10 questions with… Prashan Karunaratne


Celebrating 20 years at Macquarie this year, award-winning Lecturer Prashan Karunaratne, from the Department of Actuarial Studies and Business Analytics, is well-regarded for his innovative approach to driving student success through developing an active learning culture.

However, it is not just his teaching approach that is impressive. Prashan is engaged in a number of projects across the University – from helping design a brand new unit for MQ2020, to using his research in the area of learning and teaching in business education to run workshops for staff.

Prashan is also heavily involved with Macquarie’s Widening Participation Unit – LEAP via LEAP Roadshows and LEAP inROADs, as well as being part of the team that designs, develops and delivers the University’s award-winning Excel courses on the Coursera platform – reaching more than 100,000 learners globally.

He has recently been published in The Lighthouse – commenting on the business and economics landscape in 2020, and will collect his MBA from the University of London once COVID restrictions allow the ceremony to go ahead.

And if all of the above doesn’t impress you, he almost delivered his son in the backseat of his car. We find out about this and more.

1. In a nutshell, my job is to…
Utilise Learning and Teaching (L&T) as a platform to: equip students via our programs; empower staff via workshops; engage the wider community via Future Students, Widening Participation – LEAP, and The Lighthouse; and engage beyond Australia via Macquarie International and our Coursera partnership.

2. My definition of success is…
You’ve reached, influenced, and empowered others to lead and impact in every sphere of life.

3. This year I want to…
Lead a team of Macquarie Business School L&T champions in partnership with Macquarie’s Widening Participation Unit – LEAP, to launch the National Equity Program for Business Education – to create aspirations in equity students for higher education. These unprecedented times of 2020 present an even greater urgency to address equity groups regarding their aspirations to higher education.

4. The scariest thing I’ve ever done is…
Be asked by 000 to pull over to the side of the road and have the emergency operator navigate me through the process of delivering my son. Thankfully, after a few (long) minutes of pulling over and preparing for this, an ambulance arrived and took my wife to the hospital.

5. As a kid, I was…
A geography nerd – exploring atlases and teaching myself about capital cities and flags – I can still name them all ;).

6. My guilty pleasure is…
Travelling to Singapore.

7. I’m scared of…
Lecturing. Even though I have done it weekly, for well over a decade, it is scary and humbling to conduct any lecture – whether it is 500 in Macquarie Theatre, or 50 in a smaller theatre.

8. The most important thing I’ve learned in the last five years is…
You will learn more from your students than you will ever be able to teach them.

9. If I had the day off today, you would find me…
On a multi-stop road trip with my wife and kids.

10. To me, the best thing about the Macquarie community is…
The willingness to give everyone (like me):
A chance to learn…
A chance to grow…
A chance to impact.





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  1. I had Prashan this semester for BUSA3015 Business Forecasting. During the first few weeks he conveyed the fundamental concepts in an engaging set of in-person lectures. Then we had to go online – Prashan made this transition relatively seamless with weekly discussion forums + zoom meetings, a plethora of excel spreadsheets, and an impressively low average email response time. If you have the opportunity to take one of Prashan’s subjects, I have no hesitation in strongly recommending you do so!

  2. Prashan taught us Macroeconomics in SP Jain in the summer of 2019 in the EMBA Program. His style is unparalleled to anyone as he knows not only his subject in depth , but also the “fine art of teaching and coaching”. This is what sets him apart from other professors, as he introduces rather tougher looking concepts into easy to digest pieces for an easy consumption and longer retention. He is an amazing facility both on and off campus as he was always available to clarify any doubts. On the fun side, he has a terrific sense of humor (understated humor shall i say) which he used as an effective tool to break boredom in the class as well as introduced new concepts such as Kahoots to keep the class up and active. Prashan is inspiring , engaging, makes you think and is a simplifier.

  3. Having studied and visited a number of universities all around the world, Prashan is by far the best educator I have seen. I was at Macquarie University on exchange from New Zealand and taking economics class with Prashan was absolutely the highlight of my entire degree. I have recommended multiple friends from New Zealand to exchange at Macquarie just for Prashan alone!

  4. Prashan Karunaratne made Excel Skills for Business Specialization exciting. I’m still a student in the advanced level and always looking forward to hearing him say “Remember, practice makes permanent”. This gives me courage to keep going… and whenever you hear “everybody say wow”, you must have conquered a difficult tasks.
    Thank you Mr Prashan Karunaratne, may God bless you more abundantly with wisdom and new innovations for impartation.

  5. Prashan taught us Macro Economics in 2019, during our executive MBA course in SP Jain, Singapore. His teaching style is relaxed and engaging all at once. He makes the topic interesting and relatable, and his personality truly shines through bits of wisdom, facts, and humor sprinkled over the concepts and contemporary real-world implications of Economics.

    He’s an amazing faculty on-campus as well as off-campus, always connected with his students in case any of us need any clarifications on the topic of Economics. #economicsiseverywhere

  6. Prashan was my lecturer in Microeconomic Principles (ECON111) at Macquarie University semester 1, 2015, where i learned the fundamentals of how economics work, its impacts including consumer choice, supply and demand, different economies, and much more. Despite having taken this class a while back, i still remember the course like i took it yesterday. This is due to Prashan’s excellent teaching abilities. He’s calm, illustrates examples in a very easy and effective way, and is very good at including the audience.

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