Photo of J.B. Silvers and Andrew Medvedev

5 questions with… Andrew Medvedev and J.B. Silvers, interim co-deans of Weatherhead School of Management

When Andrew Medvedev decided to return to his alma mater as co-dean for Weatherhead School of Management, one aspect sealed the deal—he recognized an incredible opportunity for the school to be a leading intellectual hub for the management community.

It’s a vision shared by Medvedev’s co-dean J.B. Silvers, a long-time leader at Weatherhead who most recently served as associate dean for finance. The pair will serve as co-deans for a three-year term that commenced on Sept. 1. 

“Our society and certainly the corporate community is grappling with generational changes and is casting about for guidance on how to cope with, and maybe even capitalize on it,” Medvedev explained. “Weatherhead is brimming with world-class faculty, highly professional staff, a passionate and committed alumni base and regional relationships––which at least to me seem unparalleled in its ‘weight class.’ This combination creates a prime opportunity for the school to, once again, reshape how people think and act.”

Medvedev immigrated with his family to Cleveland as a teenager, where he earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Case Western Reserve University in 1997. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 2004, launching a career that’s spanned over two decades in investment management, corporate finance and investment banking. He most recently served as managing director and member of the Investment Committee of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, but felt the opportunity to partner with Silvers as co-deans was too good to pass up. 

According to Medvedev, Silvers is “one of the most esteemed academic leaders in his field with deep personal relationships both with our key internal stakeholders and the broader community.”

Since joining Case Western Reserve in 1979, Silvers has held leadership roles at Weatherhead in academic affairs, resource management and planning, and the Department of Banking and Finance. He also served as interim dean in 2012. An Indiana native, Silvers earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Purdue University, and his doctorate from Stanford University. 

When he was asked to take on this new role as co-dean, Silvers said, “It has always been difficult for me to say no to a challenge and, in this case, the request came from those I respect and I love to help my second family here at the school. Helping us realize our great potential in this next phase is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Get to know more about the new Weatherhead co-deans in this week’s five questions.

1. What are you listening to, watching or reading that you’d suggest others check out?

Andrew Medvedev: To me, the single most interesting question is “why is the world the way it is?” In addition to science fiction and alternative history genres in literature and television, (I believe) financial markets offer some of the best lenses on this question. Great science fiction like The Expanse or most things by Asimov (The End of Eternity being my favorite) try to tweak one element of our world and imagine what that tweak would do to it. Alternative history (such as The Man in the High Castle or For All Mankind) does that even more directly. Conversely, financial markets are a never ending source of data and lessons learned in human behavior––a dynamic system constantly responding to changing conditions in observable and quantifiable ways! And then of course there are blogs and podcasts that help you question things––too many to mention.

J.B. Silvers: Tough question. I start each day with The New York Times and The Plain Dealer with a skim of The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe (I’m a news junkie). Otherwise, besides normal academic reading, I prefer fiction for a short vacation (Audible played at 150% speed) and nonfiction. The latest in the latter includes Humor, Seriously (reinforcing my bias that laughing gets you through business and personal issues), The Math Book (a history of math over the ages), Narrative Matters (articles from Health Affairs that helped change policy approaches) and Helping People Change (the latest from our great organizational behavior faculty).

2. What is the most memorable life lesson you’ve learned?

Medvedev: Trust people more than you think you should. The rewards have been well worth the disappointments.

Silvers: Life is full of surprises that turn out to be wonderful opportunities. Always look at the future with expectation of good things.

3. Which Cleveland neighborhood is your favorite and why?

Medvedev: It’s so hard to choose, because Cleveland is the perfect city––the perfect blend of big and small, world class and down home, dive bars and haute cuisine, garage bands and symphonies. Who is not awed by the Rocky River shoreline, the eclecticism of Tremont, picture perfection of Chagrin Falls, or the thought-out elegance of Shaker? But to me, nothing in the world compares to University Circle’s combination of endless intellectual engagement in a gorgeous setting.

Silvers: I live in the Rocky River Reservation so that has to top the list with deer, turkeys and coyotes coming to look in the windows of our house.

4. What season is your favorite and what do you like to do to celebrate it?

Medvedev: Early fall––the first crisp in the air, evening bonfires, strolls through Metroparks, one last outdoor meal by the river, tossing the football with my kids… and my wife’s birthday!

Silvers: I love every season but summer is the best. It’s clear to me why John D. Rockefeller came home to Cleveland every summer long after he moved to NYC.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

Medvedev: Unpretentious intellectualism. The world is full of very smart people who are high on themselves––it’s rare to meet world class thought leaders you’d want to have a beer with!

Silvers: This wonderful place has captured my heart now for decades making it impossible to live anywhere else… or even retire! As I told our staff recently, this is my second family and will always be. The students and colleagues keep me always inquiring about how the world works now and how it could work better.