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33: Raj Echambadi on Mission-Driven Leadership: What is Your Why?

A peer-to-peer discussion with the 10th President of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Deans Counsel Podcast

In an episode focused on organizational mission and finding “your why,” Dr. Echambadi describes how his time as the Dean of D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University prepared him for serving as president and how it shaped his principles and philosophies on leadership, humility and vulnerability.

As a pioneer in higher education, Dr. Echambadi was a driving force behind the scaled online M.B.A. (iMBA) program at the University of Illinois, lauded as one of the best, yet disruptive, breakthroughs in educational innovation in the past decade. In Episode 33,Dr. Echambadi shares the path he followed in forging the program and his experience navigating some of the harsh criticism he confronted while driving transformative change.

“I asked, why can't we do this in the education space?”

Offered Echambadi

Demonstrating the value of higher education and also advocating to democratize education can be challenging. Listen as Raj shares crucial data points that demonstrate the positive impact ITT is having as an opportunity engine for its constituents and for the state of Illinois.

Listen to Episode 33 here -

About Dr. Raj Echambadi:

Raj Echambadi became the 10th president of Illinois Institute of Technology in August 2021.

Central to Echambadi’s vision for Illinois Tech’s future is a new path to preeminence driven by four principles: first, honoring and strengthening the university’s role as an engine of opportunity and national leader in economic mobility; second, pursuing growth through reimagining education to serve learners at all stages of life; third, fueling future innovation by empowering students; and fourth, exemplifying purpose-driven citizenship in service of Bronzeville, Chicago, and the world.

From 2017 to 2021 Echambadi served as the Dunton Family Dean of D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Under his leadership, D’Amore-McKim has become widely recognized for moving beyond traditional business silos and for embracing cross-disciplinary perspectives in both research and teaching. Programmatic innovations include the “MBA x” program, “MS x” program, combined undergraduate majors, and work-integrated degrees with business partners; each of these help students and learners develop multidisciplinary perspectives by blending their business studies with non-business areas of expertise, such as computer science or experiential design. During his tenure, Echambadi created an Office of Student Engagement, Affinity, and Inclusion at D’Amore-McKim to foster better on-campus experiences for students and launched several programs—Building Belonging Fellows, Pathfinders, Peer Affinity Cohorts—in order to build an inclusive community and cultivate a culture of belonging at the school.

Photos courtesy of Illinois Tech

Show Transcript

Dave 0:13

Welcome to Dean's Council, a podcast aimed at supporting university leaders holding one of the more critical jobs on a university campus. Your panelists can Kring gemellus and Dave Ikenberry engage in conversation with highly accomplished Dean's and other academic leaders regarding the ever complex array of challenges that Dean's face and one of the loneliest and most unique jobs in the academy.

Raj Echambadi has had a remarkable career. While transitioning from a traditional faculty role into academic leadership at the University of Illinois, Raj has had a front row seat in bringing a traditional degree program online. He became an expert in truly understanding the strategic capability and power of online education, in part by understanding what the fundamental role of faculty are in the entire teaching learning process. We also hear how he dealt with the opposition he faced from those threatened by this innovation. After Illinois, Raj honed his leadership skills by becoming dean of the business school at Northeastern University in Boston and transforming that institution. Today, Raj is President of the Illinois Institute of Technology, a university with a rich tradition in serving the students of Southside Chicago and the broader state of Illinois. In this episode, we hear Raj discuss a broad array of topics in academic leadership ranging from building your team to democratizing education. Along the way, we hear his insight into the debate underway in society about whether higher education has lost its way. And we also listen in on a great conversation about strategically leading change by fundamentally understanding your why. Stay tuned for an enlightening episode.

