Welcome to the Monte Ahuja College of Business

Cornerstone Speaker Series September 30, 2021

The State Of Business In Cleveland
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Harlan Sands Baiju Shah
Harlan Sands
Cleveland State University
Baiju Shah
President and CEO
Greater Cleveland Partnership

Dr. Ben BaranJoin us for a panel discussion about the opportunities and challenges facing business leaders in Greater Cleveland as the region continues to emerge from the massive changes brought about by COVID-19.

Moderated by Management professor, Dr. Ben Baran, the discussion will feature timely insights and analysis including the region’s economic outlook, workforce concerns and evolving business opportunities.

About the series:

The Monte Ahuja College of Business Cornerstone Speaker Series is where theory meets practice. Intended to be an interactive and engaging conversation led by faculty experts paired with forward-thinking industry leaders who share their knowledge and best practices for operating in today’s ever-changing business environment.

About the Speakers:

Harlan SandsHarlan Sands

MBWA - Management by Walking Around - is something Harlan Sands learned in the military, and it is a practice he has carried into his career in higher education. Whether he is walking and talking with students on campus, visiting staff in their offices, or more recently, “zooming” into remote classrooms, his high-energy, hands-on approach demonstrates his passion and commitment to the Cleveland State University (CSU) community.

As president of CSU, Cleveland’s only public research university, since 2018, Sands has accelerated the University’s upward trajectory as a Carnegie high research institution nationally recognized for quality, access, affordability, and social mobility. Additionally, the Brookings Institution ranked CSU 18th in the nation among public universities that provide social mobility for their students and conduct vital research that benefits society. Since joining CSU, overall enrollment and progression rates are stronger than ever, boasting the largest fall freshman class in history in 2019, an increase in graduate enrollments in 2020, and increases in retention and graduation rates across the board for all student groups.

Under Sands’ leadership, CSU has significantly strengthened its financial statement and balance sheet, invested in student coaching and direct financial support, and implemented new international and regional recruitment and marketing strategies. In addition, CSU has established three new local enrollment partnership pipelines with Cuyahoga Community College, Lorain County Community College, and Lakeland Community College, established a ground-breaking Living-Learning Community for Cleveland Metropolitan School District students through a partnership with Parker-Hannifin, and secured additional multi-million dollar gifts from several major contributors, setting new records in both giving and donor participation.

Throughout his academic career, all at urban-serving universities, Sands has always focused on meeting the unique needs of his students. Earning two of his degrees part-time at night for six years while serving full-time on active duty in the U.S. Navy, he understands the challenges faced by many non-traditional students, and is fully invested in CSU’s Engaged Learning approach that transforms lives, connects students to career opportunities, and contributes to the growth and vibrancy of the community.

Sands came to CSU from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as Wharton’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to his time at UPenn, his more than 20 years of experience as a higher education thought leader, academic administrator, business process transformer, teacher and student advocate also included leadership positions at the University of Louisville, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Florida International University.

Prior to his career in higher education, Sands practiced law as an assistant public defender in Miami, where he litigated more than 50 trials in state and county courts representing indigent clients.

He also served on active duty for more than a decade in the U.S. Navy, including service as a Surface Warfare Officer on the USS Guam (LPH-9) and several tours of duty as a Naval Intelligence Officer. He received two Naval Commendation Medals during Operation Desert Storm.

He holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, an M.B.A. with a major in Finance from George Washington University, and a J.D. from George Mason University. 


Baiju Shah

Baiju Shah

Baiju R. Shah is the President & CEO of Greater Cleveland Partnership, the region’s leading economic development organization and with over 12,000 members, the largest metropolitan chamber of commerce in the nation. Guided by a board of corporate and entrepreneurial CEOs, the organization focuses on accelerating growth and inclusive prosperity through strategic initiatives, business services, real estate, and advocacy.

Prior to GCP, Shah served as the Senior Fellow for Innovation at The Cleveland Foundation, the world’s first community foundation with assets of $2.8 billion. His work centered on catalyzing growth initiatives for the region including leading the Cleveland Innovation Project. Shah remains a member of the Impact Investing Board Committee which directs a $150 million portfolio allocation of the foundation.

Previously, Shah was the CEO of BioMotiv and co-leader of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, a national drug development initiative. During his tenure, the company established strategic partnerships with Takeda, Biogen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. Prior to that, he was CEO and co-founder of BioEnterprise, an accelerator and industry growth initiative formed with Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Shah is a Director of Invacare (NYSE: IVC) and Athersys (NASDAQ: ATHX) and is also a Senior Advisor to FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. He also serves as a Trustee of Destination Cleveland and Global Cleveland. Shah began his business career as a consultant with McKinsey & Company.

Shah has been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and recognized as one of Cleveland’s most influential leaders. He received a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA from Yale University.