Menon gets down to business

Do you ever worry the major you choose will define the rest of your life? Ajay Menon earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry and physics from a university in India. Where is he now? Dean of the College of Business at CSU.

“I was one of those people who came to Fort Collins for two years in 1991 and I never left,” Menon said. “Business is everywhere.”

Menon says he enjoys Fort Collins because it is entrepreneurial as well as a good place for a family to live.

“Free time’s few and far between because of the roles I play,” Menon said.

Menon was Chief Innovation Officer serving the governor of Colorado for a number of years. He recently retired from this role so that he could focus on his family — Menon has two kids, ages 14 and 17. Joe Cannon, Professor of marketing and colleague of Menon for 16 years, has kids around the same age.

“My favorite part of working with Ajay is talking about our kids,” Cannon said.

Although Menon tries to make family priority, he took his job as Chief Innovation Officer very seriously.

Menon said his duties under the governor included brainstorming ways to make Colorado the most innovative state. Menon plans to use his experience with the governor to better the university and the College of Business.

“I want to bring entrepreneur stuff at the state level to CSU – to make CSU the most innovative university in the country,” Menon said.

Menon believes this is possible to achieve through a combination of two things: building the right culture and developing talent at a higher level.

“My job as dean was to bring incredible talents together, let them do what they do, and sit back and do nothing,” Menon said.

Matthew Hoppal, who worked with Menon in the Dean Student Leadership Council, thinks highly of him.

“He is consistently looking for ways to improve,” said Hoppal, who graduated from Colorado State University in 2011 with a major in business administration and a finance concentration.

Hoppal met Menon through his uncle, who is a CSU alum. According to Hoppal, he and Menon worked together to connect students from the College of Business and their needs with the dean’s office.

Hoppal believes his experience working with Menon greatly impacted his own life. Hoppal now works as an analyst for J.P. Morgan. Despite the fact that he left CSU, he still appreciates everything Menon has taught him.

Hoppal said, “I look up to him so much because of what he does and who he is.”

Collegian Reporter Amber Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.