Welcome from the Department Chair
Welcome to the fourth issue of our annual newsletter Inside Economics. It has been a year of great achievements and steady progress for Economics at SMU.
Our faculty meeting last April had a surprise visitor! The 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush walked into the meeting room unannounced; we were thrilled and excited. He spent an hour interacting warmly with the economics faculty answering questions and sharing his views candidly on a wide range of important topics including immigration, free trade, antitrust regulation and climate change. His visit followed up on the summer 2018 launch of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, a new partnership between the policy arm of the George W. Bush Center and the SMU Department of Economics. The joint initiative is supporting research on important domestic and international economic policy topics through fellowships for doctoral students, national publicity of research output and a visiting fellows program that has brought several nationally prominent experts in the domain of economic policy to SMU. A lot more is expected in the coming years.
Our outstanding faculty continue to be engaged in cutting edge research and publish regularly in top notch academic journals in Economics. They also received important professional recognitions. Professor Klaus Desmet received the Robert Lucas Prize for his outstanding research paper published in the Journal of Political Economy, arguably one of the most prestigious journals in Economics; Prof. Desmet was also awarded the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship at SMU. Professor Dan Millimet received a Distinguished Author award for his paper published in the Journal of Applied Econometrics. Professor Tom Fomby received an Outstanding Arts and Sciences Alumni Award from his alma mater, the University of Missouri.
Economics continues to be the most popular major within Dedman College (and the second most popular major in the entire university). In 2018-19, 177 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics; roughly half of our graduates received the ever popular Bachelor of Science in Economics with Financial Applications (BSFA) degree. In addition, a third of Economics graduates had a second major; this reflects the increasing value of multiple areas of specialization in the marketplace; Finance and Statistics were by far the most popular fields in which Economics graduates held a second major. We continue to encourage and facilitate internships and job readiness.
Our May 2019 graduates continued to demonstrate impressive performance in initial job placements, including positions at Oracle, American Airlines, Bain, Boston Scientific, Comerica, Credit Suisse, Expedia, Fidelity, Fisher Investments, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Lockheed Martin, JP Morgan Chase, PWC, Walt Disney, Wells Fargo and many more globally prominent employers.
Exit surveys of economics graduates indicate a high degree of satisfaction with our undergraduate program and almost two-thirds of students mention the high quality of the economics faculty as the best part of their experience. One of our graduates wrote:
“The SMU department of economics is full of professors who are not only incredibly knowledgeable on the subjects they teach, but who are supportive, understanding, and always ready to help any student that wants to learn.”
This is the kind of academic department we wish to remain forever.
Our graduate programs continue to attract students from across the globe. 24 new students joined our masters’ programs in 2018-19. Skills in data analytics, rigorous economic modeling and econometric tools to discover economic causality are enabling our masters’ graduates find rewarding professional jobs in financial and economics consultancy firms as well as other corporate organizations across the globe.
Our doctoral program continues to be one of the most highly ranked on campus and graduates of the program are playing a very important role in improving the visibility and academic reputation of SMU around the world. Over the last 2 years, we graduated and placed 16 new doctorates and almost all of them hold faculty positions in universities across the world or advanced research positions in major corporate organizations.
I invite you to browse through this newsletter to learn more. Thank you for staying connected to us.