On March 20, Stony Brook University announced the appointment of a new dean, Haresh Gurnani, to the University’s College of Business (CoB), effective this summer.
Gurnani earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, and later a master’s and doctoral degree in operations management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Gurnani currently serves as the area chair of Operations Management, Business Analytics, Marketing, and Economics at Wake Forest University’s School of Business. He also previously held the position of chair of the Department of Management at the University of Miami.
Gurnani said that Stony Brook’s strength in applied mathematics, combined with more recent developments regarding the CoB and the University as a whole, sparked his interest in the position.
“So my background is in operations management and operations research, and has a great deal of synergy with applied mathematics,” Gurnani said. “And that’s one of the areas Stony Brook has a very solid reputation in. And I think a number of changes have occurred with the college, specifically, the AACSB accreditation that occurred recently, along with the flagship designation for Stony Brook as part of the SUNY system.”
The CoB only recently received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in late 2021.
Carl Lejuez, executive vice president and provost of Stony Brook, emphasized that Gurnani’s previous experience made him a top choice for the position.
“He comes from a really strong college of business at Wake Forest. He has been heavily involved in all aspects,” Lejuez said. “Not only the operation of that School of Business but also their rise in prominence.”
Both Gurnani and Lejuez expressed that Harriman Hall is no longer suitable to house the CoB. Lejuez pointed out that many peer universities have business buildings that are modernist and technologically advanced, unlike Stony Brook.
“It is very obvious the building needs a makeover,” Gurnani said. As the next dean he plans to facilitate funding to either renovate Harriman Hall or build a new building entirely.
Gurnani also emphasized that Stony Brook’s location and proximity to Manhattan was something he wanted to build on, as well as the existing relationships between the CoB and other schools in the University.
“I think just in terms of opportunities for different types of industries that are located within the greater New York metropolitan area, are far greater compared to what we have in North Carolina,” Gurnani said. “The other thing I would empathize with is that at Stony Brook, there are a large number of strong colleges, and the business school already has relationships and joint programs with these colleges.”
Lejuez said that it is important to clearly define how to grow the CoB, so as to not risk the school becoming competitive with other departments in the University. He explained that if enrollment fails to grow, and the CoB sees a large increase in headcount, that means it is competing with Stony Brook’s other colleges, and that is something he wants to avoid.
Gurnani said that given how the business world is becoming increasingly data-driven, he would like to incorporate that into the CoB’s curriculum.
“And so it’s kind of critical for us that when we have our students getting placed in the market, they have that ability to feel comfortable working with data,” Gurnani said. “And this was something we had adopted even before the pandemic through big centers that we run.”
Danling Jiang, professor of finance and CoB associate dean of research and faculty development, also expressed excitement about what Gurnani could bring to the school.
“Dean Gurnani is a world-renowned scholar in operations management with a rare blend of expertise in business and engineering,” Jiang wrote in an email to The Statesman. “His interdisciplinary vision and global experience will enable us to pursue innovative approaches in research and education to prepare our graduates to adapt and succeed in the fast-changing business world.”