New dean of ASU's Thunderbird School aims to make ASU more global

Sanjeev Khagram will take over as the school's dean July 1

Sanjeev Khagram was an entrepreneur from a young age, helping his parents run a small New Jersey gift shop business by the time he was 13. 

Now, Khagram is the incoming dean and director general of ASU's Thunderbird School of Global Management

"I'm honored and thrilled to become part of the Thunderbird and ASU family," Khagram said. "With the possibilities of doing amazing things with students, faculty, staff, partners across ASU it was just an easy decision to make." 

Khagram is of Indian descent and was born in Uganda. During that time, his family, being one of the wealthiest families in the country, fled across the border to Kenya to avoid political strife. He came to the U.S. in 1973 after living in a refugee camp in Italy. 

While Khagram was studying at Stanford University, his family moved to California, where they launched a small convenience store business.

Khagram earned a bachelor's in development studies and engineering, a master's in economics and a doctorate in political economy, all from Stanford.

Khagram has previously worked as a professor and the founding director of the Center for International Development at the University of Washington. From 2008 to 2010, he held the Wyss Visiting Professorship at the Harvard Business School.

In addition, Khagram was a professor at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government and a visiting professor at Stanford University’s Institute of International Studies. 

He has also taught at universities in countries such as India, Mexico, Singapore and Brazil.

Despite his schedule and extensive travel, Khagram said he finds time to embrace his spirituality and Hinduism as well as practice yoga daily. 

His priorities for the Thunderbird School include partnering with schools and colleges across ASU to create new interdisciplinary programs, he said.

A new building for the Thunderbird School will be constructed during the next three years on ASU's downtown Phoenix campus. Until its opening in 2021, the school will be temporarily housed in the Arizona Center, where it will move in late July and early August to prepare for students in fall 2018.

Read more: ASU announces the Thunderbird School of Global Management will move to the Downtown Phoenix campus

Khagram will be filling the spot left by current Thunderbird CEO Allen Morrison, who is stepping down to return to teaching, according to University Provost Mark Searle.

"Morrison had expressed desire to step down and return to faculty," Searle said. "We were in the process already of recruiting an associate dean, so we had an applicant pool we were already considering."

Searle said Khagram is going to start a Global Leadership Council at ASU, which will bring together business heads from all over the world and help ASU get more involved internationally.

Morrison has been the CEO and director general of Thunderbird for three and a half years and will soon be returning to teach global leadership and strategy.

Morrison said he thinks Khagram is the perfect person to fill the spot he is leaving behind.

"I strongly recommended him throughout the process and I continue to recommend him," he said. "He will bring to the school an enormous energy and he’ll bring a brilliant mind and he’ll bring an interdisciplinary approach."

Morrison said the school's future is exciting for its community.

"The Thunderbird community is excited for Dr. Khagram to take over and to be joining the greater ASU, as well as our neighbors in downtown Phoenix," Morrison said.


Reach the reporters at  aegeland@asu.edu and afalero1@asu.edu and follow  @alexis_egeland and @afalero18 on Twitter.

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