The Collegian
Monday, May 20, 2024

Business school dean is revolutionizing her role

As dean of the Robins School of Business, Nancy Bagranoff has many responsibilities -- but the roles that involve interactions with students are what she enjoys the most about her job.

"Deans of academic colleges are often somewhat removed from students," Bagranoff said. "I've worked hard to make sure that's not the case."

To cement her constant involvement in the student community, Bagranoff created a student advisory council for the Robins School last year. The council includes the presidents of each student-run organization in the business school, as well as Bagranoff herself.

"Once a month, I meet with the heads of all the student organizations in the Robins School," Bagranoff said. "I listen to any questions or concerns they may have and discuss possible solutions."

Jon DeMars, a junior finance and entrepreneurship major, said he had worked closely with Dean Bagranoff in developing the Robins School financial newsletter.

"She's very open to students' ideas," DeMars said. "She's willing to work hard and truly wants to help us achieve our goals."

Bagranoff also attended Q-camp this winter, where she welcomed 120 Richmond sophomores into the program and exchanged emails with several attendees who were interested in business careers, she said. She said she also took part in the etiquette dinner as well, where Richmond students learned the proper protocol for an evening out with corporate clients and coworkers.

"I had so much fun being involved with Q-camp," Bagranoff said. "It's such an important program. It's really the best."

Bagranoff said that in addition to managing the budget and communicating with external business contacts, many people often forgot that she was a faculty member.

"I am a professor of accounting, and I pretty much love my job," Bagranoff said. "The students here enjoy their educational experience so much that they're genuinely happy. What fun it is to work with satisfied customers."

Bagranoff had endless praise for her fellow faculty members, saying that the Robins School professors are "unbelievable people" who are completely committed to what they do.

"They really put students first," Bagranoff said. "That's why I am a part of this institution. They're smart, they're thoughtful, and they're authentically interesting."

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Alumni are just as much fun as students and faculty, Bagranoff said, which makes the fundraising aspect of her position that much more enjoyable.

"It's great to see so many people who have graduated and have had such a good experience here," Bagranoff said. "They want to give back and they want to be engaged."

Bagranoff corresponds on a regular basis with the Robins School Development Office, a team who looks for prospective fundraising opportunities with people they like to call "joyful donors," she said.

"These people are connected to a cause," Bagranoff said. "We help them look for a way to have an impact within our community."

Contrary to the popular notion that fundraising can be tedious and stressful, Bagranoff said she actually enjoyed speaking to donors about Richmond and the benefits of giving back.

"We have such a great cause," Bagranoff said. "I'm passionate about higher education, so telling our story is a lot of fun for me."

The most difficult part about Dean Bagranoff's job? "That's easy," she said. "The worst part of my job is when I have to tell somebody 'no' for something. I hate to say 'no,' and there are times when it's appropriate to say 'no.' Either we don't have the resources, or maybe there are better things we should be doing."

Whether she is listening to speakers that come to campus to address students, or meeting with executives outside of the Richmond community, Bagranoff said she was constantly learning and adapting to her position.

She said she hoped to maintain her level of involvement with the student community, while simultaneously striving to better the Robins School in every conceivable way.

Contact staff writer Laura Allen at

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