Business on the Move

New Sawyer Business School Dean Amy Zeng brings a penchant for partnerships and project-based learning

Amy Zeng

Story by Ben Hall
Photograph by Michael J. Clarke

There’s getting out into the community and there’s getting out into the community.


As the new dean of the Sawyer Business School, Amy Zeng wants to do both, starting on the Boston Common and extending into the business community.


“I grew up in Beijing. I love big cities, and I enjoy walking,” Zeng says. “I plan to have meetings with people while walking on the Boston Common, especially for one-on-one conversations.”


That focus on building connections was a key component of Zeng’s tenure at the University of Hartford, where she was dean of the Barney School of Business before joining Suffolk in July. She succeeded William J. O’Neill, Jr., who stepped down after elevating the Business School to new levels of excellence over almost two decades of leadership.


Zeng brings to Suffolk a passion for experience-based learning, which is central to the Sawyer educational approach. “Experiential learning is really a way to bridge the classroom with the real world. The Sawyer Business School creates that bridge, and great partners create meaningful opportunities and long-lasting impacts for students,” Zeng says.


Zeng has a history of developing industry and community ties that create learning and career opportunities for students. At Hartford, she helped establish dozens of partnerships with companies, professional organizations, and educational institutions. She says Suffolk’s location creates abundant opportunities to collaborate with the business and other communities. “It’s a huge advantage.”


Zeng is an accomplished educator and a recognized scholar in the fields of supply chain management and global logistics. She loves working across disciplines with people from all kinds of technical and academic backgrounds and cultures. Her own educational background combines business and engineering.


Zeng also hopes to expand the Business School’s focus on service-learning and social entrepreneurship. That’s particularly important, she says, with the challenges small businesses, nonprofits, and others are facing because of the pandemic. “I think this is a great opportunity for the Business School to be a part of that effort to help those organizations recover and deal with challenges.”


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