By Kate Watson |
When Dr. Harjeet Bhabra received his first degree from the Indian Institute of Technology 35 years ago, he didn’t imagine he’d be leading a life in academia. Instead, he set out on a career in naval design engineering. However, when finance began to interest him, he applied to an MBA Program in Bangalore, which eventually led him to the University of Missouri, Columbia, and a PhD in Finance.
He spent the next 20 years at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business teaching as a professor of finance, and also researching and helping to lead the school.
Now Dr. Bhabra has joined Saint Mary’s University as the new Dean of the Sobey School of Business, and he couldn’t be happier.
“I spent several years as Associate Dean at the Molson School of Business, and I learned a lot about the synergy of academics and administration,” explains Dr. Bhabra, who moved to Halifax in late August and has been settling into a busy Fall routine. “I’m excited to be stepping into a role that’s not limited to my portfolio, and where collaboration is integral to success.”
Dr. Bhabra’s areas of expertise include capital structure, corporate governance, initial public offerings, and financing decisions, and he’s done extensive research on all of these topics.
“Research fascinates me,” he says. “It gives me the opportunity to create knowledge, and then in my role as a professor, I’ve had the opportunity to take this knowledge back to the classroom and share it with my students.”
The Sobey School of Business has an impressive reputation—its MBA program is ranked among the top programs in the country—and this is a reputation Dr. Bhabra intends to build on.
“The graduate programs and undergraduate program at Saint Mary’s are outstanding, and obviously we want these to continue to grow.
“And, although the PhD program is small, it’s impressive. My intention is to add research-based programs carefully, and to work with our graduate students to build our research reputation.”
Dr. Bhabra also intends to seek new opportunities for international collaboration. He hopes to build on the model of cross-cultural communication that the Sobey School of Business has already shown in its student and faculty exchanges with China.
“I believe in my role as Dean, I can and must provide a vision,” says Dr. Bhabra. “But it has to be a vision that can be embraced by the faculty working for collective success. In that regard, I think entrepreneurship is a growing area for business education that has already been embraced in the school, and one where I think we can work toward even more growth.”
For Dr. Bhabra, becoming Dean of the Sobey School of Business is the next step in a career that has kept him motivated and intellectually stimulated for more than two decades. He says that while the demands of the job will likely be large and unpredictable, he expects that the rewards will be equally large.
“I’m looking forward to taking on a new challenge. The academic life offers a lot of flexibility in what you choose to do, and I’m very fortunate in where my choices have led me.”