, but not everyone has to do the same thing. For example, having employees with good collaboration skills is extremely important, but that doesn’t mean everyone must constantly conduct research linked to current societal problems.”

Sustainability has been one of the School’s profile areas for many years.

“Today, we talk about ecological, economic and social sustainability. But I think we can broaden the concept further, adding an ethical, humanistic approach. Today’s students were born at the beginning of the 21st century, and they’ve had a sustainability perspective since preschool. This provides exciting opportunities to continue strengthening this area in our education.”

Today’s young people also have different habits when it comes to technology. He explains that ChatGPT, for example, is a completely new challenge for higher education institutions.

“Since the initial nervousness around a year ago, ChatGPT has quickly become part of teaching and we’ve started to understand the importance of staying on our toes when it comes to technological developments. However, something I think we should counteract is students’ growing tendency to work from home. Actual meetings and conversations are a significant aspect of university studies, so it’s important that they come here.”

One of the many changes currently underway is the construction of the School’s new building.

“Like so many other construction projects, the building has been delayed and isn’t expected to be ready until 2027. Our new home will be fantastic, but the rental cost will be high. We need to start thinking now about the best way of dealing with increased cost.”

Måns Söderbom defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Gothenburg in 2000, and has been employed here since 2008. During the intervening years, he worked at the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford.

“This was a significant experience, and one that still affects me to this day. I was able to devote myself to the issues that have interested me since I was young, such as how we can create more and growing businesses in Africa so that the young population can find work. A large proportion of these jobs must come from the private sector, and there’s a clear link between entrepreneurship and economic growth. I supervise three Ethiopian doctoral students in cooperation with the School’s Environment for Development network, which is rewarding for everyone involved. As Dean, I probably won’t have time for many more assignments, but I hope to be able to support these doctoral students until they defend their theses.”

Between 2015 and 2021, Måns Söderbom was Head of the Department of Economics.

“A head of department knows most of the staff and has good operational knowledge, albeit not in great detail. As Dean, however, I will have to familiarise myself with many different areas that I don’t know much about yet. Fortunately, I have Deputy Dean Lena Gipperth by my side, with her own unique knowledge and interests. I want to be involved in the faculty’s day-to-day operations, and I hope to have the time to attend seminars, thesis defences and other events so I can get to know the whole School better.”

About Måns Söderbom

New Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law from 1 July 2024.
Background: Defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Gothenburg in 2000, worked at the University of Oxford for eight years, was employed at the University of Gothenburg in 2008, became a professor in 2011, and previously served as Deputy Head of Department (2014–2015) and Head of Department (2015–2021).
Other interests: Politics, music, cooking, supporting IFK Göteborg, golf.

Read more about Måns Söderbom