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Q&A with our current graduate students 


Interview with Bruno Badia (May 2011)

Q: When did you come to Stony Brook, and what was your background?

A: I started in the program on August 2009. I have B.A. and M.A. degrees in Economics, both from Brazilian universities.

Q: What are you currently doing?

A: Right now I am finishing my second year coursework and preparing for my field examination. I am also a teaching assistant for an introductory economics class. This last activity basically involves teaching recitation sections and grading exams.

Q: How are you financially supported?

A: I am supported by both tuition and stipend scholarships awarded by the University. The stipend is conditional on working for the department, which can be as grader, teaching assistant, or instructor.

Q: How would you describe your first year in the Ph. D. program in Economics at Stony Brook? Is there anything that you did not expect before you came?

A: The first year was exactly as I expected: outstanding classes, taught by outstanding professors, covering standard first year graduate material in mathematical methods, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and mathematical statistics and econometrics. The courses served as preparation for the comprehensive exams that took place in the end of May, 2010. It was a very intensive experience.

Q: What make you decide to study for your Ph.D. at Stony Brook?

A: I knew the department of economics at Stony Brook was a reference in the teaching and research in Game Theory, which was one of my interests. Through visits to the department website, I also learned about the quality of the faculty in all other specialization fields it offers: Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, Applied Econometrics, Labor Economics (including Health Economics), and Economic Demography. Since I was in doubt about the area I was going to choose, this diversity certainly influenced my decision. I also considered the size of the department, which enables a close relationship with professors and fellow students.

Q: What would you like to tell our prospective students regarding applying to the Ph.D. program at Stony Brook? When you applied, what were the main concerns that you wanted to clarify but was difficult to find information on?

A: I believe the department's website provides all the information a prospective student needs. Also, since people at the department are very open, one can always contact some faculty members, students, or administrative staff in the case of remaining doubts. Regarding the program, applicants should make sure they are quantitative (and rigor) oriented and try hard to fill the gaps they may have in their background.

Q: How do you like the life at Stony Brook, forgetting your studies for a bit? For example, if you live on campus how do you like it? and if not, how is life out of campus.

A: Stony Brook is a very nice and beautiful place. One good thing is that it is close to New York City, so whenever you have some free time you can enjoy what the city has to offer. I live on campus, at Chapin apartments. Students from all over the world live on campus. This provides you with a nice opportunity to meet interesting people. Needless to say, this is a great life experience.

Q: Have you made friends here, is it easy to meet people and interact with them?

A: I am proud to say that I have made many friends here! The university community is very friendly. Meeting people and interacting with them is very natural and easy here.

Q: What do students usually do during the summer?

A: The department offers students the opportunity to work as instructors, T.A.s, and graders. A really nice thing to do is to attend the Game Theory Festival that takes place on campus every July for more than 20 years now. Top researchers from all over the world generally attend the conference, making it an unique learning opportunity for students at Stony Brook.

Q: What do you plan to do in the next year?

A: Next year is of great importance. I will start my own research, putting the tools I have learned during the first two years to work. All third year students will attend a workshop course to present their research and ideas, get feedback, and improve their work. I hope we all do well! It is during the third year that students start working as full instructors for undergraduate courses offered by the economics department. This is great for improving teaching and presentation skills.

Q: If you had to give one piece of advice to a prospective student, what would that be?

A: Be prepared to work hard. Start with a fresh mind, open to ideas and alternative ways of dealing with economic problems. With this in mind, I believe you are going to learn a great deal of Economics at Stony Brook.