Q & A: GWSB Dean Talks about Plans to Elevate the School

Anuj Mehrotra says GWSB programming will center around student engagement and will be market driven.

October 19, 2018

Dean Anuj Mehrotra

Dean Anuj Mehrotra (C) says GWSB will promote a culture of belonging for everyone. (Photo courtesy GWSB)

By Briahnna Brown

Since joining the George Washington University School of Business in July, Dean Anuj Mehrotra has been eager to implement plans to enhance student programming.

Dr. Mehrotra wants to engage students, alumni and the community more than ever, and his office will promote a culture of belonging and mutual respect for everyone. He also said that under his leadership, GWSB, as a research institution, will also continue supporting scholarly, practical research that makes an impact.

GW Today sat down with Dr. Mehrotra to discuss his plans for the future of GWSB.

Q: How do you see the role of School of Business dean?

I am energized—I'm excited. I think there is so much good stuff to do, I'm just eager to start getting it done. There is enormous goodwill, enormous passion, enormous support for ideas, and I cannot wait to start developing and implementing these ideas and having discussions to come up with a plan to set goals and create a path toward realizing them. Overall, we are focused on three things: student experience, faculty research and alumni engagement.

Q: Why is it an exciting time for GWSB?

A: Part of it is because of how the business world is shaping up. We are at the precipice of having new, innovative, market-driven programs. We are well positioned to make the next leap. What some of the other schools are beginning to think of, I think GWSB already has seen some progress in, areas such as modular programs, being able to piece together certificates and smaller modules into bigger degree programs, which is where the higher education business world is moving.

It's exciting to see that these things already are being done to some degree, and it’s exciting to take the next step to create more of that kind of programming. From a new dean's perspective, it’s exciting to be able to do that.

Second, I am eager to move toward creating student-centric programs. It's a combination of aligning our president’s objectives with what we have already achieved and the passion of our faculty and staff to move to the next level.

Also exciting is the that all the ingredients for reaching the next level of excellence are present, and all of our various stakeholders have the passion and desire to make it happen—including our students, whose enthusiasm and involvement is demonstrated by GWSB’s thriving and diverse array of student organizations

All of that makes it a very exciting time. 

Q: How do you plan to enhance the school’s programs and what students experience in GWSB?

A: Our guiding principle is that we need to be market driven. We need to anticipate future market trends. We need to come back with programs that demonstrate our agility to be able to respond to and drive the market—initiatives such as our unique and successful Capital Markets program.

One of the very successful programs that we want to expand on is our  Communities of Practice program, a one- or two-year (depending on the discipline) immersion workshop for students. Through the program, students are better trained to be able to do case studies and real work at places such as Boston Consulting Group, Cognizant, Deloitte, Capital One, IBM and McKinsey. It has expanded from eight students initially to 40 students. And now, we are in conversations about trying to develop a business plan to highlight the program's growth and elevate it to another level.

We are looking at the student experience from a perspective of our graduate and undergraduate programs to ensure that we meet and exceed their needs through strategic community building and engagement. We are really putting some resources and thought into the organized student experience.

We are looking programmatically to be student centered and market driven, but we are also looking carefully at the experience they get at GWSB. We are going to be walking them through the various areas of placement, preparation, entrepreneurship, co-curriculum, organized exposure to great speakers, weekly/bi-weekly seminar series, reaching out and building communities.

This is going to go beyond the student, because even alumni will be in a position to take advantage of it. This will be our first step into what we may call lifelong learning, in focusing on the student experience even beyond the student's days here.

Q: What are your plans to enhance the research coming from GWSB?

A: If you look at what our faculty are doing, it is not just cutting-edge scholarly research, which is very good, and we want to continue to feed and support this, whether through Ph.D. programs or ensuring we are providing the competitive support and resources for the faculty. Another element of faculty research is the engagement that they have with the community, and the kind of research that is being conducted at the center level, whether it is in real estate or in financial literacy or in tourism and sports management or in international business. There are aspects that are unique to GW, and what we need to do is take them to yet another level to fully leverage our D.C. location. I think by having more connections with the think tanks, with the government agencies, with the IMF, we can elevate that and provide more resources for our faculty. 

Q: What can the students expect from you as dean?

A: That their interests will be paramount on our minds and that we will seek to engage them whenever possible. That's what will drive us. I think of it as a very simple cycle: You put the student at the center, and you therefore end up creating the best programs for them. They end up gaining the best employment opportunities, they end up becoming the best alumni, they contribute to the success of the school, they help attract the best faculty and the cycle continues. So, it is a simple cycle centered on successful students, successful alumni and successful faculty, and that virtuous cycle is the key, but it is driven by our focus on the students.