Wilfred Amaldoss

Degree Date: PhD, 1998
Program: Marketing
Placement: The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

When trying to realize their career ambitions, some people require structure and guidance from mentors while others need the freedom to discover their passion. Wilfred Amaldoss fell into this latter category as a PhD candidate at Wharton. After receiving his MBA from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, India, and working for an advertising firm as a senior account executive, account director and client services controller, Amaldoss decided to pursue his PhD. “At that time, I read some papers and I applied them to what I was doing,” he says. “I thought, ‘Why don’t I write these myself?’”

A Range of Faculty Expertise

Amaldoss set his sights on Wharton, impressed by the outstanding faculty and the substantial breadth and depth of the work they were doing there. The large expert pool appealed to him, knowing that if his interests changed, he would have access to experts in a broad range of fields. Ultimately, he narrowed his focus to experimental economics and game theory—an emerging field at the time. “The faculty, and particularly my advisor, let me do what I wanted to and not what they thought I should do,” he explained. “That helped me discover myself, push myself, and do well.”

Amaldoss recommends tapping into the wealth of knowledge offered by the faculty — and to keep an open mind. “It’s well worth your effort and time to browse through their work,” he says. “You never know, that might end up being the work that excites you far more than what you thought you might end up doing.”

Mentors and Role Models

Amaldoss describes the mentor-mentee relationship at Wharton as being supportive. “They didn’t look at us as extra hands who could meet the research or teaching needs,” he says. He credits working with such a renowned faculty — observing their work ethic and dedication — in helping him achieve his professional goals. “The best preparation for me was seeing people at the top of their profession, seeing them in action and learning what was making them successful — appreciating their concern for the quality of their work and their dedication,” he says. “You learn by example instead of someone telling you what to do and not to do. It gave me a strong educational foundation and work ethic.”