Raj Aggarwal, MBA ’70, DBA ’75, 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
“The university and the townspeople were hospitable and understanding as I went through my sometimes difficult cultural adjustment moving from India to the United States. One of my fondest Kent State memories is the day I showed my parents visiting from India around KSU, followed by my graduation ceremony for the Ph.D. program.”
As an acclaimed scholar and business leader, Raj Aggarwal, MBA ’70, DBA ’75, has been a consultant to the United Nations, World Bank, commercial banks and several Fortune 100 companies. He has also served on the board of directors for billion dollar companies such as the Henkel Corporation (Duck, LePage and Loctite brands), Ancora Trust, Maxus Investments as well as nonprofits such as Goodwill Industries, Cleveland Council of World Affairs, Hawken School and more.
Raj holds a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and has lived and worked in Northeast Ohio for the better part of his career. He received his Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Business Administration degrees both from Kent State, although his higher education journey began far away from Kent, Ohio.
He first earned his mechanical engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in his home country of India. Raj chose Kent State for his graduate education because of the renowned business program and financial support he received, and he stayed at the university because of the people he met while he was here.
“The university and the townspeople were hospitable and understanding as I went through my sometimes difficult cultural adjustment moving from India to the United States,” said Raj. “One of my fondest Kent State memories is the day I showed my parents visiting from India around KSU, followed by my graduation ceremony for the Ph.D. program - especially as earlier that day I broke my leg and had to participate on crutches!”
He went on to have a robust career in higher education, serving as a tenured professor and department chairman at the University of Toledo; Mellen Chair and tenured professor of finance at John Carroll University, tenured Sullivan Professor of International Business and Finance and dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Akron; Firestone Chair, tenured professor of finance, academic coordinator for the finance Ph.D. program and co-director of the Global Management Center at Kent State University. He has also served as a visiting professor at several universities including the University of Southern California, International University of Japan, University of Michigan, Harvard University and more.
Ranking in the top one percent of economics and finance scholars globally on research.com, Raj’s work has been cited more than 9,500 times. He has received several scholarly awards over the years such as the Kent State University Distinguished Scholar Award, the Larosier Award for his essays in international finance at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings, among others.
He is a fellow of the Academy of International Business and has been a Fulbright Research Scholar and editor in chief of scholarly journals. He has been a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Securities and Exchange Commission and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Despite his many professional commitments, he still finds time to advise senior and mid-career finance professionals through his local Financial Executives International (FEI) chapter. FEI is the largest professional association of senior finance executives, and he has served as president to the chapter and is a current board member.
Raj also strives to further the success of current students and programs at his alma mater. It is for that reason he has served on several Kent State volunteer boards including the Alumni Board, Foundation Board and the Read Center Professional Advisory Board.
“My service to these boards is a small attempt to give back and do my part in improving an already rising university,” explained Raj.
Kent State also has a special place in his heart as that’s where he met his wife of 46 years, Karen Aggarwal, ’69. Together they have a daughter, Sonia, who initiates, manages and promotes U.S. climate change programs as the senior assistant to President Biden for Climate Change.