Balaji Rajagopalan to lead NIU College of Business

Balaji Rajagopalan
Balaji Rajagopalan

Balaji Rajagopalan, head of the Black School of Business at Penn State Behrend, will become dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Business July 1.

Members of the NIU Board of Trustees endorsed his appointment last week following a national search.

NIU is “fortunate to have attracted a proven leader, with significant experience in strategic planning, curricular innovation, enrollment management and external relations,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman.

“Dr. Rajagopalan’s documented success at promoting academic excellence, interdisciplinary program development and faculty diversity will benefit the university,” Freeman said. “His collaborative leadership style will engage faculty, students, staff and alumni in defining the future of the College of Business.”

Rajagopalan, who also was named professor with tenure in the Department of Operations Management and Information Systems, earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Andhra University, India.

He received an M.S. in management information systems and a Ph.D. in management information systems with a minor in cognitive science from the University of Memphis.

Barsema Hall
Barsema Hall

At Penn State, he oversees an operational budget of about $19 million and an endowment near $33 million, supporting five endowed chairs and student scholarships, and AACSB accreditation.

Since 2013, he has developed, articulated and implemented a strategic plan; launched the Center for Learning Innovations; strategically positioned the MBA as a hybrid delivery program; initiated a professional development program for undergraduate students; and added online programs in finance and marketing.

“I am honored and excited to join NIU to build on the stellar reputation of the College of Business. I look forward to working with faculty, students, staff, advisory board and the community on initiatives to advance the college,” Rajagopalan said.

“The college will continue the emphasis on student success and look to expanding opportunities for distinctive experiences for students. Working with the leadership team in the college and across NIU, we will explore opportunities to grow existing programs as well as develop new programs that meet market needs, he added. “Dean Schoenbachler has led the college to great heights, and I am grateful for the opportunity to build on it.”

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