In the search for a new business dean, officials and faculty were looking for someone who could boost fundraising efforts, launch creative programs and commit to the University long-term – and they said Anuj Mehrotra fit the bill.
Mehrotra, the senior vice dean for faculty development and research at the Miami Business School, was named the new head of the School of Business last week and will start July 1. Faculty who have worked with Mehrotra said he is an experienced leader who will be able to step up outreach to donors and improve enrollment and retention – two of the University’s top priorities in recent years.
“I am looking forward to engaging with the students, working with the faculty and staff, and getting to know the alumni,” Mehrotra, who was not available for a phone interview, said in an email.
Provost Forrest Maltzman, who helped select the new dean, said he was impressed with Mehrotra’s experience as a leader at Miami and his reputation as a collaborative team player.
“When I started calling folks for reference checks, a very common refrain was, ‘please don’t take him,’” he said.
Mehrotra has held several different leadership positions in his more than 30 years at Miami, including vice dean of graduate business programs and executive education and chair of the department of management science.
Maltzman said Mehrotra gave several ideas during the interview process about his plans for the business school – but declined to say what the ideas were because Maltzman wants to give him the opportunity to discuss ideas with faculty before announcing new projects.
Vanessa Perry, the chair of the business school dean search committee and a professor of marketing, said that when the search was launched at the end of 2017, committee members were looking for someone with diversity and experience who knew how to use D.C.’s location to benefit the school. Mehrotra matched that description, she said.
Perry said a top priority for administrators during the search was finding a dean who could have a long tenure at GW.
Mehrotra will be the fourth dean of the business school since 2010 after Linda Livingstone left last April to become president of Baylor University. Before Livingstone, former Dean Doug Guthrie was fired for overspending the school’s budget by $13 million.
“Who knows what the future holds, but we were specifically hoping that we would get a dean who would stay for the long haul,” she said.
Perry added that because Mehrotra has served as an interim dean for one year and vice dean for more than three years at Miami’s business school, he understands what it takes to lead a school with a similar size and similar programs to GW.
She said the school was looking for a creative thinker like Mehrotra, who could steer the school through a rapidly changing environment in business education. Perry said Mehrotra – who studied engineering as an undergraduate in India – can help the school place a greater emphasis on online education and specialized certificate programs, which are becoming increasingly popular among business students.
The business school debuted 15 online graduate certificates last summer designed to allow students to specialize their education and study practical topics. Adding online courses has been a University-wide priority in recent years, and the courses made more than $100 million in revenue last year.
“It’s important to have leadership that really understands those trends and has a sort of vision of how we can use our unique and special identify here at GWSB and GW in general to be able to take advantage of some of those opportunities,” Perry said.
Mehrotra started 10 graduate programs at the University of Miami, including an online MBA and a master’s program in management studies.
Perry added that the committee wanted to hire a dean who could manage and increase fundraising for the business school. In recent years, deans have been asked to dedicate more of their time specifically to fundraise for their individual schools amid a University-wide focus on reeling in donations.
Pradeep Rau, a professor of marketing and international business, said the new dean’s history of creating programs made him a strong candidate to run the school and could help increase enrollment.
“He seems to have the right kind of background to ensure that we are in a good place on that front,” he said.
Sheryl Alonso, the academic director of the leadership institute at the Miami Business School, said Mehrotra helped ramp up fundraising for the institute when he was interim dean from 2016-2017 by working with her and a major donor.
“He likes to work through people and with people,” she said. “I always felt I had his full support.”
Joseph Ganitsky, the director of the University of Miami Center for International Business Education and Research, said during the more than 10 years he has known Mehrotra, he has been an upfront leader who will “say what he thinks” and “focus on key issues at hand.”
“If you are one of the very many faculty members, you will remember him for his joviality and for his drive for his ambition to make of our school a better one and to field properly the challenges as they were needed,” Ganitsky said.