Gandolfi: A businessman who serves God globally

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Joshua Zubia -- Dr. Franco Gandolfi has come a long way on his journey to California Baptist University, he was born in Switzerland.
Joshua Zubia — Dr. Franco Gandolfi has come a long way on his journey to California Baptist University, he was born in Switzerland.

After traveling to more than 35 countries and working in banking, commerce, consulting, accounting and education, Dr. Franco Gandolfi has finally settled in at California Baptist University as the new dean of the Robert K. Jabs School of Business.

Born and raised in Switzerland, Gandolfi obtained two bachelor’s degrees in commerce and education, a master’s of commerce degree in management in his hometown and then continued to obtain a master’s of education degree in educational psychology in Australia and a doctorate of business administration in change management.

Gandolfi said that one is never able to learn too much.

“I love learning. The one motivator in my life is not money, it’s not power, it’s not titles, it’s learning. I study different cultures, I learn from different people and I get to travel and it’s fascinating,” Gandolfi said.

Gandolfi continues to learn while putting into action all the things he once learned when working in banking, commerce, consulting, accounting and, later, the world of academia.

While Gandolfi was already involved in several other things, he was also an active military man, serving in Switzerland for alternating years.

“Being in Switzerland, the military also played a big role. We have mandatory military, and I did officer school in Switzerland too. I did that over the span of a number of years, but never full-time, always part-time,” Gandolfi said.

However, after moving to Australia to obtain a second master’s and a doctorate degree, Gandolfi became involved with education, holding his first title as a professor, and then moving up the ladder.

Aside from getting involved in academia, Australia is also the place where he became a Christian.

“Australia is my spiritual birthplace. There, I became a Christian. I completed my doctorate and then I went into full-time academia, and my first role within academia was the role of a professor. I moved up the ranks and became the dean of a school of business for a state university in Australia,” Gandolfi said.

When the opportunity came up to work at California Baptist University, Gandolfi initially said “no.” After traveling, he settled in Virginia to teach at a local Christian college and run a consulting firm.

His mind changed after praying and asking God what he had in store for him and to use him.

Gandolfi said he is pleased to be working at CBU and leading the School of Business.

“As a leader, as the dean, I’m a servant. I am here to serve them, to serve the institution, to serve God. So I’m not a leader as in an elite leader, I’m a servant leader,” Gandolfi said. “It’s purely driven by God, I mean God has opened up all these incredible opportunities for me.”

Gandolfi’s goals for the university are plans to completely transform the School of Business into the best on the West Coast.

“My vision is to transform the School of Business into the most Christ-like, most influential and most transformational business school on the West Coast, of the U.S. This is a big job. So this will necessitate changes in culture, structure, resources, focus, priorities. Everything. We’re going to change a lot. You will see a lot of changes,” Gandolfi said. “We want to be known, and we want to be relevant, and we want to be a blessing to the community. We want to be able to make a deep impact.”

Gandolfi is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C, and will travel on weekends in 2013.

“Teaching is an art and being a teacher is one of the highest callings in life, and so for me, I have been blessed by people that have exemplified that, but I’m also seeing that at CBU in the School of Business, that my colleagues that I have the opportunity to work with are truly gifted and passionate teachers that make a deep impact on the students,” Gandolfi said.

Aside from his busy career life, Gandolfi is also a family man. He visits his family back in Switzerland two to three times a year, even as he gets busier.

Through his experiences and knowledge, as well as humility, Gandolfi has many facets of his life and continues to acquire many talents, using them to the best of his ability wherever he may be located.

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