Asutosh Nanda ECCollat graduates are using their world-class education at UAB to catapult them into exciting opportunities. From entering the workforce to entering academia, Collat students are capitalizing on their success to move to the next step.

For Ash Nanda, a Ph.D. in Economics at Columbia University is his next step.

Ash will graduate April 28 with a double major in electrical engineering and econometrics, a major that he designed with his professors and advisors in the Collat School of Business to address his specific academic goals and interests.

“Much of the core curriculum included a broad array of business courses that did not align with my approach,” he said. “An individually designed major gave me the freedom to design a curriculum with a strong focus in economics and math that still had a strong liberal arts core. The freedom to design your curriculum is extremely important for students interested in economics.”

Outside the classroom, Ash served in many different student leadership roles at UAB, including positions within the Honors College, the School of Engineering, and the Undergraduate Student Government Association. Ash also assisted with the 2016 and 2017 Alabama Economics Challenge at UAB, a statewide economics competition for middle and high school students. In fact, Ash competed in the Challenge when he was in high school in Huntsville, winning the state and regional competitions and competing at the national Challenge in New York.

Ash says one of his most impactful activities at UAB was the Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs (SMDP).

“The training I received within the office gave me a strong appreciation for social justice issues and forced me to critically examine sources of inequality in U.S. institutions,” he said. “I credit much of my personal growth to the mentorship I received in SMDP.”

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His favorite class at UAB was led by Economics Professor Josh Robinson.

“Dr. Robinson was my first economics professor at UAB and has been the best teacher I've ever had,” Ash said. “His behavioral economics course definitely stands out to me in the courses I've taken.” Another standout course was Economics Professor Jeffrey DeSimone’s “Cooperation and Competition” course, which dissects the best strategies for a wide array of games.

Like his favorite professors, Ash sees his future in academia.

Although the doctoral program will take five to seven years to complete, Ash believes his time as an undergraduate student has prepared him for whatever comes next. Even the classes that were tedious or tiresome taught him to be thankful for the experience of education, he said.

“I'll try to remind myself of that fact as I spend five years as a poor graduate student in New York,” he said.