Actual Wisdom: Sunil Gulati
Written by Bwog Staff
In case you haven’t thought about him enough while studying for Principles, Bwog brings you the next victim of Actual Wisdom: Sunil Gulati, Econ Prof and president of the US Soccer Federation. In addition to these commendable achievements, Bwog would also like to personally thank Professor Gulati with the idea for this series. Cheers!
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: Planning for the US to win the World Cup, while watching a soccer game (or teaching principles of Economics), free of everyday guilt for having failed to save the world.
Claim to fame: I guess it’s the split personality between the soccer world and teaching at Columbia. And in a strange way friends in either of half of my life are envious of the other half of it. My soccer friends think it’s pretty cool that I teach here while many of my Columbia colleagues would much prefer to talk soccer.
What’s your most valuable or unexpected college experience?: Spending a semester abroad at University College at Buckingham. It was three months of a motivating academic experience followed by the usual 17 European capitals in three weeks on $5 a day.
What’s the craziest student excuse/extension story you’ve heard?: Some years ago, a student in Principles of Economics missed the mid-term exam (without much of an excuse) and wanted a make-up. I agreed but she then missed the make-up. At the scheduled time for the 2nd make-up, she called and said couldn’t take the exam because she had broken up with her boyfriend the previous evening before and he needed consolation.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?: My cardiologist has recommended a low cholesterol diet.
Back in my day… I lived in a frat for a few weeks followed by Ruggles for a year, Intro Principles of Economics classes were taught in the basement of Butler Library, the University GPA was less than a 3.6 and Professor Elmes was chasing Guns and Roses around the country.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
1. NYC is the center of the Universe
2. Columbia is the center of NYC
3. Alma Mater is the center of Columbia; ∎ Alma Mater is the center of the Universe.
What’s your advice to students/academics/the human race in general? Whether it’s at Teach for America or Goldman Sachs, be passionate about what you do and optimistic about the future. It makes getting out of bed every day a whole lot easier and life generally a lot more fun.