Tom Arnold talks to a group of students in a classroom
Tom Arnold speaks with Master of Science in Real Estate students.

A Balancing Act

Tom Arnold has spent most of his life balancing disparate commitments. The last three years of his life have been no exception, balancing his UF academic goals with his demanding global professional responsibilities.

 As a student in the University of Florida Warrington College of Business’ Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program and the Deputy Global Head & Head of Americas Real Estate at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), based in Abu Dhabi, the demands of both required considerable travel. After his recent completion of the DBA program’s requirements, Arnold calculated that he traveled over 250,000 miles to fulfill the program’s required weekends in Gainesville.

“If I wasn’t the best student of my cohort, at least I received the award for the farthest distance traveled,” Arnold joked.

Arnold (BSBA ’80, JD ’83, DBA ‘17) is part of the 14-member DBA Class of 2017—the first graduating class in program history. His role at ADIA can be all-consuming, as he is responsible for a 20+ country portfolio with hundreds of portfolio positions.

When Arnold enrolled in the DBA program, applied research was already an interest. His three years in the program transformed it into a passion, graduating the program with two articles conditionally accepted by peer-reviewed journals. When he completes his tenure overseas, Arnold hopes to give back to the academic institution through a research, teaching, and academic leadership position.

“I didn’t appreciate how well regarded and preeminent our faculty is until I started the program and began attending research conferences,” Arnold said. “I didn’t realize UF is an R1 research institution and one of 35 public university members of the prestigious AAU. My co-chairs (Professor) Andy Naranjo and (Ken and Linda McGurn Professor) David Ling are nationally prominent in their respective fields. I also like to tease Dr. Phil Podsakoff, who teaches Organizational Research Methods in the program, about monopolizing citations on Google Scholar with over 58,000 cites, in addition to authoring or contributing to 78 refereed articles, two books, and 11 book chapters.

“UF has rolled out a world-class product, matching experienced industry and academic professionals with some of the most talented faculty in the country. It will not be long before the world takes notice.”