A native of Greece, Ioannis Bellos, did his doctoral work at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. His subject of interest is environmentally sustainable operations, a field that reflects George Mason’s strategic initiative of Ensuring Global Futures, so he was an excellent match for the School of Business.
When he first came to George Mason, Bellos was captivated. “When I interviewed at Mason, I noticed how collegial the department is, and I got the sense that I would have an opportunity to contribute to the School’s growth and development and not just be another face in a big crowd.” Not only was the School of Business an open and welcoming community, but the diversity Bellos noticed at the university as a whole was a wonderful surprise. “What I hadn't seen in other schools is the diversity of the population.” He says. George Mason has an incredibly diverse population, but Bellos was most struck by a particular aspect of that diversity. “I noticed the population of nontraditional students who were actually driving from work at 5:30 to take my 7:30 PM class. You expect that with graduate students, but not with undergrad students. I really appreciate that commitment. They have families, they have their day job and then at night they show up to take my class—seeing that was a really humbling experience.”
Dedicated, non-traditional students were not only a surprise to Bellos when he began as Assistant Professor in the Information Systems and Operations Management area at the School of Business, they also were a cultural lesson. “In Greece, we’re very, very direct. We see directness as doing the other person a favor. Here, that kind of directness can be perceived as rude. Now I try to put myself in the student's shoes—especially when it comes to grad students, because they come to school with different perspectives. I try to understand where they work, for instance, do they work for the government or a private company? Those things inform their understanding of information. I’ve become more empathetic that way.”