Family Business: Why Do the Bangaras Discuss GWSB Over Dinner?

By Dan Michaelis
Published: Spring 2010

The Bangaras—father, daughter and son—have turned The George Washington University School of Business into a family tradition.

Satish Bangara, MBA in International Business, ’74, his daughter Ilaria, BBA in International Business, ’06, and his son Gianluca, BBA in International Business, ’09, form their very own two-generation GWSB alumni association.

Satish is an executive at Mumbai-based Tata Group, the largest private corporate group in India, working in the multinational’s Tata Communications Limited office in Herndon, Va. He became interested in the School of Business while working for the World Bank in Washington, D.C. He had an undergraduate degree and doctorate in electrical engineering, but his exposure to international finance had him considering an MBA.

GW at the time had just launched a new international business program founded by the late Professor Phillip D. Grub.

“I found international business very interesting,” Satish said, adding that GW’s MBA program helped him make the transition from engineering to business. “I got a great

perspective and a good, solid background for a career in business. The teachers were excellent, as was the curriculum.”

In addition to Grub, Satish said Robert F. Dyer, professor of marketing, was a particularly effective and influential instructor.

Satish said that his study of international business, management and marketing was enhanced by GW’s location in the nation’s capital. “GWSB is well connected with international organizations and U.S. government agencies like the Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative,” he explained. “There is a real advantage to being in Washington.

“The School brought in great guest lecturers from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and federal agencies – top decision makers from the world of banking,

finance and international trade,” he added. “It was a real plus in my formal education.”

Although he did not push his children toward GWSB, Satish strongly recommended international business as a course of study, pointing out that the discipline opened the door to near limitless career opportunities.

“Ilaria and Gianluca were accepted at many good schools,” Satish said. “I didn’t try to influence their decision, but I was very pleased when they chose GWSB.”

Ilaria took her father’s advice to study business and, after getting a feel for the curriculum during her freshman year, found that she really liked the subject matter. She is currently a second-year law student at Catholic University of America.

When she graduates, she plans to combine her business and legal expertise by practicing corporate law.

“GW offers so much,” Ilaria said. “The fact that GWSB is so widely recognized as an excellent school provides a real advantage when looking for a job.” She echoed her father’s comments about the academic, cultural and career-opportunity advantages of the School’s D.C. location.

Gianluca credits his older sister with wielding the greatest influence on his decision to attend GWSB. He found an international banking class taught by Yoon S. Park, professor of international business, during the economic collapse of 2008 to be especially engrossing and timely. And he has positive things to say about the career-management services provided by the F. David Fowler Career Center.

Currently an intern with the International Center for Journalists, Gianluca also had an internship on Capitol Hill in the office of U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, an Illinois Democrat.

Citing the quality and relevance of the curriculum, Gianluca is positive that he made the right choice.

He said his GWSB education equipped him with “a good understanding of how different industries function and the confidence to try my hand at anything.” That should serve him well as he moves ahead on plans to join the Peace Corps and work in microfinance.

Satish said there are many advantages to being an alumni family. “We’d talk about the School, courses and teachers at dinner,” he said. “I could recommend classes, or mention this professor or that professor.”

He believes he was able to help Ilaria and Gianluca get the most from their college years.

Satish remains very involved with GWSB. He participates in the MBA Mentor Program, providing career guidance to MBA candidates. “I think it’s very good to give students realistic feedback on the real world,” he said. “It helps them discover their fields of interest and make informed career choices.”

He is also working with the School to develop a study-abroad program featuring a three-month internship with Tata Group in India. GW