How did you choose the graduate school you attended? Knowing what you know now, would you make a different decision? Why?
I chose from literature I had received as well as guidance from Dr. Avin (with consultation of others as well). The program seemed to suit my interests quite well. If I had it to do over again I'm not sure if I would have chosen differently. On the one hand, when I approached grad school, I was a bit naive about the nature of econ programs and the weight given by some in the field to the ranking of the program. With this in mind I may have chosen a different program if I had it to do over again. On the other hand though, I am quite happy with where my career and life ended up, so I can't really complain about Notre Dame. It did get me to a good situation. I didn't necessarily have 10 different job opportunities waiting for me when I graduated, but one good opportunity was enough, so I guess I may not choose differently.
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 mainly got information from my professors, primarily Dr. Avin, and from some internet research on the programs. Sifting through the actual characteristics of the programs is useful I think because it gives students an idea of where things are the same across programs, and where the individuality and strengths of the programs lie. I do think that the professors are the best resource at least to start out.
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 they are attending a Ph.D. econ program rather than a policy oriented program I would definitely recommend lots of math. At least two semesters of calculus, linear algebra, possibly more detailed statistics, and possibly more calculus. Also, it might help to talk to an econ professor before they take the courses so that they can impress upon the student where the math will actually be used. I took the courses, but because I didn't know where it would apply, I probably didn't retain as much as I should have.
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?
If interested in development or other international issues a language might help, particularly if you are interested in a specfic region, e.g. latin america.
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?
I definitely struggled with the technical nature of the math, but also simply staying interested given the shift in focus from upper level applied courses in undergrad to highly mathematical theory courses which were not really applied at all. It appeared to me that what I was studying was "economics" in name only.