One-On-One with Mike Mensah, Ph.D.

Mike Mensah, Ph.D., speaks about his years as dean of KSOM.

Dr. Mike Mensah
Dr. Mike Mensah

After 13 years, you have stepped down from your position as dean of KSOM. You’ve done everything from launch new programs to promote the development of ethical and just business leaders. What achievement is closest to your heart?

I am, of course, very proud of the culture of productivity, innovation and collegiality created by the Kania community. However, sometimes it is the so-called “small things” that stick with you the most. With the guidance of the SBDC staff, The Women’s Entrepreneurship Center engages our students to help lower-income women in our region start and grow their own businesses. There is nothing closer to my heart than the work done here to transform real lives.

You joined the accounting faculty more than 30 years ago. Tell us how KSOM has grown and/or changed over the years.

I think the heart and focus of the KSOM have not changed since I got here 30-some years ago. We were, and are still, a very collaborative team and very student-centered. What has changed is that we are much bigger and have become more intentional and organized. We work within formal and ambitious strategies to provide the best student experience and move the Kania School toward the top of our peer group in quality and impact. We are now a nationally ranked business school.

How has getting a business degree changed in the past few decades?

I would say that in a way it has become more complex. The business world has become so much more challenging with globalization and attendant intensification of competition, mind-boggling developments in technology, incredibly complex financial products and markets and many more innovations. Students must build the foundation for functioning in this new world of business within the same four-year period used 50 years ago. In addition, students face much tougher competition to land a good career placement and must prepare themselves more intentionally to meet employer expectations. It is a more challenging process but also more exciting, because there are more resources to support efficient, integrated learning. Technology and more deliberate attention to student learning by business faculty are particularly helpful developments.

What is your biggest hope for KSOM’s future?

I truly hope the Kania School retains its collaborative and collegial community as it pursues ambitious and innovative goals on behalf of our students and other stakeholders. It is the kind and supportive environment that will continue to sustain our efforts as we keep pushing our limits.

What is your advice for KSOM alumni and future students?

To our alumni, I want to thank you sincerely for your love and support of Kania. I hope you continue your partnership with us to help our students develop into capable and successful people who represent our Jesuit ideals in the best possible way. To future students, I hope you realize that you are surrounded by the best mentoring and academic resources you can expect anywhere, the Kania School of cura personalis. Engage!

What is the biggest benefit of a business degree at Scranton?

A Scranton business degree means the latest cutting-edge business and leadership skills and access to our very loyal network of successful alumni who are ready to help any graduate. I think the reputation of Scranton graduates, especially among employers, as honest, competent, very hardworking and willing to go the extra mile to finish the job, is a particularly valuable benefit that every Kania graduate enjoys and is compelled to live up to.

What’s next for you?

Right now, I’m really enjoying being back in Ghana and reconnecting with some people I haven’t seen in more than 50 years. After my sabbatical, I’m hoping to return to my old faculty responsibilities. I'll enjoy that, but if I'm asked to serve in any other capacity at the University, I'll consider that an equal blessing. Either way, I hope to find time to do some writing. 

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