Ken 2:04

Raj Echambadi, we're delighted to have you here to speak with Dean's counsel here today, your career to date has been nothing short of notable, I would say even remarkable, and as president that it with enjoying success in your early days, we're just really interested in sort of getting getting to know your experience, sharing with our listening audience that we know will be the most enthusiastic about learning about what you're doing, how you how you got there. And what would you what you brought to this notable achievement. And maybe I'll just start out after walking, welcoming you and just ask, you know, what it was in your background that you think has prepared you and what you've brought into the role that is familiar from your past experience?

Raj Echambadi 3:03

Oh, thank you, Ken. And it's wonderful to see you after so many years, and my first business school interview was facilitated by you. And you know, and then you did another one, about two or three years later, and I've always, you know, benefited from your wise counsel. So thank you. And of course, Dave, is the reason why I got into all this day was a corridor mate of mine when I was at the University of Illinois, and one day he asked me to come in and walk with more drive with him to the Executive MBA that day was running. And six months later, Dave left us to go to become the dean at Boulder. And my dean came and asked me now that you've been with them for six months, can you fill those big shoes? And I said, not really. But here I am. So thank you can do that. To me, I would say three things, Ken, that has helped me in this particular job number one, and all three relate to broader philosophies, I would say that I accumulated along the way. The first one was at the University of Illinois, when our team conceptualized and launched the first online MBA program with Coursera, I understood the power of digital. And this was about a decade ago, when a lot of schools were very afraid of going to online because online would cannibalize the brand and so on. And we did a bold thing at that point in time to not just bought our face to face MBA program online, but to create something new for the online world. And so, I learned the power of digital first philosophy which I carried on in my job at Northeastern so that is point number one. Point number two is I would say the power of the ecosystem with the with Coursera with my subsequent relation chips at Northeastern happy to talk about it in specific, I realized that one of the great orthodoxies in American higher ed is we want to control the end to end value chain. And that comes with a lot of inefficiency, and more importantly, a lack of focus. So how do you create an ecosystem of like minded partners, and one of them said to me, when I when I did the Coursera, when we did the Coursera partnership, and obviously there was a revenue sharing board, and somebody came up to me and said to me, Oh, my God, you're giving away valuable tuition. And I said, you know, Bill, let's call him Bill 10%, of a grapefruit is still better than 100% of a grape. You know. And so that's been my my philosophy in terms of the ecosystem, and you know, how we think about the future. And last, but not the least, is Northeastern was phenomenal for me. In terms of one thing, you know, again, it helped me break the orthodoxy that is so prevalent in higher education. That is, there is a zero sum competition for learners. Well, it's only high school learners. You know, when you talk about enrollment cliff, when you talk about the declining birth rates and all that stuff, you're only talking still about the pipeline from high school to college, 18 year olds to college, but what about lifelong learning? What about technology, providing opportunities for us, in order to upskill reskill new skill, our learners etc? So can we start thinking about these things differently? So I would say these are the three principles that that I would say shaped my leadership philosophy, and I think I guess made me attractive to the board at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Great

Dave 6:54

to see you again, Rush. When you think about what your span of control your day to day functions were at Northeastern as dean, and now you compare and contrast that with what you have now, in the presidency. similarities, differences? Did you feel your setup pretty well for that exchange? What are your thoughts on that?

