James (Jim) Connor is the Dean of the School of Business and Information Technology at NPU. He moved from the East Coast to Silicon Valley after graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with an Engineering degree and the dream of helping technological innovations reach their potential.
He explains, "I believe for such potential to be realized, a product must also be commercially viable and financially sustainable. For this, well rounded professionals are needed, who not only understand the technicalities of complex products, but who can also convey a product's qualities, benefits and financial implications in an appealing manner to the appropriate audience."
After arriving in Silicon Valley, he delved into product management and business development at various companies, including Advanced MicroDevices (AMD) and AMI Semiconductor. He helped launch new products and worked with vendors, users, and engineers to improve quality, analyze market data, and manage budgets. Understanding that management and financial skills become essential as one moves up the corporate ladder, Jim obtained his MBA from California State University, East Bay.
Because of his love for training, Jim decided to try teaching, and became an instructor at UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley Extension programs. He then became the UC Berkeley Extension Director for the Business, Technology, and Engineering portfolio, because he wanted to help students gain practical experience and real-world skills. As the Director, he explored opportunities to collaborate with NPU.
Devote time each day towards reading and learing something new and informative
Knowing that NPU's values closely aligned with his, Jim started teaching at NPU in 2013. His corporate and teaching experience, along with his undergraduate and graduate education, made him the best candidate for NPU’s position of Dean of the Business School and Co-Chair of General Studies in 2017.
He says, "I like NPU for being an intimate and affordable university with a practical focus. It seems that everyone is part of a friendly family. Making NPU feel like a home-away-from-home for international students is something I care deeply about. One of my daughters left to attend university in China. I understand that having a strong support system enables students to explore, adapt, and thrive in a new environment."
Jim hopes that students and alumni will always feel welcome at NPU: "Sometimes a student will come back a few years after graduation and say 'Thank you'. I love hearing that my efforts and mentoring helped them grow into confident and successful Silicon Valley professionals."