Doing an economics PhD doesn’t mean you always go on to be a professor and live the life of an academic. Perhaps surprising, but true! And it probably seems even more unlikely while living the life of a PhD student and being constantly surrounded by academics and an academic life.
To better help our current econ PhD students understand the career paths open to them, we held an alumni discussion panel on December 8, 2020 that focused on the experiences and perspectives of our alumni that hold non-academic jobs. The panelists were Stefan Avdjiev (2009 PhD, now at Bank for International Settlements), Zhihong Dong (2008 PhD, Discover), Ruth Gilgenbach (2012 PhD, Ashenfelter & Ashmore), Jian Hu (2010 PhD, Morgan Stanley), and Leola Ross (1994 PhD, Russel Investments). And, Ian McDonough (2014 PhD, University of Nevada – Las Vegas) moderated the event, having worked in industry for many years before starting his life of academia.
The discussion focused on many important topics. These included the types of non-academic jobs, the types of work PhD economists carry out in these jobs, and how to prepare for non-academic jobs during the dissertation phase of your PhD. The insights of the panelists were extremely informative and valuable to current PhD students, and a big thanks goes out to the alumni for participating and passing down their knowledge!