Interview By Meaghan Menzel
Literary House Beat Reporter

Q: Why are you excited to come to Washington College?
A: This is a fantastic institution. There’s a lot of history, a lot of potential, and I want the country and the world to know what this place has to offer and recruit some of the best students to come and make this their home. It’s a brilliant institution. I’d like to marry the rich history with the upcoming technological advances in the future and make this place this special in many ways. I mean it already is, but I think I want more people to know about it.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish here?
A: I hope to make Washington College an institution that is known nationally. So no matter where we go, if we say we’re from Washington College, then they don’t need to know what state it’s from. They’ll know that it’s Washington College.

Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I was born in a city called Mumbai, India: a city of 20 million people now. I came to this country as an international student to Minnesota State University and have worked in Indiana, Rochester, and now Chestertown. So I have an interesting set of experiences I’m sure.

Q: What’s your background like?
A: I grew up in a small family in a big city. I went to a really good school in Bombay. And I’m very close to my family, so family values are very important to me. That’s why liberal arts education was a good fit for me. I’m educated in the liberal arts, but for me technology is something that I’ve been involved in since I was five to seven years old. It’s something that I live and breathe. So I bring technology into this position, and I think that aspect of my life will never change.

Q: What are your other interests?
A: I’m passionate about enrollment and technology which is one of the reasons why I am excited about this job, because it allows me to marry both of them. I love working out. I do something called cross fit on a regular basis. I love playing tennis and listening to music. I love people. I love interacting. I’m just one of those people who’ll go up and introduce myself to people. And I love students. I love working with students, and helping them mold their careers and dreams. So my job really is not a job for me. It’s something I love doing so it is part of my life.

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: I have two. The first one is Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” It helped me find out a lot of things that I did in a way that makes me a more effective manager and person. And the other one is “Who Moved my Cheese?” It’s a funny book. It tells me to add humor to a lot of different situations, because change happens on a daily basis. This helped me understand that you can’t take it so seriously. You just have to accept it and move on. So those are the two books that are my favorites, and I’ve read them several times.

Q: How did you choose this career? Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
A: I’ve always wanted to use technology to make the world better. Enrollment management happened to me right after college when I built an enrollment management system for my university, and I got intrigued with the world of admissions. And I think enrollment management is a great marriage of art of recruiting, and science of database, and technology. So it did happen by chance that I found enrollment, but once I found it, I found a passion, and I think this is something I want to do the rest of my life.

Q: You have a lot of background in technology. Where did that all start and how did it start?
A: Like I said, when I was about seven years old, I got interested, and I started writing code when I was 12 or 13. So early in my life I got into technology, and it’s been part of my life. For me it’s not just technology. I’m a very creative person, and I’ve built teams that are creative. So what interests me about technology is the creativity aspect of it, the fact that you can do anything and everything, that there is no reason to be cautious. You can be ambitious, and you can be bold. So that creative aspect of technology is what I get excited about. It’s something that started very early in my career and continues. So when I see problems, I don’t get scared. I know there’s always a solution if you’re creative, and that’s what technology has taught me.

Q: What brought you to want to work at Washington College?
A: It was the community. It was the sense of family that I see between people here and all so that there’s a lot of opportunity to take a place that’s special and make everyone aware that we’re here. We are here to stay and there’s a lot that we can offer. I think Washington College is a hidden gem that people don’t know about and I’m excited about making people aware of that. So that was that and the more than anything it just felt like a place that I could see myself in for the next several years.

Q: What exactly will be required for this job? What will you have to do?
A: Lots. First, analyze where we are. Then the goal is to get students that are passionate about education, about studying liberal arts, and being part of an education that is in many ways different than standard engineering degree because you have this core curriculum that you’ll be taking. My job is to find the right kinds of students that’ll be successful here and stay here for all four years, with an eye on quality and an eye on revenue because you know we bring in the money for this school. When it comes to tuition, tuition pays for a lot of things here. It’s a big responsibility on me, but I’m excited because I have a great team so what’s my job? My job is to bring the right kind of students to stay, who pay, and who are happy.

Q: What was your college experience like?
A: It was similar to what a lot of you see here. It’s a small school. You get to know the professors and the professors get to know you. You’re not just a number. You can shine. You can find yourself. You’re not forced to hide. You can explore. You can fail, you can get up, fail again, and then figure out your path. I was a computer science major but at a liberal arts college I got a well rounded education, yet I was an expert at computer science. So I see a lot of value in liberal arts. That’s why I’m a big proponent of it. So in my education, I made a lot of great friends: smaller school, smaller class size. I met the best people and I got to know them because it was a smaller school. And really for me it was the professors as well. I still call and talk to them. People that don’t have that don’t know what they’re missing. My experience was a very rich one.

Q: How does Chestertown compare to the other places you’ve lived so far?
A: I went to a small school in a town called Marshall, Minnesota, a town of 12,000 people: very friendly, welcoming. So this takes me back to those days. Chestertown is smaller, but also my brief interaction with people so far has been very positive. People are very friendly, very inviting. I grew up in a city of 20 million people and went to a city of to 12,000 people. Then I moved to Indianapolis which was a much bigger city. Rochester was one million. I feel like I’m coming back home to Minnesota again in many ways because the people here are nice and welcoming. And this town is a great setting for a college like Washington College.

Q: Of what you’ve seen so far on campus, what’s your favorite part?
A: Students. Students are my favorite part. I know it’s a pretty campus and there are fantastic buildings, but the students here are special. I think every student that I’ve talked to seems happy, seems excited about being here, has 10 different interests which makes this place very special, and they’re all very passionate. It’s not just that they’re here. They’re here for a reason and they know what that is.

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