Meet Bardia Kamrad: The Dean Who Creates Opportunities for Others

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Three decades ago, Bardia Kamrad joined the Georgetown McDonough faculty in the Operations and Information Management area. Today, he is the school’s senior associate dean for executive degree programs, as well as the academic director of the school’s Executive MBA. The thousands of students who have engaged him in the classroom have benefited from his dedication to their lifelong learning and continued success.

How did you choose your career path?

Frankly, it chose me. A sequence of events in my college days got me in a position to help my classmates as a tutor. Later, in my first M.S. degree program, I carved out an opportunity to start a learning lab for the undergraduate students. The idea of the lab was to get students who were academically successful to tutor their classmates. This lab and it’s success for the university led me to teach a couple of courses at the undergraduate level. I was 21 years old then, but I loved the experience and really enjoyed helping and seeing young people (myself included) learn – as a teacher you will never cease learning. 

As a Ph.D. student, I had a chance to teach two MBA courses at my university in my area, and I was concurrently teaching at another business school. The path to my career choice and the decision to stay on that path was amply clear. Although, my corporate job search after business school had me contemplating an offer with an airline with more than twice the salary level at the time, I went with the passion of my mind.

What is your personal philosophy?

Integrity above all. Honor, kindness, and humility right after. I believe in planning, hard work, consistency, and follow through. I also believe in the power of positive and good intentions. Our job on this planet is to make others breathe a bit easier and to create opportunities for others. Taking vitamin C on a regular basis also is very important for our well being. 

What are students surprised to learn about you during the program?

Honestly, that I deeply care about their journey and learning. Education is about more than studying. It is a chance to start with a new slate.

What can we find you doing outside of Georgetown?

Lately, I have been spending time with the new puppy we got – time consuming little devil. He is clever and funny. I enjoy music – from Bach to David Brubeck; Vivaldi to Thievery Corporation and The Temptations. I like focused readings, documentaries, NatGeo channels. And, I love tennis. I am not bad when it comes to concocting a meal – I don’t like to follow recipes. I enjoy creating new dishes with what is available. We call this innovating in the business world.

How are you influenced by Georgetown’s Jesuit values?

Our Jesuit values have changed my view of the world over the years. To me, when we talk about our Jesuit values, we are reflecting on a set of axioms that evolve, as does our perception, thinking, socialization, learning, conduct, and behavior throughout time. It’s a set of principles that reinforce our life journey.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

To be fair and kind to others. That does not imply standards should be lowered or rules have to be altered. Fairness across the board, for all.

What has been the biggest change to the business world since you started teaching?

I don’t like to look at anything in absolute terms. Some of the biggest human errors have been the result of such a perspective. Technological progress made within various industries/sectors make sense: and, within all, information diffusion as a consequence of technological changes is something to point to at a high level.

How would you describe the sense of community at Georgetown McDonough?

In my view, we are a caring community with a culture and history that is reflective of our value system and the very principles that define our heritage as an institution, our beliefs, and our high standards. Reinforcement of the sense of community, as in nourishing it, also is very important. The onus is on us to make sure it remains nourished and reinforced while we grow as a university. 

What do you hope students take away from Georgetown’s Executive Degree Programs?

Creating life opportunities for others.

What do you recommend a student does before graduating from your program?

Think about how she/he will exercise the opportunity that is before them and what legacy they wish to leave behind as an alumnus, friend, student, and a classmate.