On his LinkedIn profile, Amitabh Anand shares this quote from a certain Albert Pine: "What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal". On campus, you will often come across Amitabh with his headphones on, as he likes to listen to music just before he heads to class. A fascinating encounter with a socially committed and multi award-winning research-active faculty member who knows no boundaries, neither geographical nor intellectual.
Amitabh Anand... a globetrotting unifier!
Your CV is incredibly comprehensive, your work takes you to many countries. Even in France, you seem to have been everywhere!
I'm originally from India where I obtained a Bachelor in Environmental Engineering. I then worked for UNICEF for two years, during which time I realised that I had a certain talent for bringing people together. I went on to do an MBA at Stockholm University which included an exchange at the University of Pau... so from Sweden to the Basque Country! A full scholarship then enabled me to get my PhD at NEOMA Business School in 2017. However, even before this, in 2016, I was offered a teaching position at SKEMA Business School where I met my supervisor, Isabelle Walsh, who would become a determining factor in changing my vision of research.
You have published some thirty articles in the one and a half years that you have been with Excelia, several of which have been star-rated. You have obviously acquired a taste for research!
Indeed, I have! My research is interdisciplinary and covers leadership, ethics, human behaviour, technology, entrepreneurship and bibliometrics. At SKEMA, I launched an initiative called ShaRP (Sharing Knowledge and Research with Pleasure), which involved a group of professors, mostly women, whose mission was to unconditionally share knowledge around the world, "with pleasure", as you say in France.
Wherever you appear, you have a reputation for achieving excellent results...
Yes, I'm very proud of this! I sometimes forget that I was a mediocre student at school... but I think I've made up for it since! I've won several awards in the field of research and I'm the only teacher in Europe to have been featured in Poets and Quants, USA 2018 listing of the "World's 50 Best Business School Professors", from 400 nominations worldwide. In 2020, I won SKEMA's award for my design of an innovative course entitled "Doing business in Europe". I am also a co-editor of journals, serve on various editorial boards and I'm a member of the Academy of Management, which presented me with the special award of "Best reviewer". All this has led to many invitations to universities in India and elsewhere in the world.
After the COVID crisis, you decided to apply to Excelia in La Rochelle. What was the reason for this?
Excelia was on the shortlist of schools recommended by my mentor Isabelle. Subsequent meetings with Jean-Pierre Helfer, Jean-Pierre Dumazert and Valérie Fernandes really made me want to join the group. I am delighted to be able to work with other people such as Alejandro Escudero Yerro and Bénédicte Julien on international relations and admissions in order to help students. I also appreciate the flexibility that I have which allows me, for example, to go and work in Denmark for 3 weeks a year. Furthermore, there is the solidarity, the policy of gender equality, freedom within our teaching and, of course, the beautiful location... a dynamic city by the sea, not too far from Paris!
You obviously know France well quite well now. What do you particularly like about it?
Like the rest of Europe, it is very multicultural, there are people from all over the world, but unlike other countries, there are many holidays to help you recuperate, and a world-class health care system.
You mention holidays, but you seem to work all the time, except on Sundays. Of course, you are keen to disseminate your knowledge as much as possible... but apart from work, what do you like to do?
On Sundays, I catch up on sleep and watch the odd film. Or I dance a little - free-style hip-hop, tango and salsa, (I used to teach dance) - and I enjoy cooking!
If you hadn't become a research lecturer, what job would you have done?
I would have been a wildlife photographer! Originally, I was a keen ornithologist. But in the end, I decided that humans were far "stranger" than animals!
Do you have a message for the community?
Make sure you do something that you really enjoy and success will naturally follow!