Prof. Rangapriya Kannan Among Top 50 Undergraduate Business Professors in the Nation

Poets&Quants Top 50 Undergraduate Business Professors
begin quote"My passion for teaching actually started when I was 5. In Kindergarten I saw that my teachers were all powerful. They knew everything and everyone listened to them! This made a strong impression on me. "

Rangapriya (Priya) Kannan-Narashimhan’s inclusion on this year’s Best Undergraduate Business School Professor’s list was a no-brainer. Not only is Kannan the chair of the innovation and entrepreneurship department at the University of San Diego, she is the founder of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Catalyzer at the USD School of Business. Kannan is also a faculty member for the USD Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies and a faculty advisor for the university’s Center for Peace and Commerce.

Born in India, Kannan says her passion for teaching began when she was just five-years-old. “In Kindergarten I saw that my teachers were all powerful,” Kannan says. “They knew everything and everyone listened to them! This made a strong impression on me.  I became a teacher at five, teaching alphabets to my grandparents who lived with us then. As I grew older, during my teenage years this passion morphed into being a trainer, and a professor who encourages students to bring out their best, to create a positive change around them.”

Not surprisingly, Kannan’s research revolves around entrepreneurship. Through that research, Kannan says successful entrepreneurs are able to flex the three Rs — Resilience, Resourcing, and Reframing.

At current institution since what year? 2011

Education: Ph.D., UCLA Anderson School of Management

List of courses you currently teach: Strategic Management, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR

I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I was in my teens. My passion for teaching actually started when I was 5. In Kindergarten I saw that my teachers were all powerful. They knew everything and everyone listened to them! This made a strong impression on me.  I became a teacher at 5 teaching alphabets to my grandparents who lived with us then. As I grew older, during my teenage years this passion morphed into being a trainer, and a professor who encourages students to bring out their best, to create a positive change around them.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?

My research interest has been in innovators and entrepreneurs- people who successfully innovate to create positive change despite the challenges that they have faced. I find that the three Rs of successful entRepReneuRs are Resilience, Resourcing, and Reframing. We know that successful entrepreneurs are resilient and prevail in the face of challenges. In my research I find that are also equally good at resourcing- which is using available assets at hand in unexpected ways to pursue potential opportunities, and at reframing; metamorphosing existing, taken for granted notions to accommodate their creative ideas.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… an entrepreneur or a documentary filmmaker

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? Over the years, students have mentioned that they appreciate my energy and passion for the classes, the real-world applications of what they learn in my class, and the personal care that I exhibit towards my students and their success. I always say that my students should be the best prepared in the subjects I teach as compared to anyone, anywhere in the world. That is my personal mission. Furthermore, I would say that rather than teaching, I facilitate learning by looking into how each student learns best.

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Anxious! I did not complete my undergraduate studies in the US. Previously, I had taught in India and had conducted training sessions in Silicon Valley. I had zero experience teaching undergraduates in this country and I was extremely anxious during my first class here at USD.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: That grading is a part of life. It is the least favorite aspect of my job.

Professor I most admire and why: It is hard to pick one because it is most of my colleagues at USD. Our professors here view teaching as a calling and are dedicated to ensuring student success. Their passion for teaching is unparalleled. I learn from them every day.

TEACHING BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS

What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

I love it when the real-world applications of the research I conduct are brought to life by my students through their work experiences. I enjoy when students apply things that they learned in my classes into their business contexts and come back to give me feedback on how it worked. I am also challenged when they bring in interesting stories from the trenches that are not really covered by existing theory.  I use that to kickstart my thinking process about the next set of research questions.

What is most challenging?

To keep students keenly engaged throughout an 80-minute session throughout the semester.

The pandemic situation with online teaching has exacerbated this challenge. The second challenge is when they ask questions in class for which we do not have satisfactory theoretical answers. As we know it takes a while in academia to publish anything so theory is usually not caught up with the phenomena in the field.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Enthusiastic!

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Uncommitted

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… tough but fair.

LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

What are your hobbies? Reading, Singing, and Meditation

How will you spend your summer? Traveling, spending time with my family, and research.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: India

Favorite book(s): The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Game of Thrones. It combines my interest in fantasy fiction with fascinating characters. Each character has several layers and dimensions that manifest in unique ways in different settings.  I am one of those fans that did like the way the story was rushed in the last few seasons and the HBO ending, so I am reading the original books to make up my own ending in my head!

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?

I am a trained vocalist in Indian Classical Music. I like all music from around the world regardless of their origins because each unique in its own way. Music is universal and has no barriers. I specifically enjoy fusion music because it is combining distinct types of music in creative ways.

Contact:

Renata Ramirez
renataramirez@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4658