Colin Powell School
A New Strategic Direction: Punit Arora on Becoming the New Economics Department Chair
Can you share a little about your background and how you made the decision to go into academia?
Truth be told, it was an accidental decision to get into academia. I never imagined I would be an academic! After several high profile, high-pressure jobs with the Indian government, I decided I needed a break. I wanted to experience a new culture and came to the US for a masters program. That one-year break ended up becoming a PhD. More importantly, I fell in love both literally and metaphorically in my personal and professional lives. What could be better than creating and disseminating new knowledge (and getting paid for it)?
Why did you decide to take on the challenges of being department chair, and what are your priorities?
I felt our department (EcoBiz) needed a change in its strategic direction. To stay relevant in the changing higher education landscape, we need a greater focus on interdisciplinary entrepreneurship and business education. It also fits in well with my background (business, entrepreneurship and government), so I felt the timing was right for me to step up to the plate and take up the challenge head on. I was also encouraged by several colleagues, who felt the same way.