Desai is Assistant Professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School in the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has a bachelor's degree in engineering, a master's degree in Finance, and a doctoral degree in Management. She has received several grants and fellowships, including a grant from the National Stock Exchange in Mumbai, India, a fellowship from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and a fellowship from the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her work has been published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and has also received extensive media coverage. In 2010-12 Desai was a residential Lab Fellow at the Center, investigating broadly the role of ethical nudges or noncoercive ways of leading people down moral pathways. She will continue this work as a non-residential fellow this year.