The faculty of the Robins School of Business is as diverse as the students who sit in their classes. Two of the newest tenure-track faculty members of Robins bring extensive experience to their teaching career at Richmond and are eager to share their knowledge with their new business students.

Chad Curtis, assistant professor of economics, comes to Richmond from Wisconsin where he attended graduate school at University of Notre Dame. While he is still settling in since coming to Richmond this summer, he already likes the historical feel of the city and is looking forward to exploring the campus, community and regional attractions. Curtis’ research interests are in the fields of international macroeconomics and macroeconomic development. His most recent research has centered on the topic of China’s economy.

Before coming to Richmond, Curtis was a member of the Peace Corps and spent his time in Zambia teaching locals fish farming. “It was great. I lived in a mud hut, walked a mile for my water and would mountain bike through town talking to locals,” he said. One of his goals in Richmond is to bring his fishing talents to local waterways. “I want to try fishing for catfish on the James River to bring home fish for my wife’s catfish soup,” he said.

On the other hand, Shital Thekdi, assistant professor of management, is more familiar with Richmond, as she worked in the strategy department at a local company before returning to school at the University of Virginia for her Ph.D., and she is also anxious to take advantage of all Richmond has to offer and explore the nearby attractions in the coming months. “I am also a runner looking for my next race in the area,” she added. Thekdi specializes in management and decision analysis in the public sector. A large amount of her research has been conducted on multimodal transportation and supply chain management.

When deciding where she was going to teach, Thekdi said, “I knew I wanted to be at Richmond. It is a great school with a great reputation. The learning environment is unparalleled, and it is a challenging and rewarding place to teach.” Having just arrived in August, she can already feel the campus’ energy. “It is a wonderful campus with welcoming students and faculty who are very knowledgeable,” she said. Curtis agrees, saying “The students here are very talented. They know the issues that are going on and are very informed of current events.”

While both are looking forward to exploring their new hometown, they are also excited to experience Richmond’s campus and develop relationships with students. “The campus has great arts and athletics programs and the students are very involved. I would like to work with student organizations in the future,” Thekdi said. “The students are very bright, engaged and eager to learn. I have experience working with much larger class sizes, so it is comforting to have smaller classes that allow me to make a personal connection with each of my students,” she said.

Curtis agrees, saying many of his students remind him of himself. “They laugh a lot. There is a good mix of business and enjoyment in the classroom,” he said. “I want to inform the students of what I know and receive their knowledge in return. I want to make it a discussion with no wrong answers. I am trying to find a balance of challenging but not overwhelming.”

Both Curtis and Thekdi are looking forward to seeing how their students have changed at the end of the year. “While nothing has surprised me yet, I am still learning about different students and their perspectives,” Curtis said. “I want to see how far they’ve come at the end of the year.”

Thekdi has a similar outlook, saying “The goal at the end of the day is to impact students’ lives and encourage them to enjoy learning and give them the tools to have a successful career after graduation. I want to get them excited about coursework and have them work on projects that have real context.”

Both professors have hit the ground running and are already making a name for themselves in the Robins community.