In his first working visit to Purdue University since joining the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, Distinguished Fellow of International Finance David Malpass met with faculty, students, university leadership, and members of the community and media for wide-ranging discussions on the developing world, currencies, the debt crisis and more.
Malpass is also the Inaugural Fellow of Global Business and Infrastructure at Purdue@DC. He brings to both roles his experiences as president of the World Bank Group from April 2019 to June 2023; his public service, ranging from deputy assistant secretary of the treasury and deputy assistant secretary of state to undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs; and his years as a leading economist on Wall Street.
At Purdue in mid-January, Malpass gave a public talk on debt and development as part of the Purdue University Research Center in Economics’ monthly economic policy luncheon series; served as the school’s Executive Forum speaker; met with Larsen Leaders Academy students and the Purdue Investment Banking Academy; and moderated an ECON 370 class discussion on U.S. trade deficits.
He also met with Daniels School faculty and dean Jim Bullard, Purdue President Mung Chiang, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts David Reingold and others, and took a tour of the university’s nuclear reactor.
“There’s a great opportunity to grow the business school and deepen the whole university’s engagement with Washington, international finance and global business,” he says. “And it was exciting to visit Purdue’s unique research reactor and digital process controls while fission was underway.”
Connecting with students
“It was an incredible experience to spend several hours with the former president of the World Bank. Being able to hear about his journey firsthand, from a physics major to the World Bank, was motivating,” says Ben Gottlieb, a Daniels School finance major and member of the Larsen Leaders Academy.
“I think his new role here is going to be very beneficial to students,” he says. “This is going to open up more opportunities for Purdue students and give them resources unlike any business school in the country.”
Gottlieb noted Malpass’ ability to connect with students.
“In one of the meetings, there were several students with international backgrounds, and he was able to have conversations with each of them about important economic issues in their nations. He catered his answers to their questions using those nations represented in the room as examples,” he says.
Gottlieb says he was also impressed with Malpass’ “off-the-cuff remarks in meetings,” which consistently stressed the important of always learning more.
Advice for future leaders
Prior to his Executive Forum appearance, which was an onstage interview with the Daniels School’s Director of Alumni Relations Andrea Hatch, Malpass had breakfast with select Forum students.
“He is an engaging speaker,” Hatch says. “I appreciate his main advice for our students: be persistent and don’t get discouraged.”
And, what would he be sure to do if he were in school today?
“I would do more networking with professors and fellow students, and take advantage of the services that the school and university provides,” Malpass said.
At the breakfast, the conversation turned to advice for future managers. Malpass’ answer opened a window into his long, successful career.
“State your mission and be clear,” he said. “Tell your team what you are trying to accomplish and they will help you accomplish it.”