Robert Bruner

Fast Facts

  • Dean Emeritus of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia
  • Author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books on finance, management, and teaching
  • Expertise on financial crises, bank panics, enterprise leadership 

Areas Of Expertise

  • Economic Issues
  • Finance and Banking
  • Jobs and Economy
  • Taxation
  • Trade
  • Governance
  • Leadership

Bob Bruner, faculty senior fellow, is University Professor at the University of Virginia, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration and Dean Emeritus of the Darden School of Business. He has also held visiting appointments at  Columbia University in the United States, INSEAD in France and IESE in Spain. He has a forthcoming visiting appointment at Harvard. He is the author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books on finance, management and teaching. A faculty member since 1982 and winner of leading teaching awards at the University of Virginia and within the Commonwealth of Virginia, he teaches and conducts research in finance and management.

He has taught students in the Darden MBA, MBA for Executives (EMBA), Global MBA for Executives (GEMBA) and doctoral programs, and as a visiting professor at business schools internationally. He has instructed practitioners in executive education courses around the world. Bruner's current research interests span subjects such as corporate finance, financial crises and panics, business history, the future of higher education and the leadership attributes of U.S. presidents.

As a financial economist, Bruner is best known for his research on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and financial panics. His books Deals from Helland Applied Mergers and Acquisitions have helped numerous practitioners and students toward successful transactions. His book published in 2008, The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned From the Market's Perfect Storm, with Sean D. Carr, attracted wide attention for its discussion of the underpinnings of financial crises. In 2011, Bruner led a global task force of deans for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business that produced a comprehensive review of global management education. The resulting book-length report, The Globalization of Management Education, urged educational leaders to rise to the challenges of globalization. He is the author and co-author of over 300 teaching case studies and of Case Studies in Finance, now in its seventh edition. He comments on life, business and current events in his blog. He also tweets regularly on his Twitter account.

As dean of the Darden School from 2005 to 2015, Bruner chartered or led a series of initiatives that prompted the revision of Darden's residential MBA program, launched Darden's EMBA and GEMBA programs, raised the profile of admitted students, led the top talent hiring of new faculty and staff, improved the diversity of the Darden community, raised over $165 million in new funds, and saw Darden's rankings rise to the Top 10 of U.S. schools. From 2007 to 2009, Bruner served as member of the board of directors of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT entrance exam for business schools. And from 2009 to 2011, he chaired the board of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, an alliance of 15 leading American business schools and more than 100 top corporations in the United States that aims to enhance diversity in business education and leadership. He has served on the boards of various nonprofit organizations, including the Darden School Foundation and two for-profit corporations. In 2012, Poets & Quants and CNNMoney/ Fortune named him "Dean of the Year."

A native of Chicago, Bruner received a BA degree from Yale University in 1971 and MBA and DBA degrees from Harvard University in 1974 and 1982, respectively. Bruner served as a loan officer and investment analyst for First Chicago Corporation from 1974 to 1977. Bruner and his wife, Bobbie, have two sons.

For more information and copies of his papers and essays, visit his website.


Robert Bruner News Feed

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis of unprecedented scale and scope. In response, the world looks to its leaders for clarity, direction, and the reassurance that their actions will mitigate — not exacerbate — the pandemic’s dire humanitarian and economic consequences. While no U.S. president has faced a challenge quite like the current one, what do past commanders-in-chief have to teach us about leading through a crisis? University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Bob Bruner shares findings from his examination of the leadership styles of past U.S. presidents that could inform the current moment for leaders at all levels as we navigate the difficult path ahead.
Robert Bruner Darden Ideas to Action podcast
Two years ago, University of Virginia professors Robert Bruner, David Smith and David Leblang teamed up to teach a class on the 2008 financial crisis, going over what happened in that crisis and how the country could prepare for the next one. Now they are turning their attention to the brewing economic crisis fueled by the global COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Bruner, Smith and Leblang will lead a webinar, “The Developing Economic Crisis and the Pandemic,” hosted by UVA’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, McIntire School of Commerce and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.
Robert Bruner UVA Today
Misconceptions about the Great Depression abound. The Miller Center's Robert Bruner sets the record straight. 
The Washington Post
Liz Ivaniw Jones Darden School of Business
Ten years after the financial crisis, here are the best books on what went wrong and what still should be fixed.
The Weekly Standard
Ten years ago this weekend, the U.S. economy stared into the abyss: Bear Stearns had failed and been acquired; Fannie and Freddie had been taken over by the federal government; Lehman was about to file for the biggest corporate crack-up in history, and various other financial and industrial firms begged for government support in coming weeks.
Robert F. Bruner The Hill