The Professor Chronicles: Andy Ross
June 15, 2021
June 15, 2021
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for 14 years. I came to Southwestern in 2006 after a career in the travel industry. My last job was director of product marketing at Travelocity; I was responsible for the Travelocity Business product that was sold to Fortune 500 companies to help them manage their corporate travel programs. Before that, I was at Sabre (the parent company of Travelocity) and American Airlines in a variety of marketing positions.
What inspired you to become an educator?
I have always had a passion for learning and a deep respect for those teachers and professors who transformed the way I saw the world. In 2006, I met the Southwestern business faculty—Mary Grace Neville, Don Parks, and A. J. Senchack. It was their passion for teaching business within the liberal arts that most inspired me to pursue this career.
How has teaching transformed you?
The students are the reason I teach. Every day, I get a chance to contribute to their development and help them pursue their passions. It is these bright, courageous, and inspiring people that make this the most rewarding job that I’ve ever had.
What is something your students would be surprised to know about you?
Along with studying business and economics as an undergraduate, I also studied political science. In 1989, I studied abroad in the Soviet Union, visiting Moscow, Tbilisi, and St. Petersburg (then still Leningrad). It was a time of tremendous political change and was a very challenging and high-impact experience.
When not working, you can find me …
somewhere else. My family loves to travel. If we have a week off, we always say we are going to have a “staycation,” but it seems we are not very good at that. My daughter is very proud of the fact that she had two stamps in her passport before her first birthday.
If you could have a drink at the Cove with anyone in the world, living or dead, what would the beverage be, who would the person be, and why?
That’s a challenging question. I could go a million different ways with that, but I will say I’d like to share a pint of ice cream with Ben Cohen. He is one of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. We study that company closely in our Foundations of Business course. Through that discussion, I have come to admire his passion for balancing a company’s financial success with its impact on its community and other stakeholders.
Describe your dream vacation.
My dream vacation is going somewhere new. Some of the most fascinating places I have visited did not show up on my bucket list before visiting them. While teaching the SU London Semester in the fall of 2018, we had the opportunity to visit Helsinki, Finland. I was captivated by the people and the culture. I’m excited to find the next place where I can experience that feeling of discovery.
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
I was envious of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter books. Having the ability to stop time would certainly allow me to get more done!
What advice would you give students going into your field today?
Business is such a broad concept. It encompasses all the commercial activity we undertake. Because it’s so broad, it is often intimidating for students to try to imagine their place in that world. My advice is always to start with your passions and find the business application from there. I am thrilled by the number of double majors we have at Southwestern who have combined the study of business with another field that inspires them.