Proust Questionnaire: Paul Egan

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Paul Egan
Illustration: Lauren Holmes
Paul Egan
Illustration: Lauren Holmes

The Saint: What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Paul Egan: Lying on the grass back home in Ireland on a summer’s evening with the sun on my face.

TS: What is your current state of mind?

PE: Nervous and slightly embarrassed.

TS: Which talent would you most like to have?

PE: Juggling.

TS: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

PE: That’s an easy one: three golds and one silver at the Tralee Christian Brothers School’s under-12 swimming gala (May 1998).

TS: What is the quality you most like in a professor?

PE: Someone that is approachable.

TS: What is the quality you most like in a student?

PE: Conscientious.

TS: Who was your favourite teacher/professor and why?

PE: Professor Alan Ahearne.  Loved his lectures on China and current account imbalances.

TS: What are you currently researching?

PE: State-owned enterprises and inflation in China.

TS: Which person in your field do you most admire?

PE: Joeseph Stiglitz.

TS: What inspired you to pursue your current career? 

PE: Studying macroeconomics at the start of the financial crisis as an undergrad was fascinating.

TS: When did you know what you wanted to do in life?

PE: Ask again in 20 years.

TS: What has been your favourite experience as a lecturer? 

PE: There are many, but [I] always enjoy helping a struggling student to understand and become comfortable with a concept.

TS: What has been your most challenging experience as a lecturer?

PE: When a student asks a question in a large lecture hall and you don’t know the answer –– there is nowhere to hide.

TS: If you could not work in your current field, what would you do instead?

PE: As an undergrad, I wanted to become a trader, but don’t think I have the nerve for it.

TS: If you could fix one problem in the world, what would it be?

PE: Serious: inequality.  Frivolous: ban selfie sticks

TS: What is the best piece of advice anyone has given you?

PE: Never thatch a roof on a windy day.

TS: What is your motto? 

PE: Always try your best.

TS: Where is your favourite place to travel?

PE: Asia. I have been a few times but want to go again.

TS: What are you currently reading?

PE: The Silk Roads: A New History of The World (Peter Frankopan 2015).

TS: What book should everybody read at least once?

PE: Keane – The Autobiography (Roy Keane & Eamon Dunphy 2002). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get angry. It has everything!  The chapter on the missing skips of training gear is life changing.

Paul Egan
Photo: Mika Schmeling

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