Local business owner Thom Baker seeks to leave Columbia a gift when he retires. Tucked away in his equipment-lain home office, Thom Baker of...
As dean of the Trulaske College of Business, I have the honor of leading one of the highest-ranked schools of business in the country. We offer AACSB-accredited programs at all levels: undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral. Our undergraduate program is ranked No. 46 by Poets & Quants, a leading resource for news and business education coverage, and our School of Accountancy is nationally-recognized among the top 20 in the U.S. The faculty is comprised of accomplished researchers and thought leaders representing areas of sales and marketing, accounting, finance, and management.
I joined the Trulaske College of Business on January 2, 2017 and have just completed my first six months as part of the Mizzou family. My wife, Amita, and I drove in on the heels of the dramatic ice-storm Columbia experienced in mid-December. Interestingly, this is my first summer in Missouri and, after living in Arizona, I’m finally understanding what people mean when they talk about humidity and the difference “dry heat” makes. With that said, I will take the Missouri summer over 120-degree “dry heat”!
It’s difficult to identify a hometown. If we go by the number of years lived in one location, Phoenix would be my hometown. I was born in New Delhi and completed my early education and undergraduate studies there; my high school years and my first job after getting my MBA were in Manila — either of these two cities could qualify as my hometown. Of course, 10 years in Texas makes College Station home as well. No clear answer for this one.
Completed my Bachelor of Commerce, honors, with a major in accounting from the Shri Ram College of Commerce at the University of Delhi in 1980; subsequently, I completed an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Connecticut in Storrs. I worked for two years after my MBA as an IT consultant in Manila before returning to the University of Arizona in 1984 for my Ph.D. studies, and I completed my doctoral work in business administration with a concentration in management information systems in 1988.
I arrived at Mizzou after nearly 20 years in elevating academic and administrative roles at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Most recently, I served as the Earl and Gladys Davis distinguished professor and associate dean of international programs, as well as the associate vice provost for graduate education at ASU. In these administrative roles, I represented senior leadership for international initiatives and partnerships for the institution. Prior to joining ASU, I served on the faculty at the Mays Graduate School of Business at Texas A&M University from ’88 to ’98.
As I scan the Columbia business horizon, an organization that stands out for me is Veterans United Home Loans. I am very impressed with and admire what Brant Bukowsky and Brock Bukowsky have developed and positioned here in Columbia. It’s an impressive vision, purpose, and execution!
I’m passionate about every aspect of education, from the administration framework and hierarchy to mentoring scholars and students. Universities and K-12 education need to re-engineer ourselves to deal with new realities. We are on the cusp of a major change in education (not just higher education) that is being defined by a trifecta of forces — technology, globalization, and the centennials, or Generation Z. We must be ready for this next generation of students, the digital natives!
Experiential learning and innovation in education delivery should be reconsidered and re-engineered. At MU and the Trulaske College of Business, we have an opportunity (and the responsibility) to be at the forefront of this change. These challenging times are a catalyst causing us to think outside the box. I’m surrounded by very talented and passionate individuals in the faculty and staff at Trulaske, and they fuel my passion and give me great hope that we are up to this challenge.
I’d like to be a park ranger at one of our national parks; a close second would be to start a company or organization to train skilled assistance dogs to help people with disabilities.
I would like to contribute, as best I can, to the vibrancy of the local business community through proactive engagements with the university. A strong public-private academic partnership will make Columbia an even more an attractive destination for future investments.
Work ethic, integrity, and passion.
Impatience — when something has been identified as important to do, I want to work on it now.
I love to hike and enjoy the outdoors, as well as spend time with my dog playing goofy games.
I have been married to my wife, Amita, for 33 years, and we have two children. Our daughter, Anika, is 30 years old, and she is an epidemiologist by training — after doing her undergraduate and grad work at Rice and Johns Hopkins universities, she most recently completed her MBA this summer at the Olin School at Washington University. Amita and I were excited with the possibility of having her close by, but she accepted a job with Accenture and has relocated to Boston. Our son, Arjun, is 27 years old. He completed his education at Cornell in applied physics and electrical engineering. He’s been working with Lockheed Martin as an optical engineer for the last three years. I must confess that I don’t fully understand the complex issues my kids are working on. In many ways I’m now their student, which is a wonderful feeling. We also have a dog, a white German Shepherd rescue named Dizney. Since Amita and I are empty-nesters, Dizney bears the brunt of full attention.
Twin Lakes Recreation Area and Dog Park.
ASU Faculty Excellence Award in 2012. The award cited the social value of my research work conducted over a 10-year period, which was business research focused on dealing with public health crises. The award made a specific note of a model and associated decision support system my team developed. I would like to recognize my collaborators, Professor T. S. Raghu and Ph.D. students Trent Spaulding and Aaron Baird. Our system allowed researchers and state and county policymakers to simulate strategies and make informed decisions in real-time and anticipate crises to promote public health and make efficient use of resources. The software deployed was used for flu vaccine distribution strategies in Maricopa County, Arizona, saving the state over $50 million while preventing flu transmission and saving lives.
have traveled through and lived or worked in over 60 countries. I’ve been on every continent except Antarctica.