By Heream Yang
The son of a retired teacher, Todd Rothman discovered his love of school early on. Heavily involved as a tour guide and prospective student panelist during his college years, he turned his extracurricular passion into a full-time job at the MIT Office of the President.
“I always really enjoyed sharing my perspective on whatever school I was working at with people who were interested,” Rothman said. “I gravitated towards those kinds of experiences until, at some point, I realized that this could actually be my career.”
Rothman decided to further his education at Columbia University, Teachers College, graduating with an M.A. in Psychology in Education. Since then, he has established a storied career in higher education administration, working in admissions at Columbia Law School before spending 11 years at the University of Pennsylvania advising graduate and professional students. Most recently, he served as Director of Admissions at Yale Law School before accepting his new role as Director of the Student Programs Office at the Owen Graduate School of Management.
“Working with current students is an entirely different calculus, because you’re building longer-term and more substantial connections with them over the course of years, as opposed to sort of working with them just in one admission cycle,” Rothman explained. “When I was looking to leave admissions at Yale, I knew that part of the reason was to return to working with current students and to help them make the most of their time in school, both in and out of the classroom. My current position at Owen does exactly that.”
The Student Programs Office oversees both academic and student affairs, and as Director, Rothman leads with an eye on the holistic student experience. Channeling his academic background in counseling and psychology, Rothman seeks to offer a personalized approach in connecting students with the right resources.
“Every function in my office is centered on the student experience, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom,” Rothman said. “The Director role is definitely more strategic, with an eye on the bigger picture as to how we can best serve our students, both academically and socially, and how to elevate the office and make what we do more visible and accessible to the community.”
Stepping into his position this summer, during the height of a global pandemic, Rothman found a strong support system in the Owen community. Although this is his first position at a business school and his first time living south of Pennsylvania, he is quickly warming up to Nashville’s mild winters and signature hospitality.
“Considering all the chaos and uncertainty going on in the world, this has really been a relatively smooth transition for me,” Rothman said. “I really enjoy working with the specific members of my team quite a bit. They’re really invested in the students, and they all really like working with each other. Coming in to lead a team that was receptive to me and gets along well with each other made my experience at Owen really, really great.”