Raffi Garcia PhD ’18

View original article on Brandeis International Business School website here.

What drew you to the PhD program at Brandeis International Business School?

When I mentioned to my undergraduate thesis advisor that I was interested in applying to PhD programs in economics, he advised me to look into the PhD program at Brandeis. So when I was ready to apply to PhD programs, I remembered his advice and I looked into the program again. It was just the type of program that I was looking for. It was a small program with strong research faculty and a focus on international economics and finance — two of the fields that I was interested in. It was also located in the Boston area, a city that I love.

Additionally, the good placement history in both academic and non-academic research positions was also a plus, given my background in economic consulting and my interests in academia. I enjoy learning in small groups and building and feeling part of a community, so the International Business School seemed to be the right fit for me.

How has the International Business School helped your career?

I think one of the things that sets the PhD program apart is that it’d essentially a PhD program in economics with a strong finance emphasis. So when you’re going into the job market, particularly the finance job market, the combination of economics and finance makes you a stronger candidate. This strength is highlighted by the program placement record.

I owe a lot of my development as a researcher to the research faculty at the International Business School, particularly my PhD committee — Debarshi Nandy, Betsy Brainerd and Ricardo Lopez (my thesis committee chair) — and informal faculty mentors and advisors such as Aldo Mussacchio, Blake LeBaron, David Pettenuzzo and Kathryn Graddy. They helped me through the different stages of my development as a PhD student and contributed their expertise in fine-tuning my different research ideas in the fields of financial economics, empirical industrial organization and international trade.

What made your experience at Brandeis unique?

As a PhD student, you typically work individually or with other PhD students. But I felt that Brandeis had given me this great opportunity and I wanted to make sure I gave back to the broader community. So I made it a point to branch out and interact with other students, faculty and staff that were not involved directly with the PhD program. For example, I became a Leadership Fellow and participated in student-run events including the Global Gala and 3 Day Startup Challenge. I also performed Latin dances at different Brandeis events, which was a lot of fun.

As a student, I feel that I contributed to the Brandeis experience while also making it my own. I am very proud of being an alumnus of Brandeis International Business School and I hope to continue to contribute to the community in the future.