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From The Newsroom To The Classroom - My Experience Interviewing Dean Bullard

Charlie Cook


College is full of new experiences, unexpected challenges, and tremendous joys – all of which I’ve encountered, even in my first semester as a Boilermaker. Many describe time in higher education as a place for young adults to stretch their wings and explore the world, and I took this idea literally. As a native of Sydney, Australia, I flew across the world to immerse myself in the Purdue experience, and it’s been the ride of a lifetime.

One of the most incredible things about Purdue is the university’s commitment to providing a wealth of resources for its students. As a first-year Integrated Business and Engineering major at the Daniels School of Business, I’ve been blown away by the continual coaching, support and opportunities at my disposal. In just two short months, I had an experience I’ll never forget – hosting a live interview with Dean Jim Bullard on campus!



Like myself, Dean Bullard is quite new to Purdue. Before coming here, he served as the chief executive officer and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, one of 12 regional banks central to the United States economy. During his time at the St. Louis Fed, President Bullard garnered a reputation for excellence, producing research, delivering speeches and serving as a leading voice in key financial policy topics.

You might wonder why I wanted to interview Dean Bullard so soon after arriving at Purdue. Before taking my giant leap to West Lafayette this fall, I worked for an Australian business news channel, where much of my reporting covered financial markets and organizations influencing global economies. More specifically, my role focused on researching and reporting on U.S. markets. As I started covering the United States financial landscape, I became very familiar with then-St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard!

As the summer wrapped up and I shifted my sights toward coming to Purdue, I heard some unbelievable news. Mr. Bullard was joining Purdue’s Daniels School of Business as the dean! I felt like I’d struck gold – the very individual I’d covered over the summer in Australia was now leading the business school I’d attend in Indiana. With this information, I knew I needed to introduce myself and learn more from him.

Before arriving on campus, I contacted Dean Bullard’s team for a one-on-one conversation. Initially, I planned to grab a few minutes out of his busy schedule to personally introduce myself and ask some economic questions. However, the response from his team was something I never would have expected – asking me to host an interview with Dean Bullard on behalf of the student body!

As the details were ironed out, I worked with Purdue’s marketing team to gather questions from students in the business school. Additionally, we worked together to spread the word about the event and ensure that students and faculty were well-informed. Seeing my small idea become a full-scale opportunity involving so many people was very cool!

After a few months of coordination, the day of the interview finally came. The event was hosted through Instagram Live, presenting a new challenge for me as an interviewer. Back home in the newsroom, I was accustomed to reading off a teleprompter and having time to rehearse timing and cues. The Instagram broadcast was a new experience – no teleprompter, no cues – I was solely working from a notepad and curiosity.

Nerves are natural in an interview, and I felt pressure to ensure the conversation went smoothly. I still remember sitting in the room, laser-focused on the door where Dean Bullard would enter. The nerves settled as soon as he came in, and conversation flowed. We were able to chat for a few minutes before the event, and I got to know the Dean on a more personal level. Having this time to talk and prepare beforehand eased my mind and allowed me to engage with the interview fully!



Waiting for Dean Bullard in the interview room was nerve-wracking! My eyes were trained on the door, waiting for the moment he walked in.


Dean Bullard and I chatting before the interview. It was great to converse informally before jumping into the live event!


A glimpse at the live interview set-up. As you can see, there is no teleprompter or cues – just my notepad and a camera!

The interview itself gave me an incredible chance to gain personal insight into Dean Bullard’s career path, interests and values. While I had covered much of his economic policy in Australia, hearing about his love for his family, personal hobbies and passion for the Daniels School particularly stood out. I especially enjoyed hearing about Dean Bullard’s affinity for biking and his bond with other faculty members over the activity!

The interview had its fun moments, as well. When I asked Dean Bullard about his favorite vacation destination, he told me New Zealand! This answer may have been a minor hit to my Aussie pride, but we were able to have a good laugh about it. I can’t fault his pick, though – the Kiwis have outstanding natural landscapes. However, I’m still partial to Australia – even with our reputation for crazy animals!

In addition to learning about his hobbies and vacation preferences, I was also able to hear about Dean Bullard’s vision. When I asked him about his personal goals for the Daniels School, he responded, “How much time do you have?” I think this encapsulates the passion and potential Dean Bullard sees within the business school. He’s ready to implement a number of short and long-term initiatives to maximize opportunities for students, faculty and the community.

I learned so much about myself during this once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially the importance of being proactive and pursuing opportunities. I received so much support from the Daniels School, the marketing team, Dean Bullard and countless other individuals from the Purdue community. People wanted to help me; I just had to ask. I’m confident that learning this lesson early on at Purdue will pay dividends as I encounter more opportunities. I’m so thankful and can’t wait to continue investing in my future at Purdue.

Headshot of Charlie Cook

Charlie Cook is a freshman studying Integrated Business and Engineering, focusing on financial engineering. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Charlie is involved on campus as a member of the Larsen Leaders Academy and serves as a Purdue Investment Banking Analyst and Business Ambassador. He most recently held an internship position as a media producer with Ausbiz, an Australian business and financial news channel.

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