Skip to Content

Darla Moore School of Business

  • Image of Dean Rohit Verma in the Moore School second floor courtyard

    Dean Rohit Verma

Taking the helm

New dean has sights set on further prominence and impact for the Moore School

When incoming Dean Rohit Verma considered applying for the position, he said his academic and administrative experience aligned remarkably well with the Moore School’s international, multidisciplinary and innovative approach to business education.

“USC is an excellent university with a solid reputation for strong programs, high-quality research and excellence in teaching,” Verma said. “With USC’s new forward-looking leadership, there is excitement and energy for the future and an openness to work together and bring fresh ideas forward. The timing worked very well — the Moore School was a perfect fit for what I was looking for.”

Verma said his leadership approach brings together diverse groups of people to develop a common sense of purpose, priorities and direction.

“Having worked with academic and administrative leaders across various disciplines and in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, I feel confident about being able to build strong, collaborative relationships to support and further the reputation of the Moore School and to build on its strong legacy of excellence,” he said.

Although Verma has been involved with building centers and launching an international university, he sees himself first and foremost as a teacher and a researcher — one who cares deeply about teaching quality; student experience and learning; and impactful, rigorous research.

As the new dean, Verma plans to draw on his extensive experience with academic communities — each with distinct personalities and constraints. Verma emphasizes collaborative leadership and closely working with faculty to foster innovation, excellence and a shared sense of purpose.

Verma’s top priority as dean: to be an avid listener. He aims to engage with faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, well-wishers and other stakeholders to learn about their motivations, aspirations, perceived opportunities, constraints and challenges.

“Every institution is unique,” he said. “Even though I have been in academia for over 25 years, I am determined to not assume anything and to listen to everything.”

The timing of his appointment is fortuitous as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the renowned international business program and the 25th anniversary of the school being officially named the Darla Moore School of Business. Verma envisions these milestones as excellent opportunities for celebration and exploration.

“I hope we can together leverage our excellent foundation to launch new initiatives in research, degree programs and teaching innovations,” he said. “We will also enhance our approach to fundraising, expanding external partnerships, engaging with the community and creating a lasting impact.”

Dean Verna and wife at VinUniversity

Verma brings a unique perspective to his new position at USC. As the founding provost of VinUniversity, he got a 360-degree view of university life; not just as a faculty member or student, but also at — quite literally — the ground level of building a university from scratch.

VinUniversity, a Vietnamese university founded in 2019, is a collaborative effort between Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, VinGroup — a multi-billion dollar company created by first-generation Vietnamese citizens — and the Vietnam government. When it was initially conceptualized, Verma was the dean of external relations for Cornell and took a leading role in the VinUniversity venture.

Receiving the proposal for VinUniversity, Verma said the concept for a new university was unlike anything he had previously seen.

“Vietnam is a remarkably dynamic and aspirational country; it is also a very young country with more than half of its people younger than 25 and about three-quarters of the population born after the Vietnam War,” Verma said. “The Vietnamese government, corporate and community leaders and international aid organizations determined that for Vietnam to meet its aspirations of becoming an economic powerhouse in Asia, the quality of higher education needed to be significantly improved.”

He said the best Vietnamese students were leaving Vietnam to study abroad in the U.S., Europe and Australia. Local university graduates often lacked job readiness, analytical problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills needed for a prosperous future.

After months of discussions about the vision, mission and logistics, Cornell leaders agreed to become the primary mentors to help create the Vietnamese institution. Verma himself visited Vietnam about a dozen times between 2017-2019 before the university was officially launched.

“I had never been to Vietnam before,” Verma said. “In meeting after meeting with the Vietnamese delegation, we were struck with their sincerity, passion and commitment for building this first nonprofit university that would create a new path forward for current and future generations.”

As the founding provost, Verma was involved in every aspect of VinUniversity’s creation, including establishing bylaws, policies, procedures and assessments; developing the college campus; developing curriculum and experiential learning pedagogy; and hiring faculty and staff.

The first group of 230 students began attending classes in 2020, right in the throes of the highly disruptive COVID-19 pandemic. As the VinUni community rallied to overcome the challenges, it continued to grow and thrive. As Verma wrapped up his work with VinUniversity in June 2023, the community comprised about 1,000 students, 100 faculty and 100 staff.

Learn more about VinUniversity and Verma's role. 

Image of Rohit Verma with colleagues at Cornell University

Before creating VinUniversity, Verma was part of an initiative to integrate three separate business schools at Cornell into one college. As dean of external relations in this new college of business, Verma oversaw several international collaborations: helping to create VinUniversity and launching new educational programs in Rwanda and in Kyoto, Japan.

By building stronger ties with more than 500 corporate partners, government entities and nonprofits, Verma and his external relations team raised several million dollars each year for the college.

Learn more about Verma's career at Cornell. 

