I am originally from Barberton, Ohio and went to college an hour north at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where I got a BA in economics (and minored in math and statistics). While at Case, I worked with a number of professors and became really interested in economic research.
As a result, I wrote an undergraduate thesis during my last year of college. The experience of working for professors as well as on my own independent research convinced me that a PhD would be a great choice. HBS was also a natural choice because of the quality of the program, its smaller size (which allows for more support for each student), and the high level of collaboration between doctoral students and faculty across the university.
My Research Interests
I am interested in industrial organization; specifically how insurers think about pricing in the presence of adverse selection.
The Business Economics Program
The great thing about the Business Economics program is the wealth of resources it provides to students: classes in the Economics Department, professors on both sides of the river, your fellow students. In the Business Economics program, you are part of a small group of really smart peers; these peers are literally invaluable in helping with problem sets, preparing you for orals, and easing the transition to research. Additionally, there are a wide variety of resources that make the lives of graduate students easier, such as the CLER Lab and Research Support Services.
The HBS Experience
I really liked the ability to wake up in the morning and go to the office to work on the kinds of problems I find interesting and care about. That made each "typical" day awesome! Furthermore, I had the ability to do all this in an environment that fosters research and creativity, so I had lots of smart people around me (both peers and faculty) to help me when I got stuck.
Harvard is a great place to be a graduate student. HBS provides the resources and expertise—from peers and faculty to research and technical support—to help you succeed.
Advice for prospective students
Try not to worry too much about future positions and the job market. Instead, focus on doing the best research you can. Getting a PhD is a big, long job. I find that it helps to think of things in much smaller chunks. First, you need to pass your classes. Then you need to pass your orals. Then you need to get started on research. Then you need to produce a paper (even if itís not perfect). Eventually, these things need to culminate in graduating and getting a job!