Interview with Dr. Satish Nargundkar of Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business

Interview by Tammie Cagle

For many professionals, an MBA is an important step in building their careers. You can find information about tuition, professors, credit hours, and degree options. But prospective students also have questions like:

  • Will an MBA be helpful to me?
  • How do I find the right program?
  • How can I make the most of an MBA experience?

That is why I am interviewing deans and professors at top business schools to gain more insight into their MBA programs.

Georgia State University interview

Georgia State University – Dr. Satish Nargundkar

I recently connected with Dr. Satish Nargundkar, Assistant Dean and Clinical Professor at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business

Georgia State is a public university in Atlanta, Georgia with a robust student population of over 36,000. The Robinson College of Business offers a wide array of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. They pride themselves on their interdisciplinary studies, including STEM-designated degrees and dual master’s degrees. It offers advanced business students an Executive MBA and an on-campus MBA program with multiple curriculum customizations. In the Fall of 2024, Georgia State University will launch their online MBA program.

Let’s sit down with Dr. Nargundkar to dig deeper into Georgia State University’s MBA programs.

MBA Stack: What advice would you give prospective students trying to decide on an MBA program?

There are several factors to consider when choosing an MBA program. Here is a broad list of 10 items in five categories:

A: Quality of Content

  • How current is the curriculum? What is its record in helping people advance in their careers?
  • How much flexibility does it offer in areas of focus?
  • What is the overall reputation of the program and the faculty?

B. Time to completion

  • How long will it take to complete?
  • How convenient are classes to attend, especially if I work while I pursue an MBA?

C. Cost

  • How much will it cost?

D. Delivery Modality

  • Are the classes in person or online? Are these options for some classes or the entire program?

E. Career Enhancement

  • What kind of co-curricular/extra-curricular activities will I have a chance to engage in during the program?
  • Will I be able to network with alumni and executives during the program to enhance my career? 
  • Will I have support for career development during the program? 

MBA Stack: What makes the J. Mack Robinson College of Business unique?

In a nutshell, it offers the best value for money.

Our program is nationally ranked in the top 20 among public universities and in the top 30 overall by US News & World Report. We deliver this quality of education while being significantly less expensive than any of the other top 20 schools. We have the largest alumni base in the Southeast, which means that many of the executives doing the hiring are likely to be our alumni, aware of the quality of our education. Robinson College provides immersive learning opportunities to every student and embeds strong career support within the program. It also serves students of various backgrounds and nationalities, providing opportunities to students that have traditionally been underserved.  

MBA Stack: How do your MBA courses help students leverage themselves into business leadership?

We continually innovate and update our curriculum to stay abreast of current trends in business and provide students with the skills they need. We recently fully revamped the MBA program to include several immersive learning opportunities for students. Learning to work on real business problems is key to getting into leadership roles. Our capstone strategy course includes a case competition where students work on a real-life business challenge posed by one of our industry partners. We piloted this concept with Equifax in Fall 2023 and are currently working with IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group). Other immersive learning opportunities include visits to various parts of the US according to a student’s interest (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, etc.) and study abroad programs.

Aside from working on these challenges, networking with executives and taking on leadership roles in student organizations is also beneficial in leveraging one’s skills.

MBA Stack: What are some of the most important attributes of students who are successful in your MBA?

Enthusiasm for learning, flexibility, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, and emotional stability are typically the key attributes of a successful MBA student. A willingness to explore and develop skills in and out of the classroom is necessary to fully take advantage of what the program can offer. Basic skills like managing one’s time effectively and communicating well are, of course, assumed.

MBA Stack: What do you wish students knew before starting the MBA program?

Know how it differs from an MS program so they can make the right choice for their careers. An MS offers an in-depth study of one particular subject, while an MBA is a broad program that teaches all aspects of a business, with the opportunity to specialize to some extent in one area. The MBA’s purpose is to develop business leaders who can lead and innovate in any industry and understand enough of every functional area to be effective.

MBA Stack: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the MBA program at Georgia State University?

Our MBA program is a more streamlined one, requiring 42 credits for completion. This increases the speed of completion for students, who can now complete it in as little as 16 months.

Employers that have hired Robinson’s MBA students report them to be hardworking, persevering, and without any sense of entitlement. They learn to work well with others. 

To Wrap Things Up

J. Mack Robinson College of Business - Georgia State University

I really appreciate the thoughtful answers that Dr. Nargundkar offered. There are two things that I want to highlight. First, they understand the value of immersive learning opportunities. They provide opportunities for students to engage in real-life decision-making and leadership through their capstone strategy course. This type of experience is not only one that students can put on their resume; it will continue to affect their leadership for years to come.

The last thing I would like to highlight is the set of successful attributes of an MBA student at Georgia State. Dr. Nargundkar explains that “enthusiasm for learning, flexibility, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, and emotional stability are typically the key attributes in a successful MBA student.” Take note that his list highlights a posture of learning and leading, not skills and knowledge. You don’t have to be the best public speaker, data analyst, or accountant to succeed in the MBA.

If you want an advanced education in business to lead and innovate on an organizational level, come with your flexibility, curiosity, and individual skills. And Georgia State might just be the fit for you.