One day during my senior year in high school, I was finishing a chemistry experiment in the laboratory when another student approached our teacher and asked a question about an organic compound. The teacher, who was standing nearby, replied, "I don't know. Ask Gopal, he would know." I had wonderful math and chemistry teachers who bequeathed me the joy of learning purely as intellectual nourishment. I was fascinated with sets and functions and how they could be used to create new magical worlds. My grandfather, a distinguished and highly respected professor of English Literature, showed me the path to fulfilment through education. My father, a hydrogeologist, instilled in me a sense of professionalism, perseverance, and attention to detail. My undergraduate education at IIT Madras, a world-renowned engineering school, taught me innovation. During my Ph.D. in Management Science at Northwestern University I spent years understanding the world of business and discovering solutions to difficult problems. I also had to teach undergraduates and graduates and it became clear to me that it is impossible to teach well without practicing the learning. I spent fifteen years in technology firms in various roles before returning to academia to teach and prepare the next generation. I taught a first-year seminar on sustainability called "Local Choices, Global Effects." When students feel powerless and jaded, this course enables them to discover that what they do, collectively, makes a big difference. Whether it is teaching a new course on analytics, spending a year in Ireland as a Fulbright Scholar or taking students to Ireland or Turkey, teaching and supervising students in Lithuania, giving lectures in Bolivia, or assisting students with their careers years after they have graduated, the joy of learning, the thrill of discovery and the fulfilment from successfully preparing the next generation drives me to #AchieveMore.
What Drives You to #AchieveMore?