September 13, 2022 at 9:59am
One of the world’s top researchers in the field of real estate is now also on top of the College of Business. William G. Hardin has distinguished himself internationally as a leading scholar on real estate investment, foreclosures, corporate governance and related topics, with more than 75 refereed journal articles over an academic career spanning two decades.
Now, he’s bringing the same level of introspection — and action! — to the broader goals of FIU Business. At the university since 2006, Hardin served as interim dean for a year while continuing his work as the Ryder Eminent Scholar in the Tibor and Sheila Hollo School of Real Estate, of which he was founding director.
In addition to Top 5 undergraduate and master’s degree programs in international business, what are the biggest positives driving the college?
FIU Business produces graduates with sought-after skills, and we are located in an area that allows us to embrace a mix of ethnicities, races and cultures. As I talk to people at business schools elsewhere, I see they’re trying to become more like us because they know that bringing together perspectives based on a range of identities and experiences has value in the world of business. Several senior tech investors have said to me, “We appreciate diversity and knowledge of other cultures as that is a competitive advantage.”
How is it that FIU Business is so successful at keeping up and staying at the forefront of that change?
Here’s an example of how we have not had to work to keep up but, instead, have been a leader. I was at a meeting several months ago and someone from arguably a Top 25 business school explained how excited they were about their first online graduate program. Well, we’ve been doing that for 25 years! FIU Business started the university’s online educational programs decades ago and has been educating thousands of working professionals in a way that has made sense for them. The thing is, we at FIU came by it naturally — as a realization of a need, not as an outgrowth of a historic event that forced everyone’s hand.
So, the school is innately innovative.
FIU’s been an innovator since it started 50 years ago and largely because we’re unfettered by the kind of legacy that, frankly, can stifle innovation. I’ve seen the frustrations at older schools that may have high standing. Settled comfortably in terms of enrollments and dollars, they’re going to be the last ones that have to change. We at FIU, on the other hand, embrace change because industry and our region demand it. In fast-paced Miami, we at the College of Business have a mindset of finding what works for our students and what works for businesses in the real world.
What are your immediate priorities?
Over the next five years, we’re going to continue to drive new programs related to changes in the business environment and emerging industries, and not just those in booming South Florida and the rest of the state, but in Latin America, as we have, and well beyond, particularly in Africa, where there are a lot of opportunities. 
“We will land among the Top 50 public business schools. I say that because we’re graduating students with the kinds of skills industry is looking for. We are far surpassing other business schools that show off a nice rank but fail to turn out the majority of their students in four years into a waiting economy. To the challenge of taking the college to the upper echelons, I say, Bring it on.” 
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