Richard M. Cyert

July 22, 1921 – October 7, 1998

Brief Biography


Richard M. Cyert was the 19th President of TIMS and sixth President of Carnegie Mellon University (1972-1990). He was internationally known for his work in economics, behavioral science, statistics, and management.

Dr. Cyert spent 50 years at Carnegie Mellon, joining the faculty of the Carnegie Institute of Technology before the 1967 merger with Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. He began as an instructor in economics in 1948 and rose to be Professor of of Economics and Industrial Administration. In 1962 he became Dean of the University’s Graduate School of Industrial administration. Through his leadership, Carnegie-Mellon was transformed from an Eastern technical school to a premier U.S. University. He strengthened its academic programs, and significantly expanded its research. Carnegie Mellon became known as “Computer U.” The number of nationally ranked programs increased from three to twelve. He also moved the University’s finances from being in inherited deficits to being continually solvent. After his retirement in 1990 he continued teaching economics (1990-97), headed the Carnegie Bosch Institute (1990-92) which focuses on improving international management and was Chairman of the Board of the National Instituted of Statistical Sciences. 

As Professor and then Dean of what became the William Larimer Mellon Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA, now the Tepper School of Business), Cyert directed the development and expansion of the "Carnegie Tech Management Game," a required course in the MS curriculum at GSIA in the 1960's and beyond.  He saw "great potential in the use of a business game as a vehicle for integrating various aspects of business training and providing an organizational setting within which students could acquire simulated business experience" (Cohen et al 1964).  The game was computer-mediated, initially in 1959 on an IBM model 650 with 20,000 digits of memory.   

He was the author of 12 books and over 100 articles. His trail blazing book with Jim March on A Behavioral Theory of the Firm was named a Citation Classic by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). He was awarded several honorary doctorates and two prestigious research fellowships: Ford Foundation and Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. He was a Naval Officer during World War II.

Other Biographies

Richard Cyert   Wikipedia.  (link) accessed May 8, 2019

Day RH & Sundar S (1996) Ideas and Work of Richard M. Cyert   Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization vol 31 (1996) pages 139-148.   


University of Minnesota BA 1943

Columbia University PhD (economics) 1948 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas


Ravo N (1998)  Richard M. Cyert Dies at 77; President of Carnegie Mellon.  New York Times October 10, 1998. (link) accessed May 8, 2019. 

A Celebration of the Life and Memory of President Emeritus Richard M. Cyert (1921 - 1998) Carnegie Mellon Archives (link) Accessed May 8, 2019


Richard Cyert Collection (1962 - 1999) Faculty Papers, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries (link) Accessed May 8, 2019

Awards and Honors

Fellow, American Statistical Association

Fellow, Econometric Society

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Professional Service

President, The Institute of Management Science 1972-73. 

Additional Resources

Cohen KJ, Dill WR, Kuehn AA & Winters PR The Carnegie Tech Management Game: An Experiment in Business Education. Richard D. Irwin Inc, Homewood IL 1964.