An Exclusive Interview with International Monetary Fund-IMF’s first female Chief Economist Gita Gopinath
The appointment of India-born Gita Gopinath as the IMF’s Chief Economist has created the breaking of many glass ceilings. She has inspired and motivated numerous students of academia – especially those of Indian decent – to pursue their ambitious dreams.
Gopinath, who hails from Kerala’s Kannur district, grew up in Mysore and went on to study at Delhi’s Lady Sri Ram College for Women (LSR). She later studied at the Delhi School of Economics where she met her future husband Iqbal Singh Dhaliwal.
“When you’re growing up in India, everybody expects you to become a doctor or an engineer and not exactly an economist,” Gopinath had earlier told The Harvard Gazette in an interview. At Delhi University, Gopinath chose economics to prepare for IAS. However, she later discovered that she had ‘absolutely zero administrative skills’. “I was more of a geek, and better with my books than anything else,” she said! Thereafter, she pursued her academic career.
Our TYV ambassador got to learn of the amazing individual behind the success that is Ms. Gita Gopinath…
What, in your opinion, is the most important quality in an economist?
A good economist should have the same qualities that are needed in most other professions: analytical thinking, curiosity, creativity. If I had to emphasise one, I would say strong analytical skills.
In this edition of TYV, readers are learning about Innovation in Education; being a regular contributor to institutions at the forefront of academia and pedagogy, which innovations have made you interested in the future of this field?
I use something called ‘Learning Catalytics’ when I teach because it helps me figure out, in real time, how well students have understood a concept. I can give them quizzes in real time and I get to see their responses immediately.
Which educators and academics have been your inspiration in your journey?
Through life you learn from many people, even if they are not in the academic field. Many of my teachers and advisers were inspirational but often my classmates and friends had the largest impact.
What book are you currently reading?
‘Fear: Trump in the White House’, by Bob Woodward. An important read.
What would be your tips to our readers who have a passion for teaching?
Firstly, please do follow your passion. To be a good teacher it helps if the class is a source of joy to you as it is to the students. If you don’t love it, it comes through and no one else will love it. To keep the love you need to continue innovating with new teaching material and innovative methods, otherwise boredom sets in.
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This interview was taken by Siddarth Mohan Shekhar, The Young Vision Ambassador (Mar 2019 – Sep 2019) , Delhi Private School- Sharjah.