If you're like many CEOs, your idea of a good candidate for the board of directors is a no-nonsense executive.That's fine, but to judge by Joe Crugnale's experience, you should consider business school academics for your board, too. Professors can bringbig-picture perspectives to your management.

In the early years of growing two restaurant chains in New England, Crugnale recruited Bert Mendelsohn, then a professor of marketing at Boston College,who specialized in tracking small food-service chains. Mendelsohn helped Crugnale with the nuts and bolts of understanding an operating statement anddetermining what ratios he needed to hit to make his restaurants more competitive. Mendelsohn's classes also did market research for Crugnale.

The professor was elected to the board to help plan long-term strategy. His mercilessly logical approach complemented Crugnale's more intuitive approach.Today, Crugnale's pizzeria chain, Bertucci's, headquartered in Wakefield, Mass., is a $103 million business with 67 restaurants.