Raj Echambadi 7:15

It's always a learning experience. And one of the things that I was reminded of this by my mother, when I joined when I became the president, and I called her and we talked about a variety of stuff. And she said, What is the one thing that is keeping you awake at night? And I said, Well, the fact that I have so much to learn, I feel like, you know, there's so much to learn. And I'm not sure I will become an expert. And she said, you know, don't worry about becoming an expert. And she quoted a Tamil proverb to Me, which basically said, all you know, can pretend the size of your palm, what you don't know, fills the ocean. And she said, take that attitude every day with you, you're gonna be fine. And that has served me extraordinarily well, they one of the, I say to people, you know, that I was in a podcast the other day, and somebody asked me, What are the three things that after three years, you have learned in your presidency, I said, humility is number one. The second is gratitude. I always say this, I am here, because of the work done by a lot of people at the University of Illinois, and a lot of people at Northeastern, you know, I am just like an orchestra conductor. You know, and, and, you know, obviously have a vision of the music. And so I guide people and hopefully, shaped their ideas, and so on. But the third thing, I think, is highly underrated in leadership. And that is vulnerability, the ability to be vulnerable, the ability to walk, and one of the things that I tried to do in my meetings, is when I walk into a new room where Hi, you know, if I asked people to introduce themselves, they all walk around saying, Dean, Vice President, Vice Provost, assistant director, etc, we are inherently introducing ourselves and creating a hierarchy. Instead, what I said was, okay, we'll circulate who you are a priori. But I want you to come into the room and say something special about yourself or your family, or how your mother would introduce you to her favorite letter that's levels the stage, if you will, you will hear people who is an assistant director saying, Oh, I scared man Kilimanjaro four times in the last four years. So where I'm going with this is, I personally believe very strongly, based on my academic innovation background, that all of us together in a room are smarter than any one of us. And once you take that mindset and show the vulnerability, etc, everything becomes a learning opportunity. And this is a long winded way of me saying the the scope of the job is Different, the kind of stakeholders I'm dealing with are different. The fundraising assets are different in terms of scale. But I firmly believe that that you know, what I did at the business school. The fundamental principles that made me successful as a business school dean are the same principles that will make me a successful president, the scale might be different, and that's the way I approach it. Right.

Dave 10:29

Right. Right. Raj, you mentioned a moment ago, you perceive yourself as the conductor, you know, you're hearing the vision, you see the score, but you're building a vision of that score. build that out a little bit for us, you know, what, what is the bill without getting into the weeds? What? What is the broader vision that you're you're trying to build for it? Yeah.

Raj Echambadi 10:53

So a 32nd background about the university. We were founded in 1890, on a very noble vision to educate students from all walks of life, so that the children of Chicago's Meatpacker steel workers and machinists, especially from the Southside of Chicago, could become engineers, physicists, and architects. That's basically the premise of the university. And for about over a century, we have fulfill that mission, if you will. And we have a lot of incredibly positive proof points. We are number one in the state of Illinois for moving people from the bottom 20th percentile to the top 20th percentile, according to opportunity insights, the recent Wall Street Journal, recognized as at number one at Illinois, in the state of Illinois for economic mobility, US news, we are number one in the state of Illinois per career impact or effect is fundamentally possible because of two things, we are a technology oriented institution. And second, we are a private institution. So you know, our ability to be nimble is, you know, is much better, if you will. So when I came in there, the vision of my school was a asked r us to ask us one fundamental question, what is our y, because once you understand your Y, everything else is going to cascade and flow and so on. Because a lot of times when you think about strategic plans, in universities, etc. It's an assemblage of multiple plants that suit multiple stakeholders, etc. But I wanted to take a step back and ask one fundamental question, and it became very clear, based on 133 year old history, that our Y is to be an opportunity engine. For people. That's it. And so that became the core mantra of ours that became the value creation mechanism. And all our narrative was built around this opportunity engine, connecting back to minister Frank Wakelee. Gonzalez, this million dollar sermon in 1890, when he actually walked into a church, he was a minister, and he said, If only I had a million dollars, I could create this university. And I could educate all students, and thank God, there was somebody in the congregation with a million dollars, and hence our university was born. So so it is connecting back to the roots, it's connecting back to the purpose that became the the mantra if you will, for us. Our Why is we are going to be an opportunity engine, and then it cascades downwards. Okay, well, who are our major stakeholders? One is obviously the students. So how will we be an opportunity engine for students will be an opportunity engine for students because we are going to connect education and employment through experiential learning. We have researchers, how is it we are going to become an opportunity engine for researchers, this is fundamentally we are going to be in only relevant inspired research, we are only going to be in applied research. And that's who we are going to be in very focused areas. Then the third important stakeholder for us as a community, we live in brown, historic black neighborhood, if you will. So how is it we create Win Win relationships. But at the end of the day, one thing is very clear. If we are not an opportunity engine for any of our stakeholders, that doesn't become a part of our plan. And that's, that's how we think about it. And that's the vision of my broader score, if you will, and my job is to orchestrate and bring various people together and harmonize and synthesize their talents in order to have a coherent and appealing music, if you will. So,

