How did you choose the graduate school you attended? Knowing what you know now, would you make a different decision? Why?
I ended up leaving Iowa after the first semester. Knowing what I know now, I would have made the same decisions. If I hadn't gone, I would have always regretted it. I don't think think it's an exaggeration to say I learned more about myself in those 6 months than in any other comparable period of time. Looking back, I wouldn't have changed anything.
Where did you get information about graduate school options? What would be the best way for our current students to find information about their options?
I think I was as well informed as I could be without actually experiencing it. I think it's safe to say the best way to get information is to talk with students that are currently enrolled or just graduated. http://www.econphd.net/ is a good resource as well.
What advice would you give current students about courses they should take at UWEC before graduation if they're planning to enter a graduate program like yours?
If your looking at a program similar to Iowa's, get a math major. Real Analysis is a must. The first semester math econ course was a combination of Analysis and Topology. A course in Topology would be helpful as well.
What advice would you give current students about other preparation they should complete before graduation if they're planning to enter a graduate program like yours?
In my experience, the students that made it through the first two years had a craving for research and relatively solid research goals. So whenever you can, know what you want to research and match the school accordingly.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in your first year of graduate studies? Do you feel that your years at UWEC prepared you well to face these challenges?
It goes without saying that the coursework was the major challenge. To get through the coursework you need to be driven. In my experience, the "drive" manifested itself in two vehicles, teaching and research. I think those who find themselves in the former category (myself included) will have a markedly harder time finding the drive to make in through the first two years coursework.
Advanced Micro - Mas-Colell
Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics - Stokey, Lucas
Real Analysis - Carothers