It was 8:00 am and the Graduate track of MSTM-2014 batch was geared up to meet Prof. Avijit Ghosh for the New Venture Class. We knew very little about him and very little of what his course was all about. This “young” man entered the class with a smile on his face. Our first impression made us realize we have a lot to learn from the experience he has built over the years. The class started with a story of an age-old myth; he explained a story and made us ponder ideas which a King used to win a battle. A rather smart way to engage the class and explain the key concepts of how smart strategies, thoughtful thinking, utilization of all resources, and confidence in your plan can help you win obstacles that come your way in commercializing your new idea. After completing 8 weeks of his class, we have a bag full of learning and knowledge to take back. He helped broaden our thought process and made us realize the importance of thinking out of the box to be a successful entrepreneur.
Professor Avijit Ghosh is currently a senior advisor to the President of UIUC and Professor in the Department of Business Administration at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He comes from the beautiful country of India.
Professor Ghosh came to the University of Illinois in 2001 as a Dean of the College of Business. He served as a dean for 7 years. Before joining UIUC, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa and a Deputy Dean at New York University – Stern School.
As a Dean of the College of Business, Professor Ghosh has brought far-reaching impact to the campus. He initiated a number of new academic programs and research centers. In 2004, Professor Ghosh launched the Academy of Entrepreneurial Leadership with a grant of $4.5 million from the Kauffman Foundation. The main goal was to promote entrepreneurial education and experience across diverse fields throughout the campus. Also, under his leadership the College of Business launched the impressive learning facility called the Business Instructional Facility worth $62 million providing 160,000+ square feet of space to accommodate state-of-the-art classrooms, career development and academic counseling centers, student program offices, a recruitment suite, a 300-seat auditorium, and space for students to meet and study. A perfect representation where the physical architecture of the building coincides with the intellectual architecture of the curriculum.
Let’s learn more about the man himself.
How has been your journey with UIUC so far?
This university has a long reputation of being a great university. It has indeed been an honor to join this university as the Dean of the Business School. So the years that I have spent so far in this University have been my best professional experience. My journey has been very fulfilling not only because this school showed me tremendous support, but also because it helps me connect and work with students, which is my true passion. Being the Dean, gave me an opportunity to constantly be in touch with the students and ensure that we provide value to them. So I had a clear focus on what I had planned to ensure that the value was generated and delivered. But it was successful only because of the support my colleagues have given me here.
Which has been your most memorable experience in this University?
As a Dean, I welcomed every undergraduate freshman. I shook their hand and wished them luck for their journey in this school. I got a chance to shake their hand again at the day of graduation. And now to think about having a significant role in molding their life and seeing their growth as a student has been my best experience. It is great to see how we were successful in changing their outlook towards the world and making them ready to face the competitive world outside.
You are a busy man with lots of responsibilities. But then also your office doors are always open for students. How do you make time for them?
First of all, if you enjoy doing something and if you really are passionate about it, you will never mind making time for it. You know how exactly to fit it in your schedule. Spending time with students and interacting with them has always been something I look forward to. So, since I like it, I know how to fit it in my schedule. I simply believe that we always need to prioritize our work. There are always too many things to do. So if our work is well planned, there is always a room for our passion. So for me making time for students is both as a duty as well as passion.
How will you explain MSTM? What are your views about it?
This program is a process of transiting the people who are very technically proficient to become more managerially proficient. It gives the students a better managerial understanding keeping in mind their technical expertise to handle bigger strategic issues that comes in the business world. MSTM program acts like a bridge to make technically sound students more managerially capable.
What do you expect the students to gain out of this curriculum other than being managerially proficient?
I feel the most important aspect is also leadership. There are various aspects of leadership that every student should gain out of this program. First aspect is the ability to see things differently and the ability to make connections. This program has all smart people, they can understand by mere reading. But the skill you want to see ingrained in people is the skill to make connections between things and immediately having a viewpoint or a framework for understanding the industry. Second aspect is communication. The ability to think logically and put your point across is something you can learn only when you have broadened your outlook and have the capacity to listen and think out of the set boundaries.
What the first thing that comes in your mind when you think of:
- Your inspiration: Students
- UIUC: The combination of excellence and scale makes it one of the most reputed schools in the country.
- Family: I have been blessed with a great family, they have been my support and I am really proud of them.
- Teaching: Passion
- India: This is the place from where I have come from and I am really proud of it. I feel I am like an ambassador to my country and every action of mine reflects my country.
What is your message for current and prospective students?
Have passion for what you do and then everything will turn out right.