Ken 14:39

Raj, we've known each other a long time, when you're when you when this announcement was was made. It made inherent sense that many of us who have known you over over many years, but we want to put you on the spot a little bit, because your trajectory has been very fast and And, you know, I like you can remember times when when you were received with curiosity and respect, but were for reasons of conventional wisdom and perhaps implicit bias or whatever you were thwarted early on, and yet have made two really, really significant moves relatively quickly that we all celebrate. But for our listening audience, you know, many of whom have asked career aspirations, I'm going to ask you to be a little less humble. And give us some of the thoughts along the way that have allowed you to convince, you know, otherwise cautious audiences that, you know, their mission was one that you could embrace and your skill set was one in which the scale question could be addressed by, you know, by the other many competencies that you bring.

Raj Echambadi 15:57

Thank you can I would say three things, if you will. The first is calculated risk taking die MBA was a huge list, as Dave knows, when I, when we propose the MBA, and I have to tell you the origin story of the IMBA. This was 2013, the Illinois full time MBA had fallen off of the rankings. And that caused a lot of anxiety amongst the leadership of the university. And they basically wanted us to do something in the business school, that would get us back to our past glory as far as the full time MBA program was concerned, because they had just left and Dave had taken the EMBA Executive MBA Program to the to number 14, I think, at that point in time. So that was the implicit comparison for us, you know, but it was very clear to me that living in Champaign, it was not going to be that easy to build a program and take a program to the top 20, etc. And my goal was to create a new type of program that would help us become the beacon of excellence. We had not been in the online space, but there were 180 programs in the US alone, that were in the online programming world, if you will. So we needed to look at something different. And I studied the newspaper industry, I studied a variety of adjacent industries and New York Times and Wall Street Journal at that point in time captured my attention. And when you think about it, they had the paywall at that time, but they had free content that you could graduate into paid content and stuff like that. And I asked, we asked this question in our team, why can't we do this? In the education space? Why do we have to recruit people for an MBA and do waiting courses? Why can't they come in and do one course? Why can't they do one module or one course etc. And hence we unbundled education modeling us after the newspaper industry, but here a very important attribution is required. I was talking to Coursera, Daphne Kohler, the founder of Coursera, and I were on the call. And Daphne basically said to me, ask me a question, what is your core capability? And like everybody else, I said, the University of Illinois faculty, we are world class and, and I heard a loud laugh across the phone, or the phone. And her point was, so your faculty members are going to teach central limit theorem better than anybody else in the world? As you know, it sounds crazy. But this was actually the starting point for a very deep conversation with us. What is the core capability of a university? Do you think about a faculty member, a faculty member, there's three things the faculty member teachers wrote material, which is easy to be ported online, a faculty member engages and a faculty member grades grading can be done by TAs and support system, etc. So the core capability happens to be the engagement part. So the entire MBA was built around the poor capability that enabled scale, by the way, because of, you know, we could we could, we could parcel it out, etc. When I started this endeavor, and my dean was Larry de Brock, who deserves a lot of credit. Larry said to me, if you're passionate about this, if you think this can work, go ahead. I'll protect you if you will. And so I went ahead, it was a stealth mode, if you will, because we were dealing with Coursera and you know, obviously, it is a for profit company. So it was done in a stealth mode, till we got to a particular point of view and so on. But down the line, there were lots of people who said, Don't do this, this is a career killer, because you actually one of the faculty members who Dave knows very well came up to me and said, you are actually going to kill the future of education. And I