Carnegie Mellon University

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July 20, 2018

Tepper School Graduates Prepare for Economics Ph.D. Programs

Each year the Tepper School of Business sends graduates out into the world to test their knowledge and prove what they have learned during their time on campus. However, some students are only getting started with their schoolwork.

This year, three graduates from the Tepper School’s Undergraduate Economics Program are taking the next step in their academic journey.

Manvendu Navjeevan, an economics and mathematics student who graduated from the Tepper School in May, will begin working towards his Ph.D. in economics at the University of California in Los Angeles this fall. He credits the Tepper School professors he encountered over the past four years for helping him get to where he is today.

“The economics faculty I reached out to for advice or to discuss economics research were always very friendly and willing to make time and talk to me,” Navjeevan said. “Also, the undergraduate advising department was very responsive and gave good advice on the steps to take to prepare for graduate school.”

The program includes many classes that allow students to see first-hand what a career in economics will be like.

Joey Pickens, a current Tepper School student who is set to graduate at the end of the summer with both a bachelor’s degree in mathematical science and economics, and a master’s degree in mathematical science through the math honors program, will be starting his economics Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in the fall. Last summer, before deciding to attend graduate school, Pickens worked as a financial analyst intern for IBM. Pickens feels that he is more than ready to succeed thanks to his time at Carnegie Mellon.

“At Minnesota, all students take a microeconomics and macroeconomics class, and many students also take an econometrics class,” Pickens said. “The purpose of these classes among other things is to push students to their limit. I have found through the honors math program at CMU, that I am at my best when being pushed out of my comfort zone. I am confident that my first year at Minnesota will be a similar experience.”

Ariel Zetlin-Jones, assistant professor of Economics, says that moving onto graduate school can bring many challenges during the first year of a program, but ultimately it helps contribute to the learning process in unexpected ways.

“As with all learning experiences, the more you put into your studies, the more you will get out of them,” Zetlin-Jones said. “I can't remember a time in my life where I learned more about something I was so passionate about in such a short period of time, and there is no better opportunity to do that in economics than the first year of an economics or finance Ph.D. program.”

Brian Jonghwan Lee graduated from the Tepper School of Business in 2015. Since graduating, he has worked as a research assistant at the Economic Analysis and Forecasting group of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, as a research professional at the Fama-Miller Center for Research in Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and as a research associate at the finance and economics division at Columbia Business School. He plans to pursue his Ph.D. in Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School starting this year. Lee recalls that his peers were ultimately who helped push him towards his goals while at Tepper.

“My classmates at Tepper, regardless of their career interest, were driven, diligent, and brilliant students who motivated me in and outside the classroom,” Lee said.

Learn more about the Tepper School’s undergraduate Economics program