Gregory Jordan Dunn: “We train and strive to inspire students to be leaders”
Gregory Jordan Dunn is the former Dean of the School of Entrepreneurship & Business Administration at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA). Gregory Dunn is a PhD candidate from the National University of Singapore. We sat down with him to talk about his contribution to AUCA’s School of Entrepreneurship and Business Administration (SEBA):
I was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in Colorado, a US state very similar in climate and geography to Kyrgyzstan.
After growing up in the suburbs, I wanted to go somewhere very different and opted to attend the University of Hawaii for my undergrad. After my freshman year, I spent a gap year studying Russian in Bishkek and later spent another six months studying abroad in India before completing my degree. I worked in Germany and Moscow before going to the National University of Singapore for a PhD.
Why did you decide to work at AUCA?
I first came to Kyrgyzstan 14 years ago and lived in Bishkek for one year. I came back several years ago after being invited to teach in the master’s program in economics at OSCE Academy. My brother and sister-in-law decided to work at an international school in Bishkek, so I decided to stay in Kyrgyzstan longer to be close to them. Being given a chance to work with a fantastic team of students and instructors in a beautiful country was only icing on cake.
I teach subjects in economics – especially economic geography and political economy — and research methods. My PhD background is a mix of economics and business, so I also teach courses in strategy and corporate governance.
I am just finishing up a PhD focusing on innovation and the evolution of scientific networks in Eastern Europe. I would like to expand my research focus to encompass more phenomena directly relevant to Central Asia, particularly the informal economy and behavioral economics.
How does your department try to motivate students to study and to be active?
Our program encourages active entrepreneurship and community engagement on the part of students. In addition to creating opportunities to help with community initiatives through the World Bank IFC and UNHCR, students have the opportunity to learn by doing. Students also have the opportunity to run the Business Clinic and to provide consultancy services to local entrepreneurs. In the near future, we plan to open a student investment fund and to host an open tender for students to have the opportunity to run a business on campus at AUCA.
Tell us your thoughts on AUCA students. How are they different from students at other universities?
AUCA students are intellectually curious and engaged. Students in Singapore and the United States are often more reserved during course discussions, but students at AUCA possess a genuine thirst for learning. This passion carries them forward as our graduates go on to become successful entrepreneurs and leaders in the region and internationally.
Our students are a diverse bunch. Approximately 20% of our students hail from abroad, and this diversity also leads to a variety of interests and career paths upon graduation. We maintain alumni chapters in many countries of the world, and our students are accepted to some of the top graduate programs and employers in Central Asia and beyond.
Make full use of the opportunities your university experience gives you. This includes making friends from diverse countries and walks of life, and it includes your own exploration of the world outside AUCA. Get involved with student initiatives and the opportunity to practice the theory you learn in the classroom. SEBA does not purely teach skills; we train and strive to inspire students to be leaders.
SEBA students have a wide range of opportunities. As the most competitive, challenging and international academic unit within AUCA, our graduates are able to pursue careers requiring an ability to engage, inspire and lead a diverse range of colleagues and clients from around the world.