knew fully Well, I didn't have that kind of power. Hey, you know, so that, you know, that was not an issue. But one comment typifies this when this guard finally passed in the Faculty Senate, one of the or the educational policy Policy Committee, before the Faculty Senate, at the University of Illinois, a professor stood up and said to me, you sir, you're gonna go down in the University of Illinois history as the one who destroyed the University of Illinois. So that tells you the kind of emotional opposition this created, but to it is probably ignorance can. But I was deeply deeply committed to the concept of unbundling education. Because to me, again, I'm going off on a tangent here, but one of the earliest things we did was instead of calling it online MBA, we called it democratizing education. It was higher order, it was a higher purpose, we grabbed people gravitated towards the purpose, the people who are against us, I thought were, you know, we're only looking at it from their individual perspective, you know, whereas, to me, it was fundamentally about building capabilities for the future, and so on. So that is one thing calculated risk taking based on a broader purpose. And even at Northeastern, I think, I think this, what I did, etc. Second, understanding the power of people, I think, a lot of times we underestimate this, you know, for example, in my case, I'm going to go again, go back to the online MBA, there was one person when it was going slow, her name is Norma stagnone. And they might know her, but Norma came up to me and said, this project is not going as fast. By the way, we launched the entire program from start to finish in 18 months, but she felt the pace was not enough. And then she said to me, uh, you know, we all join this team, because we are deeply committed to the purpose of providing accessible, affordable education to diverse learners, etc. And you need to fulfill your promise. So you need people like that who speak truth to power. And from then on, I stopped calling her Norma I called a coach Bombay, after my detox, the other I mean, so in a lot of places, the one important thing that that that I have learned over the over my leadership is, don't slot people based on what they have done, take the time to assess their capabilities, and then slot them in the jobs that they will do. Well, they will do best for, you know, if you re evaluate a fish, by how well it flies, it's going to be a failure. Right. So that has been a very important thing of mine, where it is fundamentally about shaping by understanding capabilities and shaping the job to fit the capabilities. And when you give that kind of empowerment to people, the great things are going to happen. And last, but not the least is a personal mindset shift. In my humble opinion from my side. I never say no, I never veto ideas. My job as a leader is to shape ideas to their fullest potential. So, you know, for far too long when I came here, first, people would spend six months and they would come in and present their work. And we would have senior members of the leadership team pointing out the 17 mistakes in the report. And and I found that it was counterproductive. So I have a rule in my cabinet right now, your job is not to veto ideas. Your job is to say yes, shape that idea to becoming better. After that. We can have an exercise where we can pick pick it out whether it is worthy of resources, or whatever it is. So if you look at all the things we did, there is one project we did with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Northeastern, the first b2b co created degree program in the country, if you will, it was a master's in accounting. It started off with a no and I challenged the leadership there to say yes to it. And then three months later, there was a product that was worthy of taking to the market and became you know, I would say a landmark program, if you will,

Dave 24:40

was kind of circled back to your career progression. You jumped from a remarkable set of accomplishments as a business school dean right into the president's office, you bypassed other you know, there's clearly one or two or three sub levels in there that you you bypassed you. You've not been a provost First, could you comment on, you know, how critical is that Provost role? Obviously, you're in a typical example. But do we need Dean's to become provost first as a general rule? Or did you miss something there? And, and also, historically presidents have have not come out of the B School for whatever reason. Do you see that changing? Given the maybe a shifting in in Priority campus priorities? What are your thoughts on all that?

