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Behind the Scenes with the Board of Trustees: Get to Know Dean Sambamurthy, Kavitha Bindra & Blair Sanford

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management prides itself on being made up of a diverse range of professionals from across the graduate business education and corporate landscapes. Our Board of Trustees is no exception, with representatives from each of our 20 member schools as well as alumni and leaders from some of our corporate partner companies. 

As part of a new monthly series, we encourage you to go behind the scenes with us to get to know members of our Board of Trustees, beyond just their professional titles, as they respond to a series of fun, thought-provoking questions. 

Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, Albert O. Nicholas Dean, Wisconsin School of Business

Vallabh SambamurthyWhat is your favorite quote, and why?

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, … until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

—Harper Lee

As a young, voracious reader, I was quite impressed by many of the quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird.  Though I did not fully grasp the significance of the book then, I have always remembered this advice from Atticus Finch because it is the cornerstone of empathy, mutual respect and tolerance. Today, these values are ever more important, and I am continually reminded of this powerful quote.

What is your favorite thing about the work that you do?

As a professor, I have the privilege of welcoming new students every year, spending time with them, sharing knowledge, challenging them, opening their horizons and [helping them] cultivating values that will shape their success. I feel a great sense of fulfillment watching them graduate, succeed, grow as responsible leaders in business and society and create meaningful lives. Over 30 years, the realization that I have been able to influence so many young minds gives me a warm feeling and gratitude for having chosen the best career.

What is the best movie of all time, and why?

As a movie buff, I have so many to choose from. However, I choose The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Although I did not read Tolkien’s books, I am enraptured by the story, the characters and the awesome scenery. I cannot wait to visit New Zealand. At one critical stage in the second movie, The Two Towers, all seems lost for humanity and the Orcs are about to wipe them out. At that moment, the survivors summon uncommon courage and ride out into adversity for a last stand. They defeat the Orcs and set into motion the path to victory over evil. The story reminds us that there is always light even when everything seems hopeless and we stare into the abyss. Courage and a belief in goodness are the essence of humanity.

Kavitha Bindra, Assistant Dean and Executive Director, Executive Education, Yale School of Management

Kavitha BindraIf you didn’t have to work, how would you spend your time?

I have several creative pursuits, including writing, art and producing a podcast. I don’t have enough time to pursue these hobbies actively, so I would love to have unlimited time to do these.

When it comes to food, what is your guilty pleasure?

I generally try to stay away from carbs, but I absolutely cannot resist French fries, especially if they are spicy fries. My children always complain that I steal their fries if we go out to dinner.

How do you start your day every morning?

I begin my day with morning pages, which are three pages of stream of consciousness writing in a journal. This allows me to get “unstuck” for the day and process the first things that come to mind in the morning — and allows me to check in with myself and set my intention for the day. I then brew a carafe of black coffee and get ready for a morning workout.

Blair Sanford, Assistant Dean, MBA and Master’s Programs, Wisconsin School of Business

How do you start your day every morning?

I enjoy a nice cup of coffee while reading my daily devotion from Guideposts, then I go for a run and get ready for work or play.

What is your favorite quote, and why?

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” 

—Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

When I was young, my dad gave me a copy of Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. Several of my favorite quotes can be found in that book, many of which focus on developing mental control — optimism, belief in self, patience, focus and a positive attitude.

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Traveling extensively “behind the wall” during the Cold War in Communist countries including the former East Germany, several cities in the USSR, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Yugoslavia when I was 20.

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