At some point in my life, I was convinced that I wanted to be a chemist. During college, however, I took my first course in economics and discovered that I was even more excited about applying data-driven analytical techniques to problems that unfold on the scale of human decision-making. I find it enormously rewarding to probe these sorts of questions in depth, so the Business Economics program was a natural step following my undergraduate studies.
My Research Interests
I'm interested in understanding how the financial decisions of firms and households are influenced by the institutional environment in which those decisions are made. For instance, I've studied oil and gas companies that form corporate alliances for the purposes of operating in the Gulf of Mexico, comparing their drilling strategies with the strategies of companies that work alone. I've also examined household savings and investment decisions in the context of employer-sponsored retirement savings plans, integrating insights from psychology into the analysis to better understand how elements of plan design shape economic outcomes.
The Business Economics Program
This program exposed me to cutting-edge analytical tools, both theoretical and empirical, at the heart of my discipline. At the same time, the program encouraged me to think broadly about issues, and it provided exceptional support for interdisciplinary approaches to research. Given my interests at the intersection of economics and psychology, the program has been a tremendous fit.
The HBS Experience
The driving philosophy behind HBS is an insistence that theory is most powerful when wedded to real-world applications. Thus, when I started studying oil and gas firms, my advisor put me in touch with an industry executive who could give me insight into their managerial decision-making process; when I was interested in household savings rates, an alumnus connected me to a manufacturing company that was ready to run a field experiment in its 401(k) plan. This back-and-forth between theory and practice makes research more enjoyable and hopefully more meaningful.
I am joining the Stanford Graduate School of Business as an assistant professor in the finance group.
Advice for prospective doctoral students
The most valuable resource at HBS is the people, both the faculty and your fellow students, so seize opportunities to collaborate with them. Collaboration creates a built-in instantaneous feedback system, and on top of that it makes the research process more fun.