Raj Echambadi 25:30

I would say I will take the second question first. I think as a business school dean, my experiences both as a dean and my background in understanding business has been very paramount to running the university as a business for far too long. I think I like tell your true story. That was in a President's conference. When I came to Illinois Tech, one of the first things I did was to pivot our identity, from a student point of view to elevate it to something called elevate your future. So it's making sure we connect education, to employment, by mandating experiential learning opportunities, basically think of it as connecting the rigor of classroom education and melding it to the relevance of the real world. And I made a presentation to the President's conference, and a couple of presidents came up to me separately, and the message was identical. They basically excoriated me to saying, Hey, you realize the fundamental purpose of education is not employment, right? It is enlightenment. And, of course, I'm a genius the next morning, and I thought to myself, unless otherwise, your daughter or Buddha, for a lot of us employment comes before enlightenment. So So where I'm going with this is I do think we need a lot of business school people or business oriented people to run our universities. And I was at the right place at the right time. And my board was looking for somebody, they were very clear that they wanted somebody with a, I wouldn't say business school background, but a with a business background that could look at these problems in a different way, etc. So I would hope, the move of business school Dean's becoming the president, I think, is only going to accelerate in the future. The second thing regarding the provost, for me, the I was very clear, I was not going to apply for a provost, I had a couple of options. In fact, one very famous school in the Northeast approached me to being the provost. And I was very clear, that's not what I wanted to do. Because I knew my strengths. I also know my weaknesses. And so the provost job was not the right fit for me. And so the way I think about this is, a lot of times in academia, we think, okay, you need to be the department chair, because you need to understand the department and then you need to become a dean, then you need to become a vice provost, then a provost, then a president, etc. My philosophy is very simple. My philosophy is do you have a leadership philosophy? Do you know how to work with people? Do you know how to appoint the right people around you? Who will make you better? And so in that sense of the word, I have a phenomenal provost. I went for a pro search last year. And and to me, I changed my about 60% of my cabinet in the first two years, because I needed people who aligned with my leadership philosophy, if you will, were self starters because I'm not going to micromanage. I let people do their thing, within within a boundary, etc. So that's my view. It's not a one size fits all philosophy. But personally, again, three years is too short a time for me to evaluate this. I do think jumping from a business school, to being the president is not that huge jump from a leadership point of view. Interesting.

Dave 29:07

Interesting. I'd be fascinated to hear Raj, your take on this debate or position that we're reading more and more in society today. For example, over the weekend, the New York Times ran a story about what's the value of higher education today, there's a perception certainly in the US, and it may be broader that that higher education today is not fulfilling its promise. What's your take of all this? How threatening is that to our industry? Where do you want to take that?

Raj Echambadi 29:43

Yeah, it is actually, in my humble opinion. One of the best things about my job is my interactions with people. I can only pinch myself think about this. I speak to the three of you today and and this was only possible because of higher education. There was a middle class kid sitting in India, higher education in the US gave me an opportunity to flourish and look at the economic mobility of my family. Now. When you think about the university, I oversee VR, an opportunity engine. But for us, and universities like us, there'll be a lot of lost Mercury's and Albert Einstein's and so on. So I think the very notion, you know, this whole tear the paper movement, don't have diplomas, you know, their diplomas are not valued and so on. I think it is highly counterproductive. While there is some truth, or there are elements of truth in what people are saying, our education is becoming unaffordable to a majority of the people as a private school, less than 7% of the American population can afford my price, full price. And if you have multiple children, obviously, that number goes down. So I understand the affordability crisis. But the goal is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, which is what is happening. In fact, I had a funny conversation planning from my side, not from the other person's side, there was a person who said to me, oh, college should not be mandated colleges useless and all that stuff. And I asked her what her children were doing, and not surprising to all of us, her children, were going to college, you know, very elite colleges and so on. And I said, Wait a minute, how do you and I was very polite and diplomatic. But, you know, I read somewhere that 58% of Americans don't value higher education, don't think of higher education in a positive light. But, but a majority of them think it is the right thing for their family. Right. So to me, you know, one of the things that I want to emphasize here is that education is also freedom. Once you're educated, once you have that bachelor's degree, once you have that master's degree, etc, it gives you the freedom to pursue opportunities. And I think as a society, we need to cultivate that we need to foster that. And you know, one last thing I will say about this, I have the opportunity to speak to a lot of legislators. And I say to people, you know, one of the most important things that we need to worry about is education, the more number of bachelor's degree you have in a locality, the economic spillover is going to ensure higher economic development. Once you have a high number of bachelor's degree, the number of other jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree also amplified, you know, you need drycleaners, you need hotels, you need restaurants, you need delis, and so on. But the other important aspect is education is also a matter of national security for us. When you think about the number of scientists that are being produced in other parts of the world, etc. In sheer numbers, I do think we need to keep up. When I see that less than 5% of Chicago public schools, students 24,000 graduate every year, less than 5% of them go into STEM majors, this is a matter of national security. So for all these reasons, I think it is fairly important for us to not get into the tear the paper ceiling movement and so on. But to you know, evangelize the value of college education. And this is one place where I think higher educational institutions have not done a good job. I was just gonna

