Venkat Reddy moved to the United States in 1984 at age 22 to pursue his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Penn State University. He now serves as a professor of finance, dean of the College of Business and associate vice chancellor for online programs at UCCS. His passion is educating young people to “become something — through their brains. What we do is put something into their brains, and create a product. And what they do is go out and become successful.” He spent some time this week with the Business Journal talking about his life and his career. He is married to Lata, a business analyst at T. Rowe Price, and they have two children, Divya and Karan.
As dean of the College of Business, what tasks do you complete, separate from teaching?
In a broad sense today’s business dean is expected to be a strategic planner, a friend-raiser, a fund-raiser, a visionary and a community builder. In order to accomplish these tasks the dean has to build a strong team of faculty and staff who have the passion to make a difference, listen to the stakeholders and be open to change. Maintaining our AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International accreditation is critical to the success of the college. This accreditation allows us to attract and retain top-notch faculty and students. We have made significant efforts in strengthening the relationship between the college and our community through our alumni and advisory boards. We have a great culture and a strong vision: “We are in the business of building successful futures™.”
What classes do you teach?
I have taught the undergraduate and graduate classes in finance and also in the executive MBA program, a joint effort from the three CU business schools.
What is the ethics initiative?
The ethics initiative started five years ago when the Daniels Fund funded eight business schools across four states to create the Daniels Ethics Consortium. The goal was to equip our students with ethical decision-making skills and promote the idea that good ethics is not only good for your conscience, but is also good for business among our stakeholders. The UCCS College of Business received a five-year grant of $1.5 million to implement this noble cause.
How did you first become interested in business education?
My master’s degree is in agricultural economics, and as part of that program I took a class in agricultural marketing. In this class I was exposed to the concept of commodities futures and forward markets. The concept of determining a price into the future fascinated me to such an extent that I decided to pursue my Ph.D. in finance. In my role as graduate assistant, I taught undergraduate finance classes at Penn State. Since then, I never looked back. I am still a teacher at heart.
What intrigues you most about business?
A business is an organization that sells products/services in order to make a profit. Business plays a big role in the society today in creating job opportunities for the people, hence reducing poverty. Many businesses have a much more robust mission than just making a profit. Small businesses in particular give individuals an opportunity to build their own successful futures.
What intrigues you most about education?
Kautilya, an Indian philosopher, royal adviser and professor of economics and political science, very rightly underlined the importance of education some 2,000 years ago. He highlighted the fact that education enriches people’s understanding of themselves. He said that education is an investment in human capital, and it can have a great impact on a nation’s growth and development. For me this message still holds true. We live in a knowledge economy today, and it is essential that every individual accomplishes a certain level of literacy to be successful.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
The best aspect of my job is working with a dynamic group of faculty and staff to make something happen that no one thought possible. We pursue our vision of building successful futures not only for our students but also our faculty and staff, our campus, our alumni, our businesses and our community. I have also had the opportunity to meet an array of fascinating, successful and wonderful people that enrich my life and in turn give me an opportunity to help others. It gives me great pleasure to see our alumni go on to become successful not just locally but nationally and internationally. I like what this campus has done for me. Everything I do, I just do to give back.
Would you ever want to return to India?
India is so different now than in 1984. I relate to the U.S. a lot more than India. I have spent more time in the U.S. than in India. There, the economy has changed, the family relations have changed. When I go there, I just visit family and come back, and I do some things there for the college. Talent is appreciated in this country. There, you have to bribe yourself up. Here, the satisfaction is seeing someone become successful. nCSBJ