Having decided I wanted to pursue a PhD in Economics, I knew I wanted a rigorous Masters-level programme that would complement my undergraduate study. Thus, more than LSE, I chose its Economics Department, and the MSc in Economics.
The eminence of its faculty, and the fascinating and policy-relevant research they were doing at LSE in every field of economics was already an attraction. I wanted some research experience too, and the large number of research centres LSE had was ideal. And of course, London is an extraordinary city to be in, and always will be.
I'm currently pursuing a PhD in Economics at Stanford University. My research interests include understanding the role of fiscal policy in taming business cycles, and the interactions between fiscal policy choices and long-term forces in the economy such as inequality and diminishing productivity growth.
The MSc provided me with a number of key skills that are essential for PhD students to have. First, it gave me a thorough grounding in modern econometrics, which most undergraduate programs do not cover in sufficient detail. Second, it gave me a more complete understanding of macroeconomics, my field of interest, through the main macro sequence and the Monetary Economics course I took in my second year. Third, the extended essay requirement is a great gentle introduction to conducting original research, and helped me immensely in learning how to formulate a research project and execute it. Fourth, Mohan (the MSc Tutor) and the team provided exceptional guidance on how to apply to grad schools, on finalising my research proposal and statement of purpose, and on generally keeping spirits elevated during the application season. Finally, the programme allowed me to meet faculty at the research frontier in my fields of interest, be involved on projects with them, and also to meet peers who are themselves in grad programmes today, helping me build an academic network.
LSE is a great place to learn, for anyone with an intrinsic drive. First, teaching on the MSc courses at LSE was great - professors were engaging, funny and approached topics in economics from angles that, in hindsight, were uniquely relevant. Second, peers on the courses will belong to all kinds of backgrounds, education systems and cultures, and the insights they have on important economic issues are sometimes more of a learning experience than the material itself. Third, LSE provided me a great environment to explore - I was able to audit courses, talk to professors I'd never interacted with in a classroom and even work on projects that the entire research centre would be involved in.
I'm still involved with the Department and I am currently working on a project with Jeremiah Dittmar, a faculty member of the Economics Department and the Centre for Economic Performance, on the role of the falling price of books in understanding the transition to modern growth.