Dave 33:59

I was just going to ask you that. Yeah, that for whatever reason we're not. We're not telling the story. Yeah.

Raj Echambadi 34:05

You're not telling the story. We are very defensive. And we are letting a few elite universities dictate the public consciousness. Right. Finally, there have been a lot of discussions about elite schools in the last two months in our national media, etc. But they have less than 200,000 students. Out of the total 20 million students, undergraduate and graduate in the United States today. So we are having a very small minority of institutions dictate the agenda, if you will, when a majority of us are actually doing the right thing. But for us, the you know, the you know, it's we are not the panacea to all ills, but leaving aside education, if you throw education throw aside education, that's not the solution to prosperity. you, Raj,

thank you for this fascinating conversation we could go on promise us, you'll let us come back and talk about the future of higher education. And the implications of technology will play in the changing landscape. We've got lots of things we could talk about with you. And we'd love to visit with you again. Thank you. Thank you can absolutely anytime an invitation from any of you, I'm there

Ken 35:33

Well, Dave, what do you think of that conversation?

Dave 35:36

Well, Raj took me down memory lane on a lot of those projects and ideas he's been working on I, he's such a, I think he's a wonderful person for the role he's in today. He's such a strategic thinker, and has a very firm grasp. And I really like his how he he really places his principles and his values right up front in terms of his style of leadership and what he he values in terms of leading his institution forward, but also what he values in the people that he puts around. And so a great story. And I also appreciated his perspective on on the role of business Dean's and people coming out of business, academic traditions, leading leading universities in the future. I think he's right. What would your thoughts can?

Ken 36:30

Yeah, no, he's, he's remarkable. And, you know, I was trying to wonder if he might unpack sort of what his secret sauce was, that allowed him to have the kind of trajectory that he's had. And in fact, he did indirectly. But he's, he's humble. He's, he's not a bragger. And really, the thing that came out to me that I realized that it's been there, all along, is he's really a leader. I mean, he's a leader. Oh, yeah. Because, and not a manager. And, you know, his leadership qualities, both in terms of vision, but then empowerment of people. And with the kind of grace and kindness that he shares. It's really, it's really pretty remarkable. He's strategically been right. And he surrounded himself with people who who believe in his vision and will go to the great extents to deliver on

Dave 37:25

it. Yeah, absolutely. What a great story. We'll have to have him back.

Ken 37:29

I do want someone to look into the crystal ball of the future of higher education, and the role that technology is going to play and who better than Raj?

Dave 37:40

Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, we've had we have quite a few interviewees over the last year or so that I need to be on that panel couldn't agree more. Yes, being. Yep. Thank you for listening to this episode of Dean's Council. This show is supported in part by Korn Ferry leaders in executive search. Dean's Council was produced in Boulder, Colorado by Joel Davis of analog digital arts. For a catalogue of previous shows, please visit our website at Dean's If you have any feedback for us, please let us know by sending an email to feedback at Dean's And finally, please hit follow or subscribe on your favorite podcast player so you can automatically receive our latest show

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