Raj Echambadi, who launched the first MOOC-based online MBA program in the country at the University of Illiniois, will become dean of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Echambadi will assume the new role on Aug. 14th.
Echambadi succeeds Hugh Courtney who gave up the deanship after a single five-year term. Courtney, a former McKinsey partner, had been recruited from the University of Maryland where he had been vice dean. He is expected to rejoin the faculty at Northeastern.
As senior associate dean of strategic innovation at the the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Echamadi conceptualized, developed, and launched the first MOOC-based online MBA program in the country—the iMBA—with Coursera in 2016. The iMBA, which includes 500 students from more than 35 countries, has been hailed by Poets&Quants as one of the “10 most innovative business school ideas of 2015.”
HAD BEEN FINALIST FOR TOP JOBS AT ILLINOIS AND WISCONSIN
For Echambadi, the Northeastern appointment fulfills an ambition to become a business school dean. He had been among four finalists for the deanship at the University of Illinois in 2015 and had also been one of a trio of finalists at the Wisconsin School of Business earlier this year for the top job.
In taking on the job at Northeastern, Echambadi will become the inaugural Dunton Family Dean, the university’s first endowed deanship and the result of a gift from Gary Dunton, DMSB’78, and his wife Lea Anne. Six years ago, the business school received a $60 million naming gift from benefactors Rich D’Amore and Alan McKim. Since then, the school has seen a 25% increase in full‐time faculty and a 34% increase in top‐tier journal publications. D’Amore‐McKim currently employs approximately 175 faculty members and enrolls nearly 6,000 students.
“It is an amazing honor to have the opportunity to lead the D’Amore-McKim School of Business,” said Echambadi in a statement.“It is going to be a fun and exciting ride to put DMSB in the pantheon of elite business schools.”
DRAWN TO SCHOOL BY ITS FACULTY, CO-OP PROGRAM, AND LOYAL ALUMNI
The appointment is the result of a search committee led by Professor Mark Huselid, with Northeastern Provost James Bean. The group was assisted by the Dallas-based search firm of R. William Funk & Associates. The committee focused its search on an “outspoken, visionary leader for the university, school, faculty, and students, outstanding change leadership and managerial skills, and demonstrated fundraising ability,” according to a long list of published specs for the job.
The university’s announcement said that Echambadi was attracted to Northeastern for several reasons, including its talented faculty, staff, and loyal alumni base, its world-class co-op program, and its innovative approach to learning. Northeastern, he said, is a global leader in “connecting theoretical knowledge in the classroom to practical knowledge in the workplace.”
Echambadi brings strong leadership experience and innovative thinking in business education. At Illinois, he provided faculty leadership to the entire suite of Illinois’ MBA programs and developed strategic partnerships with other colleges within the campus, with corporate entities, and with academic universities around the world. He also developed numerous interdisciplinary graduate programs at Illinois, including those in the fields of bioengineering, genomic biology, and the fine and applied arts.
BEGAN HIS ACADEMIC CAREER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
Echambadi joined the University of Illinois in 2009, where he’s previously held appointments as associate dean for outreach and engagement and academic director for executive programs. In 2013, he created EntreCORPS, a student-run and student-managed consulting organization for entrepreneurial startups.
Echambadi’s primary research interests focus on technology entrepreneurship and strategic innovations, and he’s published many papers in top business and statistics journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Marketing, Management Science, Marketing Science, and the Strategic Management Journal. He earned numerous accolades at the University of Illinois for his teaching accomplishments, including the Campus Excellence Award in Professional and Graduate Teaching and the College of Business Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence.
Prior to the University of Illinois, Echambadi served as an associate professor at the University of Central Florida and as a sales executive at Castrol, the British global brand of industrial and automotive lubricants. He holds a doctorate in business administration from the University of Houston and an MBA and bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Anna University in India.
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