Q&A with the dean

Dr. Satish Deshpande, dean of the Haworth College of Business, reflects on the year and looks forward to 2020.

professional photo of Dr. Satish DeshpandeWhat do you think the college’s biggest success was in 2019?

I’m excited about the extent to which business leaders and alumni are engaging with the college and its various programs. We have a huge network of outstanding alumni and a thriving business community surrounding us, and we are seeing them coming in and getting engaged. And thanks to the generous support of donors, we have many exciting initiatives to help our students receive a cutting-edge education that will set them apart from their peers as they enter the workforce.

Our students have also done a great job in various national competitions. The number of teams from multiple programs that have placed in the top spots nationally shows the quality of our institution and the result of a world-class education.

What were/are the biggest challenges?

Generation Z is coming out of high school, and they are very different than previous generations. They are technologically savvy, so we need to find ways to teach them in order to keep them engaged. They’re pragmatic and committed to their causes, and lead with intention. I am impressed with how determined they are. Many of them want to start their own business because they want to be independent. So, the biggest opportunity for us is to adapt to the new generation and the changing workplace. They are ready to make an impact, and we can help with that. We need to make sure that our students are prepared to enter a quickly evolving work environment.

What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

I’m looking forward to responding to the challenges out there by stretching our innovation and creativity in delivering a business education. I don’t mean only in terms of online and hybrid classes, but in a deeper sense, by pairing instructional methods that students respond to with skills that employers are seeking. We are moving forward with learning spaces of the future, changing the actual physical environment. The college is ready to revolutionize the way that business is taught with more hands-on practical experience that will readily translate to the workplace.

What is your favorite memory from the Haworth College of Business in 2019?

I have numerous favorite memories from 2019, but they all involve students coming back from competitions and conferences with a new and exciting confidence. It is a testament to the practical business education we provide our students.

Looking ahead, what changes would you like to see in higher education?

Higher education must provide students with the skills they need to succeed. It should be responsive to the demands of the marketplace by not only addressing the market’s needs today but what the needs will be in five years. When a student enters college, they’re there for four years, so we must think to the future and train them for things that work on that timeline. Higher education needs to be agile and transformational, adopting a new business model to respond to changes quickly.