“Having access to faculty and resources on both sides of the river has been wonderful, but what has surprised me most about the program has been the quality of my classmates.”
The overarching question of why some countries are rich and why some are poor has fascinated me since high school. I chose economics as the lens through which to study it after working with microfinance groups in Senegal and India during undergrad, and seeing firsthand many of the powerful core principles of microeconomic theory in action. Upon graduating, after a brief stint at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, I spent two years in Uganda working with a team of social scientists to evaluate the impact of a series of cash transfers to microentrepreneurs. Through discussions with small business owners about why they started their firms and the constraints to growth they faced, I began to feel that larger scale macro issues, such as industrial policy meant to spur growth of large firms and new sectors, were in need of a more prominent focus in the field of development economics, which has shaped my research agenda today. HBS, the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Harvard Economics department all have excellent faculty conducting research across the micro and macro development spectrum, which made my choice to join HBS an easy one.
My main interests lie in development economics, international trade, and public finance. I’d like to work toward a better understanding of why some countries have been able to rapidly develop manufacturing sectors and formal sector employment opportunities, while other countries have stalled in this pursuit. I am currently working on two projects related to these goals: one that examines how currency devaluations can have differential impacts on firms in countries at different stages of industrial development, and another that charts patterns in manufacturing employment in India over the past two decades.
Business Economics Program
Having access to faculty and resources on both sides of the river has been wonderful, but what has surprised me most about the program has been the quality of my classmates. I have benefited from their kindness when facing hurdles in the program, spawned numerous research ideas through our conversations, and in general have learned tremendous amounts about economics and the world through the many great moments we’ve shared.
The HBS Experience
I would say by far the most challenging aspect for me was getting through the first year of theory coursework and passing generals. The best part has been my interactions with fellow students. I have already come away with some truly great friends and colleagues, and still have a few years left in the program to further strengthen these existing ties and to build new ones.
Advice for HBS doctoral students
You can do research on literally any economic/social phenomenon in the world, which is totally cool. With this freedom in mind, take your time to explore a wide variety of fields, and only jump into research on something that is truly meaningful to you. Doing so will make every day of work fulfilling.