Gatepost Interview – Sandra Rahman, Marketing Professor
By Sophia Harris
What is your educational and professional background?
I went to Suffolk University for my bachelor of science in management, and then I continued at Suffolk to get a master’s in business administration. After working for a few years, I enrolled in a doctoral program, where I earned my doctorate in business administration – from Nova Southeastern University. Professionally, I’ve been mostly teaching, doing a lot of research, and doing some consulting projects on the side.
What is your role here at FSU?
I’m a professor of marketing, ... which is in the College of Business. The College of Business has gone through many, many iterations since I arrived 20 years ago. I was the former chair of our department, when we were all together, in Economics and Business Administration. I’m an advisor to the marketing club. I’ve been very involved in the College of Business Advisory Board, where we mix with business professionals and they give us ideas to improve our programs. I do a lot of research, as I mentioned, and I love going to international conferences, where I represent the University and I learn a lot and meet a lot of people. Two weeks from now, I’ll be the keynote speaker at a conference in Barcelona. Unfortunately, I’ll be doing it from my desk at home. I feel that part of what I do is to let everybody else know the goals that we have here at Framingham State.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I would never refer to what I do as a job because I’m having too much fun to consider it work. I feel that’s a blessing, and I’m so humbled to get paid for what I do. It almost feels like I shouldn’t, but I’m very happy that I do. There are many things that I enjoy. I love being a mentor and a coach in our students’ journey. I recognize that it’s a big transition from high school, to college, and then to becoming a young professional. The journey is stressful and full of anxiety and self-doubt, but it’s also a time of enlightenment and self-awareness, and building confidence. I’m just honored to be a part of this important four-year journey for students because it’s so transitional. I also teach a freshman class and a senior class, so I’m able to see this amazing transition that happens. I want to give a shout-out to our liberal arts departments on campus and faculty as well as my business colleagues in their role in making
this magic happen for each student. So much has gone into each student and it really is because we have so many talented faculty here who make it happen. I would say that’s the best part of my job.
What would you say your goals are as one of the professors of marketing?
I really want us to be a place that demands and supports excellence. A place that gives respect, and honors each student who walks into our classroom, and I expect that they honor what we do as well. I hope we’re able to inspire students to go beyond what they thought they might do, and have the confidence to pursue things that they might not have thought of. I want us to be able to make a difference and I want students to trust us. I want students to reach out to us and I hope that we’re building a department of marketing that does that. My colleagues are very much engaged in, “How can we do better in business?” There’s this concept of continuous improvement. I can definitely speak for the Department of Marketing in that, we get it right today, but we’re always reviewing and seeing how can we do it better tomorrow. I hope we create and foster an environment that brings out the best in students and helps them on their journey to continue their wonderful life.
What are some of your personal hobbies?
What I enjoy a lot is travel and I’m able to mix that a lot with a conference or I’ve taken students to travel to many corners of the Earth. We’ve been to Russia. We’ve been to China multiple times. In the United Arab Emirates multiple times. Various – if not all countries of Europe, from France to Spain to Greece to Turkey – and then we’ve dipped a little bit into Central America, going to Costa Rica. I’ve gone with students just to explore the world trips, as well as immersion kind of trips. I taught doing business in China and doing business in Russia that took me to those locations. So we went there with an eye for what we had just studied. I’ve presented and I’ve brought students to present in conferences in China. As well as my personal travel with my husband and my kids has been fabulous. ... I’m also a
grandmother. I love my little grandson and spending time with him.
Do you have any advice for FSU students?
In terms of advice, there are very specific things to do and also general motivational things. Specific things I think we are told all the time. But I think one that is kind of scary to do sometimes, especially coming to college, is to really be your authentic self. You know, not afraid to be who you are. I know that it’s a mantra in our culture, to embrace ourselves, but it’s harder to do. So I would tell students that you were chosen by us to be here. You’re here because we value what you have to say and we value who you are and we want your input. So be yourself. I’d also say be open to change. That could be new habits – new study habits, new eating habits, new lifestyle habits. Be open to new ideas and new experiences. We’re not really getting along with a lot of people in our world. And I have a lot of faith that particularly our next generation will do it better than my generation. And that is, you know, having those
difficult arguments and seeing what it’s like in someone else’s shoes because I believe that there could be some understanding and some moving forward so that we’re more collaborative. I welcome students to kind of challenge their old ways of thinking. Listen to others, make new friends, and really, it’s a great time to explore. I’d also say that going to a university is a privilege and an honor and not everyone is able to access higher education. I’d like students to take pride in this opportunity. To know that we want you here and that I want you to grab that responsibility of being here and take as much from us as you possibly can.