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No career planning for poster-girl economist

india Updated: Jan 16, 2007 15:02 IST
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Chief Economist & Strategist — the words printed on the crisp white card handed out do little justice to the attractive 28-year-old. Roopa Purushothaman, however, is conscious of the advantages of keeping alive the difference, whether it is breaking away from the carefully structured power look in her attire or going about her research in a manner that is different.

“I try to adopt an unconventional approach — stick to the simple by avoiding jargon and complicated language in my research,” she says.

No multi-tasking for her; she confesses to being "obsessive" when working on a particular study. It showed up significantly in her report that made economists, investors and analysts across the world sit up and take notice. The report also put India squarely on the map of global economic prosperity and with it, brought celebrity status to a 20-something woman who does not believe much in long-term planning.

Purushothaman describes herself as a "simple, basic 28-year-old" who was surprised by the attention her high profile research fetched her.

Purushothaman co-authored the Goldman Sachs paper, "

Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050

,” and also “

The BRICs Global Markets

: Crude, Cars and Capital Markets. A study of the new economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.” That later brought her to India, where she dons the thought leader’s role in The Future Group, founded by Kishore Biyani of Pantaloons Retail — the firm that runs the Big Bazaar chain.



Recently married to a Puerto Rican, Purushothaman describes herself as a “simple, basic 28-year-old” who was surprised by the attention her high-profile research fetched her. Though cooking is something she enjoys, it is not something she’s been able to devote much time to ever since she shifted to India. Armed with a BA in Ethics, Politics, Economics and International Studies and an MSc in Development Studies from London School of Economics, the lady has several other insightful studies to her credit including a recent one titled, “XX Factor: The impact of working women on India’s growth, incomes and consumption for The Future Group. At the group, she is heading research on retail, brands, capital, space, entertainment, media and logistics.

She has also rubbed shoulders with world’s most erudite on venerated panels such as the Oxford Vision 2020. As a young economist moving up at a breakneck speed, it’s not surprising that Purushothaman captured the media’s attention. Her move from Goldman Sachs to The Future Group also generated quite a stir. Though unplanned, it is an experience that she admits has been enriching. First there was the move to Mumbai required a certain amount of effort to settle down for the woman raised in New Jersey.

The credit for her success, she asserts, rests firmly with her parents who provided just the right mix traditional and non-traditional support and a priceless education in spite of the problems they faced.  "My education at a private school where there were fewer students was very influential. A lot of children don’t get to go to such schools,” she says. Reading is a passion when she can find the time — novels that were most preferred have now been replaced by biographies and non-fiction.

There is no next big career move that she’s planning yet, just a big proper wedding in New York later this year.  She wanted to be a teacher, but became a celebrity economist.  That is not bad at all for someone who does not plan much. 

Email Priyanka Sinha: priyanka .sinha@hindustantimes.com

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