Image of a map with countries marked where Rohit Verma has been a visiting faculty member

During his career, Verma has taught as a visiting faculty member at institutions in Germany, Korea, China, The Netherlands, Spain, Finland, India, Norway and Australia. He also taught at three U.S. institutions: Chicago; Salt Lake City; and Ithaca, New York. His last post was in Vietnam.


  • Service design and innovation
  • Health care delivery
  • Patient experience
  • Quality improvement
  • Wellness programs
  • Hospitality industry
  • Operational improvements and efficiencies

Verma initially chose engineering as his career path with a Bachelor of Technology and a master’s in engineering.

“Growing up in India, I was good at science and mathematics and got accepted into a well-reputed university,” he said. “I realized that while the specific subject matter did not appeal to me, I did like the applications of mathematics, specifically optimization and statistical techniques to understand the complexities of problems and develop solutions for them.”

Discovering his passion for optimization and problem-solving, Verma was encouraged by a mentor in his master’s program to consider specializing in operations management.

Over the years, Verma has broadened his research focus to include service design, which considers external factors like technology level and sustainability. His later research has linked service design with health care.

As Verma continues getting acquainted with the Moore School’s programs and initiatives, he would like to explore four key areas for the school:

1: ENHANCE DEGREE OPTIONS | Build on the strong portfolio of current programs to include other minors, more multiple-degree options in collaboration with other USC colleges such as engineering, hospitality and health sciences and other U.S. and international institutions.

2: STRENGTHEN THE TEAM | Strengthen and nurture the team of faculty and staff through priority recruitment, professional development, opportunities for growth and exploration, and networking with distinguished visiting faculty, researchers and industry experts. Encourage continued top scholarly research across all departments.

3: MAXIMIZE FINANCIALS | Generate additional resources through corporate partnerships, philanthropic giving, research grants, creative fundraising ideas and optimizing costs where possible.

4: EMPHASIZE BRAND VALUE | Highlight the Moore School brand through promoting Moore School accomplishments and initiatives in media outlets, including through online media, news media, impactful events, community engagement and collaborative partnerships.

Image of Rohit Verma with his wife, son and daughter

Rohit Verma met his wife, Amita, more than 30 years ago as an undergraduate student at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, and later they came to the U.S. as graduate students. Amita has an M.S. in engineering from the University of Utah and an MBA from DePaul University. She has worked for several large corporations including American Express, where she was a Master Black Belt in Six-Sigma, the operations management industry’s premier certification. Amita has also taught yoga classes as a certified instructor.

Amita was the director for academic integrity at Cornell University for more than 10 years. At VinUniversity, she was part of the founding team and played many roles required in a start-up university. She was the director of research and for the Teaching and Learning Excellence Center. While in this role at VinUni, Amita said she became so interested in the science of learning, the impact of education policies and systems on learning, and retention and motivation that she decided to pivot her career to focus on learning. She begins in fall 2023 as a Ph.D. student in USC’s Educational Leadership program.

Amita and her husband both love to travel and cook. Rohit said his other hobbies include all the “racquet” sports like badminton, tennis and table tennis as well as cricket, volleyball and basketball. Football will be a new hobby for the Vermas.

“I have never watched a football game live in a stadium, and we are really looking forward to cheering on the Gamecocks from the stands. Go Gamecocks!” Rohit said.

He said he also enjoys watching Star Trek and other science fiction movies and TV shows. His reading interests include science fiction on one hand and Jack Reacher on the other!

Rohit and Amita have two children, a daughter, Pooja, who has an undergraduate degree from Cornell and a Master of Dietetics and Nutrition from Ohio State University. Pooja is presently getting her MBA at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. She previously worked as a clinical dietician at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“Having studied at two Big 10 football schools, Pooja is an ardent football fan. Football season will be interesting in our house; loyalties will be divided, and sparks may fly!” Rohit joked.

Their son, Rishi, graduated from Cornell with a degree in operations research and engineering — following in his dad’s footsteps! After teaching middle school math for Teach for America for two years, Rishi is currently working on his dissertation in the systems engineering Ph.D. program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“Since everyone in the Verma household, besides me, will be a student for the next couple of years, I am worried that our family dinner conversations will center around homework, exams and unreasonable teachers,” Verma joked.

Adding to the Verma clan, Rishi recently got engaged to his high school sweetheart; the couple intend to marry in fall 2024.

The Verma family is kept on their toes by their beloved 11-year-old Bichon Frise, Teddy. A solid member of the Verma family, Teddy also loves to learn. With the help of many treats and belly rubs, he is learning how to navigate an obstacle course, play hide and seek, and dance.

“The move from Upstate New York to the U.S. Southeast is a big one for us, but Amita and I have received such wonderful hospitality and care from everyone we have met here so that we already feel at home,” he said. “Thank you for making us feel welcome into your community. We look forward to meeting and getting to know the USC community and establishing new roots in our new home in Columbia.”

Connect with Rohit Verma on LinkedIn. »

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.