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A Conversation With Priyank Arora, Ph.D. Operations Management ‘18

Learn about the Scheller Ph.D. experience of Priyank Arora, Operations Management alum and assistant professor at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business.
Headshot of Priyank Arora

Priyank Arora, Ph.D. ‘18

At the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, faculty are dedicated to student success. This is particularly true at the doctoral program level, where students are guided and supported at every stage of their journey into academia.

Learn about the experience of Priyank Arora, Ph.D. Operations Management alum and assistant professor at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business.

How did the program challenge and enhance your understanding of your research field? Were the faculty and resources supportive of your academic pursuits?

Operations Management faculty at Scheller are one of the best, if not ‘the’ best, in my research field (specifically, socially responsible operations). The Ph.D. program provided me the opportunity to learn from such esteemed scholars. Their actions and conduct (within and outside the classrooms) set excellent examples of how to conduct rigorous and relevant research.

Moreover, the program was designed and structured in a very thoughtful manner—nudging me to put my best efforts and nurturing me to improve my skills where needed. At every step of my Ph.D. journey, I felt assured that faculty and resources were there to support and help me, even on the challenging days.

What made the research environment conducive to your studies? Were there any particular experiences or collaborations that stood out to you?

I am aware that a nurturing and safe environment is an absolute necessity for me to succeed and thrive in whatever I do. This was of paramount importance to me when I was looking at various Ph.D. programs for my doctoral studies. Scheller’s program and faculty came highly recommended for their research skills and supportive nature—and they exceeded all my expectations.

While they expected us students to put our best forward, they created a safe space for us to make mistakes and learn from them. While they maintained high bars of excellence for our scholarship, they spent multiple hours helping us navigate research roadblocks. Knowing that you have the option to knock on the door of an eminent scholar in your field to discuss your research is an amazing resource for a budding researcher.

How did your advisors and faculty members contribute to your intellectual and personal growth throughout your Ph.D. journey?

When I look back on my time in Scheller, I consider it the place where I learned how to be a kind scholar. The humility and kindness shown to me by my advisors has made me appreciate all facets of our profession—from research to teaching to service. I often tell my family and friends that I hope to be a good scholar like my advisors, as well as a good human being like my advisors.

How did the program prepare you for your career, both within academia and beyond? Did any specific opportunities or resources aid in your professional development?

Given the excellent reputation of faculty at Scheller, there was series of top-notch scholars who visited the school to present their research work and engage with faculty and students. I made sure to volunteer my name for breakfast meetings with the distinguished visiting scholars. This provided me opportunities to meet and form connections with some of the leading researchers in my field. Such connections are a big help in the academic job market—we are a very small research community after all.

Also, I would like to add that my advisors (and my department) were always ready to provide financial support for me to travel to top professional conferences to present my work. This was in addition to the stipulated travel budget provided to doctoral students at Scheller. As a result of several such opportunities, I was already comfortable and confident in my presentation skills by the time I was in the job market.

What was your experience like within the student community? Were there networking opportunities that helped you establish connections with peers and experts in your field?

Midtown Atlanta and Tech Square continue to be my most favorite places in the country. The vibrant and cosmopolitan environment within and outside the walls of Scheller definitely helped on challenging and tiring research days. Due to its amazing location, Scheller attracts a great body of students who are the first form of support and respite in one’s Ph.D. journey.

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