As 2023 quickly approaches, Az Business magazine sat down with some of Arizona’s most innovative and forward-thinking business leaders to discuss industry trends and potential new business development executives should be paying attention to in 2023. Today, we meet Karthik Kannan, PhD, dean at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management.

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Karthik Kannan, PhD


University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management

Kannan joined Eller in 2022 from Purdue University, where he was the associate dean for research and partnerships at the Krannert School of Management, director of the Krenicki Center for Business Analytics & Machine Learning and the Thomas Howatt chair in management and professor of management.

LEADERSHIP STRENGTHS: “There are three pieces that are relevant to my success at Eller. One is looking at problems from an interdisciplinary standpoint. As we think about business schools, as we think about businesses themselves, they are going to be less siloed and have to have a broader connection with various parts of the businesses. At Eller, there are strengths that we need to take, adapt and then grow. That’s one of the elements.

“The second thing is being able to find unique opportunities and drive those opportunities. I’ve been very creative in the past. I’ve had successful programs that have been started at my previous institution. I want to bring that creativity to Eller, think about new programs, and think about the way we interface with people.

“And three, at the end of the day, it’s also being empathetic towards people and having a true leader who cares about the success of their own people. I want to bring that to Eller, too.”

BUILDING ON ELLER’S STRENGTHS: “Eller has strengths — its Master of Science in Management Information Systems, entrepreneurship, economics. But there are also domains where we need to have a huge presence and quickly scale up our offering. One of the important ones is business analytics and we will be pushing forth significantly on business analytics. The second aspect in which Eller is good, but in which we need to strengthen and double down, is the relationship with the community and the businesses themselves. So we will be focusing and creating something called an Eller Partnerships Office, which will double down our efforts in building connections with companies. Lastly, we are also thinking about how the future of education has to be changed with technology, with some component of online education and on-campus classes. How do we create the next generation of education systems? That’s what we’ve been thinking about.”