University of Southern California

Global Programs Innovator to Depart
IOM Professor K. Ravi Kumar Will Travel to Singapore
June 13, 2013 • by News at Marshall

K. Ravi Kumar is a globetrotter. As one of his friends put it, “If you want to meet Ravi, go to LAX.” His global mindset has been an asset to the USC Marshall School of Business, where over the past 26 years he has played a key role in innovating international programs for which the School is renowned. Now, the professor of information and operations management has announced his departure — and plans to pack his bags for yet another international voyage.

“This decision has been one of mixed emotions for me, since USC Marshall made me who I am today and gave me the opportunity to explore, innovate and contribute,” Kumar told his colleagues. “I have enjoyed my time at USC immensely and thank all of you for your help and support. I know what it is to have a Trojan family!” Kumar has spearheaded various entrepreneurial activities in globalization at Marshall. He introduced the first experiential learning class in the IOM Department, which took students to London and Paris in 1991 and became the basis for PRIME (Pacific Rim International Management Education).

Launched in 1996, PRIME was the first course of its kind in a U.S. business school, training students as global managers through study and access to the Pacific Rim business environment. As executive director of international experiential learning programs, Kumar developed the course, which includes a group consulting project and a week-long trip abroad, and is required for all students in the Full-Time MBA program. “I still remember the student who took two loaves of bread and peanut butter to Tokyo, just in case they couldn't find anything ‘recognizable’ to eat!” Kumar fondly recalled.

With the success of PRIME, written up in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and other major business publications, Kumar oversaw other experiential learning courses, including PM GLOBE and ExPORT. PM GLOBE, required for all MBA.PM (MBA Professionals and Managers) students, offers class instruction at Marshall with international training, travel and project work. ExPORT takes EMBA (Executive MBA) students to Shanghai or Beijing to observe local businesses and meet with executives from national, joint venture and transnational corporations.

Kumar led another pioneering globalization effort in orchestrating the 2004 launch of Marshall’s first degree program abroad, GEMBA (Global Executive MBA), in Shanghai. “I spoke no Chinese and Dean Wang of Shanghai Jiao Tong University spoke no English,” Kumar said, “but with support from our EMBA faculty we got the launch done in 18 months.”

Kumar also was involved in the initial concept development for the recently launched Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management. This distance-based online program with university partners in Asia is intended to develop managers living in the Asia-Pacific region, including the United States, India, China and South Korea.

“When you consider Marshall’s emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation, experiential learning and global business, there is no doubt that Ravi Kumar has had a profound impact on the school and generations of students,” said James G. Ellis, dean of the USC Marshall School of Business. “His impact will carry on.”

As a scholar, Kumar has studied global operations, with an emphasis on improving performance through cellular design and integrated decision-making, and published in the field’s top journals. He has served as senior editor of two journals, Production and Operations Management and Operations Management Educational Review, since 2004. Kumar’s teaching excellence in the graduate programs was recognized with Marshall’s Golden Apple Award. And he has consulted with Rolls Royce, BMW, Motorola and Reuters, among others.

After Commencement, Kumar will be leaving for Singapore, where he will become the Shaw Chair Professor and dean of the Nanyang College of Business at Nanyang Technological University. “As I look to the future, I am sure that I will continue to build bridges between USC and NTU,” Kumar said, “not only between our business areas but also between engineering and science, much as I did when I was dean of KAIST College of Business in Korea between 2009 and 2011.

“Come see me in Singapore,” Kumar added to his colleagues, “or is it Changi Airport?”

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.